ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 01: According to Twins TV analyst Roy Smalley, Liriano is still a work in progress--but a very promising and encouraging work in progress! (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Today was Francisco Liriano's first start since being skipped in the rotation last week to work on becoming a better pitcher. So was he a better pitcher? Apparently he was, giving up only four earned runs in 5.1 innings, including solo homeruns to Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick, and thus lowering his ERA from 11.02 to 9.97. Progress!
Unfortunately, the Twins lineup was blanked by Angels
Ace Fifth Starter Jerome Williams, who pitched his first complete-game shutout since 2003. Denard Span was the only player in the lineup to show any vital signs, going two for three with one walk. Ryan Doumit had one hit, and everyone else went hit-less and walk-less.
More notes, studs, and jumps after the jump.
- Alexi Casilla--who entered the game hitting .300--hit second in the lineup for the first time this season. Jamey Caroll, who had been batting second but was only hitting .214 prior to today's game, batted ninth.
- Torii Hunter does not love us anymore. Following up last night's stellar performance against the Twins, Torii went 2 for 3 again today, with yet another homerun. By the time the 5th inning rolled around, the Twins just intentionally walked him.
- Roy Smalley is filling in for Bert Blyleven on the TV broadcast this road-trip--and boy, did he find Liriano's performance today encouraging. He did remind viewers that Liriano was still a work in progress, but also posited that Frankie was as important to the Twins as Albert Pujols is to the Angels. KFAN's Dan Barreiro exclaimed, "If I understand Roy Smalley correctly, Liriano trade value will never be higher." Yes! Exactly!
- Denard Span: 2 for 3, 1 walk, signs of life.
- All Twins Players Not Named Denard Span or Ryan Doumit: 0 for 22, 0 hits, 0 walks.
- Roy Smalley: Sometimes less is more, Roy.