Hernandez 3, Blogosphere 0
I'm having flashbacks to Ramon Ortiz.
Last spring, Ortiz started the season looking like a wolf on the prowl, stalking the mound. Through his first three starts he was 3-0, tossing 22 innings with an ERA just above 2.00. In fact, in all of April he was extraordinarily effective, as all five of his starts were quality starts. In 35 April innings he struck out 14, walked 6, and for the briefest of moments looked like a Terry Ryan bargain-bin steal. Of course we know what happened once the clock struck May.
Livan Hernandez has been the center of many of the same criticisms as Oritz, but for now we find ourselves in the same position. Three starts and 21 innings into the season, Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA. He's given up a hit per inning, but thus far has only walked a single batter.
It's easy to say "there's nowhere to go but down", but at seven innings per start, and seven quality innings at that, we can at least be extremely happy with the results so far.
Liriano to start Sunday versus Royals.
With Kevin Slowey's move to the disabled list (retroactive to April 4) due to his strained right bicep, the Twins are bringing up Francisco Liriano. In two minor league starts this spring, his line isn't the most impressive:
His start in Rochester last week was mediocre at best. When he steps onto the mound come Sunday, it will be interesting to see how he responds to his first, real major league start since 2006. I wish him the best, but I'm still cautiously optimistic.
While the shuffle of the rotation has been no surprise, how often conerns have been raised about individual pitchers has been a little unnerving. Scott Baker's been battling bouts of illness and a muscle strain, Kevin Slowy is headed to the disabled list and Francisco Liriano hasn't exactly been consistent. I'm looking forward to seeing how Boof Bonser and Nick Blackburn fare in their third appearances.
I'll see you for the game tonight!