For the second time as a starter this year, the Twins are running up against right-hander Miguel Batista. On August 4, Minnesota lit up the 37-year old for six runs over three innings, and if I'm honest I'll be disappointed if they don't repeat that performance tonight in Seattle. He seems to have an affinity for walking hitters to the point that if he doesn't do it, there's something wrong; he's STILL walking more batters than he strikes out. The Mariners aren't oblivious of this fact, trying to keep him out of the rotation, but with Erik Bedard and Carlos Silva on the disabled list they're struggling to find four competent starters much less five. When your 3-4-5 starters are R.A. Dickey, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Ryan Feierabend, your season clearly isn't going the way you hoped it would. Opponents are throwing up a .920 OPS this season against Batista. Yikes.
To put a halt to their two-game skid the Twins launch Francisco Liriano, who's 4-0 in four starts since his return. Over 23.2 innings he's struck out 20, walked 10, given up 16 hits (just one homer) and allowed six runs (three earned). On the season opposing hitters are hitting .242/.355/.320, and that's about right as they still aren't squaring up well against Cisco with just a 14.7 line-drive percentage. Overall, his xFIP is 3.90, which is marginally better than his 4.24 traditional ERA. I recognize that the Twins may have set him up to succeed by lining him up against weaker opponents for the rest of the season, but A) there's nothing wrong with that and B) he's still getting good results. Tonight it'd be nice to see more of the same, but hopefully he can start getting ahead of more hitters more often, and can therefore start getting stretched into the seventh inning and beyond. He's completed six innings in only two of his four most recent starts, and right now this team needs its starters to be efficient.
For the Twins against a righty I'll wager: Span (RF), Casilla (2B), Mauer (C), Morneau (1B), Kubel (DH), Young (LF), Buscher (3B), Everett (SS), Gomez (CF)
And on the Seattle side of the coin I'm guessing: Suzuki (RF), Betancourt (SS), Ibanez (LF), Beltre (3B), Lopez (2B), Balentien (CF), Johjima (C) LaHair (DH), Cairo (1B)
|2008 - Miguel Batista||4-12||34||19||0||0||1||2||100.1||122||82||73||16||70||63||6.55||1.91|
|2008 - Francisco Liriano||4-3||7||7||0||0||0||0||34.0||31||19||16||1||23||27||4.24||1.59|