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Game 156: Twins @ Rays

Pregame

After the game today we'll be talking about playoff chances. A Twins win and a Sox loss would do us a great big favor, but with both teams just daring the other one to win 90 games ("I bet you'll win 90 games!" "Uh-uh! I bet you will!" "No way!") at least we know it'll be a series that means something.

For a while it seemed like Andy Sonnastine was going to lose his spot in the rotation, but every time it looked like the Rays would pull the plug he stepped up and would string together two or three good starts in a row. That's where he's at right now, coming off of three quality starts in September. He's been getting more fly-outs than ground-outs recently, which is interesting; from April through June he recorded 124 ground-outs versus 109 outs in the air. By comparison, since then he's induced just 82 outs on the ground versus 109 of the fly-ball variety. Either he's pitching higher in the zone, or hitters are getting a better read. Whatever the case may be, on the year he isn't really a fly-ball or ground-ball pitcher one way or the other--he's both. Sonnastine throws a cut-fastball around 90 with some decent movement, mixing in a curve, slider and occasional change.

Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano will try to shake off his worst start since returning to the Twins in August. It's in style recenty for Twins starters to get pulled before the sixth or even fifth innings, and Liriano's 2.2 inning appearance in Cleveland five days ago wasn't a good one. In addition to getting a bit wild, the Indians hit him pretty hard, and in spite of the four strikeouts allowed four runs. Against a Rays squad that's put up some runs this series, Liriano will have to regain the form of his first two September starts. There should be no situation where he throws six fastballs in a row, very few walks, a handful of strikeouts and an attitude. Liriano's job isn't just to start today, but to exude a little confidence. This team is in desperate need of a self esteem boost.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Andy Sonnanstine 13-7 30 30 1 1 0 0 181.0 200 96 87 19 32 113 4.33 1.28


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Francisco Liriano 5-3 12 12 0 0 0 0 64.2 58 33 26 6 27 55 3.62 1.31