The. Worst. Record. In. The. Majors. I can't say it much better than Jesse's series preview "The Hangover Ends Tonight" from a bit earlier this evening. Bottom line, the entire Twins roster needs to step up, from pitchers (I'm looking at you, Francisco Liriano) to batters to defense (I hope the Twins practiced rundowns all day yesterday) to base running. Don't tell me it's just a matter of injuries, while they have played a role it's not the reason that Liriano, Casilla, Danny Valencia, Justin Morneau, etc have underperformed. Heck, even with 2009 Joe Mauer on this team the Twins might only have one or two more wins at this point in the season given the other performances. But at least the Twins are ahead of the White Sox in the all important loss column...
#47 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins
Oct 26, 1983
|2011 - Francisco Liriano||1-4||5||5||0||0||0||0||23.2||27||24||24||4||18||18||9.13||1.90|
Wow, are these numbers ugly. With Kevin Slowey getting stretched out in preparation for his return to the rotation, tonight may be Liriano's last opportunity to stay in the Twins rotation in the near future. One more 3 inning, 6 run, 6 walk outing and we may see the opening day starter sitting with an unspecified "Phil Hughes" type of injury. If you haven't done so already, be sure to check out Parker's excellent discussion of Liriano's early struggles at Over The Baggy.
#33 / Pitcher / Chicago White Sox
Sep 09, 1983
|2011 - Edwin Jackson||2-3||6||6||0||0||0||0||35.1||43||25||23||3||17||32||5.86||1.70|
Fortunately for the Twins (I think), Edwin Jackson comes in almost as cold as Liriano this evening. After wins in both of his first two starts (14 IP, 1.93 ERA, 5 BB, 20 SO), Jackson has given up 21 runs (20 earned) over 21.1 innings over his last four starts. Command has been a problem, giving up 17 walks on the season. When Jackson hits his spots with his mid-to-upper 90s fastball, he can finish hitters off with a nasty slider. According to fangraphs, Jackson's slider has rated +18.8, +17.7 and +12.4 runs above average over the past three seasons. But as with Liriano, if he falls behind ball one - ball two, there's no need for batters to chase the slider.
Notes and lineups follow after the jump.
- Denard Span - CF (ok .284 average so far, but he needs to get on base more often to get away with a sub-.400 slugging percentage)
- Alexi Casilla - 2B (great, gotta love that .257 OBP in the #2 spot...then again who is any better?)
- Justin Morneau - 1B (hopefully he's back on track after going yard in KC, but is anyone else concerned that the HR just barely snuck over the RF fence...seemed like he nailed that one)
- Jason Kubel - LF (lone bright spot so far offensively)
- Michael Cuddyer - RF (.642 OPS feels a lot like last season's ugly numbers)
- Jim Thome - DH (mash some taters, the wind is blowing out!)
- Danny Valencia - 3B (wicked unlucky so far, .225 BABIP and 20% line drive rate)
- Drew Butera - C (sad to think he's the better of two options...)
- Matt Tolbert - SS (at least I don't cringe every time a ball is hit to him at short...I'm looking at you Alexi)
White Sox Lineup:
- Juan Pierre - LF
- Alexei Ramirez - SS
- Adam Dunn - DH
- Paul Konerko - 1B
- Carlos Quentin - RF
- Alex Rios - CF
- Ramon Castro - C
- Gordon Beckham - 2B
- Brent Morel - 3B
- LaVelle notes that the Twins will have to play .630 ball the rest of the way in order to match their 94 wins of last year. At this point, I fear a sub-.500 unless we see a major course correction.
- LaVelle also notes that Paul Bargas, the pitcher the Twins received from Colorado for Jose Morales, has been diagnosed with brain cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Our thoughts go out to Paul and his family.