Game 10: Twins 8 (7-3), Red Sox 0 (4-5)
Francisco Liriano may not have looked like he did in 2006, but if he can keep pitching like he did against the Red Sox on Thursday afternoon, that will be okay by me. After getting into a little trouble early in the game (and subsequently pitching his way out of said trouble), Liriano breezed through the Red Sox lineup, allowing just four hits in seven innings pitched. Even more impressive, he struck out eight but walked just two, and left the game after seven full innings having thrown just 96 pitches – pretty impressive for a guy who tends to get north of 100 pitches relatively quickly.
The offense also showed up for the final game of the Red Sox series, knocking 15 hits off of Red Sox pitchers (including starter Tim Wakefield who seems to either own the Twins or get roughed up). Every Twin in the lineup got a hit except for Joe Mauer, and really it was nice of him to let the other guys have the spotlight for a change.
Perhaps the moment of the season so far (in my mind, at least) was Justin Morneau coming through with a hit after the Sox intentionally walked Mauer in the fifth inning. Morneau has left more than a few men on base so far this season, so while I generally don’t like the intentional pass that early in the game, I might have called for that one if I were managing the Red Sox. He came through this time, and hopefully that will add some pressure to pitchers who have to face the Twins’ two MVP’s back-to-back in the lineup.
The Stars of the Game based on WPA (from FanGraphs) 1. Liriano, 2. J.J. Hardy, 3. Denard Span.
Standings (through Thursday afternoon games):
Min 7-3, 48-29, –
Det 6-3, 49-44, 0.5
Chi 4-5, 42-32, 2.5
KC 4-5, 45-50, 2.5
Cle 3-6, 29-42, 3.5
Bring on the Royals (and my first regular season game at Target Field). Friday’s pitching matchup should be good: Scott Baker vs Zach Greinke.