Thursday, July 09, 2009

Can't Win 'Em All

... Or any of them, apparently, if the Yankees are the opponent. The Twins fell to 0-6 on the season against the Bombers last night despite the best efforts of Joe Mauer, who went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and two RBI. No one else in the Twins lineup could seem to come through with a big hit, and the Twins suffered another tough loss that set them back in the standings with the Tigers and White Sox both winning.

Anthony Swarzak, who was originally scheduled to pitch the series finale today, was pressed into early duty last night with Glen Perkins ill. Swarzak looked predictably overmatched against the Yankees, coughing up four runs on eight hits and a walk while failing to strike out a batter over 4 1/3 innings. Bobby Keppel relieved Swarzak and delivered yet another fine performance, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the game within reach for the Twins. Unfortunately, his best efforts went to waste as the Twins were unable to come back against the Yanks.

These last couple games have been tough to watch. Not just because the Twins have not at any point even held a lead, but because the Yankees hitters have repeatedly put together long at-bats and caused innings to drag on. One night after forcing Scott Baker to throw 86 pitches in 3+ innings, the Yanks forced Swarzak to throw 91 pitches in 4 1/3 frames in last night's contest. I'm not saying the Yankees hitters are committing some sort of atrocity, since obviously this strategy has proven quite effective over the past couple nights; but, from the perspective of a spectator cheering for the opposing team, it's awfully annoying.

The Twins will try to avoid a season sweep today with Francisco Liriano on the mound. Given that Liriano has struggled with high pitch counts on several occasions this year, I'm not particularly optimistic about his chances to last deep into the ballgame, but hopefully the boys can find a way to win.

5 comments:

Topper said...

Nick, watching the last couple games I was thinking about our bullpen and how it's been a little more consistent lately .. and it just struck me that we've got a very oddly balanced group out there. We've really only got three one-inning guys (Nathan, Mijares, Guerrier), and the other three are all solid long relief options. It's making it easier on the starters as they've been leaving early, but if we put Duensing, Dickey or even Keppel into a close ballgame, high-pressure situation I still don't know how safe I'd feel.

Nick N. said...

Dickey, Keppel and to a lesser extent Duensing have all been very adequate, given their roles. Guerrier and Nathan have been excellent, and Mijares has been alright. I still think this bullpen needs one more reliable late-inning guy.

Schruender said...

Geez you said it. 105 pitches today in just 5.1 innings. Sometimes you take a loss if the bullpen gets saved a little, but no luck in this one.

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