Monday, June 12, 2006

Liriano pitches 7 strong; Twins get the shutout

I asked yesterday if Johan Santana or Francisco Liriano could just start every game for the Twins, and while that's obviously not feasible, this game showed my thinking.

Francisco Liriano threw 7 shutout innings on Sunday against the Orioles, surrendering just 1 hit and only 2 BB. He also struck out 6 in the 7 innings of work. With the win, his record improves to 5-1, and the ERA lowers to a miniscule 2.10. I've said it before but I'll say it again - as of now, if Liriano had the innings to qualify, he'd lead the AL in ERA. I love this guy.

The offense wasn't great, but it was good enough to get the win behind Liriano. Justin Morneau hit another HR, his 14th of the year. That was a 2-run shot that was effectively the game-winning runs. Also scoring on that play was Joe Mauer, who went 1/4. (for more on Joe Mauer, Aaron Gleeman looks at whether Joe can hit .400).

Another thing for the offense, it appears that Ron Gardenhire was listening when I said yesterday that it might be time for Cuddyer to bat cleanup. Hunter was moved to 6th and Cuddyer up to 4th, but that move was fruitless today, as Cuddyer went 0/4.

Also notable as far as this site is concerned, Joe Nathan got the call in the 9th (in what else, a non-save situation). He pitched 1 scoreless inning, lowering the ERA down to 1.96, which is really good.

By the way, another reminder for you to vote in the All-Star game. Mauer's not even in the top 5 for catchers in the AL!

Twins get the day off on Monday, followed by Boston coming to town for a 3-game set. In the first game, it will be a battle of the aces as Johan Santana (6-4, 3.16 ERA) takes on Curt Schilling (9-2, 3.81 ERA).