I was out yesterday but still wanted to keep up with the log of games, so here’s a delayed post on yesterday’s 9-3 loss to the Red Sox:
Today’s Big Winner
Francisco Liriano – after an outstanding stretch of games in Winter ball, the expectations are sky high for Liriano this spring. He didn’t disappoint in his first start, going 2 innings and allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out 3. I’ve thought for awhile that the most crucial part of the spring for Liriano will be in a couple of weeks as they stretch out the innings, because it will be Liriano’s stamina that determines whether he’s going to be truly competitive in the battle for the rotation or if he’s going to find himself moved into a bullpen role. Regardless of how things end up, this kind of start is outstanding and tremendously encouraging. A return to dominance for Liriano, no matter what his ultimate role, would be fantastic news.
Today’s Big Loser
A number of contender’s for this. I’m going to think optimistically and NOT pick Joe Nathan, who left the game early and is heading to the Twin Cities for an MRI. Hopefully this is all just precautionary and the Twins will have their closer back and in good form soon. Instead, the battle comes down to Glen Perkins and Jeff Manship, two players competing for spots on the 25-man roster. Because Manship is the longer shot to make the team, I’m going to say that the Big Loser of the day was Perkins, just because he had more to lose. Perkins came in to replace Nathan after he left early and got 1.2 innings of work. In that time, he gave up 3 hits and 2 walks, allowing 2 runs. This is bad both for Perkins personally AND for the Twins, because there is a good chance that the Twins are looking to deal Perkins sometime this spring and poor outings like this one won’t increase his value. Manship’s numbers were worse, as he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 2 innings — but as I said, Manship started the spring as a longer shot to make the team than Perkins did, so the relative significance of the outings was greater for Perkins.