Throwing Back The Bass
After Wednesday’s afternoon game against the A’s, the Twins announced that Alexi Casilla would be recalled from the DL and Brian Bass would be sent down to Triple-A. Perhaps the effectiveness of the bullpen on that day was a part of that decision:
Despite allowing an unearned run (Nick Punto (rare) error) in the first inning, Francisco Liriano pitched five innings on Wednesday and did not allow an earned run. The problem: he was over the “magical” 100 pitch mark (geez, I sound like Bert Blyleven now!) and thus pulled from the game. This was not a good sign, as the Twins’ bullpen seemed to just be recovering from a rough stretch and now they would be used again in long relief.
However, the pen was up to the challenge on this day. Boof pitched two impressive innings, while Jesse Crain recorded perhaps the most important outs of the game in the eighth inning with A’s clogging the bases. Joe Nathan picked up his 34th save of the year and lowered his ERA to an even 1.00. The good: The bullpen pitched four EFFECTIVE innings. The bad: The bullpen pitched FOUR effective innings, thus needing another pick-me-up from Baker tomorrow night.
Offensively on Wednesday, the Twins were held mostly in check but for Mike Redmond (2-4, 2 RBI) and Justin Morneau (1-3, 1 RBI). Yet, thanks to the solid bullpen, that was all that was needed.
-Do I agree with Bass being sent down? Not exactly…at least from a pure performance perspective. Taking into consideration the entire season, I’d say that Bass has pitched better than Bonser overall. Yet, there must be monetary reasons (like, the Twins don’t want to dump his larger salary) why the Boofster still commands a bullpen chair.
-Liriano still needs to work on not giving up so many walks. Were it not for those on Wednesday, he would have likely pitched into the sixth or even seventh inning. A better hitting team (if he ever faces one!) will eventually make him pay for those free passes.
-The Twins have won their past 11 home series. Wow! If we can hang in the race over the long road quest, those home games against the ChiSox are looking pretty good.
Preview (72-54, 2nd, 1.0 GB CWS): Scott Baker (7-3, 3.91) vs. John Lackey (10-2, 3.22). Traditionally, Lackey has been hard on Twins’ bats. Beating him could be a big boost in terms of road morale right from the get-go.