TORONTO — The Twins struggles continued into the weekend as they received another lashing at the hands of the Blue Jays. The picthing wasn’t quite as putrid as it was it was last night, but the bats weren’t any quicker or louder.
On the Blue Jay’s side of the ball, it was a completely different story. Starting pitcher Kyle Drabek took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and if had not been for a Denard Span base hit, he would have most likely finished the game with that no-hitter intact. Drabek was one of the key players acquired in the Roy Halladay trade the Blue Jays made a year ago and the results are beautiful if you’re a Jays fan. And even if you’re not, it’s hard not to feel somewhat good for the Jays as they have been so bad for so long, to finally see someone other than New York and Boston contending in the East is a good thing strictly from a pure baseball fan’s standpoint.
But from the perspective of a Twins fan, things couldn’t look more grim.
The Twins’ top two aces, the guys who were supposed to be rocks in the rotation, both got clobbered on back-to-back nights. Francisco Liriano lasted just a third of an inning longer than Carl Pavano did the night previous, going 4 1/3 and giving up 4 runs, all earned. He walked five and struck out just three batters.
“That’s not our plan,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re already running guys out there back to back. That’s too many pitches from our bullpen and not enough from our starters.”
Liriano makes it back-to-back games where the Twins failed to have their starter make it out of the fourth. This is not a new problem for the Twins and it is increasingly unsettling due to the fact the bullpen is so thin, specifically middle relief which has been called upon twice already.
Kevin Slowey, the guy who was the odd man out when it came to setting the rotation, has seen work in both games, this time around giving up a run and four hits in an inning and a third. Matt Capps saw his first appearance of the year giving up three hits and a run in the eighth.
The bats didn’t do much to help the pitching either.
Kyle Drabek’s domination of the Twins lineup put all hopes of Twins bats coming to life to rest. All Minnesota walked away with was a sole run batted in by Justin Morneau. Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the scoring runner after he stole second.
“Definitely a tough day,” Said Denard Span, who had the Twins only hit. “Nobody put the bat on the ball good off this guy.”
The Twins finish up their season opening series with the Blue Jays tomorrow in which Nick Blackburn will look to somehow jump start the pitching which could in turn get the bats going. The Twins do not want to fall into a 0-3 start and then head to New York where they have a very real possibly of starting the season 0-6. It’s not panic time yet for Twins fans, there is still 160 games left in the season.
But the play of the Twins so far isn’t helping to clam the nerves of fans who are fearful of a sophomore slump in the new Target Field.
Next 3 Up:
Sun – @ TOR (Blackburn vs Cecil)
Mon – @NYY (Baker vs Nova)
Tue - @NYY (Duensing vs Sabathia)