Ultimately the results of tonight’s game would prove nothing definitive when it comes to the outcome of the Francisco Liriano trade. It still made for good drama, as the White Sox won a well-pitched and well-played 4-3 game at Target Field.
Let’s start with the starters: everybody wondered how Liriano would do, presumably striding to the mound Tuesday night with a chip on his shoulder as he faced his former team. He responded well, going 6 innings and striking out 8. Nobody talked about Nick Blackburn, though, except maybe with a dismissive roll of the eyes. He also appeared to pitch with an edge (for some reason), delivering 8 outstanding innings and surrendering only 2 runs. It was a very promising and surprising sight for Twins fans, even if Blackburn’s handsomeness factor has gone down significantly since he is now beardless.
Liriano left the game with some feathers in his cap, striking out Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham twice each. The second strikeout of Mauer came with 2 on and 2 out on a close called third strike. In a rare animated show of emotion, Mauer screamed at home plate umpire Mike Muchlinksi. Presumably it sounded something like this: “It might have been a strike Mike, but seriously, these people are turning on me! Help me out here! They’re already on edge about the Frankie trade, and now this! You’re killin’ me dude!”
Ultimately the results of the game came down to two nondescript members of the two respective bullpens: Addison Reed of the White Sox and Jeff Gray of the Twins. With the game 2-2 entering the 9th inning, Gray surrendered 2 runs on a A.J. Pierzynski home run in the top of the frame and Reed surrendered only 1 in the bottom half. The Twins will try to take the rubber game tomorrow afternoon with their de-facto ace Scott Diamond on the hill against Jake Peavy.
As for the trade deadline, it appears that the Twins did not hear enough in any offers for Denard Span, Glen Perkins, Jared Burton or any other players to move them. It makes sense; if they did not feel their trading partner was overpaying in a deal, there was no reason to move any of these players. They can now keep them as key building blocks moving forward. The Twins might also be thinking that they will make deals in August with players who must first clear waivers. It is quite possible that Carl Pavano, Matt Capps, and others will go the way of Jim Thome sometime during August.
For now, the Twins will continue to do what they did tonight; cringe and look on in fear, clinging to hope that Liriano does not figure out how to be consistent while wearing another uniform. And definitely not while wearing a White Sox uniform.