Tagged: Jason Heyward

“I Like Ku-Bel in June, How ‘Bout You?”

Francisco Liriano was dominant with 11 K’s, including 7 in a row, tying a Twins’ franchise record, as he outdueled Atlanta’s Tim Hudson, who also turned in an excellent performance, inducing groundout after groundout.  In the end, Liriano was too much for Atlanta’s hitters as the Twins edged the Braves 2-1 at Target Field.
For the game, Hudson’s batted-balls-allowed included 17 groundballs, 7 flyballs, and 4 linedrives, putting his groundball percentage at a ridiculous 61%.
Liriano, by contrast, had Braves’ hitters completely baffled between the third and fifth innings, striking out the last two batters of the third (Prado and Heyward), the side in the fourth (Chipper Jones, Glaus, and McCann), and the first two hitters of the fifth (Escobar and Infante).  For the night, Liriano threw 71 of his 105 pitches for strikes, meaning that 68% of his pitches were strikes.
Braves’ rookie sensation right fielder Jason Heyward had a tough night, going 0 ro 4 with 4 K’s. 
The Braves scored their lone run in the top of the second, but the Twins were unable to answer until the bottom of the seventh.  In that inning, three Twins hit ground ball singles, two of them to the infeild, before Thome struck out.  Jason Kubel then lined one to right, scoring Joe Mauer.  Delmon Young, pinch hitting for Danny Valencia, then lined one to left, scoring Morneau, and putting the Twins up 2-1.
For the game, Liriano contributed .417 WPA, Kubel .188, and Delmon Young .122.  
Twinkie Talk’s Erin notes that Liriano is good.  Twinkie Town’s RandBall’s Stu writes up the game and 

notes that former Twins’ pitchers Carlos Silva and R. A. Dickey are a combined 12-0; it should be pointed out that both are now pitching in the National League.

This post’s title is a pun based on a line from a Sinatra song as mediated through one of the 1990s most underrated films, The Fisher King.
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That Interleague Thing: Sports Illustrated is All Over It

Joe Sheehan, formerly of Baseball Prospectus, and one great baseball writer, criticizes the interleague schedule for unfairly impacting the pennant races.  He presents a pretty thorough and well-reasoned critique that only three or four marquee (and geographically sensible) matchups drive the whole silly exercise, with the costs including a distortion of the relative quality of competition faced by those competing for playoff spots.

Tom Verducci, meanwhile, writes that the NL might beat up on the the AL this year, basing this argument on National League teams winning two more whole games over the weekend (22 compared to 20 for the AL). 
Doug Miller, a columnist at MLB.com argues, along the same lines as Verducci, writing that the NL “made a statement” in the first round of games.  Hmm.  It’s still just one round of games, and that statement is almost a .500 record, but a man can dream.
Calcaterra, in his usual fashion, pops this airy confection of wishful thinking, arguing that it doesn’t matter, while going on to dismiss the whole comparison thing as a chimera anyway.
What I find more interesting than any of this, and what may point to the National League showing improvement in the future is Cliff Corcoran’s analysis of the rookie talent in each league, and his conclusion that the NL has the better in terms of rising young stars. 
Hey, hey, Heyward. 
But..he neglects to mention Mat Latos, which is baffling, just like nastiness Latos is throwing hitters so far in 2010 (3 ER in his last 26 IP).