Livan Hernandez is having an April reminiscent of Ramon Ortiz‘s just a short year ago. Ortiz made 5 starts and earned a 3-1 record, allowing just 10 runs over 35 innings pitched. He allowed 28 hits, 6 walks, struck out 14 and held opponents to a .217 batting average. In his 5 starts after April, he allowed 26 runs in 22 and 1/3 innings, giving up a combined 11 HR and BB with just 10 strikeouts. All the while opponents were hitting .377 and he was demoted to the bullpen, until being traded to the Rockies.

Now, obviously we don’t want Livan to end up like that. Although one of Hernandez’s starts was technically in March, I want to group it with his April performances for comparison’s sake. Thus far, in 3 starts, Livan’s allowed exactly the same number of hits as innings pitched – 21. But, just 6 runs and 1 walk. Most importantly is that he’s given the Twins exactly what they were looking for: giving the bullpen a rest, as the team figured the ‘pen would be well-used with so many young starters. Livan’s pitched exactly 7 innings in each of his 3 starts, but he hasn’t even hit the 100-pitch mark yet. In 35 starts last year he threw under 100 pitches in 40% of his games. It’s unrealistic to expect Hernandez to win every time, but I’ll take all of these great outings as gifts, for now.

 

The lineup didn’t do all that great, but they made key at-bats count. Scoring 5 runs on 8 hits is pretty good, but it looks great when right underneath it in the boxscore you see that the Royals scored 0 runs on 9 hits. 4 walks by KC starter Gil Meche helped the team out, but Carlos Gomez‘s 2-run double (he would add his first triple a little while later) and Justin Morneau‘s solo homer (third of the year) helped as well. Matt Tolbert, playing for Adam Everett, got 3 hits in 4 at-bats and drove in his first run of the year. He’s the hottest hitter on the team right now, and there really isn’t any reason to bench him. His defense is adequate, at the very least, but he can draw a walk and has a little speed on the basepaths, too. Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young, and Mike Lamb were all hitless.

 

Francisco Liriano has been called up, with Kevin Slowey headed to the DL. Liriano has been unimpressive in his 2 rehab starts, but some fans think he will be able to step up his game when he faces the big bats. I certainly hope he does well, but wouldn’t be surprised if Brian Bass will pitch in that game, either as mopup or long relief.

 

I don’t think I’ll be able to watch tonight’s game due to my first day at work (hurray?), but it starts at 6:10. Boof Bonser is looking for his first win of the year (actually, 3/5 of the starters are; Hernandez and Scott Baker have 3 and 2 wins, respectively, totaling the team’s 5 wins on the year), facing off against Brett Tomko. Coincidentally, Tomko blanked the Twins in his last start, giving up 6 hits but no runs in 5 innings of work.

Advertisements