The Process Versus Twins Pitchers | The Process Report

The Process Versus Twins Pitchers

Francisco Liriano

The Rays missed Liriano when these two teams met at the Trop earlier this month. For whatever reason, striking out a more than a batter per inning last season was not what Twins’ management wanted from him. In fact, Ron Gardenhire has openly campaigned for Liriano to pitch to contact. Thus far, Liriano is striking out fewer batters, walking more, and allowing a hit per inning. I guess he is just following orders. He continues to be a three-pitch starter (fastball, slider, changeup); however, his devastating slider has not been the same so far.  He is extremely effective against fellow left-handers, so Sean Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach, and perhaps Elliot Johnson should see action.

Nick Blackburn

The Twins have a “type.” They are attracted to guys with average stuff who do not get many strikeouts, yet are still somewhat effective. Perhaps that is why they are trying their hardest to conform Francisco Liriano from a strikeout machine to a luck-dragon slayer. On the other hand, Nick Blackburn fits their mold. He owns a career K/9 of 4.23 and is a groundball pitcher who throws four pitches (fastball, cutter, curveball, changeup). Neither of them is particularly good and he’ll give a home run here and there. In terms of splits, expect a heavy left-handed lineup against him.

Scott Baker

Baker is somewhat of a James Shields-type. He is right-handed with a solid frame and makes the best out of what he has. His stuff is effective, but at the same time not over powering. Also like Shields, he has a tendency to give up the longball. His HR/9 is 1.21. A few years ago, Baker decreased the use of his effective slider in favor for a less effective curveball. This continues to be the case. Even with the drop in usage, the slider serves as a nice equalizer against lefties which helps him maintain a relatively neutral platoon split.

Bullpen

Pitcher Throws LHOPS RHOPS
Joe Nathan Right .573 .527
Matt Capps Right .760 .730
Jose Mijares Left .562 .727
Eric Hacker** Right    
Glen Perkins Left .874 .821
Dusty Hughes* Left .658 .786
Jim Hoey* Right 1.124 .676

(Three-year samples used when possible)
*Career numbers because of small sample size in recent years. These tables all exclude 2011 stats

**Hacker has 5.0 career innings

(Favors means the split is +/- .020 points)
Matchup favors LHB: Nathan, Capps, Perkins, Hoey
Matchup favors RHB: Mijares, Hughes
Matchup is a push: Hacker

(Credit to Chris St. John for the data)

The Rays were able to get to the high-leverage relievers for the Twins in the first series. In fact, it was Tampa Bay who knocked Joe Nathan out of the closer’s role. Meanwhile, the team did walk-off against his replacement, Matt Capps. Jose Mijares remains tough on lefties while former Process Report target Jim Hoey has been crushed by them in limited action.



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