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A What Following A What?

The Twins' starting pitching was lackluster once again, as Francisco Liriano didn't have adequate command and gave up two multi-run bombs in one inning. A two-runner to Paulie and a grand slam for JD, with a double from Corky Miller in between was more offense than the Sox have had in an inning this year according to Hawk.  The past two games have been a welcome reprieve from the punchless Sox of late.  Including yesterday's win, the Sox have had the worst offense in the major leagues in May, good for a very very very solid .225/.287/.352 slash line.  As I've mentioned in the comments, that's about 2 runs below average per game.  That's well beyond an undue burden on the pitching and a problem that was bound to improve somewhat.  To say the least, 13 runs over two games feels pretty good.  All the more so considering we've got at least 3 replacement level players in the lineup at any one time.  At least Alexei looks like he wants his name off that list.

And what of the pitching?  Still above average according to FIP, though to watch it live is to wonder how that's possible.  An inflated BABIP* has led to an excess of actual runs crossing the plate, but the peripherals seem to be in line.  Danks' outing tonight seemed to hold to that trend, though an actual error rather than crappy range and bad luck was the cause for an inflated run total.  The Twins took a 2-0 advantage in the fourth thanks to Alexei Ramirez, who booted a would-be Michael Cuddyer GIDP on a ground ball right at him.  That left two on and one out for a Jason Kubel single and, later, a Joe Crede sac fly.  That constituted Minnesota scoring until Danks yielded a home run to Cuddyer in the 6th after he had clearly become gassed.  Perhaps not having to work out of a jam not of his making would have made the difference in stamina.  Over the course of his 5 and 2/3, Danks' stuff seemed on, though his command was somewhat spotty.  As this is the same thing that enabled Charlotte's acquisition of Jose Contreras and Gavin Floyd's overwhelming case of the suck, it's both something to monitor and an opportunity.  An opportunity for lesser sportswriters to make a swine flu reference.  Good thing we're so high brow here at SSS.

*Recall that 1-BABIP = Defensive Efficiency Rate.  Bad luck has been a factor, but this has been a bad defensive team so far.