Minnesota Twins: It's Spring, Right?

AlexAnalyst IMarch 28, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Pitcher Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the New York Yankees during a Grapefruit League Spring Training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 28, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

When the Twins faced the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, they took on their Opening Day starter, James Shields.

To say the least, Shields wasn't very good; he allowed the Twins to score 11 runs on 12 hits in just over four innings of work. Nonetheless, he got his work in and moved one start closer to the regular season and the innings that matter.

Today, the team's No. 2 starter, Francisco Liriano, took the mound against the Boston Red Sox, and through the first two innings, dominated. He struck out three of the six batters he faced and moved right along. However, the third inning just wasn't him; he allowed seven runs, all off three homeruns, and his night was over.

For Liriano, the seven runs were as many as he had allowed all spring. The game wasn't visible to anybody outside of the park in Fort Myers, but there is one indication that seems like a source to the longball problem: the wind.

The wind was blowing out to left field at nearly 20 MPH, with gusts that were likely much bigger. It's nice to see pitchers do well in spring, and it's nice to see hitters hit. But one good or bad game in March doesn't translate to anything in April or anywhere after.

Liriano has one more start, and no matter how poor or how well he does, he'll start next week with a clean slate.