Twins-White Sox: Francisco Liriano Stumbles Again

Dan WadeSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 6: Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Seattle Mariners at the Metrodome on opening day, April 6, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

The wind blowing in off of Lake Michigan helped Francisco Liriano keep the ball in the park. Keeping the ball in strike zone was another matter entirely.

After four solid innings, Liriano faltered briefly in the fifth and then fell apart completely in the sixth.

In the inning, Liriano gave up three singles and walked three, including two with the bases loaded, and left before it could be completed.

Matt Guerrier continued his strong start to the season with 1.1 innings of perfect relief. He was matched by Jesse Crain and Louis Ayala, who also stopped the bleeding.

Philip Humber was the weak link in the chain. His curveball was good at times, but he hung far too many of them and the Sox made him pay.

Humber lasted less than an inning, giving up three runs on four hits, including a long home run to Carlos Quentin.

It would be easy to lay the blame for the loss at Liriano and Humber's feet, and indeed they deserve some of it, but the game wasn't over in the fifth. The Twins' bats were completely silenced for the second time this week, this time by Bartolo Colon.

Colon allowed three hits, issued just two walks, and kept the Twins from mounting a serious charge in his six innings of work.

If this performance is indicative of how he'll pitch this season, the Sox just got a lot more formidable. I'm unwilling to make that leap based on one strong performance, but the possibility is certainly there.

The Twins top three, Denard Span, Alexi Casilla, and Justin Morneau, the players who drove the offense in Friday night's 12-5 win, were complete non-factors.

They went a combined 0-for-9, though Denard Span did draw three walks. Casilla alone left three runners in scoring position with inning-ending outs.

Despite the embarrassing loss, the Twins enter the finale with a chance to win the series.

Nick Blackburn gets the ball against Mark Buehrle, and will hope to get better run support than Liriano got on Saturday.