A tale of two starting pitchers
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- August 19, 2012 - 1:50 PM
SEATTLE -- The Twins fell a season-worst 19 games under .500 with Saturday night’s 3-2 loss, and the Mariners have a chance to complete a three-game sweep today at Safeco Field.
Ben Revere (sore ankle) is expected back in the lineup, as he tweeted last night (@BenRevere9), “Gonna be back in the lineup tomorrow can’t wait!!!”
The starting pitching matchup is a study in contrasts. Samuel Deduno has been the definition of effectively wild, walking 6.8 batters per nine innings, but holding opponents to a .225 batting average while posting a 3.38 ERA. Seattle righthander Blake Beavan, meanwhile is averaging 1.1 walks per nine innings, but opponents have a .279 batting average against him, and he has a 5.17 ERA.
Beavan has made nine starts this year in which he didn’t allow a single walk. Deduno has walked at least three batters in each of his starts, and issued five walks in a start four times -- and yet, the Twins are 6-1 when he starts.
About last night: After reading last night’s postgame blog, Aaron Gleeman e-mailed with a good point:
One thing you didn’t factor in: By walking, Mauer loaded the bases and thus made it possible for Willingham to drive in a run by also walking. So your comparison between Mauer’s batting average and Willingham’s batting average is not correct.
Mauer needed a hit to drive in a run, so looking at his AVG is right. However, once Mauer walked Willingham could have driven in a run with a walk or a hit, so you would have wanted to look at his OBP, not AVG. And his OBP is much higher than Mauer’s AVG.
I’ll concede that point, and say this: In the heat of the moment, I believe the situation demanded more from Mauer. Again, it goes back to the fact the Mariners had Tom Wilhelmsen ready to face Willingham. Wilhelmsen’s pitches are absolutely filthy. Since becoming Seattle’s closer on June 4, he has a 1.19 ERA and has held opponents to a .231 on-base percentage.
Yes, Lucas Luetge handles lefthanders very well (they’re batting just .169 against him), but it’s Joe Mauer. With the Twins in another tailspin, and a 2-2 game in the ninth inning, I just think it was a good time for Mauer to take his shot. And, right or wrong, I’m fascinated by the debate.
Update: Denard Span (sore clavicle) still hasn't been able to take batting practice. He said he's getting frustrated. But the Twins don't plan to put him on the disabled list because they believe Span could still be a day or two from returning. With Ben Revere back in the lineup, they don't feel as shorthanded now.
As of this morning, Nick Blackburn was still scheduled to make Wednesday's start in Oakland, but there have been continued discussions about what to do with him next.
1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Matt Carson, RF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Samuel Deduno (4-0, 3.38 ERA)
1. Dustin Ackley, 2B
2. Michael Saunders, CF
3. Kyle Seager, 3B
4. John Jaso, C
5. Jesus Montero, DH
6. Justin Smoak, 1B
7. Eric Thames, RF
8. Trayvon Robinson, LF
9. Munenori Kawasaki, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Blake Beavan (7-7, 5.17 ERA)
Safeco Field. First pitch: 3:10 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib
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