Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was not as disturbed with Francisco Liriano's performance in Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to Boston as most would have expected.
Liriano issued a career-high seven walks and threw just 53 of his 109 pitches for strikes, but he minimized the damage against the American League's highest-scoring team, allowing three runs over six innings.
"I know he walked too many people and all that stuff, but the one thing we liked is the ball was down in the zone," Gardenhire said, and for proof, you can see Liriano's strikezone plot here, thanks to the wizards at BrooksBaseball.net.
"We told him after, 'That’s where you have to throw the ball,'" Gardenhire said. "He wasn’t throwing it high. That was pretty good. He only gave up three runs, and that's damage control after walking all those people."
No Twins pitcher had issued seven walks in a game since Boof Bonser walked seven on April 26, 2007 against Kansas City. The Red Sox are very patient, and home-plate umpire Tim McClelland didn't make things any easier.
"There were a lot of pitches that were close [for Liriano], borderline, just missing, and we like where the ball was, down around the knees." Gardenhire said. "That’s a pretty good start for him. Hopefully he can continue that process."
For his part, Liriano did not seem as enthused.
"We’ve been losing a lot of games in a row, and I didn’t pitch well at all," he said. "So I’m kind of frustrated."
Hey, at this point, the Twins will take any sign of progress they can get.