Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Eighth Inning That Froze the Golden Arm

Wow. It's one thing to take series from the Royals and the Indians, but it's quite another to take one from the Rangers. The Rangers are a good team, so this one was downright impressive. Well, except for Friday night's debacle. Perhaps we shouldn't allow Brian Duensing to pitch when it's raining; he never seems to do well in bad weather. Oh well.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch much of the first three games. But I went to Sunday's game.

Boy, that was a blast. It was pretty exciting as we noticed there were no runs, no hits, and no men left on base for the Rangers as each inning went by. It was a real bummer when the error by Luke Hughes broke up the perfect game; I imagine that no one felt worse about than he did. However, I'm more upset about what caused the break-up of the no-hitter. It was a perfect storm of unfortunate situations and happy craziness that kept him sitting on the bench for almost half an hour between his last pitch of the seventh and his first pitch of eighth innings:
  • A very loooong, drawn out version of God Bless America (note to singers everywhere: patriotic songs are to be sung at an appropriate tempo -- the focus is on the country, not how long you can hold each and every note)
  • A regular version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame (to be expected and appreciated)
  • The Rangers taking the field
  • A line drive from Danny Valencia off pitcher Matt Harrison's arm (ow!), which required a visit from Rangers' coaches and trainers
  • The removal of Harrison from the game, which required relief pitcher Mark Lowe to take as many warm up pitches as he needed (and, good grief, he did)
  • Jason Repko grounding out and moving Danny Valencia to second (as Bert would say, he did his job)
  • Rene Rivera reaching on a fielding error by Elvis Andrus, allowing Valencia to score (yay!)
  • Matt Tolbert popping up to third
  • Ben Revere striking out, but since the pitch was wild, and Benny is the Jet, he reached first base anyway (yay!), which required a coaching visit to the mound
  • Alexi Casilla getting a base hit, moving the runners up
  • Michael Cuddyer homered, causing me to dance crazily to a Prince song
  • Delmon Young singling
  • Luke Hughes also singling, requiring yet another pitching change (yawn)
  • Danny Valencia stepping in for the second time of the inning and flying out, which was finally the third out, but really the fifth out, what with the errors and all
  • Another between half-inning stint
  • And finally, the Twins taking the field
All of these things conspired to make Liriano wait 29 minutes 48 seconds on the bench. This extended alone time probably cooled off his arm (it was a bit chilly), but more importantly, it got him out of his groove. It showed right away in the 8th, when he went 3-0 before giving up a single to Adrian Beltre, a wild pitch to Nelson Cruz that moved Beltre over, and a single to Yorvit Torrealba that scored Beltre. He finished the inning, but Alex Burnett finished the game.

There's nothing that could've been done about that eighth inning; it's all baseball. And you certainly don't want to slow down your hitters when they're scoring runs. Plus, this pitching performance was certainly better than the real no-hitter he had earlier in the season.

It's just a shame that it wasn't meant to be.

    1 comment:

    NoDak Twins Fan said...

    It was such a long inning. I would have liked to see Liriano get out there quick to keep going for the no hitter. Oh well, a win is a win. Liriano looked great. Let's hope it continues