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Daniel Hudson looked like a much different pitcher in his second start than he did in his 2010 MLB debut. Of course, he threw more sliders in the first inning against the Mariners than he did all day against the Royals, which makes just a little bit of a difference.
There were two sides to the coin, and you can emphasize whichever one suits your mood better.
Bad news: He still walked four.
Hudson was way too careful to the Mariners’ struggling regulars, issuing two walks to Chone Figgins and one apiece to Jack Wilson and Rob Johnson. Russell Branyan made him pay for his first free pass to Figgins, and hopefully he’ll take that as advice to not walk bad hitters in front of good hitters — even if said good hitter was playing on a bad foot after losing a fight with a table.
Good news: He got a lot of swings and misses.
Hudson lured Seattle hitters into 14 swinging strikes out of his 99 pitches, and even struck out one of baseball’s best contact hitters (Ichiro Suzuki) on his worst pitch (the curveball). That’s pretty damn good; for a little context, Gavin Floyd is the most missable starter on the Sox at 9.8 percent. All of his pitches were lively, even if he had a little trouble painting corners.
One could qualify all enthusiasm by saying Hudson faced a bad lineup, and he did what any decent pitcher is supposed to do against Seattle. The Sox have won both of Hudson’s starts, which is all anybody can ask of a fifth starter, and he shouldered much more of the load this time. He had to hold the Mariners down through four innings before the Sox could give him a lead, and then we went three more beyond that (I’m giving him credit for the bad hop on Omar Vizquel).
That’s why it’s a little confusing that Joe Cowley says Kenny Williams has offered to move Hudson, as well as anybody else besides Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin, in an effort to acquire Adam Dunn. The rotation has been the Twins’ downfall of late, and the Tigers are losing bodies almost as fast as they’re losing games. It doesn’t seem like it makes a lot of sense to sap the one strength the Sox hold over the rest of the AL Central, especially with key contracts expiring on the offensive side.
Dunn would be an ideal fit, but I don’t think it makes much sense to sacrifice so much when comparable bats like Luke Scott (fresh off the DL) and Adam LaRoche are available. LaRoche in particular has a history of surging after the All-Star break, and hit .325/.401/.557 for the Braves after a deadline trade with Boston last year. Atlanta only had to surrender Casey Kotchman.
Minor league roundup:
- Louisville 11, Charlotte 2
- Tyler Flowers went 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.
- Carlos Torres struck out seven over seven, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. One homer.
- Brent Morel was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Jacksonville 3, Birmingham 1
- Charles Leesman was OK: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K.
- Eduardo Escobar went 1-for-4 with a double, RBI and strikeout.
- Justin Greene and Christian Marrero both went 0-for-3.
- Winston-Salem 7, Kinston 3
- Brandon Short was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI, striking out once.
- Jon Gilmore doubled and drew three walks over five PAs.
- Jose Martinez went 1-for-4 with a single, walk and strikeout.
- Stephen Sauer worked around six hits and six walks over seven innings, allowing just three runs. He struck out four.
- Elizabethton 6, Bristol 0
- Matthew Heidenreich allowed two earned runs (out of five) on four hits and two walks over five innings, striking out six.
- Daniel Black went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
- Rangel Ravelo was 0-for-3.
- Idaho Falls 4, Great Falls 3 (10 innings)
- Thomas Royse struck out seven with no walks over six innings, allowing three runs on four hits.
- Andy Wilkins and Ross Wilson went 1-for-5, with Wilson striking out three times.