Twins' Deduno takes step back vs. White Sox

Twins' Deduno takes step back vs. White Sox

Published Sep. 15, 2012 4:36 p.m. ET

Occasionally, a young pitcher will be referred to as "effectively wild." On Saturday, Minnesota's Samuel Deduno was simply wildly erratic.
Deduno began the day owning the second-most wins (six) of any Twins starter. Yet, the right-hander rarely found the strike zone against the first-place White Sox in an eventual 5-3 Twins setback.
Deduno was all over the place early. His pitches were wildly high at times, as he threw over the heads of White Sox hitters such as Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios. The 29-year-old pitcher wasn't completely ineffective, but his six strikeouts were largely negated by a stat line that also included the following figures: four innings pitched, three hits, four earned runs and five walks allowed.

"It's an uncomfortable at-bat," Beckham said afterward, in reference to facing Deduno. "My at-bat, I had two pitches go over my head. (But) he's got good stuff."
Deduno (6-4) rarely threw first-pitch strikes Saturday, and just 40 of his 86 total pitches found the strike zone as he struggled to find a consistent release point.
"Sammy just didn't have his stuff -- he could not find anything," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think we all saw the ball was flying all over the place."
Saturday's loss could only be described as a step back for Deduno, who had entered the day 4-0 at Target Field this year. And that has to be an uncomfortable realization for the Twins, who may need the native of the Dominican Republic to fill a rotation spot in 2013.
Deduno, too, was visibly frustrated in the locker room afterward.
"Nothing (was) working today," he said. "I tried to be perfect, and nothing was working today. I tried to do too much."
Most Twins insiders agree that Deduno has intriguing stuff  -- his fastball hit 95 mph on the radar gun Saturday -- but his inconsistency appears to be one reason he was limited to short stints with the Rockies and Padres earlier in his major league career. 

That trait reared its ugly head in the fourth inning Saturday, when he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a key White Sox run to cross home plate.
"He couldn't maintain any kind of consistency with the strike zone," Gardenhire said of Deduno. "Not a good performance by him."
Oddly enough, Saturday's game also featured a former Twins pitcher who long baffled Minnesotans with his inconsistency: Francisco Liriano. Liriano (6-11), now toiling for Chicago, appeared to have it all figured out Saturday, as he held the Twins hitless through six innings and ended the day with nine strikeouts and just one hit allowed in seven innings of work.
Saturday's game seemed to suggest Liriano, 28, can still be an effective major league starter. The Twins have to hope they can eventually say the same about Deduno.