Thursday, April 28, 2011

The unwatchable Francisco Liriano

Another lousy start for the Twins most talented starter.
Remember the furor just before spring training when the Twins and Liriano did a one-year contract and there was suddenly chatter about trading the left-hander?

I think the market would be considerably lower today.

Wednesday was Liriano's fifth start, and really, none of them have been effective. He's 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA , and the one win came in a game in which he allowed five hits and five walks in 6.1 innings.

In 23.2 innings — less than five innings per start — Liriano has 18 walks, 18 strikeouts and, it appears, no clue.

I have no idea how he can turn this season around. I do know that it is going to beastly difficult for the Twins to do much in 2011 if he's going to pitch as if it were 2009 again.


A small piece of broadcast idiocy last night: The Rays had a 7-1 lead and put a runner in motion, and Bert Blyleven started complaining about them stealing bases with a six-run lead. (Let the record show that the only actual steal attempt by the Rays came in the first inning; my issues isn't with what the Rays did, but with what Blyleven said.)

The "unwritten rule" is that you don't steal bases with a big lead, and there are good reasons to follow that rule, not the least of which is the enhanced possibility of injury.

But ... hey, are the Twins giving up? Are they going to stop trying to score runs? No. Then why should the Rays stop playing their game? Teams have overcome six-run deficits in the past, and the Rays have a bullpen in which Kyle Farnsworth plays a key role. If I were Joe Maddon, I'd not treat a 7-1 lead as sufficient either.

It's the major leagues, and if the Twins share Blyleven's consternation about the Rays trying to tack on runs, they know what to do about it: Stop walking people and start holding some runners on.


  1. There has been some criticism that Anderson and Gardenhire are somehow messing up Liriano by forcing him to "pitch to contact". But Liriano fell behind 8 of the first 9 batters he faced in the Rays game. The problem isn't that coaches are giving him bad advice. The problem is that he can't or won't follow their advice and throw strikes.

  2. Most of the pitching staff has misunderstood instructions:

    They all thought they heard Anderson say, "pitch to impact!"

    The Twins are a mess because of the cuteness and smugness of the FO and doing things the "Twins way" when filling in the roster this winter.

    I don't care how good of a defensive C Butera is. His bat is historically weak. He has no business on a MLB roster because of that fact. His slugging % will be under .200. You can find defensive only catchers as street free agents who could be an adequate catch and throw guys who could hit .220 which would be a monumental improvement over what Butera gives you.

    The off-season MI makeover to get some speed in there and play to our ballpark was misguided. There was no evidence whatsoever Casilla could handle the job over the course of a full season. Yet they rolled the dice with him.