July 14, 2012
Francisco Liriano's Unconvincing Impression of a Minnesota Twin
Francisco Liriano throws hard. He misses bats. He also misses the strike zone. In other words, he's never seemed much like a Minnesota Twin. Still, we went along with his act, as long as he wore the uniform and from time to time let Ron Gardenhire tell him to pitch to contact. But on Friday night, he completely blew his cover, striking out 15 batters in a loss to the A's. Fifteen batters! That's more than Nick Blackburn strikes out in most months.
If Liriano won't even try to look like a Twin, we won't be complicit in the cover-up. You can see the video evidence here.
The stats tell a similar story about the lie Liriano is living:
Ten pitchers other than Liriano have started at least one game for the Twins this season. In those starts, they've collectively thrown their fastballs more than four miles per hour slower, walked batters less than half as often, and struck them out at around half the rate. Since Johan Santana was traded to the Mets after the 2007 season, six of the Twins' 12 starts with at least 10 strikeouts and 11 of the Twins' 17 starts with at least five walks have been made by Liriano. And if not for Samuel Deduno's single start and Lester Oliveros' lone appearance in relief, Liriano would have been the sole Hispanic pitcher on the staff.
Look, Liriano, this has gone on long enough. It's mid-July, and the Twins are out of contention. You're a free agent at the end of the year. It's time to orchestrate a trade. Tell Terry Ryan you're tired of pretending to be a Twin and want to be traded to a team that employs more Liriano-like pitchers. That should shrink the pool of potential trade partners to 29. Then string together a couple more high-strikeout starts, and soon you'll be pitching somewhere that makes more sense than Minnesota.