Friday, March 7, 2008

Return of Liriano

Today, Francisco Liriano pitched in his first game since 2006. He pitched 1.2 innings, gave up 2 hits and one walk and struck out Manny Ramirez. He was only throwing 90 MHP. He was limited to a pitch count of 40, hence being taken out after only 1.2 innings. It was a very successful debut. The goal was to get Liriano in a game situation, face MLB hitters, and most importantly, stay healthy. He did all of the above while not giving up any runs. You will be hearing a lot about Francisco Liriano on this blog. He is my favorite player, due to many reasons. He was the best pitcher in baseball when he was healthy in 2006, even better than Johan Santana. And he is from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, a city I lived in for almost five months in 2006. He is a big hero in the DR. When I was there every game he pitched in was on national TV. He now has a couple of fellow Dominicans on the team with speedsters Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla.

If Liriano can return to form, he will more make up for the loss of Santana. Here’s why: Liriano is very similar to Santana. Santana has the games best changeup, but the Twins pitching coach said that Liriano’s is very similar to Santana’s. But the thing that makes Liriano better is his slider, which everyone says is the best slider they’ve ever seen. A Twin and an ex-Twin agree. Joe Mauer says Liriano has the best stuff he’s ever caught, and Hunter says if he had to chose between Liriano and Santana (assuming they were the same age) he would take Liriano because he has all the nasty pitches Santana has, but he also has the best slider in baseball.

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