Friday, July 18, 2008

The Brand New, Pretty Bullshit Liriano Controversy

update: edited to fix brainfart about Scott Baker's name.

Apparently, Francisco Liriano has hit some sort of critical mass at Triple AAA Rochester, because both Fox Sports "senior" baseball writer Ken Rosenthal and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune are reporting about Liriano's agent's knickers in a bunch.

Honest bloggery: I found the Fox story via the kindly lads at Rumors and Rants.

Regardless, stats are stats, and Liriano's lately have been damn impressive. To quote Rosenthal (who was almost certainly quoting the crib sheet given to him by Liriano's agent): "Liriano, demonstrating that he is fully recovered from elbow-ligament transplant surgery, is 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last nine starts at Rochester, averaging 9.6 strikeouts and 1.8 walks per nine innings. His fastball is consistently in the mid-90s and touching 97 mph, scouts say."

Which is all well and good. We love Liriano here. We were touting Liriano before the Senior Baseball Writer at Fox Sports.Com had ever heard of him.

But, as both articles are rather hesitant to mention, the Twins have been playing incredibly well of late, and it is only natural for managers and General Managers to be unwilling to tamper with success. Who has a better record over the last 30 games than the Twins do? No one does, and that includes a couple of 1 run losses in Boston.

Livan Hernandez has been pretty sketchy of late, but he is the only Twins Starter over the age of 27, and even if he isn't pitching well lately, he has already got more wins than the Twins were expecting from him, and he's the Classic Veteran Pitcher, and the Twins organization feels like their other young starters learn from him, even when he is losing, and gobbling up 6 or 7 or 8 innings in a losing cause.

Update: Hernandez gave up just 2 runs to the Rangers in the 2nd inning Saturday evening, and didn't look back--Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune noted the, "strong performance by righthander Livan Hernandez, who held the Rangers to two runs on five hits over seven innings and improved to 10-6 on the season and 8-1 at the Metrodome."

Oh, and speaking of winning--the other lefty in the Twins camp, Glen Perkins, shut out the Rangers for 6 innings tonight, and the bullpen cleaned it up. The Rangers hadn't been shut out at all this season. Perkins, according to his own pitching coach, wasn't particularly sharp, even though he gave only 3 hits. To quote the article: "[Ian]Kinsler’s 25-game hit streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 night, Hamilton went 0-for-4 and Hank Blalock was 0-for-2 with a walk in his first game since April 25."

Matty Scotty Baker has been pitching well; Kevin Slowey has been a little ragged, but pretty solid. And in Liriano, we aren't talking about an established veteran--we are talking about a phenom who was awesome before he ripped his own ligament throwing his slider two years ago, and who was clearly overmatched in the majors in April. Why would the Twins be cautious about him now?

All of that said, he should be called soon, and probably will be. But this notion that the Twins are pulling some sort of shallow-pocket, Komiskey like move by keeping him in the minors is fucking stupid. They are in the race for the AL Central title. They will call him up when they need him, and when they are confident that they aren't calling him up just to send him back (like they did in April).

Let's not forget how careful the Twins were with a totally healthy Johan Santana, who back in the day, was a set-up man. The Twins developed him, ignored the clamoring of their fans, and made him a starter when they thought he was ready. And then, when he got too expensive to keep, traded him for our new Center Fielder, amongst others.

Liriano's agent is a stupid whiny bitch, and really no one should listen to him.

Maybe they should just listen to Liriano: "It's not frustrating,'' he said. "I've got to be patient and do my job. Just keep on doing what I'm doing now.''


Lucy Rhode said...

Suddenly I like this Libriano. Then again I'm partial to MiLB, and it has nothing to do with that weird six-year run in the 90s when I, like a supermodel with ADHD, dated pitchers and guitarists.

I bet Andrew likes Rochester.

Jess said...

You mean Scott Baker, right?

I think you left out an important word when calling F-Bomb's agent a stupid, whiny bitch. He's also totally fucking greedy. Dick. Quit fucking with your player's reputation for a little extra cash next year. It's not like there won't be plenty of it to go around a couple of years down the road.