April 14, 2008

Was promoting Liriano a mistake?

First and foremost I would like to apologize for the hiatus over the last few days. Anyways, the Twins went 2-1 in my absence, but the highlight of the weekend was Francisco Liriano's start against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Liriano was promoted to make the start yesterday after the Twins placed Kevin Slowey on the disabled list with a bicep strain. Liriano made two starts in the minors and had a 6.75 ERA over 9.1 innings. He struck out 11 but walked 5. Liriano's biggest problem thus far in his comeback has been his command. He has had a very hard time locating the strike zone and as a result has not been able to last long into games. His pitch count has been in the 80's, however he's hit that mark around the 4th or 5th inning because he hasn't been able to throw strikes consistently enough.

Yesterday, gave up 4 runs and walked 5 in the 4 2/3 innings he pitched. Liriano faced 25 batters and threw 90 pitches, however he threw only 51 across the plate for a strike. One very encouraging sight I saw was that Liriano was throwing a pretty good circle change-up that looked like he was taking points from former teammate Johan Santana.

Liriano probably would have benefited from another couple starts in the minors, however I think that he needs one more start in the majors before the team should consider sending him back to AAA. The reason I feel that way is because of the weather he's dealt with since Ft. Myers. He's pitched in pretty cold weather and I think that at least one start in the Metrodome should be in order if we really want to get a better look at how he's looking. Regardless, I won't blame the weather for his incredibly bad command, but I think that it could be affected at least a little.

Something that is interesting that I had not been aware of before his promotion was that the Twins likely moved his arbitration time up a season as he was not gaining any service time in Rochester. The Twins could have waited until after the 2009 season until they had to go to arbitration with him, and now it looks as if the Liriano will be getting a considerable payday after this season.

I think that the Twins should have waited to call him up, especially if they did not have to wait that long to call him up to delay arbitration. Regardless of if they could have delayed arbitration, I think that they should have waited. They have a few options in the minors including Glen Perkins, who has not pitched well himself, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey. Mulvey is the only pitcher not on the 40-man roster, however (unless I'm mistaken) the Twins have 2 spots open, so adding him would not be a problem. I will say though that regardless of the results from yesterday's game, I was very encouraged to see him back on the mound and pitching for the Twins. His command needs to get better, and I believe it will, but I hope that if he doesn't improve in his next start that the Twins send him back to Rochester to continue to work on his command.

Game Balls
Livan Hernandez - Starting Pitcher
Line: 7 innings pitched, 7 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 K's, win

Boof Bonser - Starting Pitcher
Line: 6 innings pitched, 3 hits, o runs, 2 walks, 4 K's, win

Justin Morneau - First Base
Line: 1-4, RBI single

The Twins are set to take on the Tigers in a two game set in Detroit. Nick Blackburn will take on Jeremy Bonderman in the first game, and Scott Baker will take on Nate Robertson will start game two. The 6-6 Twins will try and and break .500 against the 2-10 Tigers. Surprisingly, a few Twins batters have pretty good numbers against the Tigers, so we'll see if the offense that the team is able to provide will come out in this series. Hopefully the Tigers high-potent offense won't come out in this series though. Because if/when they do turn it around, the entire division (probably even league) will be effected by it.


  • Looking for updates on the Twins Minor League games? Head over to Seth Speaks for game recaps.
  • The Twins reacquired Tim Lahey after he was DFA'd by the Philadelphia Phillies. Lahey was the first pick in last December's Rule V Draft and after being juggled between a few organizations, he finally lands back with the Twins.
  • The Twins completed the Craig Monroe trade with the Cubs, and the PTBNL was Doug Deeds. Deeds has been with the organization since he was taken in the 9th round of the 2002 draft. The former Ohio State Buckeye hit .291/.375/.462 with 51 Home Runs, 119 doubles and 20 triples in 1821 at bats. He had a down 2007 in which he hit .243/.306/.404 in 86 games for Rochester. He had a great season in 2005 with the Rock Cats, but for some reason was forced to repeat AA in '06. He's not a bad player, but he did not have much of a future in this organization. Hopefully he'll get his opportunity with the Cubs.