Tag:Francisco Liriano
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Liriano loses bid for second no-hitter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Francisco LirianoSearching for his second no-hitter of the season, Francisco Liriano lost a perfect game in the seventh inning and the no-hitter in the eighth. However, Liriano did pick up his fourth win of the season in a 6-1 victory over the Rangers

After watching a lengthy bottom of the seventh for the Twins, which saw Minnesota score five runs and Texas use three pitchers, Adrian Beltre singled to lead off the eighth. Yorvit Torrealba added an RBI single in the inning, breaking up Liriano's shutout bid. Alex Burnett pitched a perfect ninth for the Twins, giving Minnesota its ninth win in 11 games. Coupled with the losses by the Tigers and Indians, the Twins pulled to nine games out of first in the American League Central at 26-39.

Liriano was perfect through 6 1/3 when third baseman Luke Hughes committed an error on Elvis Andrus' bouncer down the third-base line with one out in the seventh. Hughes tried to backhand the ball and it bounced off his glove and into foul territory, allowing Andrus to advance to second.

Liriano walked six and struck out two White Sox on May 3 in his no-hitter. Liriano needed 123 pitches that night, but had used just 73 through seven on Sunday and finished with 97 pitches in eight innings.

Rangers starter Matt Harrison left the game in the bottom of the seventh when Danny Valencia lined one off his left arm for a hit to lead off the seventh. Harrison allowed just five hits and two runs in his six innings, walking three and striking out three. Yesterday, Rangers Matt Bush had to leave after he was hit by a Twins batter in the leg. The Twins scored five runs in the inning, keeping Liriano on the bench for roughly a half-hour.

Liriano was trying to join Roy Halladay (2010), Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938) as pitchers who have thrown two no-hitters in one season.

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Liriano placed on DL

By Evan Brunell and C. Trent Rosecrans

LirianoFrancisco Liriano, scratched from Saturday's start with a sore shoulder, played catch on Monday but did not feel well, so the lefty was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to May 23.

The Twins replaced him on the roster with right-hander Anthony Slama, who was 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA at Triple-A Rochester in 16 appearances.

Liriano's MRI showed only inflammation, so he's not expected to miss significant time. Liriano was replaced by Anthony Swarzak, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Swarzak will likely make Liriano's start on Thursday against the Royals.

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Posted on: May 28, 2011 12:23 am
 

Twins injury woes mounting

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, the Twins not only blew a 5-0 eighth-inning lead and own the worst record in baseball at 16-33, they've also gotten more bad injury news.

Here's three late-night tweets from Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune chronicling the team's woes:


But hey, I hear Target Field is really, really nice.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:46 am
 

3 up, 3 down: McCann saves the day

Brian McCann

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brian McCann, Braves -- Like Dante Hicks, McCann wasn't even supposed to be there today. Getting the customary off day in a night game after a day game, McCann came into the game as a pinch hitter with two outs in the ninth inning, tying the game with a homer off Mark Melancon. Then with a man on in the 11th, McCann came up again and it was the same result, a homer off of reliever Jeff Fulchino, giving the Braves a 3-1 win over the Astros.

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- Liriano struck out nine and walked one, while giving up three hits and a run in seven innings against the Mariners to snap the Twins' nine-game losing streak. The Twins scored two in the first off Seattle starter Felix Hernandez, giving Liriano all the Twins would need for the victory.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Rodriguez tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth and then gave the Yankees the lead in the sixth with another solo homer. It was a good day for struggling Yankees -- Rodriquez was hitting .171/.236/.232 in his last 21 games leading up to Tuesday's two-homer performance, while Jorge Posada went 2 for 3 in his return to the lineup. The win ended the team's six-game slide.


Cubs defense -- All seven of the Reds' runs in Tuesday's 7-5 victory were unearned, as the Cubs committed four errors in the loss. The first came in the fourth inning with bases loaded and two outs, when Carlos Pena couldn't field a ball hit by pitcher Edinson Volquez that drove in a run, but then pitcher Matt Garza picked up the ball and made a throwing error, allowing two more runs to score and tie the score. In the Reds' fourth-run eighth inning, Kerry Wood's throwing error allowed the Reds to tie the game and put the winning run on third. ANd then after Chris Heisey gave the Reds the lead with a sacrifice fly, the Reds added Cub-assisted run later in the inning when Kosuke Fukudome missed the cutoff man -- and Starlin Castro failed to back it up -- following Joey Votto's double, keeping the team from even getting a play at the plate on Paul Janish, who scored from first. Janish likely would have scored without the miscue, but with it, there was not even a play at the plate.

Angels pitchers -- Anaheim put up a Vin Mazzaro on Tuesday, allowing 14 runs to the A's in a 14-0 loss late Tuesday. Starter Tyler Chatwood gave up seven runs (five earned) and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings, Trevor Bell allowed a run on three hits in two innings, Kevin Jepsen allowed five runs on four hits in an inning of work, followed by Rich Thompson allowed a run on a hit and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Finally Hisanori Takahashi worked a scoreless inning to cap things off for the Angels.

High-price setup men -- The Yankees put Rafael Soriano on the disabled list Tuesday due to "stiffness" and "soreness" in his right elbow, a day after he criticized  the team's offense. Meanwhile, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Joaquin Benoit has lost his job as the team's primary setup man after his three-run eighth inning on Monday. He's allowed 12 earned runs in five innings in his last six appearances, with his ERA up to 7.98. The good news is he's only got two years and $11 million left on his contract after this season.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 6:02 pm
 

On Deck: Oswalt faces Garcia in 'rehab start'



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Roy OswaltROY RETURNS: Roy Oswalt's start is being labeled a "rehab start" even though it's in the big leagues and he'll be limited to 60-65 pitches, but the Phillies have to be glad he's back, even in a limited engagement. That said, Roy could've gotten a better draw in his return, facing St. Louis' Jaime Garcia, who may be pitching better than anyone else in the National League. Garcia is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA. Oswalt left the team after April 26 after tornadoes hit his homes in Mississippi, but when he returned his lower back was still bothering him, so he went on the DL. Phillies at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Watch live)

WIN NEEDED: The Yankees have lost six games in a row and have created more off-the-field  headlines than on-field headlines of late. Jorge Posada, apparently, is sorry both on and off the field for his first month of the season. If you're the Yankees and you've lost six games in a row and are wrapping up a series against the division leaders, who else would you want on the mound other than Ivan Nova (3-3, 4.70 ERA)? Nova gave up eight runs and 10 hits against the Royals in his last start, so he should have no trouble against "Big Game" James Shields (4-1, 2.08) and the Rays, right? Well, Shields is 3-8 with a 4.91 ERA in his career against the Yankees, so there's that. Yankees at Rays, 6:40 p.m. ET (Watch live)

TwinsWIN NEEDED II: You think losing six games is bad? Try nine. That's where the Twins' are, losing their last nine games. Oh, and Felix Hernandez is on the mound with an extra day's rest. King Felix hasn't exactly been royal of late, but even at his worst, he's still an imposing figure on the mound. Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano left his last start after just three innings with flu-like symptoms which included trouble breathing and allowing four runs. But he's won his last three games against the Mariners, so there's that. Twins at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:02 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Kennedy outduels Lincecum

Kennedy

By Evan Brunell


Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks -- Kennedy turned in a sublime performance, matching Tim Lincecum with eight scoreless, whiffing eight and walking just three and allowing four hits. Kennedy has really taken a step forward this season and has a 3.23 ERA so far. It's the fourth time in seven starts that the right-hander has pitched into the eighth and he has only had one stinker this year. The 26-year-old has taken legitimate strides this year and looks to be settling in as a long-term No. 2 or 3 starter.

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- A-Gon was widely hailed as the consensus AL MVP prior to the season. A slow start dimmed that star a bit, but his 3-for-6 night with two walks and three RBI -- oh, and those two home runs -- have put him squarely back in the chase. He's now hitting .324/.375/.541 and looks right at home in Boston and has already flashed his defense. A-Gon now has six home runs which puts him in the franchise lead, just one ahead of Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles -- Hardy played in only six games (one as a pinch-hitter) before hitting the disabled list, so this was really his coming-out game for the Orioles. In his first game back, Hardy went 4-for-5 out of the nine-hole (wanna bet he's moved up Wednesday?) and tacked on a home run and a walk for good measure. Hardy's always had the potential to flash an above-average bat for a shortstop; he just hasn't done so in recent years. The Orioles are hoping he ends their revolving door at shortstop for a few seasons. He's got strong defense and will be a coveted free agent once he hits the market after the year. 



Jorge Posada, Yankees -- And the beat goes on for Posada, who is starting to approach a justifiable benching. Posada's start to the year was rife with home runs and while the power is still there, he's shown zero aptitude for getting a hit. After his 0-for-3 night dropped him to .147/.250/.343, the question must seriously be asked: is Posada done? OK, probably not, but he may be done for a while as a starter. The Yankees could promote Jesus Montero before too long, but it's still a tad early to be asking that question. Given we're in mid-May, though, Posada really only has a couple more weeks to turn it around before there are significant repercussions to his slump.

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- Yeah, so maybe that no-hitter wasn't quite the turnaround point for Liriano. The lefty was right back to being his old lousy self as he lasted just three innings with his control problems re-surfacing with three free passes against just one strikeout. All told, he gave up four runs on three hits (yep, walks will do that to you) to the Tigers. Liriano's no-no has bought him some time, but that leash only got so much longer after his pristine game. If he doesn't turn it around in the next couple of starts, Minnesota will not hesitate to replace Liriano. Oh, by the way, Detroit's Victor Martinez is on fire. A day after being one of the 3 Up hitters, he stuffed the stat sheet with a 3-for-4 performance, driving in four and adding two runs.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds -- Ew. Cincy was on its way toward a whitewashing of the Astros but had to settle for a 7-3 margin after Chapman relieved Homer Bailey (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K), faced four batters and retired absolutely zip. He didn't whiff anyone but walked three and hit another. After walking in a run, Nick Masset came in and drove the final nail into Chapman's night by giving up a two-run single. That's got the fireballing lefty's ERA all the way up to 4.26 and has given up six earned runs and eight walks in his last three appearances. Dude's certainly screaming out that he might be hurt, no?

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Posted on: May 10, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: May 10, 2011 10:58 am
 

Pepper: Aces meet in Florida



By Matt Snyder

WEST AT IT AGAIN: Another game, another ejection by Joe West's awful excuse for an umpiring crew. Monday night, Ron Gardenhire of the Twins was West's victim. MLB Network studio analyst Larry Bowa said MLB executive Joe Torre needs to find a way to get West under control. You know I agree, and here's a link to my rant from last week on West's crew.

UH ... REALLY? During Justin Verlander's no-hitter in Toronto, Blue Jays' outfielder Juan Rivera ran by the mound and told Verlander he was just "getting lucky." Verlander even confirmed this after the game. "He was probably just trying to get under my skin," said the righty. (sportsnet.ca ) I know sometimes things are said due to frustration, so maybe Rivera backed off the comments later. Only he didn't. Instead he stood behind the remark. Look, there are certainly times where a run-of-the-mill pitcher has everything break his way and throws a no-no, but Verlander now has done it twice and is one of the elite arms in the game. There's no other way to spin the situation than to say that Rivera was just jealous.

QUITE A LEAP: From running a small hot dog stand to the Wrigley Field public address announcer within a few days? Yep, that's what Andrew Belleson did. Pretty cool story. (Chicago Tribune )

OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED: The Twins have had a putrid offense pretty much all season. Before Monday's game against the Red Sox, a reporter asked manager Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano's next start, saying "you don't need another no-hitter." Gardenhire's reply? "We don't? Who are you kidding?" (Twins Now via Twitter)

MONEY MATTERS: While Chris Young's season -- and maybe even career -- hangs in the balance, the Mets still have money woes. Thus, it's worth looking at Young's contract. He has a base salary of $1.1 million with incentives that could have pushed the deal all the way up to $4.5 million. He obviously hasn't reached any of those yet, so it's looking increasingly likely the Mets will only owe the initial $1.1 million. (ESPN New York )

MAD MILTON: When Milton Bradley was clipped by the Mariners Monday, the reaction across the baseball-loving world was anywhere from jubilation to relief to mockery. The always-great Geoff Baker of Mariners Blog (Seattle Times ) offers up a very thoughtful piece on Bradley, in that now he should be trying to figure out what makes him happy and get himself straightened out. It's very fair. While pointing out that Bradley has never been accountable for his actions, Baker also points out that teams continuing to sign Bradley have been enabling his behavior instead of forcing him to solve his personal demons. Meanwhile, Jerry Brewer of the same outlet discusses that Bradley's career is probably over. I tend to agree. When he was productive, it wasn't surprising that teams would give him a shot. But, to put it succinctly, he sucks now. There's no reason for anyone to give him a shot.

TURNIN' BACK THE CLOCK: Hanley Ramirez has had an awful beginning to the 2011 season. Back in 2009, he hit .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI, finishing second in MVP voting. So Hanley went back into his storage closet and found his bats from 2009. He started using them Sunday and has since gone 3-9 with two runs scored. He also scorched a pair of balls Sunday that didn't work out (one was a foul ball that easily had home run distance, the other was a line drive double-play that was right at the shortstop). Hey, if he thinks that will help, it very well might. Baseball is such a mental game, any little adjustment could get things on track. (Fish Bytes )

THE ROAD BACK: Josh Hamilton has been out several weeks with an injured shoulder, but he's going to take batting practice Friday (Evan Grant via Twitter).

MASKED MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN: "We are constantly looking for ways to connect and engage with our great fan base," said Angels vice president of sales and marketing, Robert Alvarado. And Tuesday night in Anaheim, the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "largest gathering of people wearing costume masks." Specifically, everyone in attendance is going to get an Angels wrestling mask. Sorry, this is stupid. Can't the fans just go watch a baseball game? (MLB.com )

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Posted on: May 7, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 9:21 pm
 

Verlander's no-hitter better than Liriano's

Verlander

By Evan Brunell

When Justin Verlander tossed a no-hitter Saturday, he immediately vaulted himself into the best pitching performance of the young season, ahead of division rival Francisco Liriano's own no-hitter a mere four days ago.

The 28-year-old was dazzling against Toronto, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning before J.P. Arencibia battled him for a full-count walk on 13 pitches, fouling eight of them off. Verlander would have to settle for a no-hitter, the second of his career.

Verlander's performance included just one walk against four strikeouts on 108 pitches, and right there is why his no-hitter is more valuable than Liriano's. Yes, the very definition of a no-hitter means that walks are irrelevant, but no one likes to see a no-hitter with its imperfections laid bare for all to see. Liriano walked six batters and struck out two, laboring through 123 pitches.

It's awfully hard to look past these six walks, just like it was difficult to truly enjoy Edwin Jackson's own no-hitter last season. Of all the no-hitters tossed, Jackson's received the least fanfare, in no small part due to his eight walks allowed to the Rays.

Verlander was far more spot on with his pitches, notching 16 first-pitch strikes to 27 batters while Liriano compounded his control issues by starting off only 10 of 30 batters with a first-pitch strike. But while Verlander clearly wins the battle of better no-hitter when you look at walks, Liriano may boast the better stuff.

Batters ended up with a called or swinging strike 35 times against Liriano, notching just nine foul balls and 22 batted balls. Verlander, meanwhile, had 28 foul balls and 26 strikes of either the called or swinging variety. An additional 20 balls had contact made in play.

Those numbers indicate that Lirano's pitches were more effective in generating swings and misses while Verlander relied more on contact and got many of his advantageous strike outs thanks to foul balls. In Verlander's favor, however, is that his featured pitch was that of a fastball with an average speed of 97.5 mph. Even with one of the best fastballs in the game, batters are more geared up to make contact with the pitch. Contrast that to Liriano, who still featured his fastball but mixed in his slider extensively, which was more effective in being called a strike or swung and missed and is responsible for Liriano's ability to skirt his control issues to notch the no-no.

In the end, though, the walks remain the main issue. Liriano surrendered six, Verlander just one. That alone gives Verlander the nod for the more effective and impressive no-hitter.

At the end of the day, regardless of who pitched the better no-hitter, Justin Verlander and Francisco Liriano are both now the two pitchers with no-hitters in the 2011 season, and nothing can ever take that away.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com