A crafty, effective Liriano can win -- but can hardly wow

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2009 - 12:48 AM

Don't look for the wicked stuff of '06 to emerge. But the kid got the job done with less heat and more precision.

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Dantes929Apr. 28, 0910:58 PM

If he hits 93 consistently and stops walking lead off hitters he will be just fine. Nice game Francisco.

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jakenateApr. 28, 0911:22 PM

...won't lose another game until June.

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romermusicApr. 29, 0912:01 AM

It's a long season, Jimmy. Morneau in a post-game just said his slider looked better than ever when Frankie was warming up tonight. But he ain't gonna throw it much just yet. He's still hoping for a major league career, doesn't need to throw his elbow crazy just yet this season. He still goofs a pitch here and there (misses by a foot or two outside, e.g.), has spells where he can't throw a strike, and is still trying to harness himself. Not surprising, as he essentially is a new persona pitching after his operation. Give him time. And give kudos to Rick Anderson for being cautious and moving him along in sober fashion. He'll wow us yet.

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berg1202Apr. 29, 0912:06 AM

"They are 1-8 vs. lefthanded starters this season, and their primary righthanded threat -- the exceptional Evan Longoria -- helped out Liriano with a strikeout and a double-play grounder." -Souhan makes it sound like the Rays rolled over, and Longoria struck out and grounded into a double play because he felt sorry for Liriano. I bet both sides were trying their hardest and Liriano prevailed because he was better tonight.

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bertbelongsApr. 29, 0912:33 AM

It's WAY too premature to claim that Liriano will never be dominant again. Just a little over 2 years ago, the guy was on an operating table having his elbow reconstructed. He spent almost all of last season getting his arm back in AAA ball, and has only thrown for about 3 months in the bigs since 2006. Apparently this is enough for Jim Souhan to play Nostradamus and predict that Liriano will never be a dominant pitcher...I just hope that Mr. Souhan is man enough to publicly eat crow when Liriano exceeds the low bar that Souhan is setting for him. Idiot!

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mattgerhanApr. 29, 0912:59 AM

He's right, but he's not insulting Lariano, the slider is what seperated him from the rest in '06, with a new throwing motion, he has to rely on the placement of that pitch, more than the break, so there's less room for error, I think he can dominate again, Maddox dominated with worse stuff, it'll just be a different style and I think that's the point of the article.

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kenbomcApr. 29, 09 1:19 AM

a couple of years after tommy john surgery. liriano's pitches should catch more steam. i think in 2010 we'll start noticing more.

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upallniteApr. 29, 09 2:11 AM

As mattgerhan pointed out, Liriano's slider is what made him a dominant pitcher. He could throw it in the high 80's - low 90's range, which is extremely rare. It would cut hard in against righties and cut away from lefties. But, his arm motion to throw that pitch was so violent, it was destroying his elbow. He had to relearn how to throw the pitch after surgery. Now, it's an average slider, usually in the low 80mph range. That doesn't mean Liriano can't be dominant again, but he'll have to do it with his other pitches and rely more on location. If he can get his fastball up to 94-95 mph consistently, his changeup will become more effective and he'll start looking a lot like a former Twin, Johan Santana. So, I don't believe he'll ever be the dominant slider-throwing pitcher he was in '06, but he can be dominant again with a killer fastball-changeup combo.

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fairwethrfanApr. 29, 09 7:17 AM

if this is how Frankie is going to look when he's good I'd prefer to NEVER watch him pitch again! It's like going to the dentist without Novocain. It's like watching the Michael Jordan that wore #45. HE is not the player that I once loved to watch dominate. If he can't dominate I wish he would just go away. He had the stuff to be better than Santana and now he doesn't even have better stuff than Baker or Perkins. He's washed up. Maybe he'll reinvent himself and succeed like a Dominican Kenny Rogers or something but I personally despise the thought.

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joandersApr. 29, 09 7:22 AM

A pitcher such as Lariano was 3 years ago, can get by with brute force until the arm parts tear up. Then, to survive he must learn to pitch. If he is successful it won't be the headline grabbing speed and sharp breaking balls that used to be. I hope that Lariano is learning the true meaning of the art of pitching. Last night he looked as though he is beginning to do just that and we want to remember that it was against a better than average team

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