36-25: That Francisco Liriano Kid is Good

Braves @ Twins - Friday, June 11, 2010

(via Fangraphs)

8 innings pitched, 11 strikeouts, no walks, five hits, just one earned run:  if this doesn’t convince people that Francisco Liriano is the Twins’ ace, then I really don’t know what will. I don’t want to hear anything about the relative weakness of the National League, either; the Braves can hit a little (though they do seem to lack power).  Their .261/.354/.393 line is good enough for third place in the NL, and their .352 wOBA is good no matter how you look at it.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, they have the most patient lineup in the league, drawing more walks than any other team in the baseball (289 to be exact).  For Liriano to not walk a Brave in eight innings is really quite remarkable.

Best pitcher:  F-Bomb, obviously.   His .417 WPA ranks among the highest in any game played so far.

Worst pitcher: Jon Rauch, though sort of by default, since his .176 WPA isn’t bad.  He was the only other pitcher used in this game.

Best hitter:  Jason Kubel, .188 WPA. The suddenly red-hot Kubel Khan went 3-2 and drove in the tying run.

Worst hitter: Denard Span, -.155 WPA.  I hate to give it to DSPAN, since there was a lot of offensive futility against a guy who recorded two entire strikeouts, but tonight was not a good night for our favorite leadoff hitter:  0-4, though at least he didn’t strike out.

Most important play:  Well, since they happened in the same inning, it’s actually a tie between Kubel’s RBI single to tie the game, and Delmon Young’s game-winning single.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Delmon Young Francisco Liriano Jason Kubel Minnesota Twins Tim Hudson

  • jimbo92107

    Masterful is the word for Liriano’s performance. Not only was he measuring his stride and following through better on balance; he was changing speeds and locations with his fastball on top of his slider and his change-up. His fastball was coming in anywhere from 92 to 95mph, and he was hitting his spots with it. His slider, as usual, was almost unhittable. Even more impressive, his change-up was moving from right to left, almost like a screwball.

    Right now Francisco Liriano is pitching like Johann Santana in his prime, only with a double-plus slider added to the mix. I hope to see him using his change-up even more as the season goes on. Batters are whiffing on that pitch almost as much as the slider, which they usually miss by a foot…or foul off onto their foot!

    • http://twinkietalk.com/ Erin

      Good point about Liriano’s change-up, Jimbo. I overlooked it in my analysis of his dominant season because it doesn’t seem to be his best pitch, but it currently has about the same whiff rate as his slider. That is definitely a good sign.

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