The Minnesota Twins are in Pittsburgh for a two game series with the Pirates. Awaiting them is old friend, Francisco Liriano. Liriano was thought to be the second coming of, Johan Santana. In 2006, Liriano appeared well on his way to becoming the next Santana. He went 12-3 with a 2.19 earned run average. He had Tommy John Surgery in the offseason and missed the entire 2007 season.
Liriano was never the same pitcher after the surgery. He showed flashes of returning to form, but the Twins traded him to the Chicago White Sox in 2012.
Since signing with the Pirates, Liriano has been reborn. In 2013 he went 16-8 with a 3.02 earned run average. He made two starts in the playoffs, going 1-0 with a 2.08 earned run average.
This will be Liriano’s third start against the Twins since being traded in 2012. He’s 1-0 with a 2.77 earned run average. Liriano is living proof that a change of scenery can be good.
The Twins will send, Ricky Nolasco to the mound in the first game of the series. Nolasco is making his fifth start of the season and is currently, 3-1 with a 6.38 earned run average.
May 16, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer (7) congratulates second baseman Brian Dozier (2) on his home run during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Target Field. The Twins defeated the Rays 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
3 Players to Watch
1. Brian Dozier is riding a nine game hitting streak. In the last ten games he’s hitting .324 with four home runs and five RBIs. He’s hitting an even .300 since being moved to the leadoff spot. Dozier is currently tied for third in baseball for runs scored with 29.
2. Joe Mauer is “only” hitting .283. It speaks volumes of the type of hitter Mauer is when we say he’s having a down year and he’s hitting .283 with eight doubles, two triples and 20 RBIs. However, Mauer has cooled off considerably after a hot start in April. Mauer was hitting .318 during the month of April. The month of May hasn’t been as kind to Mauer. He’s hitting just, .233 and has just three extra base hits.
3. Eduardo Nunez is off the disabled list and figures to be in the lineup tonight. Nunez was hitting .409 with four doubles, before being placed on the disabled list. He’ll look to pick up where he left off tonight in Pittsburgh.
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