Liriano’s return

Twins-Royals: Postgame

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

 I didn’t get a chance to write about Francisco Liriano’s outing in the ink-on-paper version because the Twins being ticked off at Zack Greinke was a better angle. So here goes.

He did look more comfortable on the mound than his outing at the Dome last Sunday. He threw some really nasty sliders but seemed to be a little off with his control. He topped out at 93 miles an hour on the radar gun.

“He’s not there yet,” Royals catcher John Buck said when asked if Liriano is back to 2006 form. “Liriano was a freak before he got hurt. He was throwing 98, and there was not a comfortable at-bat against him. Now, he’s still finding it. I’m sure he’ll get a little better. Will he ever get back to where he was? He was throwing 92-mph sliders before he got hurt.”

Buck is right, but in 5.2 innings, Liriano gave up three runs on six hits with two walks and FIVE strikeouts. The slider isn’t as hard as before but still has bite.

Liriano had a chance to get out of the sixth on Saturday with no damage, but Mark Teahen’s two-run double ended his night.

“I just tried to make some perfect pitches,” he said of the sixth inning. “I rushed. But I threw better than last time. ”

I agree. Hopefully he continues to settle in and can give the Twins at least seven solid innings to help the bullpen.

“I think the long inning might have gotten to him when he had to go back out there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He had a good breaking ball. His fastball was in and out. I think he had a better change up and breaking ball than fastball.”