Happy F-Bomb Day.
For the first time since the second inning of the game against Oakland on September 13th, 2006, Francisco Liriano will toe the rubber for the Minnesota Twins. Joe C reports that Liriano isn't nervous for his 2008 debut, however, Stan Cliburn, Rochester's manager, suggests that Liriano has to work on command issues. Cliburn has some apprehension for sending Liriano to the big club at this juncture. Jim Malendero wrote that "Apparently, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had considered Cliburn's recommendation that Liriano pitch one more game in the minors, then rejected it."
Liriano is matched up against Brian Bannister who has become the Thinking Man's Pitcher. Bannister said that he is more prone to studying pitch f/x data rather than video alone because of the pitch detail. “Everybody can throw a fastball, but if one guy’s explodes in the last 10 feet and the other’s goes dead straight, there’s a huge difference” Bannister explained. “That’s where the magic lies: in tweaking your pitches in order to get the most out of your ability.”
It would appear that the Rochester manager believes that Liriano is one start in the minors away from being ready. The International League manager was going to limit to Liriano to a 100-pitch count if he were to toss for the Red Wings one last time. In his most recent start, Liriano needed 88-pitches to get through 4 innings. Extrapolating that, you would have to believe - if Gardenhire follows the same flight plan as Cliburn of 100 pitches - Liriano will be replaced in the 4th or 5th inning by Brian Bass. The numbers suggest that Liriano isn't nearly as dominating yet, his walk rate is high and the balls in play are more adept to be in the air rather than the ground.