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MLB Handicapping: Lack of slider dooms Liriano

05.03.2011     09:11 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Minnesota (Liriano) at Chicago (Jackson) -130 O/U 9

When a well respected pitcher goes through an extended stretch of struggles it is always challenging for bettors to get to the bottom of the issue. The health of a pitcher is typically the first avenue to explore. Sometimes a pitcher can be damaged goods but still continue to throw – mild soreness, dead arm, etc. But when injuries are eliminated from the equation, statistics become the next line of questioning. In the case of Minnesota's Francisco Liriano, it appears as if he is injury free. He's a Tommy John guy but proved last season to be fully healed (14-10, 191.2 IP, 201 Ks, 3.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP). In looking at Liriano's 2011 numbers, his BAbip is relatively normal (.307) as is his groundball-to-fly ball ratio. What stands out is his lack of command with 18 walks in 23.2 innings. FanGraphs points out that for whatever reason – perhaps better scouting – teams are not offering at Liriano's pitches outside of the strike zone. And his bread and butter pitch, the slider, up until this point hasn't been the plus-pitch it was throughout his career. The Twins can ill afford to pull Liriano out of the rotation but it is tough to continually send a guy to the mound with a 9.13 ERA.

Tags: MLB Minnesota Twins Francisco Liriano Chicago White Sox Edwin Jackson

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