Sometimes things happen that you just can’t comprehend. For Minnesota Twins fans, one of those things is Francisco Liriano. Not many people can have so many spots of greatness, but be so disappointing at the same time.
Fans can gush over the stat line Liriano put up in his start on Wednesday. 6 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts is an excellent stat line, but let’s remember what he did in his previous starts this season.
Before Wednesday, Liriano gave up at least four runs in every single one of his starts. The Twins had won only one of his starts, and Liriano only received decisions that were losses. When Liriano left the starting rotation he had an ERA of 9.45. Liriano gave up 16 runs in six starts.
Liriano has come out of the bullpen five times this year, and he has only given up four runs. All of those runs were in one game against the Detroit Tigers on May 25. Numbers don’t lie.
Liriano had a great start on Wednesday, but he belongs in the pen. If you take out one bullpen appearance, he would be virtually perfect in relief. It’s been shown that Liriano pitches good for one or two innings, and then it all falls apart. That’s exactly why he should be in the bullpen.
If Liriano came out of the bullpen he would only pitch a couple of innings, and those would be innings he could dominate. Starting typically sets him up for disaster after the first few innings. Leave Liriano in the bullpen.
The Twins have nothing to lose by keeping him in the pen; the season looks to be lost anyway. Bring up some young arms and see if they can handle starting in the big leagues and give Liriano the job he was made to do.
Liriano has some nasty stuff, but not for a long period of time. Liriano could have a long career as a late inning guy—possibly even a closer—but he won’t be given many more chances if he keeps struggling as a starter. It's best for both Francisco Liriano and the Minnesota Twins if he comes out of the bullpen.