Are the Minnesota Twins Really the Minnesota Lirianos?

Matt OffermannCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2008

At the beginning of the year, the Twins' fans were asking themselves two questions: Will Liriano ever be back, and will we make the playoffs. One question has been answered, but what will the answer to the other one be? 

Obviously, it takes more than one person to win a game or a championship, and especially the World Series, but can the return of one player make that happen.

Francisco Liriano has recently been called up from AAA Rochester to the Minnesota Twins. There are different angles to look at why he was called up. You could say it was his agent's work, or you could say it was his impressive pitching.

Liriano was 10-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 118 innings for the Red Wings this season. In his last 11 starts, he was 10-0 with a 2.67 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 70-2/3 innings. When anyone compiles stats like that, you need to take a hard look at your team to see who needs to go down.

The Twins have designated RHP Livan Hernandez and OF Craig Monroe for assignment and called up Liriano to take Livan's place.

Greg Genske, Liriano's agent, lately has spoken to the player's union to have them investigate why Liriano hasn't been called up after going 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his past nine starts. "I think that Francisco is dominating down there," Genske said "The club concedes that as well. We're a little frustrated he hasn't been called up."

Now that Liriano is back, do the Twins have what it takes to hold the lead? In Liriano's first start back, the phenom went six innings, allowing just three hits, three walks, and fanning five. Ironically, that 6-2 win over the Indians propelled them into first place when the Royals beat the White Sox 14-3. The Twins now hold a 62-49 record, with a half-game lead over the White Sox.

Tomorrow, the Twins take on the AL's worst team, the Seattle Mariners, and have Glen Perkins on the mound against Miguel Bautista. It is the first of a three-game set before getting a day off and then continuing to Kansas City. The schedule is there for the taking. The only question is: Can they take it?