Liriano had a good first outing back in the bigs, using 96 pitches to go six scoreless innings in the victory. After thinking about some of the different aspects of his start, I really feel that had just a few things went the other way, Franchise could have probably gone seven.
There were three different instances where I think Liriano used more pitches than he needed to, which ultimately only allowed him to go six innings. He also threw more “effort pitches” when he was put into jams.
The three big plays that stuck out to me were:
1) Brendan Harris’ error; the inning would have been over, but continued because of a lazy throw. There were still two outs and Liriano struck out the next hitter. But he threw seven more pitches because of the mistake and all were “effort pitches” as the bases were loaded.
2) Peralta’s Single; Liriano got Johnny Peralta to ground out to third to lead off the fourth inning. It was a great play by Buscher, but it one-hopped Lamb and he couldn’t hang on. Liriano allowed a hit, but worked out of the inning. It took five pitches to get the next batter.
3) No double-play; This final moment isn’t something the Twins can control. Liriano got Jamey Carroll to groundout to third in the fifth inning with runners at first and second and one out. It would have been a double play, but the runners were going and the Twins could only get one. He retired Francisco on two pitches.
Take all three of these instances and the pitch counts from each inning. Seven plus five plus two equals fourteen pitches. Take that from his final ninety-six pitch count and you have 82 pitches -- definitely enough to get him into the seventh.