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Sam Tastad is back for another guest post. To read more of Sam's work, check out Bleacher Report.
Francisco Liriano had a 12-3 record the first year he began as a full time starting pitcher with the Minnesota Twins, then he needed Tommy John surgery, and since has looked like disaster. However, this year, he is looking like the old Liriano from before he had surgery. He started the year 4-0, but has since lost three straight games, and is now 4-3. He has pitched 52.2 innings, has 52 strikeouts compared to 17 walks, and a 3.25 ERA.
Now here a look at the past two seasons where Liriano struggled, and found time in the majors and minors. In 2008, he was 6-4 with a 3.94 ERA, pitched 76 innings, and had 67 strikeouts compared to 32 walks. This was not a full year, only a half season in the majors, and was half decent for a pitcher who was coming off Tommy John surgery.
In 2009, however, questions aroused from Liriano's struggles during the course of the season. He went 5-13, with a 5.80 ERA, had 122 strikeouts compared to 65 walks, gave up 93 runs, and a 147 hits, along with 21 home runs. Liriano struggled with his command during the year, spent time in majors and minors, and left Twins fans wondering if the old Liriano was ever going to be back to dominating games like he did in 2006.
This year rolled around, and people didn't know what to expect from Liriano. There was reports of Liriano really pitching well in Winter baseball, and that showed fans rays of hope. When Spring Training rolled around, people really focused on Liriano, and he didn't show any signs of command issues, and looked like he was back in 2006. Sure enough, when the season started, Liriano was ready to show critics he was back to old form. His first start was a no-decision against the White Sox. He pitched six innings, gave up three runs on four hits. He also three strikeouts, and five walks. Not a bad performance, and this showed Twins fans he could go six or seven innings.
The next four games, Liriano won, and went either seven or eight innings in all of those games. His command was on, and he was getting batters out.
The next three games, against AL East foes, Baltimore, New York, and Boston he faced tough games, and lost all of them. He showed good command, just didn't get good run support, and got beat up early, especially in the Boston game, where he went four and two-thirds innings.
One more thing to praise Liriano for, is how he only gave up his first two home runs of the season recently against the Boston Red Sox.
So far this season, Liriano has showed drastic improvement, and has played extremely well game in and game out. He's had a few bad games, but that comes with being a Major League pitcher. Let's just hope Liriano continues to pitch like he did in 2006 the rest of 2010.