Liriano shares AL Player of the Week Award, still faces doom

"Dude, you didn't throw the game away!"
"Dude, you didn't throw the game away!"

For tossing a sloppy, six walk, two-strikeout, possibly LSD influenced no hitter, Francisco Liriano, with his 6.61 ERA, 24 bb to 20 K ratio, shared the American League Player of the Week award with the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander.

Verlander also threw a no-hitter, but it was a brilliant performance, and as we all know, weird, clumsy, out-of-the-ordinary no hitters are far more entertaining. Wouldn't you rather see David Hasselhoff walk a tightrope than Philippe Petit?

Tonight's game against the Detroit Tigers ought to be a feast of struggling pitchers. For starters, Liriano's been given six days between starts, and not just because he threw 123 pitches through that no-no. Rather, Liriano was given the time off because, according to the Strib's Joe Christenson, the dude's suffering from a sore throat and an upper respiratory infection.

Seriously, do the Twins play in some kind of foul petri dish?

According to that piece, Liriano's well-rested, confident, and ready to throw. Let's hope so: the man has a nauseating 15.75 ERA at Target Field. Opponents are batting .368--which means that opponents are leading the league in batting average when facing the Player of the Week at home.

Well, you might say, that just sucks. And it does, it does. But here's the rub: the Tigers' Rick Porcello, another young and supposedly up-and-coming phenom who has yet to meet his potential, is pretty crappy on his own.

Porcello's having a decent year for the Bengals, but against the Twins, his past hasn't been very kind. Jason Kubel's bat has a warm relationship with Porcello's arm: in 20 at-bats (a decent sample), Kubel's hitting .500. Span's hitting at a .375 clip; Morneau on a .333 tear against the youngster from Michigan. (New Jersey, whatever.)

In total, Porcello's 0-3 with a 4.71 ERA at Target Field through four starts. No, that's not as bad as Liriano, but it's not great, either.

The Twins need to make their bats come alive against guys like Porcello. The season's slipping away quickly, boys, so you'd best start swinging tonight.


Here's some more tidbits about last week's bizarre no hitter: ESPN's Jayson Stark, always a great read, notes that Liriano walked the White Sox's Juan Pierre three times that game, which means...

The Elias Sports Bureau reports Liriano is only the second pitcher to do that in the last 41 years, since Dock Ellis handed out three walks to Steve Huntz on June 12, 1970.

Dock Ellis? See, I'm not the only one fixated on the LSD angle.

And this: of baseball's 249 no-hitters, Liriano's was the first with that many walks and that few strikes.

Mauer Hour Dept.: As if to quash all the blogging about forcing Joe Mauer to do something--anything--other than catching, Twins GM Bill Smith told the Strib that the team is going to be uber-patient, waiting until the former MVP is ready to "catch the final four-plus months of the season".

We could be in for a long wait, and an even longer season if the Twins aren't at all interested in Joe's being a DH. Though it's leg problems he's fighting, and hitting can screw your legs up as much as anything.

And now for something completely different: Mike Piazza, who is apropos of absolutely nothing in this blog, other than he was a former catcher perhaps, gave what Dan Epstein (one of the coolest cats to write about this sport) rightfully calls the "Best. Press. Conference. Ever."

At the very least, it was eye opening. Piazza, long rumored to be gay, held a press conference in which he said that Major League Baseball is ready for homosexual players, but that he is not among that august group.

I will say it's wonderful that a former star and certain Hall of Famer came out in favor of gay ballplayers. Like the military, like the Republican Party, like the Catholic Church, there have certainly been gay baseball players, and it's about time someone said they ought to be able to play without being harassed.

It's too bad that Piazza can't just say "I'm not gay" and that's the end of it. However, it could also be that by keeping homosexual players in the proverbial closet, it fuels rumors. Still, you have to admit, that's one hell of a press conference.

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