Apr 15, 2010, 4:44 PM EDT
After dominating in both winter ball and spring training to get Twins fans optimistic again following a disastrous 2009 season Francisco Liriano kept rolling this afternoon versus the Red Sox, tossing seven shutout innings against a David Ortiz-less lineup.
Liriano struck out eight and induced nine ground-ball outs while allowing just four hits and two walks, needing just 96 pitches to record 21 outs. His fastball command remains spotty at times, but he has more velocity than last season and continues to get tons of swinging strikes with his slider and changeup.
Tommy John elbow surgery cost everyone a chance to see just how special Liriano could be after emerging as the most overpowering pitcher in baseball in 2006, but right now he looks a lot more like that guy than the one who went 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA last season. If he keeps pitching like he did this afternoon, the Twins are going to be very hard to keep pace with in the AL Central.
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