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Not taking Twins’ “pitch to contact” advice has worked well for Francisco Liriano

Jun 13, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

Francisco Liriano had a panic-inducing April, posting a 9.13 ERA with as many walks (18) as strikeouts (18) as the Twins tried to convince him to “pitch to contact” with terrible results.

His first May start was a no-hitter versus the White Sox and Liriano flirted with a second no-hitter yesterday against the Rangers, giving him a 1.89 ERA in six starts since May 1.

And as Liriano explained after racking up nine strikeouts against the Rangers, his success has come from not following the Twins’ advice:

I’ve always been the power pitcher, trying to strike out people. I feel more comfortable pitching like that. I’m trying to be me, [the way] I used to pitch last year and the year before. I’m not thinking about contact at all.

Good. It never made much sense that the Twins would try to force Liriano into the same strike-throwing, contact-inducing mold they use for pitchers with inferior raw stuff and less ability to overpower hitters, so thankfully he stayed with the approach that led to so much success last season.  Liriano has allowed two runs or fewer in five of six starts, with the lone outlier coming after throwing 123 pitches in the no-hitter, so hopefully they’ll stop trying to fix him for a while.

  1. shaggylocks - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    I for one am glad to see Liriano finding his groove before the Yankees could snag him for a song.

  2. JBerardi - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Hopefully the Twins learn something from this. Their obsession with pitch-to-contact guys really holds them back as an organization.

    • schrutebeetfarms - Jun 13, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Especially against the AL East when a lot of those pitches go about 400 feet.

  3. thefalcon123 - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    “Pitch to contact” is fine advice when you’re rotation consists of Joel Pinero, Jeff Suppan, Kyle Lohse and a whole host of other has-been and never-will-bes. The “try only throwing sinkers and see if that helps” philosphy doesn’t make much sense for a very talented pitcher like Francisco.

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