How do you solve a problem like Francisco?Recap:
How do you teach him to pitch and keep it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!*
Tuesday: Twins 10 - Indians 1
Wednesday: Twins 1 - Indians 8
Thursday: Twins 1 - Indians 2
(3rd place; 4.5 games back)
*Sigh* Another disappointing series. Well, Tuesday was great; everything went right -- pitching was solid and offense was having fun. And Thursday, well it was only half rotten -- Blackie pitched just fine, but like last year, he didn't have any stinking run support. Story of his life, poor guy.
But Wednesday sucked the worst. What has happened to Francisco Liriano? Remember when everyone liked him? Remember when everyone was pissed because he was still in the minors? Remember the guy who could strike batters out easily and often? What happened to that guy?
The old cliche says "million dollar arm - ten cent head." I think a little of that philosophy might be going on here. He's lost, especially when there are base runners. He's lost his aggressiveness. He's afraid of the strike zone -- he walked four batters in five innings on Wednesday.
He also struck out four. So the talent is there. But why isn't the knowledge. He's spent portions of three seasons in the big leagues, so he should know what's expected of him. Is he nervous? Is he upset? Is he anxious?
The whole thing reminds me of what Fausto Carmona went through. He was sent to down to rookie ball to work with the pitching coordinator and the mental skills coordinator. And it seems to have worked, because he sure stymied the Twins on Thursday.
Unfortunately, the Twins don't have the luxury to send Liriano somewhere for mental fine-tuning. Who would they use to replace him?
And here's where it would have been nice if Bill Smith had added a couple arms to the squad.
*Many apologies to Rodgers And Hammerstein