(EDITOR'S NOTE: this is satire. OR IS IT.)
Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano, at the urging of manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, took the next step in his effort to better "pitch to contact" against the Orioles on Monday night. Liriano, using what Anderson described as a "modified beer-league delivery," threw underhanded to all 15 batters he faced, allowing 12 runs on 14 hits in the Twins' 16-3 loss. Both Gardenhire and Anderson said after the game they were encouraged by the outing.
Liriano, who has exhibited control problems that led to long innings and high pitch counts in the past, worked quickly, keeping the ball near the plate and throwing just 17 pitches in his 1/3 inning of work. "Frankie just put the ball up there, wasn't flying open all over the place, and gave the guys behind him a chance to make some plays," said Gardenhire. "The ball just kept finding holes and bleacher seats. Gotta give the guys in other dugout credit, they're getting paid to play, too. Good young ballclub over there."
The Twins ace recorded his only out against Orioles RF Nick Markakis, who appeared to be laughing so hard at the plate that he was unable to get the bat off his shoulder. He struck out looking on three pitches. "It was good for Frankie to get that K," said Anderson. "He maybe needed to see that you don't have to make the perfect pitch every time and run up a full count all the time. Definitely something he can build on."
For his part, Liriano seemed nonplussed about the result after the game. "I'm just doing what my coaches are telling me to do," said the lefty. "Changing my approach a little bit here and there. Hopefully things break my way next time."
When asked if there would be any further tweaks to Liriano's delivery for his next start (Saturday against Cleveland), Gardenhire was non-committal, but did say, "we've got some thoughts on having Frankie bringing a tee to the plate that the Indians could just hit off, which would also lighten our catcher's load back there. Gotta see what Mr. Selig says about that one."