Gardenhire Considering Extra Rest for Francisco Liriano

Date Pitches

Opposition

May 3, 2011 123

White Sox

May 2, 2010 123

Indians

June 23, 2009 117

Brewers

April 27, 2010 112

Tigers

July 18, 2006 111

Rays

September 21, 2008 110

Rays

Last night Joe Christensen reported that Ron Gardenhire is considering pushing Francisco Liriano's next start back to Tuesday, giving him an extra day of rest. After throwing his no-hitter on Tuesday night, and considering Liriano's history, it's not much of a surprise that the manager would err on the side of caution when it comes to our eclectic lefty. And we all know that Liriano's endurance doesn't match up with guys like Carl Pavano or Nick Blackburn, who seem to be pitchers who will cruise past the 100-pitch plateau with little more than a passing glance.

In his career, prior to Tuesday's game, Liriano had never thrown a complete game. Furthermore, he's rarely thrown more than 100 pitches in a contest until he did it 16 times last year. And you can see on your right the number of times he's thrown 110 or more pitches in a game in his career.

There is a reason for pitch counts. There is a reason why Liriano is dealt with a bit more delicately than other pitchers. But on the other hand, Liriano pitched the entire 2009 season, then pitched all winter, and then came back and pitched in all of 2010 as well. If he was able to do that, then unless he's actually experiencing a level of discomfort after Tuesday night, I'd like to see him go.

I know we don't want to fatigue our pitchers too early in the season, but...and maybe the frustration of the season has built up on me here and is skewing my normally rational perspective...wouldn't it be good for Liriano to deal with starting on normal rest? Wouldn't it be good to see how he deals with his endurance and adjusts?

I'm actually thinking long-term here. If the Twins are in a pennant race in September and they really need him to go on four or five days rest after another long start, I'd like to know that he'd gone through it before. And from a confidence perspective, which we all know is critical when talking about the makeup of Liriano, I think he'd like to know that he's done it before, too.

Am I stretching here? What do you think?

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