FanPost

This Still Ain't Franchise ... Yet.

I watched Liriano’s outing 5/30 vs. the Athletics on Gameday. Since I had nothing to fixate on except Gameday’s Pitchf/x, two things stood out to me about the way he was tossing (same data, though a different yet complementary conclusion to tobynotjason's post from yesterday):

1. Liriano seemed to command his fastball in streaks, getting a feel for it and then all of a sudden losing control. In the 3rd inning the first 10 fastballs he threw were either taken for balls or were hit into play. Then all of a sudden with a 3-0 count to Gomes he threw two fastballs for called strikes, and got a swinging strike on a slider to end the frame. In the fifth he struck out Crisp on three called strike fastballs, but in the sixth he had to actually give up on the fastball and ended his outing by getting two outs on a bunch of sliders (six of the final eight pitches). Perhaps this influenced Andy and Gardy, besides wanting that he take it easy first time back.

2. Liriano clearly lost a step in velocity through the outing. In the early going the fastball was 93+, the slider 84+. In the late innings, the fastball sat about 91, the slider about 81/2. This did not seem to improve the fastball location, but it did seem to really help with the slider: in the 4th through 6th innings, he threw eleven sliders, only three were balls.

This second leads to my personal conclusion about whether or not "Frankie is back." But first, here’s the cumulative data on his pitches from this game.

If you want the inning-by-inning, you can quickly see it over at Gameday and of course the full Pitchf/x data at Brooks Baseball.

6 IP:

18 Outs via: 9K, 6 Fly Outs, 2 Ground Outs, 1 Double Play

5 Baserunners as: 2 BB, 2 1B, 1 2B

<

LIRIANO

5/30/2012

Called

Ball

Called

Strike

Swing & Miss

Foul

Strike

In Play

Out

In Play

Hit

Fastball:

24

15

4

4

5

2

Slider:

9

6

7

2

2

1

Change:

4

0

1

1

1

0

TOTAL

37

21

12

7

8

3

<

Pitches:

51 Strikes, 37 Balls = 88 pitches

(54 Fastballs, 27 Sliders, 7 Changeups)

12 out of 22 first pitches were balls.

Here’s my proposal:

Liriano seems to have managed to have a completely different outcome on Tuesday than in previous 2012 starts not because he was more consistently managing his fastball: 44% were taken for a ball. Rather he was in complete control of his devestating slider (17 out of 27 sliders had pitcher-positive outcomes). Liriano was able to go to the slider when he was in trouble, not just for the swing-and-miss but – particularly late in the game – to get key called strikes.

This was a really nice start. WOOOOOT!!! But I don’t think we’re seeing Vintage Franchise™ until he’s willing and able to toss that 93/94mph fastball for a non-meatball strike.

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