Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Back with a Vengeance
Francisco Liriano is ready to make all of you naysayers pay for doubting him. And by "pay", he means, "die a slow and painful death caused by sliders to the face."
And technically, he's not making a comeback - he already made one last season that produced mixed results, which only angered him further, expanding his rage into proportions last seen when God snuffed out early man for being borderline retarded. So yes, this time it's real - this is his real comeback. This time he's not going to stop until you, and everyone you know, is dead.
Well, maybe not everyone, maybe just that bitch you call your girlfriend.
Back in the spring and summer of 2006, I was working for MLB.com. My boss was a mean prick who decided I was a fan of the A.L. Central Division. Obviously, I am not. But what saved my sanity was the inevitable move of Francisco Liriano from the Twins bullpen to the starting rotation. I edited his first start, and watched as he gave up 1 run over 5 innings against a baffled Brewers lineup. He progressed. He got more dominate. Teams looked lost when they faced him. He went 11-2 over his next 13 starts, with a 1.59 ERA and 93 K's over 84 innings. Batters had a horrific .159 BA when they faced him. His slider brought the dead back to life. A Cy Young Award seemed imminent. Then, the elbow injury happened. And some angels died. And so did the Twins hopes of any postseason success.
Then came the Tommy John surgery. Say goodbye to the 2007 season.
But Liriano was set to return last season. He crawled his way through Spring Training, was recalled from AAA April 11th, and came out of the gate throwing beach balls. Over his first 3 starts he went 0-3 with a 11.32 ERA. God became angry. After many human-sacrifices and several thousand forced liposuction procedures, he finally deemed the fans of Minnesota re-ready to witness Liriano's awesomeness, and Liriano did not disappoint. He pitched superbly, going 6-1 with a 2.74 ERA and 60 K's. His fastball and slider returned. All was good again in Minnesota.
Expect a big year from him. He's 25, his health is back, and as I said before, he's ready make Minnesotians forget about that Dutch guy names "Johan".