Posted at 6:00 AM on April 25, 2008
by David Zingler
Former Twins phemon Francisco Liriano did his best Sidney Ponson imitation yesterday in Oakland, giving up 6 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 2/3 of an inning. He is now 0-3 with an 11.32 ERA and has allowed 15 hits and 13 walks in 10 1/3 innings.
Coming off major arm surgery, I expected Liriano to be rusty and struggle. I also knew that the bar was unreasonably high because of his out-of-this-world 2006 performance. But, I was thinking more like 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA and at least one start where he showed flashes of his old self.
With the Santana trade netting only one weak hitting outfielder on the major league roster this season, Liriano is probably the most important player in the Twins organization. While we may never see another pitcher in a Twins uniform that matches Santana's production, Liriano looked to have the talent to bring another Cy Young award to Minnesota.
There's still a chance that could happen, but there's also a chance that the elbow surgery and potential risk of a re-injury will prohibit Liriano from ever again snapping that nasty slider like he did two years ago.
Will Liriano be the next Santana or the new Mark Fidrych? Nobody knows, but the Twins immediate future hangs in the balance.