Tag:Steve McNair
Posted on: July 4, 2009 8:17 pm

Liriano's Independence Day?

Happy Fourth of July sports fans. Unfortunately, the tragedy of Steve McNair's death looms over today's holiday in the sports world following a number of other well-publicized deaths. The real tragedy is that McNair was only 36.

It's going to be a quick one with a long day coming, and after a long night that concluded in a 16 inning victory for the Tigers over the Twins in Minnesota 11-9. The real fantasy issue has to be from today's game, however, after Fransisco Liriano's latest outing. No, Liriano didn't get the win, but he did limit the Tigers to just three runs (and two walks more importantly) over 7 IP to go along with eight strikeouts as well.

After a disasterous start, Liriano's numbers since the beginning of  June now look something like this over six starts:
38 IP, 2-1, 3.79 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 38 Ks

That's a strikeout per inning, and a WHIP that indicates that his control has improved with reduced walks. It was worth watching to see how he would face against stronger offenses over his last few starts, and strong performances against St. Louis and Detroit were the exams that Liriano needed to pass. He's still not as strong of a start in 4x4 leagues until he continues to show solid control over the long term, but his strikeouts in most leagues are too valuable to pass up. Either way, this start seems to be proof that it's time to put him back in for two or three consecutive starts at least and see. The potential is too great to pass up.

Some other quick hits:

  • It's becoming increasingly tough to admit, but Fernando Rodney could hold onto his job for a whole season. That was about as painful to type as passing a kidney stone after watching him here in Detroit, but it's materializing fast. He still hasn't blown a save yet in 17 chances, yet until this year his statistics were regressing over the past four years. Still, he strikes out less than a batter per inning, and holds a 1.31 WHIP. Manager Jim Leyland seems to be using him more effectively, but in non-save situations the guy just implodes. He's still no sure thing despite his counting numbers.
  • Where did Luke Hochevar come from? This guy destroyed me after I took a chance on him, and now he's 3-1 in his last five starts? If he ever puts it all together, no one will be surprised seeing how he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2006, but I'm still not convinced. His strikeout numbers will never be daunting even if he does, so he really has to pass the eye test one or two more times before I'd even use him in AL leagues.
  • I still don't advocate loading up on them, but Tommy Hanson is slowly making a case for being one of the best rookie pitchers of this year along with the Tiger's Rick Porcello. With a 4-0 record and a 2.25 ERA over six starts now, he's for real. His ERA would be Greinkesque if not for his Major League debut where he allowed six runs.
That's it for now. Again, Happy Independence Day.
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