Francisco Liriano's great season is even better than it looks

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In analyzing the Twins’ rotation struggles a couple weeks ago I noted that Francisco Liriano was suffering from some combination of bad luck and bad defense, because while his ERA was still plenty good his secondary numbers showed one of the truly elite pitching performances in all of baseball this season.
At the time Liriano was coming off a start in which he failed to make it out of the second inning and so some readers understandably found it hard to believe, but he’s been unhittable since. He shut out the Mariners for seven innings yesterday, making him 4-0 with a 33-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio and just two runs allowed in 29 innings spread over his last four starts.
And even his current 3.18 ERA is worse than it probably should be because Liriano still has one of MLB’s highest ball-in-play batting averages. Based on his amazing 150/38 K/BB ratio and just two homers allowed in 136 innings, Liriano has been the best starter in the league according to fielding-independent metrics FIP and xFIP.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.