Twins name Francisco Liriano the Game 1 starter for ALDS

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Here in Minnesota there’s been quite a bit of debate about who the Twins should place atop their playoff rotation for a Game 1 and possibly Game 5 start in the ALDS.
Francisco Liriano is pretty clearly the Twins’ best starting pitcher, going 14-8 with a 3.44 ERA and posting arguably the best secondary numbers in the entire league this season. Carl Pavano also has been very good, going 17-11 with a 3.60 ERA, and while his secondary numbers aren’t nearly as great some people feel his “experience” makes him the better Game 1 choice.
Apparently the Twins trust stuff over experience, because they just named Liriano the Game 1 starter.
And it’s the right call. For all the talk of Pavano being more dependable or less likely to implode, they both have allowed three runs or fewer in 22 starts this season. And in terms of dominant outings, Liriano has allowed zero or one run in 11 starts compared to six from Pavano.
Beyond that, if the playoffs began today the Twins would be matched up with the Rays and their excellent team speed could have really exploited Pavano twice in a five-game series. Tampa Bay leads the league with 162 steals, Pavano has surrendered the second-most steals in the league, and in 42 starts since joining the Twins last season he’s allowed 46 steals at an 88 percent success rate.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.