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.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.