Francisco Liriano whiffed a career-high 15 batters on Friday night, but he still took a loss in a 6-3 game after giving up four runs — three earned — in eight innings against the A’s.
Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to account for all of the scoring off Liriano. It was one of just four hits he allowed.
Liriano joins Jake Peavy and Cliff Lee as the only active pitchers to have a 15-strikeout game turn into a loss. It happened to Peavy, then with San Diego, when he gave up two runs in seven innings against the Braves on May 22, 2006. Lee did it last year, allowing three runs in seven innings in a 5-0 loss to the Braves. Both Peavy and Lee actually fanned 16 in their losses.
Liriano is in really good company, though. The feat had been performed only seven other times since 1990: three times by Randy Johnson, once by Pedro Martinez, once by Curt Schilling and once by John Smoltz. And once by Sterling Hitchcock, but we’ll gloss over that one.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.