Francisco Liriano turned in his third straight clunker last night against the Yankees, failing to make it out of the third inning. Through three starts he has an 11.91 ERA and .407 opponents’ batting average while throwing 138 strikes and 103 balls.
It’s become increasingly popular to say that Liriano’s struggles are mental and I’m sure there’s plenty of truth to that narrative, but it’s also worth noting that his raw stuff is simply nowhere near as good as it was in 2010, let alone in 2006.
As an unhittable rookie in 2006 his average fastball was 94.7 miles per hour and in his bounceback 2010 season it was 93.7 mph, but since the start of last season it’s 91.6 mph.
It certainly isn’t shocking that a one-time power pitcher would lose confidence as his velocity vanishes and his fastball becomes far more hittable. Perhaps it’s a chicken-or-egg scenario and there’s no doubt that he’s failed to make adjustments, but to suggest that Liriano’s collapse is entirely mental seems way too simplistic. Whatever the case, as an impending free agent the increasingly ugly outings are costing Liriano millions and the Twins must be running out of patience.
LOS ANGELES — Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle were activated by the New York Yankees ahead of their weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
New York cleared three roster spots after a 1-0 loss at Seattle, optioning infielder-outfielders Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with left-hander Matt Krook.
Stanton, Donaldson and Kahnle all played in a rehab game for Double-A Somerset. Stanton was hitless in three at-bats in his first appearance since injuring his left hamstring on April 15.
Donaldson went 1 for 4 in his fourth rehab game as he comes back from a strained right hamstring originally sustained on April 5.
Kahnle pitched one inning, giving up one run and one hit and walking two. He has been out since spring training with right biceps tendinitis.
Aaron Boone said he wasn’t concerned about Stanton returning after playing in just one rehab game. He did say that Stanton likely will be a designated hitter for a couple of weeks after rejoining the Yankees.
New York is missing centerfielder Harrison Bader, who strained his right hamstring against the Mariners and went on the injured list the next day.
Left-hander Carlos Rodón, sidelined since spring training by a sore left forearm and an ailing back, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.