Friday, April 16, 2010

Liriano Strong in 8-0 Twins Win; Pelfrey 2-0 for Mets

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 15, 2010 American League It's been a long road back for Francisco Liriano, the Dominican Republic phenom who went 12-3 as a rookie with the Twins in 2006. Injury curtailed that season and completely cancelled the next, and Liriano has suffered setbacks each year hence, but in Thursday's 8-0 whitewash of the Boston Red Sox, Liriano looked more like that 2006 starter than the one who went 11-17 in 2008 and 2009.
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Over his seven innings of work, Liriano allowed just four Boston hits and two walks, and had Red sox batters flailing at fast balls and staring at sliders as he struck out 8 - 6 swinging and 2 looking. He threw 96 pitches, 64 for strikes and left the game looking as strong and fit as when he started. While Liriano was working over the Boston lineup, his teammates cranked out 15 hits against Red Sox starter Time Wakefield and two relief pitchers. Every starter had a hit except AL batting champ Joe Mauer, who may have been more focused on keeping his pitcher in a groove. Apparently, it worked well enough for Liriano to notch his first win of the season, lowering his ERA to 2.08 over 13 innings. National League The 3-6 Mets are off to a troubling start, but the first weeks of the season will be soon forgotten if they get more mound work like that done by starter Mike Pelfrey in his 5-0 win over Colorado. Pelphrey, who opened his campaign allowing 4 hits and 2 earned runs over six innings to earn an 8-2 win over Washington, was even better in the thin Colorado air, giving up 5 hits over 7 innings while fanning 6 without walking a batter. The only time the Mets have won this season when Pelfrey wasn't on the mound was April 5, when Johan Santana fired a 7-1 win over the Marlins. Pelfrey now sports an ERA of 1.38 and a WHIP of 1.00.
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NOTES: In the better late than never department, the Houston Astros became the last team in the majors to find a win in 2010, knocking down the Cardinals, 5-1, in St. Louis. Houston had opened the season with 8 straight losing efforts prior to Thursday's breakthrough. Houston's win means handing over the longest losing streak to the Baltimore Orioles, now 1-9 and losers of their last 7 straight. The O's fell victim to the surprising Oakland A's, who still lead the AL West, by a 6-2 score.

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