Thursday, July 7, 2011

Liriano continues to struggle in day games

Players can succeed or fail in a variety of settings. Some hitters enjoy their home park much more than hitting on the road. There are pitchers that can be very successful against one specific opponent. There is one such setting that Francisco Liriano seems to continue to struggle with during the 2011 season.

Liriano took the mound at Target Field on Wednesday afternoon and the sun was shining high in the sky. The bright orb in the sky could be a problem for Mr. Liriano. During the 2011 season, Liriano has struggled to be successful during day games. There have also been some struggles during night games but the daylight hours seem to be much worse for Liriano.

2011 Day Games (Night Games)
G: 7 (8)
W-L: 1-3 (4-4)
ERA: 5.90 (4.30)
IP: 39.2 (44.0)
BA: .248 (.206)
WHIP: 1.44 (1.32)

In 2011, Liriano's ERA is over one and a half runs higher during the day than at night. Opponents are batting over 40 points higher during the daylight and his WHIP rises in the warmer temperatures of the day. He also averages close to a hit an inning in day games and that is a number that a strikeout pitcher should be able to control. 

These daytime struggles have not just been limited to the 2011 season. The statistics show that Liriano has been a more effective during twilight hours over the course of his career.

Career Day Games (Night Games)
G: 40 (83)
W-L: 12-15 (31-24)
ERA: 4.35 (4.00)
BA: .251 (.243)
WHIP: 1.346 (1.277)

For the Twins to continue to make noise in the AL Central during this season, Liriano needs to be able to find success in both day and night games. The bullpen continues to have struggles and theses struggles have shown that the Twins can not rely on the bullpen when the starters have to be pulled early in the game.

The Twins will look for Liriano to exercise some of his daylight demons after the All-Star Break. But for now, let's hope that Liriano gets plenty of sun and relaxation during his time off.

But then again, maybe time in the sun would not be the correct choice for Mr. Liriano...

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