Liriano vs. Liriano

White Sox newest starter is his own worst enemy.

With the acquisition of Francisco Liriano to the White Sox starting rotation, the Sox have added a badly needed veteran presence. They’ve also added the possibility of a six-man rotation giving everyone an extra day off in an effort to keep the staff fresh for September and October. With Sale’s arm a little tired at this point it will help tremendously, and with Kenny Williams saying the Sox are not done no one is really sure what the rotation may look like by Tuesday evening.

Gavin Floyd, who held the Rangers to two runs last night, has been mentioned in possible trade talks, and I can’t help but think that Williams would be willing to take a risk by acquiring Josh Beckett from the Red Sox since he’s signed through 2014 and the Red Sox will be paying most of the $37 million owed to him. The reason a trade of Floyd for Beckett works for the White Sox is Floyd’s contract is up at the end of the season and the White Sox would be getting a decent addition to their rotation.

Again, it would be a reclamation project for Don Cooper and his staff, but it might be worth the risk. Of course, you have to ask yourself how many times this can work? He turned Edwin Jackson into a close to unhittable pitcher for an entire season, until Jackson could not seem to keep his concentration. Let’s not forget what he did for Jose Contreras and El Duque in 2005, huge keys to the White Sox winning the World Series. That’s why adding Liriano seems worth the risk the more I think about it, but I’m still not excited over the trade other than we didn’t give up much for it.

I’ve been mulling over Liriano’s numbers and reading up on him and he seems to be his own worst enemy and much like Jackson loses focus once runners get on base. However, when he’s good he’s unhittable, just ask the Sox who could not muster a hit off of him last season. It’s sort of Liriano vs. Liriano when he’s on the mound, but here’s a list of things that show that Liriano is his own worst enemy:

-       He has 109 strikeouts in just 100 innings pitched, but has walked 55 batters. Kind of like the Adam Dunn of pitching.

-       He’s held left-handers below the Mendoza line at .195, but righties are hitting .251 off of him.

-       When he’s ahead in the count he doesn’t let the batter of the hook holding opponent’s to a .177 batting average, but even in the count he throws a lot of fat pitches allowing a .301 batting average.

-       As mentioned opponent’s are batting over .500 against Liriano with two runners on, but his “Clutch Stats” are solid: in a stat called “Late and Close” he holds opponents to a .083 batting average. “Late and Close” refers to the 7th inning or later with his team ahead by a run, tied, or the tying run at least on deck.

It’s easy to see why Liriano has a 5.31 ERA this year, but there’s also numbers there that say it’s worth taking a risk. It’s almost unbelievable that he averages 9.8 k’s over nine, while walking 5 over nine. It’s a clear indication of what I’ve already mentioned, a lack of focus.

If Cooper and the Sox staff can find a way to have him keep his concentration then they should get a solid showing out of him. His last outing was against the Sox and they shelled him for seven runs over 2-2/3 innings. Before that outing he had a 3.15 ERA over his previous nine starts. That’s the Liriano the Sox hope they traded for.

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