(WSCR) Throughout the majority of his career, Francisco Liriano has struggled with “the big inning.”
The White Sox know Liriano well – the left-hander has faced the South Siders 15 times in his career, compiling a 5-4 record with a 4.99 ERA. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said the team knew exactly what they were getting when they dealt for the 28-year-old – the key is just to eliminate those inconsistent moments.
“With Liriano, we knew he was talented,” Cooper told The Mully and Hanley Show. “We knew he had a good arm. We knew that, from time to time, he’d have inconsistencies. We’re going to just try to keep the inconsistencies to a minimum. There are a couple things we’ve spoke about – stay taller (at the mound.) That will keep a better angle on his pitches. Liriano went out there last night, and he’s got great stuff. He threw the ball 94, 95 MPHs. He’s got a snake of a slider and his change up was probably better than I thought it was. We just want to plug this guy in and help us in. That’s what we’re going to do. … Really, it’s rhythm and tempo and to stay taller.”
LISTEN: Don Cooper on The Mully and Hanley Show
In his first start for the White Sox, Liriano tossed six innings of four-hit ball, giving up two earned runs with four walks and eight strikeouts.
Another key aspect of Lirano’s game is to maintain proper mechanics. After the 2006 season, he underwent Tommy John’s surgery – something Cooper said was a result of his mechanics.
“I’m a believer that injuries don’t just happen,” Cooper said. “They’re not acts of God. Something is going wrong in a guy’s delivery and his mechanics are putting strain on his elbow or shoulder. Something has got to give. If you don’t tend to that, it’s like history, it’ll repeat. It happened for a reason. It’s not just dumb luck. You gotta tend to that and make sure that the delivery is cleaned up to try to take the strain off that shoulder or elbow area. … We’ve seen a lot of guys that have come back from that fine.”