Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Thursday, August 12th.
Loss: Chad Billingsley (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1.33 WHIP)
The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 93-81-57, 3.80 ERA (610 ER in 1444.1 IP)
Today in the 606, it's a fight for the AL Central superiority, as the Minnesota Twins send their young ace and his otherworldly slider to the mound against a veteran righthander on a post-May hot streak.
LHP Francisco Liriano - MIN (10-7, 3.33 ERA) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd
- CWS (8-8, 3.49 ERA)
One of the keys to a Minnesota playoff push will undoubtedly be their emerging young starting pitcher Francisco Liriano , who is fully healthy and having a solid season. His 10 wins this season represent the most of his career since his pre-injury year of 2006 (when he had 12), and he ranks among the American League leaders with 156 strikeouts and just under 10 strikeouts per nine innings. The biggest key to Liriano's success this season has probably been his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, as he's allowed a stunning 2 homers in 140.2 innings of work, easily leading all of baseball in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at .128. This number is a stark contrast to his performance in an injury-shortened 2009 season, where he allowed 21 dingers in 136.2 innings (1.4 HR/9). Liriano's hard-biting slider has become his trademark pitch and has led to a lot of slow grounders and swing-and-misses this season, but there have also been some growing pains along the way. Liriano is coming off of one of his shortest outings of the season, a 4.2 inning no decision against lowly Cleveland, where he allowed 4 runs, 7 hits, and a season-high 6 walks. He'll need to rebound from that to have any shot at a victory in Chicago on Thursday. He may face some difficulty, though, if his season up until now is any indication, as his road ERA of 4.57 this year is much higher than his 2.32 home mark.
For the second straight season, Gavin Floyd
began the year with a rough first two months before rebounding in June, July and August, bringing his overall numbers back to respectability and helping his team post wins. In 13 starts since June 2nd, Floyd has posted a remarkable 6-3 record with a microscopic 1.78 ERA, with 69 strikeouts and just 68 hits allowed in 86 innings during that time. This performance isn't unlike Floyd's performance late last season, when he posted a 3.12 ERA in 20 starts after June 1st. He'll need to keep the success going to catapult his squad into the post-season. Floyd lost his only start against the Twins this year, going 5 innings and allowing 7 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (1 earned), and in his career he is 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 10 starts versus Minnesota. His biggest obstacles against the Twins in his career have been Jason Kubel, who is 10 for 28 (.357) with 3 home runs, and Denard Span, who is 9 for 17 (.529) in their career matchups.
Final Prediction: Gavin Floyd