Contextualizing Liriano’s start against Oakland

Facing the Athletics on Friday night, Francisco Liriano threw what was mostly a dominating game: eight innings, four hits, four runs, one walk, and 15 strikeouts. The one mistake was a fourth-inning grand slam to Jonny Gomes, and it was a costly one, as he and the Twins wound up losing the game.

Regardless, it was still a clinic in power-pitching: 30 of his 112 pitches were swinging strikes, which is the highest total in the majors this season. He mixed fastballs (six whiffs), sliders (17), and changeups (seven) to overpower the Oakland lineup. For reference/fun, below is a table with the highest swinging strike totals within a start, dating back to the beginning of the PITCHf/x era (2008, plus plenty of 2007 games).

#    Pitcher            Opponent  Date           Swinging Strikes
1    Johan Santana       TEX       2007-08-19     32
2    Tim Lincecum        ATL       2010-10-07     31
3    Francisco Liriano   OAK       2012-07-13     30     
4    John Smoltz         ARI       2007-08-19     29
5    CC Sabathia         TBA       2012-06-07     27
6    Johan Santana       TEX       2007-05-22     27  
7    Max Scherzer        PIT       2012-05-20     26       
8    Brandon Morrow      CLE       2010-05-05     26       
9    Chris Sale          TBA       2012-05-28     26
10   Clay Buchholz       TEX       2010-04-22     26

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3 Comments on "Contextualizing Liriano’s start against Oakland"

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Ed DeCaria
Ed DeCaria

Really interesting, Lucas. I had no idea what the “record” (PITCHf/x era) for swinging strikes was, or who would have held it. Great post of this Top 10 list. Thanks!

I was at the game and he was even more dominate than the four runs would lead you to believe. One hit was a weak infield single. Then Denard. span dropped an easy fly ball when he was transferring the ball from his glove to his throwing hand.  That error should’ve been out number two. This seemed to rattle Liriano, who then walked the next batter. Then came the grand slam. If he wouldnt have been rattled by the error and thrown out of rhythm by the long delay for the Umps to huddle about the error, then for Gardy… Read more »

Johan Santana against Texas on the list TWICE! I realize a lot has changed since 2007, but if I’m the Mets I at least consider this for 2013 when all teams will be playing against each other in interleague play.