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Updated: July 18th, 2012 9:07pm
Numbers Game: Francisco Liriano is the most untouchable starter in MLB

Numbers Game: Francisco Liriano is the most untouchable starter in MLB

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano turned in yet another magnificent performance on Wednesday night, striking out 10 Baltimore Orioles hitters in six innings while allowing only two runs.

Since returning to the starting rotation on May 30, Liriano owns a 2.84 ERA with 77 strikeouts, 28 walks and only 38 hits allowed (three home runs) in 63 1/3 innings.

Even before baffling Baltimore hitters, Liriano entered Wednesday as the single most difficult pitcher to make contact off of -- and that includes his abysmal start to the season.

Among starters who have thrown at least 80 innings this season, no one has induced a higher percentage of swings and misses than Liriano.

Contact rate against:

Francisco Liriano -- 69%
Stephen Strasburg -- 73%
Tim Lincecum -- 73%
Cole Hamels -- 74%
Johan Santana -- 74%
Yu Darvish -- 74%
Edinson Volquez -- 75%
Max Scherzer -- 75%
Jeff Samardzija -- 75%
Justin Verlander -- 75%
CC Sabathia -- 75%
R.A. Dickey -- 76%
-------
Derek Lowe -- 87%
Tommy Hunter -- 88%
Henderson Alvarez -- 90%
Kevin Correia -- 90%
Bartolo Colon -- 91%

For Liriano, that rate only improved on Wednesday night when he induced 18 swings and misses out of 41 cuts taken by Orioles hitters (66% contact rate).

Liriano has now induced at least 12 swings and misses in 10 consecutive starts. The rest of the Twins staff has combined for only three such games all season.

A lack of command is the main reason why Liriano struggles with consistency. But the above list of pitchers is some pretty special company.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Francisco Liriano
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