CLEVELAND -- The July 28 acquisition of Francisco Liriano from the Minnesota Twins was not solely designed to push the White Sox into the postseason. Adding the talented left-handed hurler, after coming up short on prying loose Zack Greinke from Milwaukee despite an exhaustive effort, was aimed at strengthening the White Sox top-notch rotation to compete with any team on the path to the World Series. Liriano was also expected to lighten the workload for a young bullpen by working deep into games and take a little pressure off rookie Jose Quintana and first-year starter Chris Sale, who had blown by their single-season high-water mark for innings pitched. It's now two months later, and Liriano will finish the season completely removed from the starting five. He has not started or appeared in a game since Sept. 25, when Liriano gave up four runs on seven hits over 3 2/3 innings in a home loss to Cleveland.
In a game Monday where the White Sox were clinging to their long-shot playoff hopes, the team went with rookie Hector Santiago in his fourth Major League start over Liriano. So, went wrong during Liriano's Chicago stint? To Liriano's credit, he has not hid from the problems. He didn't get the job done by posting a 5.40 ERA over 12 games and 11 starts for the White Sox, and understands why they have reduced his workload. "They were trying to find a way to win a ballgame, and I wasn't doing my job," said Liriano, who was traded for utility infielder Eduardo Escobar and Minor League left-hander Pedro Hernandez. "I was just walking people, getting behind in the count. "For the games that I pitched well, or pitched better, those are the games that I don't walk that many guys. It's when I walk a lot of guys that I get myself in trouble, missing my spot, and sometimes I just missed it by an inch." Issuing free passes has been a year-long problem for Liriano, who has walked 87 over 156 2/3 innings. His plan is to regroup by playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and work on trying to find a consistent release point. He'll then tackle free agency, where Liriano would like to find a job as a starting pitcher -- albeit a more consistent one than he showed with the White Sox. "Yeah, I'm disappointed in myself," said Liriano, who still has enjoyed his time with the White Sox. "They believed in me. They gave me the chance to help the team win some ballgames and I didn't. I tried to do my best. I gave it all I got. It didn't happen." "Maybe a little bit of that [not finding the zone]," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of what went wrong for Liriano. "You go through periods where you are trying to do a lot to prove the trade and things like that."