Francisco Liriano and Travis Bowyer are used to pitching on the same team. On Sunday, the two Rochester Red Wings were pitching for completely different nations. Liriano and the World Team would blank the U.S. Team 4-0 in the 2005 Future Stars Game, but both pitcher made the Twins organization proud.
Liriano got the start for the World Team and showed Minor League Baseball why he was promoted to Class AAA in June. Francisco would throw a perfect first inning, striking out one batter. That is not an easy task, especially when you are facing the best Minor League players the United States has to offer.
Liriano would set down Kevin Thompson of the Yankees system, B.J. Upton from the Tampa Bay system who many think is a Major League ready player, and slugger Conor Jackson of the Arizona Diamonbacks system. Jackson would be the one to fall victim to a Liriano strikeout, as the World Team set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
On the losing end of the Future Stars game was Rochester closer Travis Bowyer. Pitching the last inning as usual, Bowyer struggled a bit but still struck out two World Team hitters. On the day, he walked one and allowed one hit, but still refused to allow a run.
Some would say both Bowyer and Liriano are ready for a taste of the bigs right now. Liriano is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA since his call-up and Bowyer is leading the International League in saves. If he gets more seasoning, Liriano could find himself in the Twins rotation by next season. With Santana, the Twins would have two left-handed starters, something rare in the Major Leagues.
You can catch Travis Bowyer as he represents the Rochester Red Wings in the Triple-A All-Star game on July 13 in Sacramento. He will be joined by fellow reliever Willie Eyre and Manager Phil Roof. The game will be televised from Raley Field on ESPN2.