MINNEAPOLIS After Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano struck out a career-high 15 batters Friday against Oakland, he credited part of it to being on the same page as catcher Drew Butera. Statistically speaking, there's something to that.
Liriano has indeed pitched better with Butera behind the plate this season compared to when Joe Mauer or Ryan Doumit catches. Liriano has a 2.70 ERA in 11 games with Butera catching him, compared to an 8.75 ERA with seven games as Mauer as his catcher and a 10.57 ERA in two games with Doumit behind the plate.
Each catcher calls a game differently, and the Twins are a baseball rarity in that they currently have three catchers on their roster. Butera doesn't provide as much offensively as Doumit or Mauer -- he's batting just .231 with four RBI in 24 games prior to Sunday -- but his teammates laud him for his ability to call a game and his defensive work behind the plate.
"Drew works really well with just about anybody you put out ...