Liz faces media a day after rough start
Righty left clubhouse without speaking after Saturday's game
BOSTON -- Radhames Liz met the media with dignity and grace on Sunday, eloquently describing what went wrong for him in a disastrous start at Fenway Park on Saturday night. Liz had left the clubhouse Saturday without discussing his evening on the mound, a fact that drew a rebuke from manager Dave Trembley but allowed the starter to collect his emotions.
"This was maybe the worst game I ever had, even in the Minor Leagues," Liz said Sunday. "I think last night, I really came with good stuff. My slider and my changeup were good, but I think in the third inning, I may have tried to do too much.
"I got out of my mind when I got men on base. But everything was great, and I felt good with my fastball, my slider and my changeup. When I gave up a base hit with my slider, I started trying to pitch too perfect and trying to hit the corners. I think I should've stayed with what I was doing, but everything in the game made me go that way."
Liz allowed eight earned runs but recorded only seven outs, and he said he basically beat himself and let the game get away from him. Instead of pressing harder after allowing the first of three home runs, Liz said that he should've settled down and made the Red Sox beat him instead of trying to make each pitch as perfect as possible.
"Every time you go out there and you do something, you learn from it. Sometimes you don't do it right away, but next time you go out there, you say, 'I'm not going to do that anymore,'" he said. "I know I've got the stuff. I know I've got a great curveball. I know I've got a great changeup. People talk about my fastball, because I've got a good fastball. I know I can throw strikes, because I've done it before. It's just sometimes, I've got to be more smart and use my mind instead of my body."
Pitching coach Rick Kranitz has tried to underline those lessons all season, and he said he was pleased with the way Liz carried himself Sunday. There were no excuses, no sulking and no attempt to pass the blame onto anyone else.
"His head was up. He wasn't shying away from anything," said Kranitz. "I know it can be tough, but the good ones all do it. It's just like we talked about today: You've got to move on. And you learn from that. It's not so embarrassing for that club to do that to you, because they do it to a lot of guys. But you've got to learn from it. And you'd better learn from it."
Kranitz went on to say that taking your lumps is part of the natural progression for a young pitcher and part of how they learn to get better. And it's natural, he said, to get out of your comfort zone when faced with a little adversity.
"That's what young guys do," Kranitz said. "They try to do more than what they need to do to get hitters out. Especially a good team, when you've got one good batter after another, the more pressure you put on yourself to get the job done. You've got to be in control of the situation, and you can't let the situation control you. You have to slow the game down and understand what you have to do. And when you don't, things go fast and the next thing you know, you're just throwing instead of pitching."
Liz also said that he felt his mechanics slipping as the game wore on, and he felt himself falling toward first base out of his windup. But he was powerless to make the adjustment, and Boston just kept on hitting him hard.
Regardless of what happened on the mound, Trembley pulled Liz into his office Sunday and reminded him of his responsibilities to the media and to the paying public. Liz may not have to like it, but he has to do it just like all of his peers.
"I may not like having to come out here all the time and talk every day," said Trembley of his closed-door interaction with the rookie pitcher. "But it's an obligation, a responsibility that you have, and you have to take the bitter with the sweet. You've got to be able to handle it with some dignity, and I think that's how you get respect. It's how you deal with people and how you deal with bad times as well as good times, and if you're not able to do that, I think an adjustment is in order.
"It's one thing to say you're a big leaguer, it's another to be one, and that's probably more important to me than anything. It means something to put on a Baltimore Orioles jersey, and it means something how you act and how you represent the city, the people. So Liz should be better. If Liz didn't apologize to you, I'll be disappointed, because he should have."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.