A big improvement for the Pirates starting rotation relies on Francisco Liriano. He struggled in the first half posting a 5-8 record with a 5.15 ERA in 17 starts. That is something unexpected from the guy who went 12-7 last year with an ERA of 3.38.
He’s a guy who relies on getting swings and misses on pitches out of the zone with his slider. His K-rate is down this year from 9.88 per 9 innings to 9.08, which isn’t bad. The walk rate is up. Way up.
Liriano leads all of baseball in walks. He has 62 of them in 105.1 innings pitched. 5.30 BB/9. Not good.
His first two starts of the second half have been very promising though. Against Washington in the first game after the break he gave up 3 earned on 5 hits over 6 innings. Only downside to that start was the 4 walks that came with it. He struck out 5 that day as well.
What I liked about that game was the 14 ground balls he generated against 26 batters faced with only 3 fly balls. The Pirates went on to lose and Liriano wound up with his 9th loss but the way he got out of a couple early jams was very promising.
Liriano had his second start since the break last night in Pittsburgh against the Brewers. Man, it was like watching another pitcher. He struck out 13 through 6 and 2/3 on 103 pitches and 0 walks. Only 4 hits, 1 of them being a home run, and 2 earned runs. He ran into a bit of a jam in the 7th inning, but Neftali Feliz came in and got him out of it.
That was something all Pittsburgh fans were very happy to see. Sure it was against a struggled Milwaukee lineup, but an outing like that can turn your confidence back around instantly. I’m excited to see how he builds on it next week.