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Francisco Liriano strikes out 13 in latest gem

Aug 20, 2013, 1:19 AM EDT

Francisco Liriano Getty Images

The Pirates made the best free agent signing of last winter when they inked Francisco Liriano to a two-year contract, though it nearly fell apart because of an injury to Liriano’s non-throwing arm.

That injury caused the deal to be knocked down to $12.75 million from its original $14 million and it resulted in Liriano spending the first 40 days of the season on the DL, but he’s been lights out since returning, allowing one or no runs in 13 of his 19 starts, including five of his last six (though he did give up 10 runs in 2 1/3 innings in the other).

Liriano’s latest gem Monday saw him strike out 13 batters over seven scoreless innings in a defeat of the Padres. It was the second highest strikeout total of his career (he fanned 15 against the A’s last July). He improved to 14-5 with a 2.53 ERA on the season.

The Twins have to be shaking their heads to see Liriano experiencing such success. He went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA for Minnesota and the White Sox last year. Though the Twins practically gave him away in a deadline deal, they weighed re-signing him last winter. Still, they weren’t going to offer him more than a one-year deal. The Pirates went two years and are thrilled that they did, considering that Liriano might be this winter’s No. 2 free agent starter behind Matt Garza (another ex-Twin) if he were back on the market. Despite the late start, Liriano has 126 strikeouts in 121 innings this season. The Twins’ strikeout leader is Kevin Correia with 80 in 140 2/3 IP.

  1. edelmanfanclub - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Rooting for the Pirates, their fans really deserve a postseason. Liriano has always had filthy stuff, he justs needs to be right mentally, and never attempt to prank his kids again.

    • Francisco (FC) - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:40 AM

      So he’s just pranking the twins now?

      • moogro - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        Yes. Pitch to no-contact.

  2. Stiller43 - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    “The Twins’ strikeout leader is Kevin Correia with 80 in 140 2/3 IP.”

    YIKES. When Correia is leading you in strikeouts, youve got SERIOUS problems. He’s a 4/5 starter to begin with, and even then, hes NOT a strikeout guy.

    • jhorton83 - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:35 AM

      He’s also 2nd in starter ERA with a 4.61 among their pitchers with more than 3 starts. Ouch. The Twins’ “ace” is a guy that the Pirates relegated to the bullpen last season because he wasn’t even good enough to be their #5 starter. Must be brutal to be a Twins fan.

      • twinsapologist - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        :'(

  3. Stiller43 - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Its kinda funny, because while the pirates STILL lead the NLC (by 1 game at, 73-51), the talk on radio is people diving off the bandwagon. I certainly dont know how to feel about them…they dont score, and their pitching mostly seems to be running out of magic.

    They’ll break their sub .500 streak this yead (only 8 wins to go!!!!), but im not too confident on them doing anything in the playoffs, unless wandy comes back strong, and locke gets back to his first half shape (maybe then cole can come out strong from the BP).

    Either way, it will be the first +.500 season since i was 4…LETS GO BUCCOS!!!

    • dan1111 - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:12 AM

      The skepticism of Pirates fans is understandable, given the decades of futility and two late-season collapses in a row. However, this team is much stronger than previous teams. I have more hope for them than you do.

      While they have stumbled lately, unless they completely collapse, they won’t miss the play-offs. That would require Arizona coming from 8.5 games back to pass them for the second wild card.

      As for the playoffs, anything can happen, obviously. But Pittsburgh has the potential to be a strong playoff team, in my opinion. A couple of dominant starters and a good bullpen can go far. And, while the number of runs their offense has scored is disappointing, they are about average by OPS+ and above average by advanced measures like WAR. The offense may not be great, but it is much more balanced than past offenses, and good enough to support good pitching.

    • wretchu - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Well to be fair to the radio analysts, the Pirates have certainly been swooning over the past few weeks. The only reason they’re in first right now is because St. Louis swooned even harder and lost 7 straight including 4 to Pittsburgh. The Cardinals and Reds are starting to put things back together a bit, and the Pirates are still struggling.

      Now I’m a Cards fan, and while certainly I want St. Louis to pass Pittsburgh, I absolutely would like to see the Buccos break the losing season streak. That’s just a LONG time to go without a winning team. I think they’ll also make the playoffs, but I’m not sure how well they’ll do. The pitching has been great, but the offense not so much. And while great pitching beats great hitting, you can’t win a game without scoring any runs either. If I had to predict how things will end, I would think Pittsburgh wins the Wild Card and beats the Reds in the play-in game, then falls to Atlanta in 4 in the NLDS. Which after 20 years of losing that’s still a very respectable ending, and certainly makes the team more dangerous in the next few years as they get more experience as a team.

  4. yankeepunk3000 - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:36 AM

    I know he was in a incentive type deal that could be worth 12 mil. how much has he earned of the deal anyone know?

  5. pbastille - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Imagine what this article would sound like if Gleeman wrote it…

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