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Francisco Liriano goes from Comeback Player of the Year to winless after 10 starts

May 21, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT

liriano getty Getty Images

Twins fans have seen this before from Francisco Liriano and now Pirates fans are seeing it too. Great. Terrible. Great. Terrible. Repeat as needed.

Liriano was a huge part of Pittsburgh’s rise to the playoffs last season, going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings on the way to the Comeback Player of the Year award. And now this season he’s 0-4 with a 4.86 ERA through 10 starts, serving up seven homers already after allowing a total of nine homers in 26 starts last year.

Compared to last season Liriano’s average fastball velocity is down from 93.0 miles per hour to 92.0 miles per hour, and both his slider and changeup are down about the same speed. However, he’s actually generating more ground balls and more swinging strikes than last season and his secondary numbers suggest he’s pitched more like a 3.50 ERA guy than a 4.86 ERA guy so far if luck were to even out.

Pittsburgh desperately needs Liriano to pitch like he did last season if they’re going to dig out of this early 18-26 hole and while he’s been frustrating to watch so far there’s reason to believe he can get back on track.

  1. chiadam - May 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Back to reality for the Pirates, and time to start building for 2033.

  2. bisonaudit - May 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    I thought I also heard he’d been getting the worst run support in the league in addition to his ERA not matching up with his peripheral stats.

  3. apkyletexas - May 21, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    The fact that they haven’t hit for most of the season hasn’t helped much. Liriano isn’t going to pull Pedro Alvarez’s batting average up from the Mendoza line. But, he has been giving up big innings – needs to do better. But even if he does, he’s not likely to pick up many wins without some run support. The team leader in ERA and WHIP is Charlie Morton – whose W-L record is 0-6 so far this season.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    He must have forgotten how to win. Maybe lost some grit over the winter? Maybe if he pitched to the score more, although that is tough when your team’s score is constantly zero.

    • apkyletexas - May 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      No, it’s usually 1 or 2. But not much more than 0.

      • mangoman1966 - May 21, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        They did squat over the winter to address their hitting problems. I knew that last year was a onetime thing. Too cheap to even give their top minor league player a look see

  5. jrbdmb - May 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    This guy’s been taking too many lessons from Jeff Samardzija (0-4, 1.62 ERA). Another pitcher who just doesn’t know how to win.

    • toodrunktotastethischicken - May 21, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      He knows how to win, it’s the bats behind him that took the day off.

  6. musketmaniac - May 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    There’s no reason to panic in Pittsburgh, We’re not clicking. No major injuries, a lot of little ones. Cutch is fine, walker is having a good year. The rest of the team just needs to improve a little. my biggest problem is defense, we were stingy last year.

  7. paperlions - May 21, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    The entire difference between last year and this year is the homers. He has been far more homer prone, which has knocked is LOB% down from 77% to 69%…..going from giving up 0.35 HR/start to 0.7 HR/start will have a huge effect on runs allowed…add that to the fact that is averaging about 1 IP less per start…and this is what you get.

  8. dluxxx - May 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    I’d still take him over Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correa…. And probably Ricky Nolasco as well…

    • strictlythedanks - May 21, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Same, but no doubt the dudes career has been a roller coaster

  9. racksie - May 21, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Yes, Aaron, we as Twinsfans all put in a few years of believing he could turn it around. He did last year by simply pitching for his incentive laden contract. That then rolled over into this years $7 million deal. And this year he gets to coast to his money again. And this is the Liriano you see when that happens. Perhaps a “prank” plowing into a bathroom door is in order….

  10. musketmaniac - May 22, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    We will see in September

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