Francisco Liriano has struggled through some tough moments in 2014 as he has tried to follow up a fine 2013 campaign for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The bad news continued on Tuesday night as he was forced to exit the game early with an apparent injury.
Tom Singer and Stephen Pianovich of MLB.com report the following:
“After his 55th pitch of the night, Liriano walked to the back of the mound, indicating something was wrong. A trainer took a look and talked with Liriano, who threw a few warmup pitches after the consult, but decided he could no longer pitch.”
Entering the night Liriano was 1-6 with a 4.54 ERA. While his stuff has been effective enough to keep his strikeout rate at about the same clip (9.5 K/9), his problems have largely stemmed from his troubles commanding his pitches. He is walking more than a hitter more per nine innings (4.7 BB/9) than he did last year.
Unfortunately the inconsistency that has returned and plagued Liriano this season has characterized most of his big league career. For an illustration of that fact, look at his 2012 and 2013 seasons side by side:
- 2012: 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games (28 of them as a starter)
- 2013: 16-8 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 starts
Liriano always has wipeout stuff; unfortunately he just can’t always make it work for him. Side injuries, depending on how serious, can become lingering problems in baseball. That is especially true if you hear the dreaded “oblique” word.
The timing is not great in Pittsburgh as they are already without Gerrit Cole due to a shoulder issue. The Pirates will wait for further word on the status of Liriano and hope that they can keep a big league rotation in tact as they slowly creep out of the basement of the NL Central.