Francisco Liriano

PitPittsburgh Pirates
Francisco Liriano
Jun 27: Liriano (4-8) gave up five runs (four earned) in just 4.1 innings during Monday's loss to the Dodgers, allowing four hits and five walks with just three strikeouts. Liriano was handed a four-run lead in the first inning, but was once again done in by a lack of control as he and reliever Jared Hughes allowed the Dodgers to mount a comeback. The disgruntled lefty has now walked 29 batters in his last seven appearances, while failing to last more than six innings in any of those outings. It's tough to trust Liriano regardless of opposition right now, so expectations should be low if he makes his next scheduled start for the Pirates on Sunday in Oakland.

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Jun 22: Liriano (4-7) pitched five innings, allowing four runs on six hits while walking three and striking out six in a no-decision against the Giants on Wednesday. Liriano continues to disappoint owners, tossing another lackluster game and remaining winless in his last five starts. The veteran has been hampered by control issues throughout the campaign, and now owns an alarming 86:52 K:BB through 78 innings (14 starts). In his first three seasons with the Pirates, Liriano posted a cool 3.26 ERA, but this year, his fourth with the club, he owns an unsightly 5.17 ERA.

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Jun 17: Liriano (4-7) gave up six hits, four earned runs and five walks over 5.2 innings in Friday's 6-0 loss to the Cubs. He struck out six. Despite notching 12 swinging strikes, Liriano had considerable trouble with location overall, and notched first-pitch strikes on only 12 of 30 hitters. He also hit Anthony Rizzo twice, and his five free passes matched a season high. The loss was the fourth straight for the 32-year-old southpaw, who also saw his ERA climb to 5.03 and his WHIP reach an unsightly 1.62. Liriano has lost six of his last seven starts overall, and will try to stop the bleeding next Wednesday versus the Giants.

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Jun 11: Liriano (4-6) allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits, struck out eight and walked three in a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday. Nothing seems to be going right for the 32-year-old left-hander. Liriano's biggest problem is not as many hitters are swinging and missing on his pitches outside the zone. He came into Saturday with an overall 10.2 percent swinging-strike rate, which is 4.0 percent lower than his swing-and-miss rate last year. On Saturday, he induced 16 swinging-strikes, but a wild pitch, passed ball and then a three-run homer in the fifth unhinged his start. Homers have been another issue, as he is allowing more than 1.0 HR/9 than last year. He will try to correct these problems in his next outing on Friday versus the Cubs.

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Jun 7: Liriano's next start has been pushed to Saturday against the Cardinals, Alan Sanders of the Associated Press reports. With the Pirates needing six starters in the span of five days thanks to Tuesday's doubleheader, Jameson Taillon will be recalled to start Wednesday, giving the struggling Liriano a couple extra days rest. While Liriano has had a rough go of things this year against most teams, he has a 1.38 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings against the Cardinals this year, so hopefully he can continue his success against the Red Birds this weekend.

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Jun 5: The Pirates have no plans to skip the struggling Liriano in the rotation, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports. "He's not been the guy we're used to, but we're also thinking he's not that far away," GM Neal Huntington said Sunday. Liriano leads the major leagues with 38 walks (in 61.2 innings). "When Francisco is working ahead in the count, he's getting hitters into swing mode," Huntington said. "That's the pitcher that's been so effective for us. When it's ball one and ball two, hitters are able to eliminate his weapons." The lefty allowed six earned runs at PNC Park on Saturday, after previously giving up four earned runs combined in four home starts. His next matchup comes against a Mets team that struggles against southpaws. If Liriano can find some semblance of control, he could rebound quickly.

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Jun 3: Liriano said he's healthy after Friday's game against the Angels, the latest in a series of disappointing starts this season, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. In addition to struggling with control (four walks), Liriano was touched up for seven runs -- six earned -- on 10 hits over 3.1 innings Friday night. His season ERA now sits at 5.25, but Liriano's velocity is right in line with his 2015 levels, which suggests that his assertion of being healthy is an accurate one. There has been no indication from the Pirates that his role in the rotation is in jeopardy, but Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow remain in the pipeline at Triple-A.

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May 29: Liriano (4-4) tossed six innings during Sunday's loss to the Rangers, in which he allowed five runs on six hits and four walks while fanning six. Liriano's problems with walks continued in this outing, and he's now issued 15 free passes in his last four starts. One positive, however, is that he struck out more than five batters for the first time in his last three outings. His ERA rose to 4.63, and he will look to bounce back in his next start against the Angels on Friday.

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May 24: Liriano (4-3) beat the Diamondbacks with 5.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits and walking five while striking out two. Control problems shortened Liriano's outing, but he still had no problem racking up his fourth win as the Pirates offense delivered twelve runs of support. He's lucky it didn't cost him this time, but the southpaw has been begging for trouble with 11 free passes in his last three starts. Liriano will have to iron things out quickly if he wants to beat the Rangers in Arlington on Sunday.

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May 19: Liriano (3-3) pitched seven quality innings Wednesday, but took the loss, allowing two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four against the Braves. The left-hander returned to form after a rough outing in Chicago last week, but lost his second consecutive game. Liriano's outing is encouraging considering his ERA has been on the rise since throwing six shutout innings on Opening Day. He'll look to build off this one when he toes the rubber next against the Diamondbacks at home on Tuesday.

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May 13: Liriano (3-2) was torched for eight runs on nine hits while walking four and striking out seven over just 4.2 innings in a 9-4 loss to the Cubs on Friday afternoon. The wildly - literally - inconsistent Liriano needed 98 pitches (just 54 strikes), putting 13 runners on base and serving up three long balls. He can be dominating when he is throwing strikes, especially with his slider, but when he can't hit his target with regularity the wheels can come off quickly. He'll carry an ugly 4.99 ERA into his next start at home against the anemic Braves lineup in hopes of getting back on track, but the results, even against a weaker opponent, might be nearly impossible to predict.

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May 6: Liriano struck out 10 St. Louis batters Friday, hurling seven innings of two-run ball. He gave up five hits and two walks in his finest performance of the young season. The southpaw threw 70 of 98 pitches for strikes and helped to end Pittsburgh's four-game losing streak. After a shaky April, Liriano has lowered both his ERA (3.60) and WHIP (1.37) in 35 innings. He's totaled 13.2 innings over his last two starts, winning both decisions.

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May 1: Liriano (2-1) surrendered five hits and an earned run over 6.2 innings in Saturday's 5-1 victory over the Reds. He struck out six. The Pirates' ace turned in his best performance since Opening Day, surrendering less than three earned runs for the first time since that outing. He reached a new high-water mark in pitch count (109) but was relatively sharp, getting 72 of those offerings across the strike zone. The most encouraging aspects of his effort may well have been the fact that he surrendered neither a homer or free pass, after having yielded a pair of gopher balls in each of his last two starts and multiple walks in all four previous appearances this season.

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Apr 25: Liriano gave up four runs on five hits -- including two homers -- and three walks while striking out six in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. The lefty entered Sunday's tilt with 14 walks in 15.1 innings, so while this was an improvement, it was still worse than his 3.38 BB/9 in 2015. He also threw 59 of 97 pitches for strikes, another season best in four starts. Liriano has typically struggled in April -- he holds a career 5.83 ERA and 1.51 WHIP -- but his improved control Sunday and history of pitching better in warmer weather due to a better feel for his change-up should give fantasy owners reasons for optimism.

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Apr 24: Liriano was touched up in Sunday's start at the Diamondbacks, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out six and did not factor into the decision. The lefty did his best to limit baserunners in the face of a tough matchup, but he yielded a pair of home runs that accounted for all of the scoring against him on the day. Liriano has now failed to deliver a quality start in any of his last three attempts, thanks in part to his unsightly 6.45 ERA and 1.82 WHIP during that time. He performed well at PNC Park in his first start of the year but has not appeared at home since, and he will look to turn things around Friday as Pittsburgh hosts the Reds.

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Apr 22: Liriano, who has walked 14 batters in 15.1 innings, worked on his mechanics with pitching coach Ray Searage on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. "He's got to make sure that he commits to his front side, that front arm, and he's got to keep his head on line," Searage said. "If he keeps his head on line all the way through and finishes the pitch, then he can pull off. But if he has that pull-off as he's coming down, it knocks off his timing and his release point." When Liriano lets go of the ball when it's still beside his head, he sprays pitches in and often outside the strike zone. "It's a starburst," Searage said. When Liriano's release point is in front of his face, the ball goes where is should. "Then it's a ball of energy," Searage noted. The impact of Searage's instruction will be apparent Sunday when Liriano is slated to start against the Diamondbacks.

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Apr 19: Liriano (hamstring) lasted just 4.1 innings while giving up four earned runs on six hits and five walks in San Diego on Tuesday to fall to 1-1. Liriano hasn't been able to pitch deep into games due to control problems, as his 14 walks through three starts have limited the lefty to 15.1 innings pitched. While he only got 13 outs, the fact that Liriano was allowed to throw a season-high 100 pitches in this one indicates that he is likely over the hamstring injury that forced him to skip his last turn in the rotation. Assuming he's healthy, the veteran's next start should be Sunday in Arizona.

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Apr 17: Liriano (hamstring) will take the mound for his scheduled start Tuesday against the Padres. Liriano was scratched from his previous start due to a minor hamstring issue but recently stated that he felt good and would be ready to go. Manager Clint Hurdle has now confirmed as such, and the veteran southpaw will now prepare to face a Padres club that's struggled to scratch across runs other than a two-game explosion in which they scored 29 of their 44 on the season prior to Sunday's action. Liriano should be set up well for another strong outing Tuesday, and should be deployed normally in both season-long and daily lineups.

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Apr 17: Liriano (hamstring) expects to start Tuesday in San Diego, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports. "Now everything feels great," Liriano said. "I'll be ready to go on Tuesday. Try to go out there, go the deepest I can, execute pitches and go from there." The lefty, who has missed one turn in the rotation, said his hamstring felt tight during a bullpen session in Cincinnati. In two starts before getting hurt, Liriano compiled a 2.45 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 11 innings, though he's issued nine walks and thrown just 52.7 percent (97 of 184) of his pitches for strikes. After facing the Padres on Tuesday, he'll likely pitch against the Diamondbacks in Arizona next Sunday.

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Apr 13: Liriano said Wednesday that he believes his hamstring issue is "minor," Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. He revealed that the hamstring discomfort, which resulted in his scratch from his scheduled outing Wednesday, first surfaced during his between-starts bullpen session in Cincinnati. Ryan Vogelsong will toe the rubber against the Tigers in Liriano's absence. The Pirates are labeling Liriano as day-to-day, but a date for his next start remains up in the air.

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Apr 12: Liriano (hamstring) has been scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday against Detroit, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The Pirates' ace was slated to take the ball Wednesday in Detroit, but some lingering pain in his right hamstring will cause him to miss that scheduled outing. The team is officially referring to Liriano as day-to-day for now, but it's unclear when he'll take the hill next. Ryan Vogelsong is set to start in Liriano's place Wednesday.

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Apr 8: Liriano limited the Reds to three earned runs on five hits and four walks in five innings Friday. He struck out three and plunked one batter. He struggled with his control on a bitter cold night in Cincinnati, throwing only 47 of 90 pitches for strikes. Liriano has helped himself out at the dish, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI in his first two starts. In the end, fantasy owners need to exercise a modicum of patience with the southpaw, who entered Friday with a career earned-run average of 5.29 in April -- his worst monthly mark.

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Apr 5: Liriano will make his next start Friday versus Cincinnati, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Liriano was originally expected to pitch Sunday, but he'll instead pitch on regular rest and probably face Alfredo Simon. With this development, Gerrit Cole's start will be bumped to Saturday and Jeff Locke will pitch Sunday.

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Apr 4: Liriano (1-0) picked up the win in Sunday's Opening Day victory over the Cardinals, allowing three hits and five walks while striking out 10 over six shutout innings. The 10 Ks tied John Candelaria's franchise record for strikeouts on Opening Day. Liriano's control wasn't exactly sharp, as he threw only 50 of 94 pitches for strikes, but the Cards couldn't make any hard contact against him. His next start is scheduled for Sunday in Cincinnati.

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Mar 11: Liriano will start Opening Day against the Cardinals, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The Pirates will give the veteran Liriano the nod over 25-year-old Gerrit Cole, who has been delayed by a rib injury. It will mark Liriano's third straight Opening Day start. Liriano recently said that he's looking to top 200 innings this season for the first time in his career.

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Feb 23: Liriano is looking to top 200 innings pitched for the first time in his career in 2016. "This year, my goal is to throw at least 200 innings," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I want to throw fewer pitches per inning so I can throw at least 200 innings." Liriano, whose 3.4 BB/9 IP was his best mark since 2010, averaged 16 pitches per inning last season. The southpaw has compiled a 35-25 mark, 3.26 ERA, and 1.24 WHIP in three seasons for Pittsburgh, averaging 181 strikeouts. The Pirates would like to see Liriano approach 200 innings, especially given the lack of reliable fourth or fifth starters, but simply keeping the lefty healthy for another 30 starts would be a feat in and of itself.

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