Francisco Liriano just keeps rolling for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The big left-hander struck out nine and walked just one Chicago Cubs batter to rack up his third win in three starts for the Bucs. Three starts. Three wins.
The southpaw fired 15 of 26 first pitch strikes. Over seven innings, Liriano cruised and threw 91 pitches.
“Tonight Frank got twelve guys out on three pitches or less.” Clint Hurdle
Hurdle was pleased with the work from Liriano and seemed to gush about the work he did as the Buccos grabbed another series win and went to ten games over five hundred at 28-18.
“There is enough thump to his fastball that you can’t sit soft late..you try to pick one.” Hurdle
The Pirates pitching staff chalked up it’s seventh shutout of the season. Tony Watson worked the seventh and Mark Melancon closed out the game for his first save as a member of the shark tank. The Pirates had ten shutouts all of last season.
“We’ve been getting more distance, and we are going to need more distance. The swing and miss stuff is going to play, but we re-visited the two seam fastball and it worked.” Hurdle
In his first two starts against the Mets and Brewers, Liriano was strong. But he didn’t reach six innings. Last night, all that changed putting down 14 of 15 Cubs at one point. When he loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning thanks to a Cody Ransom single, a Pirates error and his lone walk–Lirano used his secondary pitches to get off the hook.
The secondary pitches were wipeout for Liriano–as we watched the game on delay–we saw seven punchouts thanks to offspeed pitches. The delivery tweak, a fastball with new life and oh, that wipeout slider has played well for the Bucs offseason acquisition.
By now, you know the Liriano story. He was a phenom as a 22-year old with the Twins back in 2006 when he piled up 12 wins with an ERA just over 2. But phenom-dom was derailed by Tommy John surgery in 2007. It was never the same. Well until he put on the black and yellow for the Bucs in 2013.
How pissed would you be if you were Jeff Samardzija? The shark pitched really well, but it was no match for Frank. The. Tank.