Francisco Liriano Strikes Out Nine in Pirates Debut
By Tom Smith
29-year-old Francisco Liriano made his return to the big leagues against the New York Mets and struckout nine while giving up six hits. It was just what the Bucs needed.
Liriano threw 90 pitches with 57 going for strikes. The southpaw couldn’t get out of the sixth inning giving up a couple hits, but the Pirates had busted out 16 hits for a season-high and staked the Dominican to a big lead. Jordy Mercer homered twice to ensure that he doesn’t get sent to Triple-A upon Neil Walker’s return tomorrow.
Joe Tabata also stayed hot–Tabata only missed hitting for the cyle due to missing a triple. The Bucs outfielder had four hits on the day as the Pirates blasted the Mets 11-2.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting some sick work from their starters in the month of May and should be piling up wins. The left-hander came back from breaking his arm during a Christmas prank with his children.
The rehab starts were impressive, but piling up nine strikeouts in a big league game is something Pirates fans have been waiting to see. The fastball velocity was strong throughout the five plus innings. Adding Liriano to the Bucs starting rotation is going to be a very important move, especially when he can make starts at PNC Park.
The wildness that has typically been associated with a Frank Liriano start were not shown. Liriano walked two. Over his career, the Pirates starter has thrown 840 innings in the American League, with 141 starts. He has 846 career strikeouts compared to 356 walks, or more than a strikeout an inning.
Yesterday in New York, Liriano boosted that average.
And it was glorious to see.