3 Takeaways From The Pittsburgh Pirates Series Victory Over The A’s
Quietly, Francisco Liriano has been really good
On February 4th, the Pittsburgh Pirates and veteran lefty Francisco Liriano agreed to terms on a minor league contract. Liriano’s contract was worth $1.8 million if he made the MLB roster, and includes an additional $1.5 million in incentives.
While it is unknown what those incentives are, Liriano appears to be in good shape to earn them. Because so far this season he has pitched effectively for the Pirates.
When the team signed its former ace to be a lefty out of the bullpen there were plenty of questions about his ability to throw enough strikes to be effective. Liriano’s control has not been perfect this season, but more often than not he has hit his spots. Liriano currently owns a 8.2% walk rate, which would be his lowest since 2010.
After pitching 2 innings in Friday night’s blowout loss, Liriano pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th inning in Sunday afternoon’s victory. When the team needed him to be flawless on Sunday, he responded by retiring all six batters he faced. He has now pitched 14 2/3 innings this season, he has struck out 17 batters, he’s allowed just one home run, and he owns a 1.23 ERA and a 2.72 FIP.
The biggest reason Liriano was signed was to negate left-handed hitters. So far this season, he has dominated LHHs. LHHs are 2-for-13 with two walks, six strikeouts, and zero extra base hits off of Liriano.
Liriano has had some issues with inherited runners this season, but all in all he has pitched really well out of the Pirate bullpen. Six weeks into the 2019 season Liriano’s minor league contract is looking like a good steal for the Bucs.