The Pittsburgh Pirates and FranciscoLiriano have parted ways. Between 2013-2016, Liriano made many fantastic starts. Here are our top three best
Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Francisco Liriano to the Toronto Blue Jays. Officially ending a fantastic relationship between team and player. From 2013 to yesterday, Liriano started 107 games for the Pirates, went 41-36 with a 3.67ERA and a 3.60FIP.
Between 2013 to yesterday, Liriano started 107 games for the Pirates, went 41-36 with a 3.67ERA and a 3.60FIP. He was everything the Pirates hoped he would be when they signed him during the 2013 offseason.
Liriano started plenty of games for the Pirates and had some absolutely incredible performances. Today I am going to look back at the top three starts of Francisco Liriano’s Pirates’ career.
3. August 19, 2013, vs. San Diego Padres
Seven innings, zero runs, four hits and 13 strikeouts.
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to realize the jackpot with the signing of Francisco Liriano. By this point in the season, he had a 2.68ERA and looked like he had returned to his All-Star form.
The previous game Liriano actually went the distance, but to me, this start was more of what Liriano was all about. His slider was absolutely disgusting and the Padres couldn’t touch him. What he did to their top three hitters could very well be described as “owning.” Chris Denorfia, Will Venable, and Jedd Gyorko went a combined 1-12 with eight strikeouts. The Padres never had a chance against Liriano this day and he had one of his best starts of 2013.
2. March 31, 2014 vs. Chicago Cubs
Six innings, zero runs, four hits, 10 strikeouts
When most people think of Opening Day 2014, they think of Neil Walker‘s extra inning walk-off home run. Before that happened, Francisco Liriano completely stifled the Cubs’ offense. He also tied an Opening Day record with 10 strikeouts.
Liriano was brilliant and showed that he was the correct choice to make an Opening Day start. 2014 was the second consecutive postseason appearance for the Pirates and Liriano started the year off with a bang. He gave the 40,000 Pirates’ fans in attendance plenty of reasons to cheer.
The biggest victim of Liriano’s nasty stuff this day was Cubs’ slugger, Anthony Rizzo. He went 0-4 with three strikeouts. His other at-bat was a weak grounder. He pretty much couldn’t touch Liriano the entire day. It was a joy to watch.
Liriano earned a reputation of never putting together back to back good seasons, but in 2014 he proved his previous year was no fluke. He finished the season 7-10 with a 3.38ERA with a 3.59FIP. He was excellent once again for a team that battled back from a slow start to once again make the playoffs.
1. October 1, 2013
Seven innings, one run, four hits, five strikeouts
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many, but the 2013 NL Wildcard game was Frankie’s best as a Pirate. Yeah, he had games with more strikeouts, less runs given up, but he never had one that was more important.
Everyone remembers “Cueto Cueto Cueto” but it’s important to remember that Russell Martin‘s heroics wouldn’t have mattered if Frankie didn’t shove in the first postseason game in Pittsburgh since 1992.
Liriano did his job and made sure the Reds never really got anything going. He also completely owned Joey Votto. In what can only be described as lefty on lefty crime, Votto went 0-4 with two strikeouts and looked absolutely silly against Liriano.
Liriano had “sexier” starts than this, but everything is magnified in the postseason, so to me when I think of Francisco Liriano’s Pirates’ career, I will forever think of him walking off the mound following the seventh inning as the crowd gave him a thunderous ovation. Chants of “Frankie Frankie Frankie” could be heard throughout the stadium. The Pirates needed a big start and they got exactly that. Frankie pitched beautifully on the biggest stage of his career.
The Liriano era may have ended with a whimper, but no one can take away the brilliance that was Filthy Frankie from 2013-2015. When the Pirates signed him, many wondered if it was a good move. I think it’s fairly safe to say that it was. No one will ever forget watching Francisco Liriano make opposing hitters look absolutely silly as they swung and missed at his filthy slider.