Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This week in Francisco Liriano

In the name of emphasizing the absurd overreaction to the Pirates dumping of Francisco Liriano's terrible contract last year, the logical take on which you can read here, FTC is proud to introduce a new, recurring segment in which we look at why it's good that the Pirates got rid of the worst pitcher in baseball.


Start No. 1
April 7, 2017 at Tampa Bay
1/3 IP, 5 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 1 K


In the shortest start of his career, Liriano threw 35 pitches, only 13 for strikes. Of those 13 strikes, five were called, and only two came on swings and misses. The other six came by contact. As the heat map from this performance shows, only 11 of the 13 even clipped the zone. It's impossible to overemphasize how extraordinarily terrible this is, but here's how the local scribe at the Toronto Sun saw it:

While a brush fire closed a major highway servicing Tropicana Field on Friday night, inside the stadium the Tampa Bay Rays burned Blue Jays starter Francisco Liriano.

The Rays did not do this. Francisco Liriano is his own self-contained dumpster fire.

After the Jays took an early 2-0 lead on Troy Tulowitzki’s two-out double to right, the Rays got right back into it in the bottom of the first when Evan Longoria smacked a 92-mph four-seam fastball from Liriano over the left-field wall with Steven Souza on base. Liriano struggled big-time in the first and, following the Longoria blast, had one out and runners at first and second, prompting a visit to the mound by pitching coach Pete Walker.

Soon after that, Liriano threw a wild pitch, moving the runners to second and third. Brad Miller then punched a double to left centre, scoring Rickie Weeks and Derek Norris. After DH Daniel Robertson hit a single to left, Gibbons pulled Liriano for long reliever Dominic Leone who got Peter Bourjos to ground out to second, though Miller scored on the play, staking the Rays to a 5-2 lead.
As for the top-shelf prospects the Pirates sent to the Blue Jays in order to unload Liriano's salary, we'll update when there's something worth noting. That said, Harold Ramirez is slashing .286/.286/.286 through two games, and Reese McGuire hasn't quite matched those numbers yet.

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