The Pittsburgh Pirates had to wait a little while to roll out their offseason free agent signing, Francisco Liriano, but it looks like he was worth the wait. The veteran lefty made his debut on Saturday against the New York Mets and pitched 5 1/3 solid innings in a Pirates win.
Liriano looked like the 2010 version of himself as he was dominant for five innings. He tired a bit in sixth giving up three of the six hits he allowed and the only run he gave up on the day. After a couple more outings, he should be able to go deeper into ballgames and hopefully limit the innings the bullpen has to throw. Liriano had his strikeout pitch working as he whiffed nine including John Buck twice.
The last couple of seasons have been difficult for Liriano as he has had an earned run average climb to over 5.00. Last season he had a record of 6-12 between the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox.
The Pirates will be happy if Liriano can slide into the number-three slot in the rotation behind A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. Liriano will be the third left-hander in the five-man rotation, which could be to be a challenge for the rest of the National League. The team has played well while dealing with some injuries early in the season and now that they are starting to get healthy they could be a real dangerous team. The Pirates should be in the playoff hunt all season long.