Pittsburgh Pirates: The Return of the Invisible Man

By Stacey Kengal
Francisco Liriano
Frank Victores – USA TODAY SPORTS

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned  how well one Francisco Liriano of the Pittsburgh Pirates was pitching while going relatively unnoticed by the people who notice such things.

Well, tonight Liriano gave another petty darn good unnoticeable performance and the ones who notice such things, and even the ones who don’t, will probably not notice him even a little bit more now.

A disappointing 4-1 loss by his team to the Cincinnati Reds will certainly help keep him under the radar, but once again, The Invisble Man (I’m dubbing him), pitched pretty darn well, working 6 innings of five-hit baseball, giving up just 2 runs on the very first two home runs he’s allowed all season. While not out-this-world numbers, any MLB team would take this kind of outing from their starter night in and night out.

The free-agent signing in the offseason by the Bucs is looking like a savvy acquisition and Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington has got to be patting himself on the back for this one. Add that to the signings of Russell Martin and Mark Melancon and somebody could be up for GM of the Year.

Sooner or later though, Liriano’s bound to shed his cloak of invisibility and get some recognition for bouncing back from two consecutive less-than-acceptable seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox. Posting a 5.23 ERA in nearly 300 inning over the past two summers before coming to Pittsburgh, not too many teams had Liriano high on their priority list of pitchers, but the Pirates took a chance the 28 year-old left-hander could find some of the magic he had back in 2010 when he won 14 games, not to mention 2011 when he tossed a no-hitter. So far the gamble has paid off.

The Reds bopped two additional solo shots off in the eighth off reliever Bryan Morris for good measure in their ho-hum win in Game 1 of the important four-game series. The Pirates will have to step it up a notch in Game 2 against Reds’ starter Mat Latos if they want to avoid falling 2.5 games behind Cincinnati. Charlie Morton, in just his second start since coming back from Tommy John surgery, will try and turn the tide for the Pirates.

Stacey Kengal is a writer for RantSports.com covering the Pittsburgh Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @StaceyKengal, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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