Jays From the Couch brings you the Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Highlights & Lowlights for left-hander, Francisco Liriano.
The start of the 2016 season was not overly kind to the former Pittsburgh Pirate, Francisco Liriano. The lefty was one of several reclamation projects for the Pirates over the past few seasons, and he provided them with three solid years dominant pitching. Between 2013-15 he put up a 35-25 record with a 3.26 ERA, but fell on hard times in 2016. Before being acquired by the Blue Jays he was posting career highs in ERA and BB/9, of 5.46 and 5.5, respectively. To say he was a bit of an enigma when coming over, would be a major understatement. Fortunately, for him and Toronto, his reunion with Russell Martin helped him to regain the confidence needed to turn his season around.
The hard throwing Liriano was an exceptional addition to the Toronto pitching staff in more ways than just his numbers. Upon his arrival with the club, management discussed the options of going with a 6-man rotation, or perhaps, Liriano himself, being used out of the bullpen. The lefty didn’t balk at either notion. He proved his commitment by making his scheduled starts — eight in all — in addition to two relief appearances to start September. The veteran hurler gave management the flexibility they were hoping for, and did so without complaint.
Overall, Liriano, put up 49 1/3 innings with Toronto to the tune of a 2.92 ERA, and drastically improved his BB/9 ratio to a very respectable 2.9 during that time.
From September 12th to 28th, he put together four straight quality starts with a 1-1 record, and a sparkling 1.46 ERA. His final start was his shining moment with Toronto when he went 6 1/3 innings, giving up 6 hits and striking out 10 against the Baltimore Orioles. He danced in and out of trouble a few times, but did not break.
Liriano also provided 1 2/3 innings of dazzling relief in the Wild Card game against Baltimore. His work in innings 10 and 11, gave the the Blue Jays a chance to win in dramatic fashion on Edwin Encarnacion‘s home run, which also made Liriano the pitcher of record.
During his time with Toronto, Liriano, didn’t experience too many low moments. The overall results for the team, who went 4-4 over his eight starts, may not have been ideal. But, he gave the club exactly what they were looking for when acquiring him. A chance to win.
The scariest moment in the season came during his only relief appearance during the ALDS. After coming in for Joe Biagini the lefty was struck in the back of the head by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Gomez. Liriano would leave the game under MLB’s concussion protocol, and would ultimately end up missing a week. Despite returning in time for game two of the ALCS, he would not make another appearance in the postseason.
*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda-(flickr) UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.