Francisco Liriano exits early for Blue Jays

19 August 2016: Toronto Blue Jays Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (45) [4426] delivers a pitch to the plate during the first inning of the Major League Baseball game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. Cleveland defeated Toronto 3-2. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

Toronto Blue Jays left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano left Saturday night’s start against the Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the third inning with neck tightness and was replaced by right-handed pitcher Mike Bolsinger. He recorded just six outs, while walking four batters, allowing three hits and five earned runs.

By the time his evening was done, his ERA had risen to 6.04 on the season. Now through his 15th start of the season, his walk total remains sky-high, having issued 39 free passes in 70 innings of work. He has also yielded 10 home runs in 70 innings of work and is on pace for his lowest K/9 rate in a single season since 2011, when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins.

Liriano came over to Toronto last August from the Pittsburgh Pirates and quickly rediscovered the lightning in a bottle he had found from 2013-15 with the Bucs. He made eight starts down the stretch for the Blue Jays and posted a 2.92 ERA, even winning the American League Wild Card Game.

Prior to the trade, he had the best three-year stretch of his career with Pittsburgh, first winning 16 games back in 2013. Over his four years with the franchise, he owned a 3.67 ERA and struck out better than a batter per inning.

The Toronto rotation has been in flux throughout the 2017 season, with only Marcus Stroman and Marco Estrada making more starts for the Jays than Liriano. Nine different pitchers have started games for Toronto this year, with Liriano’s five wins currently second on the ball club.

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