Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 6/9/12
On the day of Liriano's start against the Chicago Cubs, now seems as good of time as any to take a look at his hot last two starts.  After a short stint in the bullpen to right the ship, he has come out guns blazing.  In his last two starts, he has pitched 12 innings allowing one earned run, walking three and striking out 17.  Those two starts have helped him lower his ERA and WHIP to 6.46 and 1.74 respectively.  As those numbers would suggest, he was putrid to start the year.  So what should owners make of Liriano's recent run?
First, let's look at the good.  In his last two starts he has limited the walks, while racking up strikeouts, resulting in a 5.67 strikeout-to-walk rate.  In addition to the juicy walk and strikeout rates, he is keeping the ball on the ground with a 48 percent groundball rate.  In terms of controllable stats, Liriano has done an excellent job in his last two starts.  From a stuff stand point, he has been very impressive as well.  His four-seam fastball and sinker averaged just a bit over 92 mph in his May 30 turn, and were up a few more ticks to just over 94 mph in his June 5 start hitting as high 96 mph.  His change-up is sitting at a velocity nearly 10 mph slower than his heater.  It hasn't been a pitch he has used often, having thrown it only 11 times in the two starts combined, and it hasn't been a big swing-and-miss offering, with just one whiff, but it is a pitch that he can use to change speeds and keep hitters off balance.  His truly filthy pitch that he has used to dominate batters is his slider.  He has thrown the pitch 70 times in his last two starts, giving him a 38 percent usage rate in that time span.  Of those 70 sliders, 21 resulted in whiffs, or in other words, an astonishing 30 percent drew empty swings.  Beyond the 21 whiffs, he has added another 32 strikes.  In all, 53 of 70 sliders were strikes, good for a 75.7 percent strike rate.  People who are fans of visual proof should check out the gif in Sam Miller's fun piece at Baseball Prospectus.  So what isn't there to like?

The first, and most obvious, is that it is only two starts.  Many pitchers have looked good in back-to-back starts.  Also, if you have been observant, you've noticed that I haven't named his opponents.  Liriano faced the A's and Royals in his return from the bullpen.  The A's rank 28th in runs scored in the majors, and the Royals rank 25th in runs scored.  That's two really bad offenses.  Beyond not scoring runs, Paul Sporer pointed out on Twitter that those two offenses struggle against left-handed pitching.  With those facts in mind, there are reasons to tread cautiously in regards to Liriano.  He has yet another favorable matchup on Sunday against the Cubs, who rank 27th in runs scored and are hitting .223/.291/.318 as a team against southpaws.  He's a strong matchup play who is a fine wait-and-see bench option given his previous success, electric stuff, and his recent play.     

       
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rich Hill blames himself after losing no-hit bid on walk-off

Mitchell Trubisky getting first-team reps, will get time with starters Sunday

Protest movement a polarizing problem for NFL

The crazy AL wild-card race is a beautiful mess

Klay Thompson not worried about money breaking up Warriors

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vikings troll Aaron Rodgers with tweet to ex-girlfriend Olivia Munn

Report: Young Bulls players 'can’t stand' Dwyane Wade

MLB contenders in the best shape for a World Series run

Report: Kyrie Irving told Cavs he wouldn’t report to training camp

Report: Browns looking to trade Osweiler, Colts potential destination

Rob Gronkowski has given up alcohol with new diet

The 'Please just make it to the regular season' quiz

The 20 biggest storylines heading into the 2017 NFL season

Coming through in the clutch takes on new meaning for Derek Jeter in Miami

The 'When the Doctor took the Big Apple by storm' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline: Calls routed from 1-900-MIX-A-LOT

The Indians are on a mission to make you pay attention whether you want to or not

15 college football coaches who are on the hot seat

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Please just make it to the regular season' quiz

Coming through in the clutch takes on new meaning for Derek Jeter in Miami

BIG3 Referee Hotline: Calls routed from 1-900-MIX-A-LOT

The 'When the Doctor took the Big Apple by storm' quiz

The Indians are on a mission to make you pay attention whether you want to or not

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker