Francisco Liriano strikes out 13 in latest gem

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The Pirates made the best free agent signing of last winter when they inked Francisco Liriano to a two-year contract, though it nearly fell apart because of an injury to Liriano’s non-throwing arm.

That injury caused the deal to be knocked down to $12.75 million from its original $14 million and it resulted in Liriano spending the first 40 days of the season on the DL, but he’s been lights out since returning, allowing one or no runs in 13 of his 19 starts, including five of his last six (though he did give up 10 runs in 2 1/3 innings in the other).

Liriano’s latest gem Monday saw him strike out 13 batters over seven scoreless innings in a defeat of the Padres. It was the second highest strikeout total of his career (he fanned 15 against the A’s last July). He improved to 14-5 with a 2.53 ERA on the season.

The Twins have to be shaking their heads to see Liriano experiencing such success. He went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA for Minnesota and the White Sox last year. Though the Twins practically gave him away in a deadline deal, they weighed re-signing him last winter. Still, they weren’t going to offer him more than a one-year deal. The Pirates went two years and are thrilled that they did, considering that Liriano might be this winter’s No. 2 free agent starter behind Matt Garza (another ex-Twin) if he were back on the market. Despite the late start, Liriano has 126 strikeouts in 121 innings this season. The Twins’ strikeout leader is Kevin Correia with 80 in 140 2/3 IP.

Rays starter Jake Faria lands on disabled list with left oblique strain

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Jake Faria made a third-inning exit from his start Tuesday night against the Red Sox, shortly after allowing three-run homer to Mookie Betts, and the Rays have now placed the 24-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.

It sounds like it could be a 4-6 week absence.

Faria has turned in some impressive performances this season, but his last three outings haven’t been so hot and he holds a rough 5.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 37/22 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 total frames for the year.

Tampa Bay now has two healthy starters: Chris Archer and Blake Snell. The extreme bullpening shall continue, haters be damned.

Vidal Nuno has been called up from Triple-A Durham and could see some action out of the rotation. He was sporting a 3.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 37/3 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings (seven starts, one relief appearance) this season at the Triple-A level.