Francisco Liriano and his filthy slider are dominating again


Francisco Liriano followed up his Comeback Player of the Year-winning campaign with the Pirates last year with some rough patches this season, but now the 30-year-old left-hander is once again dominating lineups.

Liriano shut out the Phillies for eight innings Thursday night, racking up 12 strikeouts and totaling 25 swinging strikes on 106 pitches. He also shut out the Cubs for six innings in his last start and, dating back to May 30, he’s got a 2.49 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 87 innings while holding opponents to a .192 batting average.

Liriano’s win-loss record remains ugly and his ERA is about a half-run higher than last season, but he’s actually striking out more batters (10.0 vs. 9.1 per nine innings) and allowing a lower batting average against (.222 vs. .224). His control comes and goes, but that slider remains wicked at all times and few pitchers can miss bats quite like Liriano.