By Jared Lankes
Francisco Liriano struggled once again on Friday night, not even making it through four innings while allowing seven runs. Liriano’s season ERA has now risen well above five. Jameson Taillon also started Friday. Despite an early struggle, he found his feet and pitched really well towards the end of his start.
Now, many people have said and are even advocating for a Liriano “DL” trip. Pirates, and many other teams actually, do this to try to get their pitchers right that they just can’t send to AAA. Liriano could be up for this sort of thing just so he can relax and get away from the sport for a little bit, which in some cases actually works wonders. In other cases, it doesn’t.
The main backing behind this thought is that Taillon and Liriano are scheduled to pitch the same day next, so the transition would be much easier for Taillon than having to skip a AAA start just to fit in the Pirates’ rotation down the road. He can just stay in rhythm and routine. Then, once Liriano comes back, he just takes Juan Nicasio’s rotation spot.
The next scheduled day for them both to pitch is June 8th. The magical day being aimed for in Super 2 is June 10th. However, Pirates can avoid this by sending him down over the All-Star break, like they did with Gerrit Cole in 2013. It really wouldn’t present an issue for Taillon to start June 8th if it came down to it.
The likelihood of this actually happening, I believe, are very slim to almost none. I don’t think the Pirates would make Francisco Liriano take some starts off just to try to get right again. They must likely would want him to figure it out on the fly during the season. He’s truly earned the right to do so. It might send a bad message to everyone if the Pirates gave Liriano no chance to figure it out on the field while using a rookie in his place. If Liriano is actually hurt, that’s one thing. But he’s not (by his words), so I don’t think Taillon will start June 8th. Sorry, fans. Don’t kill the messenger.