Liriano has registered three consecutive holds and attributes is recent improvement to becoming more comfortable with the routine pitching in relief, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Liriano said it took him some time to transition from being a starter with Toronto to a reliever for Houston. And it showed initially. He allowed 23 of the first 45 batters faced to reach base. Acquired at the trade deadline to be the team's lefty specialist, Liriano gave up eight runs over his first nine innings and was being used in low-leverage situations. Since then, the left-hander has retired 11 of the last 12 batters faced and is attacking hitters instead of pitching like a starter.
Liriano (6-7) allowed one run on one hit and a walk over two-thirds of an inning in Houston's 4-3 extra-inning loss to the Blue Jays. Liriano was acquired to be a left-handed, high-leverage setup reliever, but he has been tagged with a loss in each of his first two appearances with the Astros. On Saturday, his slow delivery allowed a batter he walked on four pitches to reach second base without a throw from the catcher. Then, with two outs and facing Ryan Goins -- who was hitting .184 against lefties -- he left a slider up, resulting in an RBI single. Liriano has given up three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks over one inning since joining Houston.
Liriano (6-6) pitched for the first time since becoming a member of the Astros and allowed two runs (one earned) on a hit and a walk in one-third of an inning in Thursday's 5-3 loss to the Rays. This loss falls squarely at the feet of the Astros' bullpen as Liriano and Chris Devenski, with the assistance of an infield error, conspired to waste Collin McHugh's quality start. Liriano, the Astros' lone trade-deadline acquisition, was brought in to serve as the team's primary left-hander out of the 'pen but failed Thursday when both left-handed batters he faced reached base. The bullpen is the one chink in the Astros' armor -- Houston's relievers have a 4.44 ERA, ranking 22nd in MLB.
The Blue Jays have agreed to trade Liriano to the Astros, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports. The left-hander likely will serve as relief help for an Astros club suddenly packed with starter options. Liriano still had a little value in deep leagues thanks to his strikeouts, but his 4.7 BB/9 and 5.88 ERA weren't helping anyone. However, his projected role as a lefty specialist may help him rack up holds in Houston.
The Astros have contacted the Blue Jays regarding Liriano, who could be used as a relief pitcher if he's traded, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports. The southpaw has been getting interest from other clubs as a reliever as well, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports. Liriano's high-strikeout, high-walk approach has worked well at times in his career, but if all things break right in a bullpen role, he could be the next failed starter to thrive. Of course, that may not be his desired career path, and the impending free agent may prefer to continue starting with another club. A bullpen role with a contender would leave much to be desired for his fantasy prospects.
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