Left-hander Francisco Liriano was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday after allowing only one earned run over two dominant performances last week for the first-place Pirates.
Liriano went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA last week, allowing one run over 14 innings, the lowest mark among Major League pitchers who made two starts. He surrendered six hits across his two outings, holding opposing hitters to a miniscule .133 batting average.
You won't find Liriano's name atop the NL pitching leaderboards this season, as he hasn't recorded enough innings to qualify, but he's been among the best in baseball since making his 2013 debut on May 11. He is tied for fourth among NL pitchers with 12 wins. Liriano has put together a 2.02 ERA -- which would rank second, if he qualified -- and held opposing batters to a .205 average this season.
Liriano limited the Cardinals to four hits and one run over seven innings last Monday, picking up his 11th victory in a 9-2 win for the Bucs. The 29-year-old lefty followed that up by tossing seven scoreless innings in a 5-2 win over the Rockies at PNC Park.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Liriano became one of three Pirates pitchers in the modern era to win 12 or more games and post an ERA under 2.25 in his first 16 starts of a season, joining Rip Sewell in 1943 (12-2, 2.22 ERA) and Dock Ellis in 1971 (12-3, 2.24).