PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Liriano's open secret, hidden a year ago behind a broken right arm, is out: The guy and the month of April just don't get along.
Pirates fans couldn't be clued in to that in 2013, because Liriano did not make his first start until May 11, and immediately took off.
Good to go this time out of the gate, Liriano has so far contributed five winless starts to his lifetime April resume: a 5-17 record with a 5.84 ERA.
"Yeah, Aprils have been difficult for me," Liriano conceded, with a weak smile. "It's just the cold. My speed usually isn't there until it gets warmer and I feel looser. And I don't have a good feel for the ball on breaking balls."
Speaking of the early season cold weather -- generically, not in specific reference to Liriano, a native of the Dominican Republic -- Clint Hurdle noted a while back that "Latin pitchers hate that."
Colder temperatures obviously return at the end of the season. Sure enough, Liriano's career September record is 7-12, with an ERA of 5.48.
In the four months in-between, he is 57-36, and his highest ERA in any month is 4.04.
So the good news could be that Liriano has only one more April start remaining, then he can roar into May like a lion.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.