"That slider and that changeup are like those pitches that really get him back in line," said catcher Russell Martin following the loss. "With the fastball, sometimes he likes to overpower it. The slider is the pitch that kind of gets him back in that groove, and he was spot on with it, back door to a lot of the righties today."
Liriano's powerful slider has been a valuable tool throughout his career when he's located it, as opponents hit just .169 with a .347 slugging percentage against the pitch. The left-hander put himself in control of the count often by throwing first-pitch strikes to 18 of 26 batters.
"I used my changeup a little bit more, but all of my pitches were working well," Liriano said through a translator. "I spotted my fastball and was throwing strikes with it. I was getting ahead, and then Russ did a great job. I followed him, and it went pretty well."
In Liriano's first outing, he threw just eight of his 35 pitches in the strike zone. This led to four walks and five earned runs before an early exit after he'd retired just a single batter.
"Obviously my first outing didn't go the way I wanted it to," Liriano said. "I tried to give my team a chance to win. Today I went pretty far in the game and things went pretty well, but too bad we didn't win the game."
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.