Liriano's comeback could net another honor

Liriano's comeback could net another honor

Liriano's comeback could net another honor

ST. LOUIS -- Francisco Liriano's dominant performance Wednesday night didn't just wipe out the memory of that Coors Field aberration (10 runs allowed on Friday). The complete-game four-hitter also got him back into Cy Young Award talk. Coming against the Cardinals in a high-profile game with postseason implications, it did far more than merely neutralize the beating he took by the Rockies.

"Electric stuff. We would come back after every at-bat and check the video room, and this guy just never missed over the plate," St. Louis leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter said.

Added David Freese, "That's as good as you're going to see."

It may be tough for Liriano to get a word in edgewise in the Cy Young conversation with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw being so dominant.

The Bucs' southpaw has a better shot at a truly unique accomplishment: Becoming a two-time Comeback Player of the Year.

That award became a formal MLB presentation only in 2005, but prior to that had been issued by The Sporting News since 1965. In that time, six players have managed to win it twice -- and only two in both leagues, as Liriano could.

The bi-league winners were right-hander Rick Sutcliffe (with the Cubs in 1987 and with the Orioles in 1992) and outfielder Eric Davis (Reds 1996, Orioles 1998). Other double winners were Boog Powell (Orioles 1966, Indians 1975), Andres Galarraga (Rockies 1993, Braves 2000), Norm Cash (Tigers 1965 and 1971) and Chris Carpenter (Cardinals 2004 and 2009).

Liriano first earned comeback laurels in 2010, for going 14-10 with Minnesota after a 5-13 season in 2009. Coming off a 6-12, 5.34 ERA season split between the Twins and the White Sox, he is a leading 2013 comeback candidate at 13-5, 2.68.

He'd be a shoo-in were there a Stopper of the Year Award: In nine starts following Pirates losses, Liriano has an ERA of 1.83, posting wins in five of the last six opportunities.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.