It’s been a bad month, but the Orioles are still in the thick of things in the American League. The Yankees have run away with the division, but the O’s are half a game back of a Wild Card spot with 73 games remaining.

I’ve accepted the fact that the Orioles won’t acquire a top tier arm like Cole Hamels, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster or even Zach Greinke — but I don’t think they have to. Jason Hammel’s knee surgery makes the need for a top of the rotation starter even more apparent and I think Francisco Liriano is just the guy.

I detailed Liriano, along with two other potentially affordable candidates for the Orioles in my weekly column on MASNSports.com.

But I’m most excited about Francisco Liriano, who pitches for a team that is looking to sell big at the deadline, the Minnesota Twins. Since returning to Minnesota’s rotation, Liriano has held hitters to a .231 average. In his last nine starts, Liriano has outpitched the Phillies’ Hamels. Liriano posted a 2.83 ERA, .170 opponent average and 2.68 K/BB ratio compared to Hamels’ 3.96 ERA, .243 opponent average and 3.47 K/BB ratio during that span.

Remember kids, it’s all about finding production for those last two months. I know Hamels is a much better pitcher than Liriano, but if the O’s can get more production from the cheaper rental, then it’s a win-win.

Liriano would come a lot cheaper than the big four and could help just as much. I would much rather see him in Baltimore than Jason Vargas, who the Orioles have also shown interest in.