Is he the pitcher who started the season 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA, prompting a demotion to the bullpen?
Or is he the dominant left-hander who has a 2.83 ERA in nine starts since rejoining the rotation on May 30?
Liriano will have another chance to try to answer those questions when he takes the hill against the Orioles on Wednesday.
In Liriano's 15-strikeout performance against Oakland last Friday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire saw the type of ability that Liriano showed when he took the league by storm as an All-Star rookie in 2006.
"His stuff was [like in '06]," Gardenhire said. "Disappearing. We saw hitters swinging and actually looking up like, 'What was that?' Back in '06, when he was on his run, we were on the third-base side, and you'd see hitters take a swing and look back in our dugout and go 'Wow.' That's the type of stuff he had last [Friday]."
Although Liriano's 15 strikeouts tied Max Scherzer and Chris Sale for the most in a game this season, Liriano left Oakland with a loss after giving up a grand slam to Jonny Gomes in the fourth inning.
Regardless, his teammates can see that Liriano's strong performance has had a positive effect on his mentality.
"I think his confidence is high right now, and that's the key to his success," said catcher Drew Butera, who caught Liriano last Friday. "He goes right after them. He knows his stuff is good enough to get outs."
When Orioles starter Tommy Hunter last pitched in the Majors, his confidence was clearly shaken.
Appearing in long relief on June 30 against the Indians, Hunter allowed five runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings, earning himself a demotion to Triple-A Norfolk following the game.
Hunter has struggled to keep his pitches down in the zone all season, giving up 2.22 home runs per nine innings.
The right-hander is 3-4 with a 6.11 ERA this year, including 0-3 with an 8.07 ERA on the road. His previous start came on June 19 against the Mets.
Orioles: Bullpen burnout
In five games since the All-Star break, the Orioles bullpen has thrown 27 2/3 innings, with a 7.48 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP.
The O's purchased the contract of right-hander Brad Bergesen from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday to bring in a fresh arm, optioning Miguel Socolovich.
In five games since returning from a broken right hamate bone, Nick Markakis is hitting .435. Markakis has hit leadoff in each of those games, the first time he's done so in his career.
Chris Davis is 12-for-84 with 32 strikeouts in his last 23 games.
Twins: Capps heads to DL
Reliever Matt Capps has been placed on the 15-day disabled list after irritating his rotator cuff against the Orioles on Monday.
The move comes only four days and two appearances after Capps ended a DL stint caused by right shoulder inflammation.
Right-hander Nick Blackburn was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take Capps' place on the active roster. Blackburn is scheduled to start on Friday, while Brian Duensing will move to the bullpen.
Catcher Joe Mauer had three hits on Tuesday, giving him 1,198 for his career and moving him past Chuck Knoblauch for eighth on the Twins' all-time list.
Trevor Plouffe extended his hitting streak to 15 games on Tuesday, while Justin Morneau's streak came to an end at 14.
Morneau is 1-for-8 with three strikeouts in his career against Hunter.
The Twins (-87) and Orioles (-57) are the bottom two teams in the American League in run differential.
Wilson Betemit is 3-for-15 with seven strikeouts in his career against Liriano.