Saturday, June 29, 2013

Liriano v Hand

Francisco Liriano  (6-3, 2.30) will face Donovan Hand (0-0, 2.37) tonight.The Cisco Kid is averaging 10 K per game, and more importantly, his walks are at a manageable 3.6 per nine, his best mark since 2010. The veteran lefty has allowed fewer than two runs six times in nine starts.

Hand, the Brewers long man out of the pen, made his first MLB start a week ago against the Braves and did well. The righty pitched 4-2/3 scoreless innings, surrendering only two hits and a walk while striking out three. The Bucs saw him in late May when when he allowed one run, three hits, a walk and struck out three in two innings of a 5-4 Pirate win. We're sure they're hoping to get five or more out of him tonight, especially after the Brew Crew pen bit the bullet for six innings plus last night.

The game starts at 7:15 and will be aired on Fox as the regional Saturday “Game of the Week” and 93.7 The Fan.

Pirate lineup: Starling Marte LF, Russell Martin C, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Neil Walker 2B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Jordy Mercer SS and Francisco Liriano P.

Minor bit of shuffling with Snider day-to-day, we assume, with the bruised foot he suffered yesterday.

Brewer lineup: Rickie Weeks 2B, Jean Segura SS, Carlos Gomez CF, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Jonathan Lucroy C, Yuniesky Betancourt 1B, Sean Halton RF, Logan Schafer LF and Donovan Hand P.

Shook up the order from last night, with leadoff man Aoki out. But Weeks has been hot, so maybe it's just a maintenance day.

  • Pittsburgh owns the MLB-best record of 49-30. Yep, the Pirates. 49 wins through 79 games are most for the Bucs since 1972. A victory tonight or tomorrow would give the Pirates 50 wins prior to July 1 for the first time in franchise history.
  • The worm has turned: the Bucs have defeated the Brewers three straight times and six of the last seven games.
  • During the Pirates seven game winning streak, they've averaged two homers and seven runs per game.
  • Even with that rough opening frame yesterday, Gerrit Cole extended Pittsburgh starters' streak of allowing three earned runs or fewer to 14 straight games.
  • Wandy's last two bullpen sessions haven't gone off so well, and he's been shut down. It may be awhile before we see him back.
  • Leadership comes often in small doses. Dejan Kovacevic asked Starling Marte what Gaby Sanchez told him after he jogged to first and lost a hit last night: "He told me, 'We can't have that.' He's right." Quick lesson learned on being a pro.
  • Andrew Lambo hit his seventh homer of the year for Indianapolis, and his 21st overall, in Indy's 4-2 win over Rochester.
  • Luis Heredia had a so-so start at WV, going 4 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, and with 4 K.

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