Friday, July 18, 2014

Liriano v De La Rosa, Lineup, Bucs v Lefties, Rotation, MiLB News...

Francisco Liriano (1-7, 4.72) takes the bump against Jorge De La Rosa (10-6, 4.56) in a battle of lefties.

Frankie was way rusty in his return from the DL just before the All-Star break. The home run doesn't bother us; that happens at GABP. But the six walks do. Let's hope he was just antsy and overthrowing. If the Pirates are going to keep on pushin' in the second half, they need a return to 2013 form from their ace, and he's a guy who needs to get ahead in the count to be effective. His record against the Rox testifies to that: Liriano is 1-2 lifetime with a 7.16 ERA, due greatly to 10 walks issued in 16-1/3 IP.

De La Rosa is an oddball regarding his splits: he has a 3.73 ERA at Coors and a 5.87 ERA on the road. He's added a cutter to his toolkit, and is getting a pretty solid 50% ground ball rate, but still averages just 5-1/3 frames per start. He's been respectable against Pittsburgh, going 4-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 13 games, nine of them starts.

Frankie was Lekyl and Hyde against De La Rosa last year. He allowed a career-high 10 runs on 12 hits in 2-1/3 innings and lost a 10-1 decision against him on 8/9 at Coors Field, but before that on 8/3 he scattered two hits over seven scoreless innings while winning a 5-2 decision at PNC Park. Home looms large; the Bucs are e 12-2-1 in 15 series against the Rockies all-time at PNC Park.

The Rox have won De La Rosa's last four starts and were riding a three game winning streak under dropping the last pair going into the break after a couple of horrible months. The Bucs need to continue beating up on the non-contenders and get Francisco going again, and no better time to start than tonight.

The lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Russ Martin C, Neil Walker 2B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Pedro 3B, Jordy SS and Liriano P. Let's see now...Greg Polanco (in miniscule sample size) .133 BA/.445 OPS v LHP; Pedro (career) .200 BA/.600 OPS v LHP, Josh (career) .256 BA/.689 OPS v LHP. Guess which one is sitting.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Beginning tonight the Pirates are scheduled to face four straight left-handed starters. The last time Pittsburgh faced four consecutive starting southpaws was in 2010. The Bucs have faced the fewest left-handed starters in the Majors since the beginning of last season at 43 outings (31 in 2013, 12 so far this year).
  • The rotation behind Frankie will be Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Edinson Volquez and Vance Worley.
  • Pittsburgh is scheduled to play 15 straight games and 18 of the next 21 against teams from the NL West. That should be a good thing as the Bucs are 9-4 against the West this year.
  • Indy finally has it's outfield intact. Even though Chris Dickerson was traded, Andrew Lambo is back after rehabbing his thumb, JT returns after suffering a bruised arm and Jaff Decker was dropped to the Tribe to make room on the active roster for Starling Marte.
  • RHP Tyler Glasnow (#1) and SS Alen Hanson (#4) are in this week's Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.

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