Frankie gave us reason to believe after he got out of the first inning against the Rox in his last outing. People have been rightfully looking hard at Liriano's numbers, but here's one that counts, too: he's gotten more than two runs of support while in the game just twice during his first 16 starts. So the guy is always pitching without margin for error. There's little question that the Bucs need Frankie to get untracked in what promises to be a dog-days battle for the NL Central crown and the wildcards, and he showed a flash of the old stuff on Friday.
He hasn't met LA often, but been pretty strong against them. Frankie is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in just two career starts, including eight K in 5-2/3 IP of work in late May to claim a 2-1 win, his only one of the year, over Josh Beckett at Dodger Stadium. Liriano hasn't won at home this year, so it should be about time for him to get off the schneid.
Haren has suffered three consecutive losses with an 11.57 ERA during that time, and a 5.73 ERA since the start of June. His strikeouts and walks are still OK, but his location within the strike zone seems to be his biggest concern, leaving too many balls up and over the plate. Hopefully, it's a problem that lasts at least one more game. His career line 3-2 with a 4.92 ERA against the Bucs in nine starts, so the Pirates have been able to solve him
The lineup: Gregory Polanco RF, Travis Snider LF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Josh Harrison 3B, Jordy Mercer SS and Liriano P. Starling is still on the bench (it was a "manager's decision" yesterday, and prob the same tonight) and Pedro's knee is still achy.
The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Fox's Jon Morosi tweets that Pittsburgh is scouting Arizona relievers with a nod toward Ollie Perez.
- Tonight’s game is the last for the Pirates at home until Tuesday, August 5th. The Bucs leave for Colorado, where they are scheduled to begin a 10-game road trip Friday night. Pittsburgh has posted a 20-26 record on the road this season, but are 13-5 against the NL West.
- Neil Walker has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games, the longest active streak among all MLB players.
- Rocco DeMarco has a post in Baseball Prospectus about Pedro and the yips.
- Not exactly sure how the competitive balance picks work other than its to bolster the small market/revenue teams, but there are 12 picks for 15 clubs. Pittsburgh didn't get one, although St. Louis did. Go figure.
- Ex Bucs: Joel Hanrahan was shut down by the Tigers after a bullpen rehab session, and there's considerable doubt that'll he'll make it back for this season after 2013 TJ surgery.