Sunday, August 3, 2014

Liriano v Cahill, Lineup (Cutch In, Walker Out), Nix Replaces Morel, Bucs Move Up & More

Francisco Liriano (3-7, 3.97) closes the Arizona set against Trevor Cahill (1-8, 5.59).

Frankie has been hot since coming off the DL on July 13th. His last start was a 3-1 win over Tim Hudson and the Giants, and in his three latest appearances, he's gone 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA. His key, as always, is command; early strikes result in later swings-and-misses, and in the last 14 IP he's walked just three and struck out 15. Liriano doesn't have much track record against Arizona, having faced them just once in 2011 and coming away with a no-decision.

Cahill, 26, is making his fourth start since a stint in the minors (he had been working out of the pen in Arizona and the Snakes wanted to stretch his arm). The results have been mixed, to say the least, but he's starting to get the feel back for his bread-and-butter sinker, which he has been leaving up, and hasn't issued a walk in the past couple of outings. Cahill has faced the Pirates three times in his career, and is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA.

The lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Cutch CF, Travis Snider LF, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Michael Martinez 2B and Liriano P.  The good news is that Cutch's back apparently isn't an issue. The Bucs are giving The Kid another day off for his balky back, and with tomorrow off, that'll be three days of rest. We're a little surprised Russ didn't get a blow, but Walker's absence and the off day cost him the customary night-to-day break.

The game starts at 4:10 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • The Pirates have signed vet IF Jayson Nix and optioned Brent Morel back to Indy. Nix, 31, has played all the infield positions other than first and even a little OF. He has a .216 lifetime BA and hit just .154 at Philly this season off the bench. Indy IF Dean Anna was DFA'ed off the 40-man to clear a spot for Nix. The shuffling indicates that Josh will be the every-day third baseman. 
  • Josh Harrison has a seven-game extra base hit streak, the longest for a Buc since Sid Bream had an eight game skein in 1986.
  • Going into today, the Pirates are 1-1/2 games behind the Brewers, in second place in the NL Central, and have the first wild card spot.
  • Ex Bucs: Paul Maholm has a torn ACL.

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