Who would have guessed that the Bucs would still be in the race with Frankie sitting at three wins on August 24th? He was pummeled by the Braves in his last outing and has lost his last three decisions. Part of the problem is that home cookin' doesn't agree with him this year nearly as much as it did last season. He's posted a 1-5 record and a 5.23 ERA at PNC Park this year after going 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA in Pittsburgh last season.
Liriano is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in seven career starts against the Redbirds, and is 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA in three starts this season. Francisco is running out of starts to turn it around, and the Bucs need the 2013 version to reappear during the stretch run.
Lackey was picked up by the Cards in early August for useful but still spare parts Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. The 35-year-old veteran of 12 major league seasons is an old pro in the post season and World Series with 19 games and a 6-5/3.03 slash, which was surely part of his allure. He's been fairly dependable for St. Louis in his four starts, with his NL line bloated by a beat down by the Orioles in interleague. Against NL clubs, he's 1-0 in three starts, going 20 IP and giving up six earned runs (2.70 ERA) on 16 hits.
The righty has had very few interleague starts and this will be his first outing against Pittsburgh.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison, 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Snider C, Pedro 1B, Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS and Liriano.
The games starts at 7:05 and will be broadcast by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
- Gregory Polanco was optioned back to Indy after whiffing three times yesterday. The Tribe's regular season schedule ends 9/1, so he gets a week of regular swings at the dish and the Bucs shave a week from his service time. The Pirates called up Jose Tabata, who spent the past two months in the minors, to replace him.
- The Pirates activated IF Clint Barmes from the DL and DFA'ed IF Jayson Nix. That served two purposes, by clearing an active roster spot for Barmes and a 40-man roster spot for JT, who had been dropped from it when he was sent down.
- The Pirates have won both home series against the Cards and lost both road trips; their record this season against the Redbirds is 6-7.