Monday, September 22, 2014

Liriano v Harang, Lineup, Josh, Tony, The Race, Media Awards & More...

Francisco Liriano (6-10, 3.45) opens the Atlanta series against Aaron Harang (11-11, 3.68).

Frankie has resumed his ace role in Pittsburgh even with his pedestrian record. He's allowed three earned runs in his last five outings covering 33 IP and has gone 5-4 with a 2.39 ERA in 13 starts since returning from the DL. The only dark cloud is the last time there was a Liriano-Harang matchup in mid-August, Frankie was batted around and took an 11-3 loss. Let's hope that's out of his system.

Harang has been up-and-down all season, but in his last two starts against the Nats, he's given up three runs (two earned) in 14IP with 11 hits, two walks and 17 K. He won his only start against the Pirates this season in a laugher last month, and has had lifetime success versus Pittsburgh with a 16-7 record, though with a so-so 4.15 ERA.

The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Starling Marte LF, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS and Liriano P.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired by the MLB Network, Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Lickin' Stick: Josh Harrison enters today’s action leading the NL with a .318 batting average, just a decimal better than Justin Morneau's .318 BA. Cutch ranks third in the league with a .309 average. He has an eight game streak, trailing Russ' current 12 gamer.
  • No Rest: The 74 appearances by Tony Watson so far this year are the most by a Pirates southpaw since John Grabow also pitched in 74 games in 2008. The club record for most appearances in a season by a left-handed pitcher is 78 by Scott Sauerbeck in 2002.
  • Movin' On Up: The Giants lost, so they and the Bucs are tied for the wild card lead - and Pittsburgh holds the tiebreaker. Milwaukee is five games back for the second WC with seven games remaining. The Cards are guaranteed a playoff spot, but they lost to the Reds last night, leaving the Pirates two games behind them in the loss column in the NL Central race.
  • Star To Finish: The Pirates began and ended their home schedule in 2014 with 1-0 wins. The Bucs blanked the Cubs 1-0 on Opening Day, winning on a Neil Walker walkoff home run in the 10th inning. 
  • The Envelope, Please: The Pittsburgh Baseball writers voted the following 2014 Bucco media award winners: Roberto Clemente Award (MVP) - Cutch; Chuck Tanner Award (media good guy) - Neil Walker; and the Steve Blass Award (top pitcher) - Tony Watson, per Rob Biertempfel of the Trib.
  • Garcia Gone: The Pirates let go of Altoona manager Carlos Garcia, a former All-Star second baseman for the Bucs per Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror. Carlos also managed at Bradenton and was a big-league coach, and had been in the system since 2008.
  • Report Card: Matt Snyder of CBS' Eye on Baseball gives the Bucs an A for the week.
  • Elias Says: Yesterday was the first time that the Pirates traded 1-0 victories in consecutive games, each against the same opponent, since August 1-2, 1945 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
  • TOOTBLAN: Carlos Gomez told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he took the wide turn yesterday because Josh was away from third in pursuit of Rickie Weeks' chopper. "I had a chance to make third if I don't stop," he said. "Nobody was on third. I don't know why I stopped...if I continue to run I make it easy; I think 99%. It was a mistake."A big one - he was picked off in a rundown, costing the Brewers a golden opportunity in a 1-0 game.

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