Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday: Frankie Liriano v Carlos Martinez, Lineup (JHK Back), Notes

Tonight: The game begins at 8:15 in St Louis. It will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Pitching: Francisco Liriano (2-1, 3.86) opens the set against Carlos Martinez (4-1, 2.60). Frankie has been good against the Cards. Liriano shut out the Redbirds for six innings and struck out 10 in the season opener. Overall, he's 3-0/1.97 in five starts at Busch, 6-2/2.44  in 14 career faceoffs. Martinez missed the Bucs earlier in the year, and is 2-2/5.12  in five starts against the Pirates with four of the outings last season.

Lineup: John Jaso 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte LF, Fran Cervelli C, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy SS, Frankie P. We like the bump to third for Gregory; he should have swapped spots with David Freese in the order sooner.

He's back... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Jung Ho Kang joined  the team in St. Louis after spending the past eight months recovering and rehabbing from multiple leg injuries, and gets thrown right into the fire. He didn't set the world afire with his bat at Indy, so there is likely going to be an adjustment period for him. It'll be interesting to watch how Clint breaks Kang back into the lineup and how he'll use Freeser over the summer.

Thing to watch - the Cardinals strengths on offense match the Pirates weaknesses pitching. They lead MLB with 41 homers, and are patient, drawing 103 walks over the season so far; Frankie will have to get that first pitch over the plate. Both teams are league leaders offensively, so there should be some runs tallied under the Arches. Keep an eye on SS Aledmys Diaz. he made the club because Jhonny Peralta went down and responded like a champ: he's slashing .381/.422/.679.

  • The Bucs are 15-13; the Cards 15-14, so neither club has really charged out of the box. St Louis took 3-of-4 from the Phils last series, while the Buccos were swept by the Cubs. 
  • The Cardinals were 6-3 at home against the Pirates last season, but the Bucs did rally to take three of the last four games after dropping the first five. Pittsburgh outscored Saint Louis, 36-28, but couldn't crack the Cardinal karma in the close ones. 
  • The Pirates' May games against the Marlins will now be played at Marlins Park, not in Puerto Rico, per the MLB & MLBPA.
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