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Francisco Liriano Pitching

Pirates Notebook: Bucs Return to PNC Park

The Pittsburgh Pirates return to PNC Park on this Monday night, and open a five-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals (62-40) lead the Pirates (61-42) by 1.5 games in the National League Central, and Tuesday’s proceedings feature a double-header to make up a previous contest that was rained out after two innings in April 16. For context as to how long ago that was, Jonathan Sanchez started for the Pirates.

Francisco Liriano Pitching

Francisco Liriano has earned decisions in every start this year, going to 10-4 on the season. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

  • The Pirates return to Pittsburgh off a series loss to the Miami Marlins, as the Fish won 3-2 Sunday behind eight innings and 13 strikeouts from potential Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez. The loss concluded a post All-Star Break road trip that saw the Pirates go 5-5. Pittsburgh lost two of three in Cincinnati, won three of four in Washington, and lost two of three in Miami.

Roster shuffling

  • Pittsburgh made a minor roster move today, as catcher Michael McKenry was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee sprain. The move was made retroactive to July 28, and outfielder Alex Presley was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to take McKenry’s spot on the 25-man active roster. Presley starts tonight in left field. Catcher Tony Sanchez was recalled yesterday to give the Pirates a backstop on the bench, while Travis Snider went to the 15-day DL.

Marte off tonight

  • Outfielder Starling Marte is receiving a standard off day tonight, and Alex Presley replaces him in left field while Jose Tabata will leads off in Clint Hurdle’s batting order. Hurdle said earlier this afternoon the off-day was scheduled in advance for Marte, and it appears there’s nothing more to it than that. Marte seems to be in a sort of funk, akin to what he experienced in the month of May when he hit just .243 after he batted .327 with a .872 OPS in April. Marte entered the All-Star Break at .291/.804, but is hitting .237/.639 in the month of July. On the bright side, Andrew McCutchen returns to the Pirates lineup tonight batting third and playing center-field.

Pitching match-up

  • Francisco Liriano (10-4, 2.23 ERA) toes the rubber for Pittsburgh tonight against the Cardinals’ Jake Westbrook (7-4, 2.95).  The Pirates have had about as much success against Westbrook in the past as they have against any other St. Louis starter, as Westbrook is 1-7 against the Pirates with a 4.81 ERA in 10 career starts. But in his start against the Pirates earlier this season on April 27, Westbrook threw six shutout innings, allowed six hits, and struck out six Pirates. Westbrook did not factor in the decision, as the Pirates later earned a 5-3 victory in St. Louis. For the Bucs, Liriano rebounded from possibly his worst outing of the season with arguably his best start of 2013. Liriano threw seven and two-thirds shutout innings against the Nationals Wednesday, and allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out eight batters to earn his team-high 10th win of the season.

Lineups

Pirates

1. Jose Tabata RF
2. Neil Walker 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen CF
4. Pedro Alvarez 3B
5. Russell Martin C
6. Garrett Jones 1B
7. Alex Presley LF
8. Clint Barmes SS
9. Francisco Liriano P

Cardinals

1. Matt Carpenter 2B
2. Carlos Beltran RF
3. Matt Holliday LF
4. Allen Craig 1B
5. Yadier Molina C
6. David Freese 3B
7. Shane Robinson CF
8. Pete Kozma SS
9. Jake Westbrook P

 

 

 

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Nate Barnes

Nate covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects, and is an English Writing major at the University of Pittsburgh. Nate has covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report, and covered Pitt Men's Basketball, Duquesne Men's Basketball, and Pitt Baseball beats prior to this summer. You can find Nate on Twitter @NateBarnes_ where he'll keep you updated on each and every time Clint Barmes breaks up a no-hit bid with one-out in the third inning of ballgames.

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