Game 72: Franky vs Shark

Tonight will be another chapter in the Francisco Liriano 2016 book which has been a dud so far to date. Liriano faces off against the Giants in game three of their series with first pitch scheduled for 7:05PM.

Since May 13, the Pirates are 1-6 in Liriano starts. He’s been one of the top reasons to why this pitching staff hasn’t been as reliable as last season. Liriano has struggled, ERA above 5.00, he’s given up more hits and he leads the National League in walks with 46 in 73+ innings. If the Pirates (34-37) are going to get back into the wildcard hunt and back to .500 and beyond, I think it has to start with Liriano.

The Giants (45-27) will counter with another Pirates killer in Jeff Samardzija. The Shark has a 2.25 ERA in his career against the Bucs, which is over 21 appearances and 10 starts. Samardzija signed a 5-year/$90M deal with the Giants in the offseason along with Cueto to bolster their rotation. He’s been solid this season so far with an 8-4 record, 3.14 ERA and a 3.54 FIP following his mediocre season last year with the White Sox. Once again the Pirates face a tough starter in June. Here’s the last eight pitchers the Pirates have faced—Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Bartolo Colon, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom. Awesome. And now the Pirates face the Shark, who has been a thorn in the Pirates side since he was drafted by the Cubs. Samardzija, however, has given up one home run per game so far.

Anyway with that group of starting pitchers in the past week, it’s no wonder why the Pirates offense has been scuffling. Marte is out of today’s lineup as Polanco slides over to LF and Matt Joyce starts at RF. Also, Mercer sits and Chris Stewart is back in the lineup. Figures Erik Kratz needs a day off after pitching his scoreless inning last night.

Pirates North Shore Nine
Jaso 1B
Polanco LF
McCutchen CF
Kang 3B
Joyce RF
Harrison 2B
Rodriguez SS
Stewart C
Liriano P

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