Francisco Liriano hasn’t had the start to the 2014 season that many expected after a 16-win season in 2013. The Pittsburgh Pirates starter is 0-3 on the season with a 4.21 ERA. That won’t cut it for a team that made the NL playoffs last year and is counting on Liriano to be one of their top pitchers all season.
Part of Liriano’s record is on the run support he’s received (he did pitch shutout ball for nine innings in the team’s season opener), but it’s no secret that Liriano is not playing his best right now. Tonight in PNC Park, he’ll have a chance to put that behind him and get his first win of a young 2014 season. In so doing, the Pirates might exact a little revenge from earlier in the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles meet tonight on the second half of a four game inter-league series between the teams. The first two games were played in Baltimore, where the Orioles won both in a May day doubleheader that ended in heartbreak for the Pirates. The Pirates get two games at home now, where they at least sport a winning record, despite their general gloomy outlook in the standings.
For the Orioles, this game is a chance to take advantage of a team that can’t get over its own problems on the mound. Liriano is an on-or-off pitcher. If he’s off, Baltimore will know it early and it will be on the offense to rack up runs right away before Liriano settles down or another pitcher enters the game. If he’s on, the team will need to stay patient and not chase Liriano’s deceptive pitches. Stay aggressive, make him earn the strike zone and Baltimore could get another much-needed win in their battle atop the AL East.
Miguel Gonzalez will have his hands full as the Orioles starter. Per the game preview link, his road record isn’t exactly glittering, so the game will ride on the matchup between the Pirate mound and the Baltimore bats.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM EST at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Baltimore viewers can see the game on MASN while Pittsburgh viewers can tune into ROOT Sports for the game.