One of the big questions surrounding the Pirates all winter was whether Francisco Liriano would be able to replicate his fantastic 2013 season, given that he’s never managed to put together two good seasons at any other point in his career. Through three starts, Liriano turned in a solid Opening Day performance against the Cubs, and two middling, homer-riddled starts after that.
We’re certainly at a point of the season in which we can apply the “It’s too early to worry too much” tag to things, but I think it’s fair to say that Liriano hasn’t looked right to this point. His velocity is down across the board, and he’s throwing fewer fastballs and sliders and more changeups. Obviously this is the sort of thing that one solid start could change, but as of today all of this stuff looks like a bright red flag screaming, “DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!” to me. Wild Card Game aside, Liriano had a bit of trouble with the Reds last year due to the long ball (he gave up four homers to the Reds in 24 1/3 innings, with three of those homers coming at Great American.
Anyway, Johnny Cueto goes for the Reds. Starling Marte has the day off because he looks like he’s never seen a baseball before. The first pitch is at 12:35.