I’ve written quite a bit about Francisco Liriano’s early-season struggles before and after his start against the Reds last week. There are two things to watch tonight, I think. The first is just his overall velocity, which has been down enough in the early season to catch my eye. The second is his pitch selection against righties; he’s used his changeup as his primary pitch against right-handed batters in his last two starts, which is unusual for him and I think indicates a lack of confidence in his fastball.
Liriano more or less got away with this approach last time against the Reds, though I’m skeptical that he’ll get away with it two starts in a row. The only positive for him is that he’ll face Mike Leake today instead of Johnny Cueto — the Pirates managed to ding Leake for three runs when they saw him last week, despite striking out eight times in fewer than seven innings.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.
Image credit: Adam Jakubiak, Flickr