The second half climb continues

Last night was a nice win for the Pirates, in the way that it’s always nice when a good team finds a way to beat a bad team. The Pirates probably played closer to poor than they did to well, but Francisco Liriano pulled himself together after two rough innings and the Pirates’ offense strung some hits together against the Rockies’ bullpen, and the Pirates got a win. Liriano’s stuff looked good for a second consecutive outing, and once his command clicked over in the second inning he was pretty much unhittable, which was good to see.

The one concern last night was obviously with Starling Marte, who got beaned with a fastball that ricocheted right off of his helmet with the bases loaded (this also tied the game at two) in the seventh inning. He stayed in the game for an inning before coming out in the top of the ninth, and he’s not in the lineup today. The pitch was scary enough on its own; Marte’s previous head injury this year makes it a bit more worrisome. There’s been no indication from the team that he’s got a concussion this time around; one of the nice things about having Josh Harrison is that he can give a player like Marte a precautionary rest after an incident like that. We’ll have to see how the Pirates use him in the next couple of days going forwards.

Charlie Morton will start for the Pirates tonight. Morton was on pace for a strong finish to the second half, until he was victimized by the Reds and by Great American Park into allowing five runs in five hitters last Saturday night. Since a two-home run Charlie Morton start is a rare occurrence, I’m happy to brush that off as a bit of a fluke and say that Morton is, for now, the Pirates’ most reliable starter. That’s both a reflection on the disappointing years from Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano and on Morton’s strong first half. If he could just shelve the one bad start out of every five he always seems to have, he’ll be even more reliable. Brett Anderson pitches for the Rockies, as the string of lefties that the Pirates will see to open this half continues. Because Josh Harrison is in left field for Marte tonight, Pedro Alvarez will get another start against a lefty.

First pitch tonight is at 7:05. The Reds just lost their second straight game to the Yankees, so a Pirate win tonight would draw them even with the Reds for seventh place in the NL. That would be better than eighth place.

Image: melalouise, Flickr

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.