Francisco Liriano has always had a home/road split as a Pirate. This isn’t necessarily surprising; PNC Park is a very friendly park to left-handed pitchers because it’s very unfriendly to right-handed hitters and Liriano fits into it almost like a hand in a glove, with his ground-ball oriented approach and the way he dominates left-handed hitters.
His splits this year and beyond extreme, though; in his three starts at PNC Park he’s got 1.37 ERA and hitters are hitting .205/.284/.260 against him, and in his five starts on the road, he’s got a 7.00 ERA and .291/.395/.534 split. He’s walked 18 hitters and given up eight homers in 27 innings on the road, he’s given up one homer and walked seven in 19 2/3 at home. Some of this is probably due to ballparks; he’s pitched in hitter-friendly parks in Arizona, Cincinnati, and Chicago and he faced the potent Cub offense in Chicago, where three of those homers came. He pitched well in St. Louis, too, though he always pitches well against the Cardinals.
This is a long way around saying that Liriano didn’t really pitch well in Arizona against the Diamondbacks, and I’m interested to see how he does tonight on his home turf. The Pirates are 5-2 in the first seven games of their ten game homestand against below-average teams; with the Cubs and Cardinals playing each other it’s important that they finish strong. Getting a good start from Liriano would be an added bonus on top of that.
Shelby Miller starts for the Diamondbacks and he has not been good at all this year. First pitch is at 7:05.