The Pirates have lost two games in a row. They "need" a strong start and a win tonight as much as any team that's 21 games over .500 and has the best record in the baseball can "need" a win at this point in the season. It would be nice to see them play well enough to beat a team that they're better than, is what I'm saying.
Francisco Liriano has been the best guy for the Pirates to have on the mound in these situations this year, and he's the one taking the ball tonight. His last two starts, against the Nats and Cardinals, have been really excellent. He's facing Jorge De La Rosa tonight, who's having a bit of a career resurgence after Tommy John surgery wiped out much of 2011 and 2012 for him. Like Jhoulys Chacin last night, it's hard to say how he's doing it; his strikeouts are low, his groundballs are not exceptionall high, and he's got a very low home run rate despite pitching for the Rockies. The Pirates obviously had trouble with Chacin last night, but De La Rosa's a lefty, so I'm thinking that it's time for Andrew McCutchen to just go completely nuts.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.