For the last half-week or so, the Pirates have been winning ugly games against bad teams. I'm completely OK with this, so long as the wins keep coming. Francisco Liriano makes his third start for the Pirates tonight, and while the Cubs are not an intimidating lineup he did draw Pirate Killer Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija has cooled off a bit since his hot start and teams have gotten a bit homer-happy against him of late.
Since I seemed to have some good luck writing out my formula for last night's game, I'll try it again tonight: draw some walks against Samardzija and cash in on them, preferably with a multi-run home run. Make him throw some pitches so that he doesn't get deep into the game. Liriano, meanwhile, needs to get at least through the sixth and hopefully into the seventh, because the bullpen will be slightly short-handed with Jason Grilli unavailable after last night's marathon outing.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05. If the Reds and Cardinals are going to stubbornly keep on winning, what other choice do the Pirates have but to match them?