Liriano Can Throw Pittsburgh into Playoffs

By Joe Short

francisco-liriano-pitches-pittsburgh-pirates-stlouis-cardinalsThere’s a time in every team’s season when the fans know if they’re going to make the playoffs or not. Toronto Blue Jays fans felt it before the All Star break (they’re not heading for October) while Oakland supporters must surely think their place is secured. For Pittsburgh Pirates backers, they are still in the running for top spot in the NL Central and a 9-2 victory over rivals St. Louis on Monday night certainly gave punters who bet on baseball cause for optimism.

After following Monday’s win with two more in a row, the Pirates have now edged ahead of the Cardinals and are several games in front of reigning division champion Cincinnati. There’s still a lot of work to do, but Pittsburgh looks good for a playoff place. Yet the difference between winning the division and being handed a tough Wildcard is huge, which is why this series with the Cards is so crucial.

Maybe there was a whiff of optimism inside PNC Park on Monday but supporters certainly saw the best the Pirates have to offer in their 9-2 win. Leading pitcher Francisco Liriano (11-4) proved just how valuable he is to this team in a stellar performance at the mound. Liriano let go just four hits and a run from seven tense innings in a series opener that could define NL Central positions come late August. Head coach Clint Hurdle rightly threw his lead man into the big game and while Liriano came through virtually unscathed, Pittsburgh’s offense did the rest with some mean hitting.

A team performance such as Monday night’s generates confidence throughout the side and now Pittsburgh’s starting rotation must match Liriano to keep this club in first place. Even if they didn’t win this series the Pirates are a good online sports betting tip to reach the playoffs top of the pile, especially with Liriano in charge at the mound and his team batting they way they do.

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10 Replies to “Liriano Can Throw Pittsburgh into Playoffs”

  1. With All-Star closer Grilli out for season I’m not yet convinced Melancon can do it in Sept. We’ll see.

  2. Having the best record means nothing ! It is not how you start or where (this time last season) you are at this point of the season . It is how you finish and what you`re capable doing in the postseason . Two decades of ineptitude can`t hide how woefully inept the Pittsburgh Pirates have been . So please remember that .

    I liken the Pirates` current situation to a contestant in the Miss USA beauty pageant . They all look good , until you hear them answer questions on domestics and international political issues .

    C`mon Chris , are you actually buying into the Pirates being the best team in baseball because of their record ? Look at the NL Central and the alleged quality of the teams there and tell me what you actually see ?

    tophatal …………

  3. Al…

    In this case, having the best record DOES mean something. The Pirates had gone fourteen (or more?) straight seasons with a sub-.500 record. The fact that they’re back where they belong should be considered a great accomplishment.

    I’m not saying they’re the best team in baseball. I’m saying they have the best record.

  4. The Pirates are likely to implode at some point in the future . Should they make the postseason , then all of their flaws will be on show for all to see . There is little postseason experience on the roster , if any at all .

  5. Yea, but sometimes, Al, that works for the better.

    Maybe they’re so wet behind the ears, they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think they’ll win it but to write them off entirely might be a mistake.

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