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Francisco Liriano, who will get the ball for the Pirates, has been their best pitcher all year. Liriano is 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts.
He has faced the Reds four times this year, going 0-3 with a 3.70 ERA.
Here's a look at the projected lineup Liriano will face:
Reds lineup (numbers against Liriano in 2013)
- CF Shin-Soo Choo (1-for-12, 1 BB, 3 K's)
- 2B Brandon Phillips (3-for-11, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K's)
- 1B Joey Votto (2-for-10, 2 BB, 2 K's)
- RF Jay Bruce (0-for-11, 6 K's)
LF Ryan Ludwick (1-for-3, 1 RBI)
- 3B Todd Frazier (3-for-9, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K's)
- SS Zack Cozart (2-for-10, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K's)
- C Ryan Hanigan (0 AB)
Liriano has had decent success against the Reds this year, especially through the first four in the lineup. Any pitcher who can hold Choo, Phillips, Votto and Bruce to a combined average of .136 is doing something right.
Where it gets sticky for Liriano is facing Ludwick and Frazier, who have had some success against him this season. However, if Liriano can limit the top four to fewer than three hits collectively, the Pirates will have a definite advantage.
The left-hander mainly uses three pitches—a sinker, slider and changeup. Here's how everything looks, according to Brooksbaseball.net:
With the exception of Ludwick and Hanigan, all of the Reds' hitters have seen Liriano enough this season. They know how to make adjustments and will have to do that if the Reds are going to win.
The one good thing for the Reds is that their lineup has a lot more power than that of the Pirates. Choo (21 HR, 54 RBI), Phillips (18 HR, 103 RBI), Votto (24 HR, 73 RBI) and Bruce (30 HR, 109 RBI) have all had success at the plate this year, but they haven't gotten it done against Liriano yet.