Pirates MVP Is Back To Turn The Tide Against Braves
Both teams find themselves six games behind in their respective divisions. However, both are still in the Wild Card hunt and as the season winds down every win matters more. That is not why most will be watching this game, though.
Andrew McCutchen will be returning for the Bucs after sitting out with a fractured rib. McCutchen is the NL MVP and a four-time All-Star. He will be back in the Pirates line up today.
The return could not come at a better time for Pittsburgh. The Braves gave the Pirates their sixth straight loss in the series opener yesterday. In fact, since McCutchen went down the Pirates went from leading the NL Central to have a losing record at 5-9.
The Braves are in the Wild Card hunt, but coach Fredi Gonzalez says the team is focused on gaining ground on the Washington Nationals to win the division and not settle for a Wild Card spot.
Aaron Harang will take the mound for the Braves, while the Pirates will be sending out Francisco Liriano to combat the Braves.
Liriano and Harang have similar ERAs but Liriano has been in a bit of a rut as of late.
Liriano 3-9 record is a bit misleading. He has had eight straight quality in which he has struck out 57 and allowed only 28 hits over 50 innings. That is two-times has many strikeouts as hits allowed. He has an overall ERA of 3.78. In his last outing Liriano took a tough loss to the Detroit Tigers after tossing six innings and allowing only two runs.
Harang is 9-7 this season with a 3.51 ERA. Harang is a dangerous pitcher who has only allowed more than four runs in just three games over 25 starts. Harang last outing saw him take a loss to the LA Dodgers after allowing five runs in a little over four innings.