I have this weird vision that when Kevin McClatchy throws out the first pitch today a lot of people are going to boo him. Far be it from me to tell you how to cheer at a game but I’ll say this, without Kevin McClatchy you’re likely not at a Pirates game today. PNC Park? Probably just some dumpy buildings. The North Shore? Home to the Steelers and some bars.
McClatchy very likely saved baseball in Pittsburgh. He might have been over his head as an owner but that’s not necessarily his fault.
If you boo the guy or treat him harshly that’s your prerogative, just know that I, and many others, reserve the right to think you’re an absolute twat.
Kudos to the Bucs for bringing him in to throw out the first pitch. Pure class on their part.
Francisco Liriano is on the way to becoming a bonafide Bucco legend. Broken arm playing with his kids? No problems. Reinventing his style? Sure. Having a Cy Young caliber year for a large part of the season? All in a day’s work. Dominating the Reds in the one game playoff? There was no doubt about it.
Hopefully he has another one of those in his pocket for today. He did that with a sinus infection! He also did that while becoming a daddy.
I don’t always recycle jokes. But when I do, they’re about Joey Votto.
Liriano has DOMINATED the Cardinals this season.
And that’s one of a few reasons to love having Franky go today. Another good reason? The Cards ain’t so good against lefties.
And if Liriano is great at one thing, it’s pitching to lefties.
The Cisco Kid also thrives at PNC Park, a place seemingly built for the type of pitcher Liriano is.
The Pirates kind of need this game in my opinion. Liriano is the Ace. Liriano has so many numbers on his side it’s hard to go against him.
Joe Kelly is a generic name. He hasn’t been a generic pitcher though.
Kelly has previously pitched seven times in the postseason, all in relief. The jitters are likely not going to be factor.
What could help is that he hasn’t pitched in six days. Maybe some rust? That’s not something you can possibly know prior to seeing him pitch.
Like Liriano he has found success against his opponent today. His success isn’t as dominant, but it’s success none the less. There is one thing to consider though when you look at his success. All of his starts against the Pirates this season have seen Kelly get a 4+ run lead by the fourth inning.
I think we all know how much an early, multi-run lead can be for a pitcher. Allowing them to just throw strikes and get outs.
That shouldn’t be the case today with Liriano pitching.
Mr. Kelly has a reverse platoon split.
And he’s a road warrior.
And he’s had an amazing second half.
So let’s be honest. Kelly has had a magnificent season. He’s a good pitcher. He’s had success against the Pirates this year.
I don’t think he’s dominated them though. His WHIP is awful, his SO/BB is not impressive, and he’s had the luxury of working with a lead for the most part. He’s beatable.
First Pitch: 4:30 PM EST
Where To Watch: TBS, MLB.TV