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Look what Francisco Liriano has done for the Pirates this season. Pittsburgh plays in a ballpark that looks like Target Field, features a star center fielder who looks like an early prototype for Byron Buxton, and has admirable pitching depth, which the Twins should also develop over the next few years.
What the Pirates lacked was a power arm to lead their staff, to stop losing streaks, to allow the rest of their starters to fall logically into place in a competitive rotation.
The Pirates deserve credit for sticking with Liriano when a freak offseason injury set him back, and for helping him become a more confident pitcher. They also got lucky, given that more accomplished and more expensive free-agent pitchers fail all the time.
The downside to diving into the free-agent pitching market is that it might cost the Pohlads some money.
The upside? They might speed rebuilding and set their rotation up to win in the near future. They might make Target Field something more than a pub with outdoor seating.
Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • firstname.lastname@example.org
|Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano||0||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto||4|
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi||0||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez||3|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel||0||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka||3|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly||1||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta||5|
|NY Mets||2||Top 5th Inning|
|Atlanta - J. Teheran||6:05 PM|
|Philadelphia - C. Lee|
|Chicago Cubs - T. Wood||6:05 PM|
|NY Yankees - M. Pineda|
|Cleveland - Z. McAllister||6:08 PM|
|Detroit - A. Sanchez|
|Washington - T. Roark||6:10 PM|
|Miami - J. Fernandez|
|Seattle - F. Hernandez||7:05 PM|
|Texas - Y. Darvish|
|Boston - C. Buchholz||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - J. Danks|
|Kansas City - J. Guthrie||7:10 PM|
|Houston - D. Keuchel|
|Oakland - T. Milone||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - T. Skaggs|
|Colorado - J. De La Rosa||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - A. Cashner|
|Los Angeles - P. Maholm||9:15 PM|
|San Francisco - R. Vogelsong|
|LA Lakers||7:00 PM|
|Golden State||9:30 PM|
|LA Clippers||9:30 PM|
|Red Bull New York|