6/7 Pirates 2, Cubs 0

It was deja vu for the Cubs. For the second time this season, Francisco Liriano held the Cubs to two hits over seven shutout innings as the Pirates won, 2-0, on Friday.

“Obviously, if our offense puts a few on the board, it changes the whole game,” Chicago’s Darwin Barney said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap to Liriano and not let him be one of those guys who starts slumps with hitters. Right now, he’s making his pitches and not giving in.”

Liriano did not serve up a hit until pitcher Travis Wood singled with one out in the fifth.

“He’s done this to everybody,” Dale Sveum said of Liriano. “When he’s right and he has his velocity, he’s basically in the CC Sabathia type category where he has great velocity but really doesn’t throw his fastball that much. He’s got great command of his changeup and slider. He’s one of those guys where it’s very, very difficult if he’s on with his offspeed stuff — it’s going to be a tough day.”

Wood was also stingy. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second when he struck out Liriano, then retired the next 10 batters before Jordy Mercer doubled with one out in the sixth. One out later, Gaby Sanchez walked and Russell Martin then lined a RBI double to left.

“I got the outs when I needed, except the one that really counted,” Wood said.

The Pirates added a run in the ninth off Carlos Villanueva when Martin walked, moved up on Pedro Alvarez’s single and scored one out later on Travis Snider’s fielder’s choice. Snider hit the ball to third baseman Luis Valbuena, who opted to try for the double play instead of throwing home.

“He knows after the fact that something broke down there,” Sveum said of Valbuena. “That run is very, very important. A left-handed hitter hitting a ground ball, you need to throw that guy out at home. The odds of turning a double play, especially when you’re trying to take the pull side away with Villanueva pitching — there’s a 99 percent chance he’s going to pull Villanueva so Barney wasn’t going to be near the bag anyway.”

With the loss, the Cubs now are 6-17 against NL Central teams. The six wins are the fewest for any club within its own division.

— Carrie Muskat


I suggested earlier in week that we had the opportunity this weekend to pay back the Pirates for mistreating us at their place recently. Said it was an opportunity to show what we are made of. Today`s answer is a resounding “We surrender.” I despise weakness. What say you all?

I’ve been watching this ballclub for nearly 70 \years. This edition is not good. They are on their way to another 100 loss season, meanwhile, the “brilliant” front office tells the fans of future glory, and signs Edwin Jackson to a 4 year $52 million contract. Do they believe that knowledgable fans will believe them?

You make an excellent point, Darrell, and you outrank myself, as I`ve been a fan for just 52 short years. I can tell you that there will be Hell to pay if we do indeed lose 100 games +this season, as it will mean regression or no progress or whatever one wishes to call it. It is incumbent on Theo Epstein and his regime to demonstrate at least modest progress in each successive year. We fans are realistic and do not expect a contender this season or next, but to become better than last season? That is not excessive.

Today`s game does prove a point I tried to make elsewhere on this site, however. Good pitching is paramount. The Pirate pitching was the key to today`s game. We had good pitching, but the opponent`s was better than good. It was superb. Is why we should have selected Jonathon Gray as our first pick yesterday. He is superb.

Where are the folk who agree with myself about respecting pitching? I do not fancy being the lone wolf here, but I will persevere. Do not be bashful. I do not respect shyness.

I doubt you’re alone in your admiration of pitching. However, if they don’t score ANY runs, the best they can do is tie.

With so many risks involved with pitchers, I like the Bryant pick. I remember Prior. Let’s see how it plays out in a few years

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