Francisco Liriano showed the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff what stepping up for the pennant race was all about. Following him were two quality starts by A.J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole. Both clearly stepped to the rubber ready to battle for their season though Cole took a tough luck loss. Going into the game on Thursday to open the San Francisco Giants series, Jeff Locke is the man toeing the rubber and he has work to do.
Locke has been one of the better starters for this team all season long but has struggled of late. Right now is not the time to struggle however. This team needs Locke to pitch the way he has for a lot of the season and shut down the opposition. The fact that he is facing the Giants should help because they have struggled all year long. He should be able to rely on a couple of runs but you never know when last season’s version of Matt Cain could show up for the Giants.
Whatever the case he is faced with, Locke has been a little inconsistent but now is the time for him to walk right in step with Liriano, Burnett and Cole to complete a great four game stretch through the rotation. If he is able to get this win or ensure that the team has a chance to get the win, their chances of success begin to look really good going down the stretch. I would look for Locke to have at least a partially dominant game tonight and show that his good stuff is returning if not completely back.