The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon, clinching home field for the Wild Card game against the Reds on Tuesday night. Luckily for the Pirates, Francisco Liriano has been at his best when playing at PNC Park in 2013.
Liriano has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. But at home, he seems to take his pitching to an entirely different level of dominance. Overall, he is 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA in 26 starts. At home, Liriano has a 1.47 ERA. When looking at his numbers at home, they are unbelievable. At PNC Park, Liriano’s opponent slash line is .173/.249/.225. At home versus lefties, it is .036/.086/.036.
Liriano hasn’t been kind to left-handed hitters anywhere this season, not at home or on the road. He has faced 138 lefties this season, and they have a combined .130/.175/.146 slash line against him.
The Reds have to be concerned about having to face Liriano at PNC Park. When you look at the Reds’ lineup, their big hitters are mainly lefties. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo are the Reds’ three best hitters; they are all left-handed. Votto is a great hitter, even his numbers against lefties are above average, but they aren’t as good as his overall numbers. Out of the trio of Votto, Bruce and Choo, Choo seems to have the most trouble hitting southpaws. Against lefties, Choo has a .215/.347/.265 line with a 81 wRC+.
Even though the game will be close because the Pirates’ offense probably won’t score much against Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, the Bucs have to feel confident about playing behind Liriano for a chance at the NLDS.