ST. LOUIS -- Forget about Pedro Alvarez being the Cardinals' nemesis. That was last year's news.
After pummeling St. Louis for seven homers, 23 RBIs and a .397 batting average in 2012, Alvarez has been limited to two homers, 10 RBIs and a .169 average in 2013.
Then how have the Pirates -- who have won 10 of 16 games between the NL Central's top two teams -- been able to dominate the Cardinals this season?
Easy. It's the newcomers. Catcher Russell Martin has picked up the power for Alvarez and Francisco Liriano has dominated Cardinals hitters even more than most left-handers.
The Cardinals won't have to deal this weekend with Liriano, 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three starts against St. Louis. Liriano was beaten up by the Brewers on Wednesday night and is not scheduled to start again until next week.
Too bad for the Cardinals that Martin is ready to go. He is coming off two days' rest after he sat out Wednesday's loss to the Brewers and enjoyed an off day with his team Thursday. (...