No team boasted a better pitching staff through the season's first half than the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Francisco Liriano's surprising resurgence was one of the biggest reasons why.
But for all that Liriano has done, he has failed to beat the Cincinnati Reds in both of his starts.
He hopes the third try proves more favorable Friday night at Cincinnati, where the Reds counter with Mike Leake, the winning pitcher in both of those games.
An equally tough rotation and bullpen has fueled the Pirates' major league-leading 3.07 ERA and a 56-37 record, their best All-Star break since 1991.
Pittsburgh's decision to sign Liriano (9-3, 2.00 ERA) to a one-year deal worth just 1 million guaranteed was seen as a low-risk investment, but it's one that's helped bolster the staff.
He's tied for seventh in the NL in wins despite making only 12 starts and his ERA would rank second if he threw enough innings to qualify. The left-hander's 32.5 swing-and-miss percentage is tied with Yu Darvish for baseb...