One thing I find neat in baseball is a complete game, shut-out by a starting pitcher. Short of that, any complete game is pretty cool in my book. Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, Francisco Liriano pitched a complete game in a 6-2 victory for the visiting Pirates.
Not only was it Liriano's first complete game of the season, it was the team's, as well. Pittsburgh's staff, from the starters to the relievers, might be the talk of baseball, but those relievers need a rest every now and then.
In Thursday's loss to the Phillies, many fans were critical of manager Clint Hurdle for his quick hook on rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole despite only throwing a minimal amount of pitches. Turns out, the move back-fired, as the bullpen gave up five runs.
Friday afternoon, there was no such hook for Liriano, as he shut the Cubs' lineup down most of the afternoon.
I won't get into anymore specifics about the victory (mainly because it's late, and I'm tired), but I continue to be excited about this Pirates team. I think, after such a long winning/playoff drought, fans are more apt to panic in the sight of a couple of losses. For example, fans were getting pretty testy on blogs and message boards after Thursday afternoon's loss to Philadelphia, which gave the Phillies two victories in the three game series at PNC Park, and I think most of the reason for the anger was because of the whole "winning series" thing people like to focus on.
However, would it really matter that the Phillies took two of three in Pittsburgh, if the Pirates sweep the Cubs this weekend? It would still be four wins in six games.
The only series I'm worried about are the ones with direct playoff implications. Right now, the Pirates are on an 11 out of 13 run, and if they can keep having runs like that, they'll have some REAL series to worry about in October.