Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano will miss his scheduled start tonight against the Tigers due to hamstring trouble, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. The cause of Liriano’s hamstring issue isn’t yet known. Starting in his place will be Ryan Vogelsong, who lost in a three-way battle with Juan Nicasio and Jeff Locke for the Bucs’ last two rotation jobs coming out of camp. Here’s more from the NL Central.
- Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan is looking more and more like a starter, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs argues. Finnegan is developing confidence in his secondary pitches, throwing his changeup almost twice as frequently this season than he did as a starter in 2015. He’s also showing better command of the pitch. Sullivan goes so far as to compare Finnegan to Liriano. If Finnegan develops as a starter, the Reds will be that much closer to getting their money’s worth from last summer’s Johnny Cueto trade.
- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has been candid in the past about tailoring his usage of closer Trevor Rosenthal to the save statistic, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “There are personal statistics that help drive personal achievement as far as salaries go,” Matheny explained last season. “For us to be completely oblivious to that, I think is a mistake as well. Then you start having some friction.” Saves can, indeed, drive salaries, particularly for a player like Rosenthal who’s in the midst of his arbitration seasons. But managing with a closer’s saves total in mind might not be the best way to preserve the closer’s arm and his availability. One potential fix, Goold suggests, might be to somehow redefine the statistic to award saves for getting key outs. Such a fix might prevent teams from doing what the Cardinals did Sunday, when Rosenthal pitched the last out of the eighth inning and then threw 26 pitches in the ninth even after the Cardinals scored five runs.