Francisco Liriano’s success against the Cardinals has been well-chronicled. And he has continued that pattern of pitching dominance in the early stages of this NLDS Game 3 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
With the help of a wide Jerry Layne strike zone, the left-handed Liriano carved his way through St. Louis’ batting order in the opening frame. Matt Carpenter struck out to open the game and Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday were then retired on groundball outs.
Cardinals starter Joe Kelly also was the beneficiary of some odd called strikes in the bottom of the first inning but he issued a two-out walk to Andrew McCutchen anyway and then deflected a comebacker from Justin Morneau that Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma threw beyond the reach of Matt Adams at first base. With runners on third and second, Marlon Byrd smacked a two-run single into left field.
It’s a 2-0 lead for the host Pirates after one and the crowd is rocking in the Steel City.
In a mailbag published on Thursday, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says he has spoken with Arenado and his agent from the Wasserman Media Group. Based on that, he says the Rockies have not broached the subject of a contract extension with the All-Star third baseman.
Arenado will enter his second of four years of arbitration eligibility after earning $5 million for the 2016 season. He’s due to a hefty pay raise and will continue on that track into free agency after the 2019 season. It may behoove the Rockies to get extension talks started sooner rather than later. Saunders, however, thinks that Arenado wants to see if the Rockies become contenders in the next two seasons before signing the dotted line.
Arenado, 25, enters Thursday’s action batting .293/.361/.567 with 40 home runs, 130 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. His 40 homers is best in the National League and the 130 RBI are best in the majors. He has an argument for winning the National League Most Valauble Player Award.
Agent Scott Boras eulogized client Jose Fernandez at his funeral on Thursday. Boras couldn’t even get through the first sentence without breaking down in tears. It was difficult to watch without wanting to sob myself, but it was a touching eulogy that spoke for a lot of people who were fond of Fernandez.