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.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.