Pirates starters had a weekend of double-digit strikeout performances

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With a fifth-inning strikeout of Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, Pirates starter Francisco Liriano became the third Pirates starter to reach double-digit strikeouts in their weekend series. As the club’s Twitter pointed out, it’s the first time since September 1969 that three consecutive Pirates starters struck out 10-plus. The Pirates won 9-1 on Sunday to finish off a series sweep.

Here’s how the starters fared over the weekend:

  • Gerrit Cole, Friday: 8.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 10 K
  • A.J. Burnett, Saturday: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
  • Francisco Liriano, Sunday: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
  • Total: 21.1 IP, 3 R (2 ER; 0.84 ERA), 3 BB, 32 K

With the sweep, the Pirates move to 21-22 and remain relevant in the NL Central. They’ll host the floundering Marlins for a three-game set starting Monday before heading out West on a road trip.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.