Did Cole, Liriano cool Pirates’ interest in rotation help?

The Pirates are keeping one eye on the trade market and the other on their two pitchers who will dictate how zealous they will be as the end-of-July deadline approaches.

Before and during Wednesday night’s game, Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano both sent messages to GM Neal Huntington to “cool it.”

Huntington’s reads on Cole, on the DL with a sore lat, and on Liriano, whose pitching has been hurting, will greatly influence whether pitching help will be needed for the stretch.

Cole felt so good in a sim game that he wound up going 10 pitches over his target of 60.

Liriano one-upped him in his Wednesday night start, holding the Dodgers hitless for 4 1/3 innings and winding up allowing four hit4s and one run in seven innings. In his last 14 innings, covering three starts, Liriano has yielded one earned run and  seven hits, while fanning 15.

Feeling more secure in what they can expect from the duo — and saying so publicly — could also just be a negotiating tactic, obviously. Teams lower the price on available pieces if they know you are not desperate for them. That’s when it becomes a buyer’s market.

Either way, Cole and Liriano both had the Bucs feeling better about their rotation on Wednesday night than they felt over their morning coffee.

Tom Singer

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