PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage joined “Pirates Fan Reaction” Wednesday after a 6-1 victory over the L.A. Dodgers at PNC Park.
Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano played a big role in that win – his first since May 30 – and Searage said the lefty showed signs reminiscent of his successful 2013 campaign.
“One of the things that really stood out was that I could see his rhythm, pace and execution of pitches get better as the game went along,” said Searage. “He started to relax and get into himself. He started to be able to execute pitches. He got into some jams with some pitches that were up, but then he was able to come back down a make some good pitches.”
Searage said he believes Liriano is now back on the right track.
“Every time he goes out there, if he can improve one-tenth of one percent, we’re going to really benefit,” said Searage.
While Liriano’s strong start aided the Pirates, Gerritt Cole pitched a simulated game this week and is making strides to return to the lineup. However, Searage said he would not put a timetable on Cole’s return.
“I don’t want to put a due date on the kid,” said Searage. “Last time we did that, he rushed through everything.”
Searage said this “rush” to return from injury may have played a role in his most recent stint on the disabled list.
“That’s mainly my fault; I should have never let it happen, but it did. I take the blame for that,” said Searage.
Searage added that the Pirates’ current pitching staff doesn’t have a true ace, and every starter has something different to offer – like Charlie Morton, who Searage said is “starting to really evolve into a complete pitcher.”
After taking two of three from the Dodgers, the Pirates have an off day Thursday before opening a 10-game road trip with a series against Colorado.
The interview with Searage can be heard here: