Now Commenting On:

Bucs would tab Liriano, A.J. to lead playoff rotation

Bucs would tab Liriano, A.J. to lead playoff rotation

Bucs would tab Liriano, A.J. to lead playoff rotation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Afforded by the four-day All-Star Game break to align his starting rotation any way he wished, Clint Hurdle came out of the hiatus with A.J. Burnett following Francisco Liriano. Subsequent off-days have adjusted other tiers of that rotation, but the Liriano-Burnett sequence has remained.

No sense looking too far ahead but, yes, that's the way Hurdle wants them lined up for a possible postseason run.

The Pirates manager subtly indicated a few days ago how good he would feel about those two leading the way into the playoffs. After Liriano and Burnett went seven strong innings each for back-to-back wins in San Diego, Hurdle offered this:

"When they are on their game, they can be a force. And they can beat a good team."

They will come across plenty of good teams even before October. Their next mutual challenge will be the Cardinals, whom they will face Friday and Saturday nights at PNC Park.

"I just like the way we're going about our business, throwing our best two guys back to back," Hurdle said. "We're trying to get something done."

In the final two games of the series here, Liriano and Burnett are following each other for the ninth time. With Liriano having lost Saturday, Burnett was out to prevent their third set of twin losses. Four previous times both won, and two other times they split the games.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español