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Friday's scouting report: Rockies at Pirates

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, July 17, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
 

• The Rockies' bullpen, like the Pirates', is having a roller-coaster season. LaTroy Hawkins, 41, has been successful on 17 of 18 save chances with a 2.45 ERA. He could be available at the trade deadline. Might the Pirates be interested? The lefty-righty combo of Red Brothers (4.38 ERA) and Adam Ottavino (3.95) hasn't been as productive as expected. However, both went into the All-Star break on the upswing. Ottavino had a 1.08 ERA over his past seven outings. Brothers had a 2.12 ERA and 14 strikeouts over his past 12 23 IP.

• The biggest problem with the Pirates' starting rotation is that no one has pitched like a No. 1 guy. Gerrit Cole has the best chance to do that, but he's on the disabled list and likely is out until August. So ... Francisco Liriano, anyone? After his last start Sunday vs. the Reds, Liriano claimed he's fully healthy. He also gave up three runs on three hits and six walks, and needed 94 pitches to get through four innings. His 52 percent ground-ball rate is the highest it's been since 2010. Good thing, since his 14.8 HR/fly ball rate is the worst of Liriano's career.

The Buzz

Andrew McCutchen ranks 11th on the list of most popular MLB jerseys, based on sales on mlb.com through the first half of the 2014 season. Derek Jeter is No. 1, followed by Buster Posey, Clayton Kershaw and David Ortiz. Over the winter, McCutchen's jersey ranked sixth in sales behind leader Ortiz.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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