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Tuesday's scouting report: Braves at Pirates

| Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, 6:45 p.m.

X-factors

Pirates beat reporter Travis Sawchik'sinside look at Tuesday's game:

• Francisco Liriano was outdueled by Max Scherzer his last time out, but he continues to pitch well in the second half, generating a 1.89 ERA over 38 innings since the break. Fastball command — in addition to health — has been key for Liriano in regaining his 2013 form. Liriano had a 2-to-1, strikeout-to-walk ratio in the first half, but he's struck out 42 against 12 walks in the second half.

• Andrew McCutchen hopes to return to the lineup Tuesday. Perhaps he is targeting that day because he has a .357 career average against Aaron Harang. The Pirates have a team average .299 against Harang. Pedro Alvarez has 1 hit in 11 career at-bats against Harang. Ike Davis has no hits in four career at-bats.

The Buzz

If Alvarez starts over Ike Davis at first base often, as he did Monday, the Pirates will be benching a player who has better career numbers against right-handed pitching than Alvarez. It is also a signal that Davis could be on the move this offseason.

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