PITTSBURGH — With Nolan Gorman walking through Pittsburgh airport and Matthew Liberatore set to fly there in the next day, the 2nd and 3rd place Cardinals prospects and former boyhood baseball teammates, respectively, shared a FaceTime call, but there wasn’t much verbal communication. About their upcoming MLB debut.
“There are not many words. There’s an almost empty look and a lot of giggles if you want,” Liberatore recalled a phone call the two received hours before their major league debut on Friday and Saturday. “It was more unbelievable that something like that had happened. You really couldn’t have written it better. So it is very special to us.”
Back to Saturday, 6-foot-4 left-handed Riveratore was on the mound, and Gorman was eventually forced to duty at second base the night he originally planned to sit back and watch a previous youth ball game. Triple-A and current St. Louis teammates will make their major league debut. Again, while playing in front of 24,644 fans at PNC Park, there wasn’t much communication between the two other than knowing they nodded to each other throughout the game.
Liberator said of his interaction with Gorman while the Cardinals beat the Pirates 5-4, “It was ‘Hey, you got this’ encouragement and plain chatter.” “I don’t talk a lot when I’m pitching other than the catcher and pitching coach, but Nolan knows when and where he needs to be.”
Liberatore and Gorman from Arizona have been friends since they were five and have been colleagues several times over the years. One night Gorman hit a hit in his first MLB at-bat and played perfectly on the field, Liberatore experienced multiple highs and troughs in 4 2/3 innings allowing four runs. On the one hand, he struck out Michael Chavis to finish his first MLB innings in sequence, striking out two other innings all night long.
On the other hand, he did not play the final at the end of the 5th inning, which could have won his first major league title.
Liberator allowed seven hits and two walks and told Bryan of an outing that got an unfortunate bounce on the ball that led to an inside park home run. Reynolds. “I felt pretty comfortable there, and in the end it was the same game.”
Paul Goldschmidt had four hits and two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 14 games and his on-base streak to 28 games. Goldschmidt touched Pittsburgh starter José Quintana with two doubles and is currently batting 14 to 27 (.519) against lefties.
“I wasn’t sure what my numbers were, but I was just trying to keep a good batting average and hit and find holes,” said Goldschmidt, who has led MLB overall hits and averages since April 22. None of those balls were broken, but we did find some holes.”
It’s been the same game for years for Gorman and Liberatore, with their respective fathers, Brian Gorman and Anthony Liberatore as coaches. It was while I was playing youth ball and traveling baseball in Arizona and Florida. Now at second base instead of third base, Gorman recorded his first extra-long hit with a double from the right line on Saturday. With Quintana pitching, lefty Gorman didn’t start the game and was excited to see his friend pitch for the first time at MLB level.
“It would be nice to sit back and watch him work,” Gorman said before the game.
That plan changed when center fielder Dylan Carlson was pulled out in the bottom of the third due to a tight left hamstring. With Harrison Bader scratched with vertigo, Tommy Edman moved to center field and Gorman entered second base. Liberatore said it was comforting to look back at him and see his close friend behind him again.
Although not a personal win, Liberatore pitches against what the Cardinals won, future Hall of Fame prospect Yadier Molina, and the chances of an MLB debut the day after Gorman did so were slim. The event has been canceled, Liberatore said.
“If you had given me the script and said 10 years ago what your life would be like 10 years from now, I would have said ‘You crazy!'” Liberator said. “This is the most incredible thing that has ever happened to us.”