The Red Sox (5-6) and Blue Jays (10-12) entered Wednesday with losing records against left-handed starters.
The Baltimore Orioles -- the other entrant in what appears to be a three-team American League East race -- haven't used a left-handed starter all season.
Perhaps realizing they're missing out on a competitive advantage, sources say the Orioles have shown interest in trading for left-handed starters Francisco Liriano and Drew Pomeranz.
Of the two, Pomeranz is perhaps more likely to be dealt this summer; his Padres are last in the National League West and have indicated they will be sellers at the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Liriano's Pirates are in a different circumstance. They've earned an NL Wild Card berth in three consecutive seasons and aren't ready to trade veteran assets. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told MLB.com this week: "Our focus remains to play good baseball and put ourselves in a position to make the postseason."
However, the Pirates entered Wednesday at 34-37, 13 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. They also trail the Mets by 4 1/2 games for the second Wild Card. And the Pirates' hopes of gaining ground will be hampered as long as ace Gerrit Cole and starting catcher Francisco Cervelli remain on the disabled list.
Liriano, then, is worth monitoring as a trade candidate over the coming weeks. Because the Pirates' payroll ranks in the bottom half of Major League Baseball, they have a history of trading veterans as they near free agency. (Neil Walker last winter was one such example.) Liriano, 32, is set to earn $13 million in 2017 before becoming a free agent.
For Liriano to have much value on the trade market -- or for the Pirates, in the interim -- he needs to throw more strikes. Liriano leads the major leagues with 46 walks, and his 5.03 ERA is his worst since 2012, which he split with the Twins and White Sox.
Still, suitors will be intrigued by Liriano's ability to miss bats: He's averaging at least one strikeout per inning, as he has in every season since 2012.
• Amid reports of the Giants' interest in trading for Ryan Braun, it's worth noting that the Giants avoided expensive midseason acquisitions in their 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series championship runs.
Here were their notable in-season additions in each of those seasons:
2010: Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez, Mike Fontenot, Jose Guillen
2012:Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro, Jose Mijares, Brad Penny
2014:Jake Peavy, Travis Ishikawa, Dan Uggla
Not one of those players was signed to a lucrative, multiyear contract at the time. Braun, meanwhile, has at least $76 million left on his deal after the end of the current season.
That's not to rule out Braun playing in the Bay Area, but it would mark a dramatic departure from how the Giants have (very successfully) done business this decade. If they decide an outfielder is needed, San Diego's Jon Jay -- a past World Series champion and current NL leader in doubles -- fits the Giants' mold.
• The Rangers have one of the top farm systems in baseball, even after parting with five prospects to acquire Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman last July. Over the coming weeks, they'll probably bid farewell to a few more top Minor Leaguers in the name of pitching upgrades.
The Rangers have the AL's best record, and they need outside help to retain it, now that Derek Holland has joined Yu Darvish on the 15-day disabled list. Both have shoulder woes, and the steady Colby Lewis exited his most recent start with an arm cramp.
Texas general manager Jon Daniels has shown an ability to be decisive in big moments. The Holland news is a clear call to action, for a roster that Daniels knows is capable of winning the franchise's first World Series.
• As the industry wonders whether the Yankees will move relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller by Aug. 1, Tuesday was the 27th anniversary of the team's most recent in-season "sell" trade: Rickey Henderson to Oakland for Luis Polonia, Eric Plunk, and Greg Cadaret.
See? The Yankees can be sellers . . . every quarter-century or so.