Tuesday – October 1 – 7:07 PM
PNC Park – Pittsburgh
The National League will start the postseason with their wild-card one-game playoff between two teams that just finished playing each other. The Cincinnati Reds travel to Pittsburgh to take on the surprising Pirates.
The Pirates swept the Reds this past weekend on the road and hold a 11 of 19 record over them this season. The Reds however have the postseason experience to fall back on.
Dusty Baker, Reds’ manager, will start their opening day pitcher Johnny Cueto. He has only two starts since returning from a 12-week stint on the disabled list. His last outing against the Pirates on May 31st he only allowed one run in eight innings.
Manager Clint Hurdle of the Pirates will start Francisco Liriano, for obvious reasons including his 8-1 home record this season. He struck out 18 in 14 innings in his last two starts versus the Reds at home. Many credit the offseason acquisition for being the catalyst for the Pirates reaching the postseason.
Andrew McCutchen, who has been on fire since the All-Star break and newest addition Marlon Byrd will have to continue their hot hitting from September. Both were better than .300 in the month. The Pirates are able to put up runs and the frenzied home crowd should help.
For the Reds, a freak foul ball off the leg of Brandon Phillips may make him ineffective for this game. He has not been hitting very well, but the team credits him as their emotional leader. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce will make Liriano work for everything tonight. They both have a combined 70 walks in September.