Two to go

The main implication of today's game is this: if the Pirates win, tomorrow's game is meaningless and both teams can start positioning themselves for Tuesday's wild card game. For the Pirates, that probably means starting someone other than Gerrit Cole so that Cole will be available out of the bullpen on Tuesday. For the Reds, I'm not sure if it means that they'd skip Johnny Cueto on Sunday and push him to the wild card game, or if Cueto would simply be available to relieve Mat Latos in case of emergency on Tuesday (you'd think the Reds would want to start Cueto on Tuesday if possible, but the fact that he's only made two starts against the Astros and Mets since returning from a 2 1/2 month disabled list stint about 12 days ago complicates things). 

Regardless, a win by the Pirates today makes tomorrow's game completely irrelevant, it puts the most talented arm in the whole organization in play for Tuesday's playoff game in some fashion, and it ensures that the wild card game will be played in front of just about 40,000 crazed Pirate fans seeing playoff baseball for the first time in 21 years. Obviously those things are preferrable to the alternative, even if they guarantee nothing. 

Charlie Morton starts for the Pirates. His last two starts have been fantastic, with 14 strikeouts, four walks, five hits, and just one earned run allowed in 15 innings. They've also been against the Padres and Cubs, of course, but hey, great starts are great starts. Bronson Arroyo goes for the Reds. He was not terribly effective against the Pirates last Sunday at PNC Park, but he was starting against Jeff Locke. He didn't have to be. 

First pitch today is at 1:05. The Pirates are one of the national games on FOX this afternoon, and for once, "national broadcast" means almost exactly that, with a few exceptions. Let's wrap this up.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.