SHOWDOWN IN CINCINNATI
The Pittsburgh Pirates division hopes took a major hit Thursday as the St. Louis Cardinals keep winning and the Chicago Cubs took beat the Pirates 4-2 on Thursday afternoon. The Pirates are three games out of the division lead with three games to go.
Barring a Pirates sweep of the Reds and the Cardinals being swept by the Cubs, the Pirates division hopes are slim as the two heartbreaking losses to San Diego and Cincinnati last week ended up killing their chances at the division title.
All eyes are on the showdown in Cincinnati.
The stage is set. Barring the scenario above happening, a three game set between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates will decide who hosts the NL Wildcard Game Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.
If the Pirates win two of three games, they host the Wildcard game. If the Reds take two of three games, the play in game is in Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh getting the home game is huge for them because of how much different of a pitcher Francisco Liriano is at home compared to the road where he is 8-7 with a 4.33 ERA.
The Pirates will send A.J. Burnnett to the mound Friday, Charlie Morton on Saturday and Gerrit Cole on Sunday, if Sunday’s game is meaningful. For now Liriano is scheduled to start the play in game and while this is not going to happen, it’s not a crazy idea that Gerrit Cole could be the best option to pitch the play in game if the Pirates by pass his start on Sunday.
No moment appears too big for him.