Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Defeat The Cincinnati Reds To Make It To The NLDS


Tonight marks the most important game in at least the last 20 years of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. Yes, they have technically made the postseason, but given the new Wild Card format, they will be facing their division rival, the Cincinnati Reds, in a one-game playoff to determine who will play the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.

These two teams each won 90+ games this season, so it certainly will not be easy for either team to come out on top, but ultimately, I can almost guarantee that the Pirates are going to come out on top, and there are quite a few statistics that back up my claim.

First, though, let's talk about what the Reds bring to the table, and what made them a playoff team this year. As a team, they were 12th in the league in Runs Scored, and it is clear that their offense is quite potent. Even better than their offense is their pitching. They were 4th overall as a team as far as ERA, 1st in the NL for Strikeouts, and 1st in the MLB for Batting Average Against.
There isn't enough that can be said about their pitching, it's just phenomenal. From Johnny Cueto (who will be starting this game) and Mat Latos at the front rotation to Aroldis Chapman holding things down on the back end, it's going to be hard for the Pirates to score runs, to say the least.

Back to the offense, they are led by former NL MVP Joey Votto. I know his traditional statistics might not be that gaudy, but he is one of the top hitters in the game. Heck, I even named my fantasy team after him (Grand Theft Votto). He's not all they have, as Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Shin-Soo Choo to fill out the rest of the lineup.

Unfortunately for them, though, their bats have just gone ice cold. The team stumbles into this game on the heels of a 5-game losing streak, and most of that can be attributed to the offense. Over those 5 games, they scored 1.6 runs per game, and hit only 1 home run. That type of production just isn't going to cut it in a game with this high of stakes.
Also unfortunately for them is that they run into one of the best left-handers in the league this season, Francisco Liriano. He has revitalized his career with the Pirates, and he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA this year. He's been absolutely lights out at home this year, where he's went 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA.

What he also has working for him is how dominant he has been against lefties this year. In 130 at bats, lefties have 17 hits against Liriano (.131 batting average), and their only two extra base hits have been doubles. Given that Votto (.251), Bruce (.246), and Choo (.215) are all significantly worse against left handers, you can see that the Reds are in some real trouble.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, who are currently riding a 3-game winning streak, seem to be a team on a mission this year. They just had their first winning season in over two decades, and I don't see any way that the Reds will be able to stop them from extending this playoff run.

Thanks for reading.

Follow Brian Rzeppa on Twitter, and check out his NBA work on The League News.

4 comments:

  1. why do these 2 teams have to play each other? I like them both a lot.

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  2. It's a problem I know a lot of people are having. I'm personally pretty conflicted, as I love Votto, but I think I have to go with the Pirates

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  3. Im going with the Pirates as well but wont be mad if the Reds win

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  4. now the Pirates need to beat the Cardinals.

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