The 2013 regular season overall was pretty good for the Cincinnati Reds. Sure, they would have liked to win the NL Central or even be the host for the upcoming Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but things don’t always go as planned.
The season ended in disappointing fashion, as the Reds closed out the season with five consecutive loses. They have not won since clinching a playoff spot against the New York Mets. Even though the Reds are playing, perhaps their worst baseball of the season, they need to forget about everything that has happened and direct all of their attention to Tuesday’s one-game playoff against the Pirates.
A lot of baseball “experts” are predicting the Pirates to beat the Reds and advance to the NLDS – they’re not even giving the Reds a chance. It would be easy to pick Pittsburgh to win; I mean, they just swept the Reds to close the season, and they are hosting the game, so the Pirates do have some advantages.
But, the Reds can’t go into Tuesday’s game thinking about how poorly they played against the Pirates to close out the season — they have to simply focus on what is in front of them.
The Reds should not be upset that they have to play the game in Pittsburgh as they have played very well at PNC Park. They’ve won four of their last six games there. Also, the Reds will start Johnny Cueto, someone who has been very tough on Pirates hitters this year. Cueto has held the Pirates to .209 batting average on the season and has allowed only five home runs this season.
Francisco Liriano will start for Pittsburgh, and he has not picked up a win against the Reds this year, but has held the team to a .193 average against.
Coop Ledford is a Cincinnati Reds writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CoopLed.