The Pittsburgh Pirates will host their first postseason game in 20 years. The city of Pittsburgh is very familiar with playoff games, but not in baseball. This will be PNC Parks’ first ever playoff game since it opened in the Spring of 2001. The hometown Bucco fans will be rocking the stadium. The team has called for a “black-out” in the stadium and, all of Pittsburgh is buzzing with words like “BUCN” and “It’s BUC-tober.”
Everyone is talking about the pitching matchup and who will start in each teams’ lineups. The one person that has to be excited more than anyone and is the wild card for the Pirates is homegrown second basemen Neil Walker.
Walker was born and attended school near Pittsburgh at Pine-Richland High School. He was the first round draft pick of the Pirates right out of high school in 2004. Walker has been a Pirates fan his entire life, and this game means more to him than anyone else playing.
Walker could also be one of the main reasons that the Pirates win this game against the hated Cincinnati Reds. Walkers’ bat heated up this weekend in a big way against the Reds. The Reds are slated to pitch righty Johnny Cueto in Tuesday’s NL Wild Card game. This is very good if you are Walker. Walker has a .256 batting average against right-handers this season, and also has a .295 batting average at PNC Park going into this game.
Walker will more than likely be batting second behind Starling Marte and in front of possible NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and power-hitting right fielder Marlon Byrd. If Walker can do his job by moving Marte around the bases and get on for McCutchen and Byrd, it will put the Pirates in a great position to win the game and advance to the NLDS.
On Tuesday night, PNC Park will have 38,496 screaming Pirates fans yelling “Let’s go Bucs!” Millions of other Pirates’ fans will be watching their TVs doing the exact same thing. The Bucs look to advance and give their fans more to cheer about in October. If the Pirates win, I can almost guarantee you that Walker will be one of the main reasons why they did.