The Pittsburgh Pirates looked great in their 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in National League Wild Card playoff game. Francisco Liriano threw a gem — seven innings, four hits and one run allowed. Russell Martin hit two home runs in the victory as well. The Pirates will now get to take on their division foes in the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Let’s take a look at how this series breaks down.
The Pirates won the season series over the Cardinals 10-9, but the Cardinals have won seven out of the last ten since the All-Star break. This is a matchup of two teams that excel in different aspects of the game, with the Cardinals being the more complete team. The Cardinals are in the top ten in runs scored and ERA, as Adam Wainwright leads the staff. But the Cardinals’ lineup is really what sets this team apart. Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday are all hitting .300 or better this season.
On the other hand, the Pirates had to use their best pitcher in the wild card game, but they still have depth and will have AJ Burnett go Game 1. The thing that concerns me about the Pirates is the lack of postseason pedigree compared to that of the Cardinals. I think the Pirates have the better bullpen in this case, but when it really comes down to it I see the trio of Molina, Holliday and Carlos Beltran being too much for the Cinderella Pirates.
Final prediction: Cardinals in five.