CINCINNATI REDS (90-72) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (94-68)
Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Gametime: 8:07 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70 degrees, wind 6 mph
Starting pitchers: CIN – Johnny Cueto (5-2, 2.82) / PIT – Francisco Liriano (16-8, 3.02)
It’s the first of October and time for playoff baseball, how fitting is it that we kick things off with the first Pirates postseason game in 21 years? Pittsburgh will host this NL Wild Card playoff with perhaps a cruel twist of fate: one game and it could all be over.
The expansion of the playoffs has made pennant races more exciting and seems to be favored by most, but seeing the Pirates go down one-and-done would be absolutely devastating. Those stakes, among others, make this matchup a must-see.
The end of the regular season saw these two teams take very different paths into October. The Reds lost five straight games, including a sweep at the hand of Pittsburgh to close their schedule. They have lost four of their last five games to the Pirates overall and went 8-11 against them this season. The Pirates, meanwhile, are riding that three-game winning streak, and five wins in their last six games overall.