Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Playoff Throwdown: Liriano v Cueto, Lineups, Post Season News & Notes

Francisco Liriano (16-8, 3.02) and Johnny Cueto take the hill to see who gets to live another day in the NL playoffs.

Frankie is 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA at PNC Park, and is 0-1 with a 1.97 ERA against the Reds at home. Cueto is a beast against the Bucs at PNC Park, with an overall 8-2 record and 1.90 ERA line. The Buc killer is a calculated risk - he's only made two starts since spending three months on the DL, although in those two outings, he's gone 12 innings and given up only a run. He will see a different cast of characters: Marlon Byrd hits him fairly well, and Johnny has never faced Justin Morneau.

So there should be a whole lot of pitching going on tonight. The Pirates have Gerrit Cole in reserve just in case, while originally scheduled Cincy starter, Mat Latos, is out with a floating bone chip in his elbow.

The game starts at 8:07 and will be aired by TBS and 93.7 The Fan, with Greg Brown, Tim Neveritt and Bob Walk on the radio side.

Pirate lineup: Starling Marte LF, Neil Walker 2b, Andrew McCutchen CF, Justin Morneau 1b, Marlon Byrd RF, Pedro Alvarez 3b, Russ Martin C, Clint Barmes SS and Francisoc Liriano P.

Same ol', with gloveman Clint at SS.

Reds lineup: Shin-Soo Choo CF, Ryan Ludwick LF, Joey Votto 1b, Brandon Phillips 2b, Jay Bruce RF, Todd Frazier 3b, Zack Cozart SS, Ryan Hanigan C and Johnny Cueto P.

The Reds keep Ludwick in the #2 hole and have Hanigan behind the dish.

  • Nationally: Mike Bauman of MLB.com on the pressure of the game and what influence it will have the future of the two franchises. Tim Kurkjian of ESPN adds five questions that will be answered and the experts  prognosticate.
  • Marlon Byrd has played in 1,250 games since breaking into the big leagues in 2002, but Tuesday will mark the first time he will play in a postseason contest.
  • .317/.404/.508 is Cutch's slash line of average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, making him only the fourth center fielder ever to have two straight seasons of at least .300/.400/.500. The predecessors were Mickey Mantle (1954-58), Willie Mays (1954-55 and 1957-58) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993-94), noted Tom Singer of MLB.com.. 
  • Tom Friend of ESPN has the tale of Clint Hurdle's sometime rocky road.
  • Gerrit Cole was named the NL Rookie of the Month. In five starts during Sept, Cole went 4-0 w/a 1.69 ERA and fanned a MLB rookie-best 39 during the month while walking 10. His .212 opponents’ batting average ranked second among rookies
  • From The Reds Johnny Cueto encouraged kids in Dominican Republic to watch the game, as both starters (he and Francisco Liriano) are from DR. "Work hard, get to where we are" is his advice.
  • The long time rivals have met five times in the playoffs - 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1990. The Reds are 13-7 against the Pirates in the postseason. Pittsburgh has met the Reds more often than any other team in the playoffs.
  • The last time the Pirates hosted a postseason game, there was no NL Central; it didn't form until 1994. The Bucs are still the only team in the division - including the departed Astros - to not win a division title. But before the Central, between 1960 and 1992, the Pirates won three World Series and made the playoffs 10 times.
  • It took awhile, but PNC Park can join the other Pirate MLB venues - Exposition Park, Forbes Field, and TRS - as the host of a playoff game. Expo Park was the only Bucco ballyard not to hold an All-Star game, mainly because there weren't any Midsummer Classics until 1933.
  • Today's winner will play the Cards on Thursday at 5:07 PM and Friday at 1:07.

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