Some facts, figures & trivia per the season and the playoffs:
- The playoff picture: For the NL, the Bucs and Giants kick it off Wednesday night at Pittsburgh. The winner goes to Washington for a Friday opener. The Cards visit LA Friday, too. In the AL, Oakland goes to KC on Tuesday for the wild card game, with that winner visiting the Angels on Thursday. Detroit opens at Baltimore on the same day.
- The Pirate game is scheduled to have Edinson Volquez (13-7, 3.04) face lefty Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98) at PNC Park beginning at 8:07, televised by ESPN. Kent Tekulve will throw out the first pitch. Volquez didn't face the Giants this season, while the Bucs had their way with Bumgarner in his one outing against them in May. Pittsburgh is 4-2 against the Giants this season.
- In was in the cards for San Francisco & Pittsburgh to meet. The two teams finished with identical 88-74 records and even had the same run differential, +51. They finished 28th and 29th in pitching, with SF's ERA at 3.50 and Pittsburgh's at 3.49. The biggest split is in OPS, with Pittsburgh at .734 and the G-Men at .699.
|(2013 blackout v Reds, photo by Jared Wickersham of Getty Images)|
- The Giants bring a boatload of old Bucs with them, especially pitching: Ryan Vogelsong, Javier Lopez, Hunter Strickland, Jean Machi and Erik Cordier are all on their September roster, along with 1B/OF Travis Ishikawa.
- Other ex-Bucs on playoff teams' September rosters: Adam LaRoche (Washington), Kevin Correia (LA Dodgers), Steve Pearce & Evan Meek (Baltimore), Rajai Davis & Don Kelly (Detroit), Erik Kratz & Jayson Nix (Kansas City), Jason Grilli, Yoslan Herrera, John Buck & John McDonald (LA Angels) and Brian Moss & Jesse Chavez (Oakland).
- Tuesday at noon at Market Square, the City, County, PNC and the Bucs will sponsor a Pirates Playoff Rally to get the troops revved.
- Colorado manager Walt Weiss said it was his decision to sit Justin Morneau for the last two games to set him up for the NL batting title, and Morneau took it with a .319 average. Josh Harrison finished with a .315 BA to come in second and Cutch finished third with a .314 average.
- Cutch has produced a slash line of .300/.400/.500 or better in three straight seasons.
|(photo from USA Today)|
- Four Pirates (Cutch/6.9, Josh/4.8, Starling/4.0 and The Kid/3.7) ranked in the NL's top 25 in WAR per Fangraphs. Russ, by the way, had a 5.2 WAR and would have made it five, but he didn't have enough plate appearances to be a qualifier.
- NH explained to MLB.com's Tom Singer about as succinctly as possible why the Bucs didn't deal at the deadline: "we couldn't find the right impact coming in the door to match the impact that would've been going out the door."
- For those looking into the future, the Pirates draft 23rd this year after going 22nd in 2013.