Breaking down Pirates-Reds wild-card game
By Travis Sawchik
Published: Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, 10:39 p.m.
Tribune-Review reporter Travis Sawchik breaks down the Pirates-Reds wild-card game.
Reds' projected lineup
• CF Shin-Soo Choo: Has crushed right-handed pitching but is batting .215 against lefties
• 2B Brandon Phillips: Brings strong glove and rare above-average, right-handed bat to lineup
• 1B Joey Votto: Owner of .435 OBP this season, he is 2 for 10 in his career vs. Liriano; Reds' top threat can be neutralized vs. LHP (.251 avg.)
• LF Ryan Ludwick: Is 4 for 9 against Liriano in his career but batted just .240 in regular season
• RF Jay Bruce: Produced third straight 30-homer season but is 0 for 11 in his career against Liriano
• 3B Todd Frazier: Batted .234 this season and .236 vs. lefties
• SS Zack Cozart: Above-average defensive player, he has surprising pop: 12 homers and 63 RBIs
• C Devin Mesoraco: Has two hits and three walks in nine career plate appearances vs. Liriano
• RHP Johnny Cueto: His stuff has been good in two starts since returning from DL. He has held the current Pirates to a .209 career average.
Reds' projected bench
Billy Hamilton (S), Chris Heisey, Ryan Hanigan, Corky Miller, Jack Hannahan, Cesar Izturis (S), Derrick Robinson
Breakdown: Hamilton is the fastest man in baseball and has impacted a number of games as a pinch runner. He finished the season 13 for 14 in stolen-base attempts since being called up in early September. … Heisey and Izturis have had success against Liriano. … Robinson is another speed option.
Reds' projected bullpen
Aroldis Chapman (L), J.J. Hoover, Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall (L), Homer Bailey, Manny Parra (L), Alfredo Simon, Mat Latos, Logan Ondrusek
Breakdown: The bullpen is anchored by one of the game's best closers — certainly it's most intimidating — in Chapman, who regularly touches 100 mph. … The Reds should have plenty of matchup options as they have ideal left-right balance.
Pirates' projected lineup
• LF Starling Marte: Brings much-needed speed to lineup; stole three bases Wednesday in Chicago after Pirates entered with four in September
• 2B Neil Walker: Has been better against RHP, with all 16 of his home runs coming vs. RHP
• CF Andrew McCutchen: The NL MVP favorite has three home runs in 39 career at bats vs. Cueto
• 1B Justin Morneau: His bat has cooled since joining the Pirates, but he's batting .280 with 15 HRs against RHP
• RF Marlon Byrd: While he hits for a higher average vs. lefties, he has hit 16 of his 24 homers vs. RHP
• 3B Pedro Alvarez: Of his 36 home runs, 33 are vs. RHP
• C Russell Martin: His bat has cooled in the second half, but he remains an above-average defensive catcher
• SS Clint Barmes: The team's best defensive shortstop
• LHP Francisco Liriano: Has a single-season best opponent OPS (.321) vs. left-handed hitters, key against LHH-heavy Reds
Pirates' projected bench
Josh Harrison, Garrett Jones, Jordy Mercer, John Buck, Tony Sanchez, Jose Tabata, Travis Snider
Breakdown: Snider might be a darkhorse for the roster, but he has three pinch-hit homers this season. Jones is another lefty bat option off the bench. … Mercer has started most games, but his defense has been up and down and his bat is better vs. LHP. ... The Pirates lack impact speed off the bench and are debating whether to carry three catchers.
Pirates' projected bullpen
Justin Wilson (L), Tony Watson (L), Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli, Vin Mazzaro, Gerrit Cole, Kyle Farnsworth, Bryan Morris, Jeanmar Gomez
Breakdown: Few teams have two lefty relievers who have the velocity of Wilson and Watson, who have been among the game's top lefty set-up men this season. They could be key in late-game matchups against the lefty-heavy Reds. Melancon is also solid against lefties. … With Cole not needed to pitch Sunday, he will be available out of the bullpen as a RHP capable of touching 100 mph.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Pirates pitcher Eppley brings special delivery to team’s staff
- Martin would consider extending stay with Pirates
- Volquez is Pirates’ latest reclamation project
- Pirates rained out; Grilli debut on hold
- Leyland content in new role with Tigers, rules out a return to Pirates
- Pirates notebook: Locke cautious with ‘pull’ in right side
- Pirates notebook: Morton shows off new weapon
- Pirates’ Wilk thrown a curve in South Korea
- Healthy Pirates closer Grilli ready for encore
- Marte-McCutchen-Polanco outfield could rival franchise’s best
- Spring training breakdown: Blue Jays 4, Pirates 2