|PITTSBURGH ( BURNETT )|
ST LOUIS ( WAINWRIGHT )
|NL Division Series - Best of 5 - Game 1|
|905||PITTSBURGH||+140||Ov 6.5,-120||+135||Ov 6.5,-120|
|906||ST LOUIS||-150||Un 6.5,+100||-145||Un 6.5,+100|
|vs Right-handed Starters||77-55||+21.6||56-72||3.8||0.242||0.302||3.5||0.234||0.299|
|Past 7 Games||6-1||+4.8||3-4||4.9||0.268||0.326||2.1||0.216||0.278|
|vs Right-handed Starters||77-42||+22||61-53||5.1||0.276||0.334||3.7||0.249||0.305|
|Past 7 Games||6-1||+4.6||2-3||4.4||0.275||0.336||1.7||0.184||0.217|
|9/19/2013||COLE(R)||SAN DIEGO||KENNEDY(R)||10-1||W||-185||7 un||O||14||10||0||5||8||1|
|9/23/2013||MORTON(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)||2-1||W||-125||7.5 un||U||6||9||0||6||5||1|
|9/24/2013||COLE(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||RUSIN(L)||8-2||W||-165||7 ev||O||12||8||1||10||9||1|
|9/25/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||ARRIETA(R)||2-4||L||-160||6.5 un||U||6||8||1||9||8||2|
|9/27/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ CINCINNATI||BAILEY(R)||4-1||W||120||7 un||U||6||8||0||6||4||0|
|9/28/2013||MORTON(R)||@ CINCINNATI||ARROYO(R)||8-3||W||110||7.5 ov||O||13||5||0||5||11||1|
|9/29/2013||CUMPTON(R)||@ CINCINNATI||REYNOLDS(R)||4-2||W||115||8 un||U||10||8||0||6||4||1|
|10/3/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ ST LOUIS||WAINWRIGHT(R)|| |
|10/4/2013||COLE(R)||@ ST LOUIS||LYNN(R)|| |
|9/19/2013||WACHA(R)||@ COLORADO||OSWALT(R)||6-7||L||-155||9.5 un||O||12||9||0||21||16||0|
|9/20/2013||MILLER(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||HELLWEG(R)||7-6||W||-190||9.5 un||O||16||12||0||13||8||0|
|9/21/2013||LYNN(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)||7-2||W||-140||8.5 un||O||9||5||0||7||9||1|
|9/22/2013||KELLY(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||PERALTA(R)||4-6||L||-145||8.5 un||O||8||9||3||8||5||0|
|9/27/2013||LYNN(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||WOOD(L)||7-0||W||-165||7 un||P||10||9||0||7||8||1|
|9/28/2013||WAINWRIGHT(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)||6-2||W||-205||7 un||O||10||7||0||7||6||0|
|9/29/2013||WESTBROOK(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)||4-0||W||-150||7.5 un||U||9||5||0||5||5||0|
|PITTSBURGH: HITTING: The Pirates' two-month casual flirtation with competitiveness was cute while it lasted, before this team fizzled to a 72-win season. This team is still years away. But don't blame OF ANDREW McCUTCHEN, who might be the best all-around player in the division. Of all the ballyhooed outfielders from the 2005 draft, he's the one GMs would most want to build around. OF JOSE TABATA, not so much. He's serviceable and has plus speed, but the six-year extension the Pirates gave him was absurd. 2B NEIL WALKER has settled into a respectable place short of stardom. 3B PEDRO ALVAREZ has a lot of uphill climbing to do if he wants to wake up old expectations. He'll compete with 3B CASEY MCGEHEE for a starting role, but it's most likely that Alvarez moves to first base to back up 1B GARRETT JONES. OFs NATE McLOUTH and ALEX PRESLEY are underwhelming choices for the starting left-field spot. SS CLINT BARMES and C ROD BARAJAS would like to thank the Pirates for wildly overpaying them. |
STARTING PITCHING: JEFF KARSTENS looked pretty decent for much of last year. But that's what happens when you get to log 14 percent of your innings against the lowly Astros. Better teams exposed him for the replacement-level guy he is. Contrary to what a lot of bored, lazy sportswriters wanted you to believe last year, CHARLIE MORTON doesn't pitch like Roy Halladay. At all. JAMES McDONALD could still be special if he cut down his walk rate. ERIK BEDARD was a respectable signing. Even if his shoulder acts up, he cost only $4.5 million for a year. If he's healthy, he's still well above-average. KEVIN CORREIA may only be slightly more effective at striking out hitters than a batting tee, but the Pirates are grateful for the innings he eats. BRAD LINCOLN is the designated fill-in if any of the other starters get hurt (cough, Bedard). In the meantime, he's a swing man.
RELIEF PITCHING: Closer JOEL HANRAHAN has been outstanding since first donning a Pirates uniform in 2009, converting 40-of-44 saves with a 1.83 ERA last season. It makes sense for the rebuilding Pirates to move him, but they'll probably keep the hand they were dealt. There isn't another qualified ninth-inning pitcher in this bullpen though. EVAN MEEK was bit by the shoulder bug. His early season was an unqualified disaster, but he turned it around and regained his form once he came back in September. He should be fully healthy again, and a quiet source of a few saves. CHRIS RESOP is another primary set-up man, but he posted a 4.39 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 2011. DANIEL McCUTCHEN won't be so lucky with his ERA this year if he doesn't lower his walk rate. He's just not a guy to put much faith in.
|ST LOUIS: HITTING: Alienate and trade your talented young centerfielder for bullpen scraps and a middling, impending free-agent starter. Justify your ludicrous pitching changes by blaming crowd noise and your innocent bullpen coach'and you too could win a World Series! This was Tony La Russa baseball. But he's gone now, as is the all-world Albert Pujols. SS RAFAEL FURCAL liked his short stint in the Show Me State enough to sign up for more. OF CARLOS BELTRAN will hit second after an impressive 2011 campaign during which he produced solid numbers in pitchers' parks amidst weak lineups. 2Bs TYLER GREENE and DANIEL DESCALSO are the latest plucky 'gamer' to play infield at Busch. Resuscitated slugger 1B LANCE BERKMAN shifts to a much more suitable defensive position. OF MATT HOLLIDAY's OPS remains as strong as ever. 3B DAVID FREESE will never have to buy a drink in Missouri again after his postseason heroics. C YADIER MOLINA is a defensive whiz behind the plate and an underrated hitter. OFs ALLEN CRAIG and JON JAY are more suited to platoon roles, but Jay will be starting in center on Opening Day. |
STARTING PITCHING: His stuff isn't nearly what it used to be, and he's more than earned his reputation within the game as a towering crybaby. But on the mound, CHRIS CARPENTER remains ruthlessly effective when he's healthy. But he'll miss the first couple of months of the 2012 campaign due to shoulder problems. ADAM WAINWRIGHT should be ready to go on Opening Day, and has shown every reason to think he'll be his old brilliant self. JAIME GARCIA cannot sustain a sub-2.00 ERA for a full season. He's a mid-rotation starter, but one of the better ones in all of baseball. Did KYLE LOHSE really register a 1.17 WHIP over an entire season? Really? He just doesn't miss enough bats to keep that going. JAKE WESTBROOK stayed healthy for a full season again, which is a relief given his past dalliances with the DL. He's an innings eater who's capable of another dozen wins. LANCE LYNN gives the Cardinals enviable depth in the rotation. He'll probably slide back to the bullpen once Carpenter returns. Uber-prospect SHELBY MILLER could be a second-half call-up.
RELIEF PITCHING: It doesn't look pretty when JASON MOTTE winds up and delivers a pitch, but in the end, results are results. The converted catcher has finally nailed down the closer role that many predicted would be his a few years ago. The only way he loses it this time is if he hurts himself with that painful delivery. FERNANDO SALAS can more than hold his own if that happens. He'll slot into the eighth-inning role, but he provides more of the pitching depth that is a hallmark of this Cardinals team. KYLE McCLELLAN, like Lynn, is serviceable both in relief or in the rotation. But he's better in the former role.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (PITTSBURGH-ST LOUIS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates throughout. Should stand. With AP Photos.)
*Pirates-Cardinals Preview* ===========================
By R.B. FALLSTROM AP Sports Writer
Pittsburgh (94-68) at St. Louis (97-65), 5:07 p.m. EDT
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are riding high after their first postseason victory in 21 years. They're confident they can beat anybody, anywhere.
A few hours after defeating Cincinnati in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night, the Pirates touched down in St. Louis. They're about to face another familiar foe in an unfamiliar month when they take on the NL Central champion Cardinals in a best-of-five division series.
"We know them, they know us," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "There won't be any ball tricks, I hope. No Statue of Liberty plays."
A.J. Burnett, set to start the series opener Thursday, was a part of three New York Yankees teams that made it to October. He said Wednesday there's a sense of euphoria with this experience that was lacking before.
"I guess the main thing is, over in New York, it's expected every year, you know?" Burnett said. "You tend to get in there a couple of weeks before the season ends. And this one was more of a `Shock the world, we're going to do it, we made it!"'
The Pirates won the season series 10-9, but the Cardinals overtook them for the division lead with a four-game sweep at home in early September. St. Louis also has quite an advantage in postseason experience, with several holdovers from the 2011 World Series championship team and from last year, too, when St. Louis fell one win shy of a second straight pennant.
The Cardinals earned some time off after winning six in a row to end the season. They won their first NL Central crown since 2009 and secured home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Their .330 average with runners in scoring position was the majors' best dating to 1974, when the statistic was first used. So far, they've done fine without injured Allen Craig, who missed almost all of September and isn't expected back from a left mid-foot sprain until at least the NL championship series.
"We played really well most of the year minus a couple of dips here and there that every team has," said Matt Holliday, who batted .378 over the final month to finish at .300. "I'd say, just try to roll that momentum into the postseason."
Adam Wainwright has to like this matchup, too. St. Louis' ace will pitch the opener and would also be available on full rest for a possible deciding Game 5. He went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh this season.
Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA) got rocked for 15 runs over eight innings in consecutive starts against the Reds. One of them he labeled, "the worst start of my career," before rebounding in the win that put the Cardinals in first place to stay. He was 4-0 in his final five starts, working seven or more innings in all of them except for a tuneup his last time out.
"Well, aside from Clayton Kershaw this year, I'd argue that you could look at any single pitcher in the history of the game and they're going to have a bad game or two in the course of 35 starts," Wainwright said.
"I didn't need to do anything different. I just had a bad day."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny described Wainwright, the third pitcher in franchise history to lead the league in wins twice, as a "fierce competitor."
"All in all, a Cy Young-caliber season," Matheny said. "We're not afraid to put him on the mound against anybody."
Burnett (10-11, 3.30 ERA) is 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA in his career against the Cardinals, but the last time he faced them he gave up five runs in three innings - his shortest outing of the year. In two appearances at Busch Stadium, he allowed 12 runs in 13 1-3 innings.
"It's just execution, that's all it is," Burnett said. "It's a great lineup over there. You can't make too many mistakes because they'll capitalize on them.
"The good ones I have limited those and the ones that got me, I haven't been able to execute."
The Cardinals haven't announced a starter after Lance Lynn, who will face rookie Gerrit Cole in Game 2 on Friday. Matheny has three strong candidates in Joe Kelly and rookies Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha. The manager said Miller and Wacha would be available in the bullpen for Game 1.
Miller led all rookies with 15 wins this year, Wacha was one out shy of a no-hitter in his final regular-season start and Kelly was 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA.
Hurdle said Francisco Liriano, the winner in the wild-card game, will start Game 3 on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
|Last Updated: 9/2/2014 1:27:40 AM EST|