With a 4-1 Pirates loss on Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants finalized their travel plans, and will head to Pittsburgh for the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday at 5:07pm.
Two strong pitchers will face off at PNC Park, as Madison Bumgarner takes the mound against Edinson Volquez, who is currently 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA over his last ten starts. Volquez has not faced San Francisco this year, but will enter Wednesday’s game on an 18-inning scoreless streak. Madison Bumgarner finished his season with a 5-1 record over his last seven starts, and will look to erase the memory of his last outing against the Pirates, where he allowed five runs, including a home run to Josh Harrison, through four innings in Pittsburgh.
The Giants will face a team that has been extremely hot throughout the month of September. Pittsburgh’s 17-9 record this month is second-best in the National League, allowing them to breeze past the Giants and secure home field advantage. The Pirates finished their season 51-31 at PNC Park, and won the season series against the Giants 4-2. San Francisco won one game in each series played, with both of those decisions going to Jean Machi.
San Francisco will have to take on the offensive strength in the bats of Harrison and Andrew McCutchen, both of whom are just thousandths of a point away from the batting title. (Note: Freddy Sanchez was the last Pirate to earn those top honors). McCutchen is at or near the top of the leader board in OPS, on-base percentage, extra base hits, and slugging percentage. Starling Marte extended his hit streak to 11 games, and is hitting .378 this month.
This will be the second straight year that the Bucs have made the postseason, and stamped their playoff ticket exactly one year from their first clinch since 1992. Last year, Pittsburgh fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS after five games.
This is the first year that the Pirates and Giants face off in the postseason since 1971, when Pittsburgh eventually won the World Series. This will be the Giants’ first one-game Wild Card playoff and their second Wild Card berth, with the first occurring in 2002.
First pitch at 5:07pm.