Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick 10/1/13 National League Wildcard
Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68) vs. Cincinnati Reds (90-72)
MLB Baseball: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm (PNC Park)
Johnny Cueto (R) (5-2) (2.819) vs. Francisco Liriano (L) (16-8) (3.019)
The Line: Pittsburgh Pirates -122 / Cincinnati Reds +112 --- Over/Under: 6.5 See the Latest Odds
The Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates face off on Tuesday at PNC Park for the 2013 National League Wildcard Playoff.
The Cincinnati Reds struggled down the stretch and while they had a shot to win the N.L. Central, they ended up being the road team in the N.L. Wildcard. The Reds lost their last three games of the season, all to this same Pirates team, but they did have several wins in Pittsburgh this season. In their final series, Cincinnati simply struggled to score runs, something they will need to turn around in a hurry. The Reds were 4-6 in their last 10 games, losing their last five and they were 41-41 on the road this year. As a team, the Reds hit .249 with Joey Votto at .305, Shin-Soo Choo hit .285, Jay Bruce hit .262 and Brandon Phillips hit .261. Late call up Billy Hamilton hit .368 and stole 13 bases in 13 games. For this do or die game, the Reds start Johnny Cueto, who was injured much of the year, but is 5-2 with a 2.82 ERA for the season and 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in his last three starts.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t able to close the deal on the National League Central this year, but after two years in a row of collapsing after the All-Star Break, they were able to remain competitive and end their drought of not making the post season. The Pirates continued to add bats late and they are hoping that is enough of a difference to propel them to the next round. The Pirates get to host this game by virtue of finishing four games better than the Reds in the standings, including winning the last three meetings between these two teams. The Pirates finished the season winning seven of their last 10 games and they were 50-31 at home this season. As a team, the Pirates hit .245 led by Andrew McCutchen hitting .317, Jose Tabata hitting .282, and Starling Marte hitting .280 while Pedro Alvarez hit 36 home runs. The late adds by the Pirates hit as well with Marlon Byrd at .318, John Buck at .292, and Justin Morneau hitting .260. For this all important game, the Pirates start Francisco Liriano, who could be the comeback player of the year, posting a 16-8 record with a 3.02 ERA and 0-1 with a 3.79 ERA in his last three starts with the Pirates going 1-2 in those games.
Cincinnati is 5-1 in their last six games as an underdog, 2-7 in their last nine playoff games, and 14-6 in Cueto’s last 20 starts against a team with a winning record. Pittsburgh is 5-1 in their last six games, 2-5 in their last seven home games, and 7-1 in Liriano’s last eight home starts. Cincinnati is 5-2 in Cueto’s last seven starts against the Pirates.
While the total is set very low, it is for good reason, with these two pitchers and these two teams. The under is 5-0-1 I Cueto’s last six starts in Pittsburgh, 13-6-2 in the last 21 meetings of these two teams in Pittsburgh, and 17-8-3 in the last 28 meetings of these two teams. I believe the under is good in this game as well and that is my free pick. My stronger play is on the winning side and I will post that winning pick in the Premium Area.