Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 9/27/13
Pirates (91-68) at Reds (90-69) 7:10 PM–Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati MLB.com Gameday TV: ROOT Here we go. The Bucs are in Cincinnati for the weekend (and only the weekend, hopefully) as they look to secure home field advantage for a playoff game on Tuesday night. As you surely know by now, they need to win 2 of 3 despite the current one game lead in the standings. And I think everyone’s ruled out the possibility of a sweep, plus a Cubs sweep of the Cardinals, which would force a Monday tiebreaker, but hey, we can dream until it happens, right? Anyway, this series is weird because it is very meaningful in a way and yet also completely meaningless. These teams are going to play four straight games and the only one that matters is the fourth. Of course, the first three are huge for fans, particularly Pirates fans who desperately want to attend a playoff game. And I’d certainly like the Bucs’ chances better at home. But baseball is so weird, one team could easily sweep this series and then lose the fourth game and fail to advance. Tonight’s starters… A.J. Burnett (9-11, 3.39) vs. Homer Bailey (11-11, 3.40) The Pirates won this matchup on Saturday as Burnett was excellent after allowing two early runs. He struck out twelve and had his curveball working extremely well. He may not be the Bucs’ top arm, but you have to feel pretty good about him opening up this big series on the road. Bailey has had his problems against the Bucs this year, but his numbers against them are still pretty solid, especially the peripherals. If the offense from Wednesday shows up the Pirates will be in trouble against his excellent stuff, but if they come ready to hit they have shown they can get to the talented young righty a bit.
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