National League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, October 4th
(All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1-1) at St. Louis Cardinals (1-0), 1:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.22)
St. Louis - Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't lost a Gerrit Cole start
since the end of August. They are going to need that trend to continue if they
want to stay in this National League Division Series.
The Pirates try to even the best-of-five set on Friday in Game 2 versus the
St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Cole has been magnificent of late for the Pirates, going 4-0 in September with
a 1.69 ERA in five starts. Overall, he was 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA.
"It's going to be unbelievable. You're in enemy territory. The place is going
to be loud. It's going to be rocking," said Cole, who allowed four runs in his
last four starts and struck out 34 over 26 innings during his winning streak.
"I have no real experience to pull from, so just going to try to keep it as
simple as I can and just control what I can control."
The 23-year-old righty, who has never faced St. Louis, will have to slow down
Carlos Beltran, whose three-run homer highlighted a seven-run third inning in
the Cardinals' 9-1 Game 1 rout.
"To be able to get out on a good first step and play well today, I think is
big for our guys confidence-wise," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Adam Wainwright (1-0) permitted just three hits and struck out nine in a
dominant seven-inning stint for the NL Central champions. The All-Star
hurler's only blemish came when Pedro Alvarez belted a home run to lead off
the top of the fifth.
Beltran now has 15 home runs and 28 RBI in 35 postseason games while David
Freese had a pair of hits to extend his Division Series hitting streak to 10
games. He has hit safely in 10 of the 11 DS games he has played in his career.
"Five days might have seemed like a lot, but today it looked like that was
about right," Matheny said of Freese. "So he physically feels good, and we
knew his swing was in a good spot, too. We didn't really want him to change
anything, and he came out today and proved once again he's the kind of guy
that loves these situations and somehow figures out a way to get it done."
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, showed its inexperience in just its second
playoff game since 1992. The Pirates committed three errors, mustered a mere
four hits and received an ineffective effort from A.J. Burnett (0-1). The
veteran righty walked four and hit a batter in addition to surrendering six
hits and letting up seven runs in only two-plus innings of work.
"We had a rough game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle remarked. "We're down one
game in the series, and we'll move on."
Lance Lynn will try to put the Cards up two games on Friday, as he tries to
build on a strong finish to his season. Lynn nearly lost his spot in the
rotation, but he closed the year with four quality starts and allowed just
three earned runs over his final 24 2/3 innings.
"I think it's something that he's earned," Matheny said. "Right now, I think
he also has a great amount of confidence and that's something he's going to be
able to take to another level. He's been very consistent here in his last
couple starts and really has a good tempo and feel off the mound."
Plus, he's pitched well at home, where he was 9-3 with a 2.82 ERA. Not to
mention this will be his third postseason run with the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh narrowly won the season series, 10-9, but lost six of nine in St.
Game 3 of this series will be on Sunday at PNC Park.
10/04 10:24:59 ET