Reds host Pirates in ‘must win’ series for both teams

Published 1:41 am Friday, September 27, 2013

Jim Walker


CINCINNATI — There are some things the Cincinnati Reds know, and there are some things they don’t know. It’s those unknown issues that are of the most concern right now.

The Reds know they will be in the postseason playoffs. They know they can’t win the Central Division title for the second straight season. They know they could host the wild card playoff game, but the don’t know if that is going to happen.

The Reds host the Pittsburgh Pirates who have also qualified for the postseason but have a remote chance to win the division. The Pirates are three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals with three games left.

What is more feasible is the Pirates and Reds are in a three-game series this weekend to determine which of them host the other in the one-game wild card playoff game.

The Reds need to win at least two of the three games to finish tied with the Pirates. If the teams tie, the Reds will host the wild card game because they would win the season series.

Regardless of the outcome of the pivotal series at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, Reds’ manager Dusty Baker is just glad his team has the opportunity to play for a pennant.

“This team seems to take the hard road most of the time. It is very important to have home-field advantage, but it’s not impossible no matter where you play,” said Baker.

The Reds are 90-69 on the season, one game behind the Bucs and four games behind St. Louis. Cincinnati is 49-28 at home this season and the Pirates — 91-68 overall — are 41-37 on the road.

“We need to play well against the Pirates,” said Reds’ reliever Sam LeCure. “Not only so we can secure home field for the wild card game, we also want to them to question whether they are able to beat us.”

Homer Bailey will pitch for the Reds on Friday. Bailey is 11-11 with a 3.40 earned run average. He threw a no-hitter in Pittsburgh last season but he is 0-2 in three starts this year against the Bucs with a 3.50 ERA.

He lost last Saturday as he went 5.2 innings allowing four runs but only two earned.

The Pirates will counter with A.J. Burnett who is 9-11 with a 3.39 ERA.

Bronson Arroyo (14-11, 3.60 ERA) will pitch for the Reds against the Pirates Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.14 ERA) in Saturday’s 1 p.m. game. On Sunday, Johnny Cueto (5-2, 2.82 ERA) will go for the Reds against Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.22 ERA), also at 1 p.m.

Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day as well as Team Photo Day. The first 20,000 fans will receive a 2013 Reds’ team photo.