#3Things on Giants at Pirates
The San Francisco Giants got a chance to line up their starting pitching in anticipation of a one-game wild card, and Madison Bumgarner is ready to go. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who host the Giants in the National League wild-card game Wednesday, fought until the final day of the regular season for the NL Central crown and did not get a chance to line up their top starter. The Pirates went 51–30 at home in the regular season — tied with St. Louis and Washington for best in the NL — and won the 2013 NL wild card game.
San Francisco won the World Series in the last two even-numbered seasons but is taking its first crack at advancing via the one-game playoff and finished with three wins in its last four games after falling out of the NL West race. Pittsburgh elected to start Gerrit Cole on Sunday in an effort to chase down the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and got 12 strikeouts in seven innings from the right-hander, but ended up losing and finishing two games shy of the Cardinals in the division. The winner of the wild-card game heads to Washington to face the NL-best Nationals on Friday.
TV: 8:07 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (18–10, 2.98 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Edinson Volquez (13–7, 3.04)
Bumgarner is unquestionably the ace of the San Francisco staff with Matt Cain injured and Tim Lincecum taking a step back from his Cy Young heights of past seasons. Bumgarner had a string of nine straight starts allowing three or fewer earned runs come to an end in his final start of the regular season, when he yielded three home runs and was charged with four runs in 7 1/3 innings at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 25-year-old matched his shortest start of 2014 at home against Pittsburgh on July 28, when he was reached for five runs in four innings.
Volquez is coming into the start hot after back-to-back scoreless outings against Milwaukee and Atlanta. The Dominican Republic native struggles with his control from time to time but struck out 10 while issuing only one walk over seven innings at the Braves on Thursday. Volquez is facing the Giants for the first time this season and is 2–2 with a 5.72 ERA in 11 career starts against San Francisco.
1. The Pirates took four of the six regular-season meetings, including two of three at home.
2. San Francisco C Buster Posey and 3B Pablo Sandoval are a combined 11-for-22 with five doubles against Volquez.
3. Pittsburgh C Russell Martin went 3-for-4 with two home runs in last year’s wild-card game.
PREDICTION: Giants 5, Pirates 3