The Cincinnati Reds just beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Sunday, meaning the Giants are headed to Pittsburgh for the wild-card game on Wednesday.
The Pirates threw ace Gerrit Cole today in hopes of finishing tied with the Cardinals and forcing a one-game playoff for the N.L. Central. But the Reds’ Jonny Cueto allowed one run in eight innings and singled in the go-ahead run himself in the bottom of the eighth.
The Giants will likely face Pirates right-hander Edinson Volquez, who has been arguably Pittsburgh’s best pitcher of late. Volquez has a 2.20 ERA in 13 second-half starts and in five September starts is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 20 hits allowed in 33 1/3 innings.
Madison Bumgarner will start for the Giants. Bumgarner has faced the Pirates once this season, allowing five runs - only two earned - in four innings in a 5-0 loss at AT&T Park on July 28. Volquez has not faced the Giants this season.
Major League Baseball announced today that Wednesday’s wild-card game will begin at 5:07 p.m. PT and be televised on ESPN.
Neither team is a stranger to do-or-die situations. Two years ago, the Giants won six potential elimination games en route to winning the World Series. The Pirates played the Reds in last year’s wild-card game, beating Cincinnati 6-2.
The winner of this year’s game will advance to the N.L. Division Series to face the Washington Nationals, who finished the regular season with the N.L.’s best record. That series is scheduled to begin next Friday in Washington.