Gaby Sanchez's performance against lefties is dramatically better than Justin Morneau's. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Bench play and bullpen performance has had almost zero impact on the Pirates' 2013 postseason. That's because their three scores have gone 6-2, 9-1, 7-1 in October.
No team can count on blowouts throughout the playoffs, though. Eventually there will be late-game situations of impact, which will bring to the forefront the reserve players for the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.
If we knew what would specifically happen with the rest of this series, we would be in Las Vegas instead of PNC Park. That said, let's look at three potential situations where the Pirates' bench, bullpen and manager decisions could turn the series.
1. Gaby Sanchez or Justin Morneau vs. Lefty Relievers
Morneau's lineup spot has come up three times against left-handed relief pitchers this postseason, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has elected to keep him in each time instead of pinch-hit...
James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person.