Playoff Race Update: This Weekend Determines Home Field in the WC Game

Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds
The Pirates and Reds will meet up this weekend to determine home field in the Wild Card game. (Photo by: David Hague)

The Pirates had a chance to go up two games on the Reds today. Cincinnati lost 1-0 to the Mets, but the Pirates lost to the Cubs after a Darnell McDonald three run homer. The two game lead would have been significant, as it would have meant the Pirates would have only needed one win this weekend against the Reds for home field advantage in the Wild Card game. Below are the scenarios for the division and home field advantage in the Wild Card game.

NL Central

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1

Cubs 4, Pirates 2

Mets 1, Reds 0

The Pirates would now have to sweep the Reds and the Cardinals would have to be swept by the Cubs this weekend in order for the Pirates to have any shot at the division title. That would result in the two teams being tied. If that happens, the two teams would play a tiebreaker on Monday to determine the division winner. Since the Pirates won the season series, they would win home field in that tiebreaker game, and would host the Cardinals at PNC.

Wild Card

Cubs 4, Pirates 2

Mets 1, Reds 0

The Pirates have a one game lead in the Wild Card race, but that lead is meaningless. If they go 1-2 this weekend, the Reds would tie their record on the season. The tiebreaker for home field in the Wild Card is the season head to head record. Going into the weekend, the two teams are tied 8-8 on the year. So home field in the Wild Card game is going to be determined by whoever wins this weekend’s series.

Playoff Seeding

Braves/Brewers 7:10 PM

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1

Dodgers/Giants 10:15 PM

The Cardinals could take the lead over the Braves for the top seed if Atlanta loses tonight. The top seed is important, since that is who the Pirates would play if they win the Wild Card game. Out of this group, the Pirates only have a winning record against the Cardinals.

1. Atlanta

2. St. Louis

3. Los Angeles

4. Pittsburgh

5. Cincinnati

Analysis
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smurph

Because they let a couple of games slip away – the 2 blown saves, and yesterday’s game with the Cubs, the Pirates have put themselves in a position where they pretty much need to win 3 of 4 from Cincinnati. If they lose 2 of the next 3, they have to win the WC game in Cincinnati – difficult, though not impossible. If they win 2 of 3, they still have to beat them again, in this case at home.

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