Oct 7, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT
AL WILD CARD GAME: CHICAGO CUBS AT PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Gametime: 8:00 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees, wind 2 mph
Starting pitchers: CHC RHP Jake Arrieta (22–6, 1.77 ERA) / PIT RHP Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA)
The Astros punched their ticket to the next round on Tuesday night, so now it’s the National League’s turn to determine who advances to the AL Division Series to take on the St. Louis Cardinals, baseball’s only 100-win team.
The NL Wild Card matchup is one between two teams who know each other very well. As members of the NL Central, the Cubs and Pirates have already played 19 times this year. Chicago holds an 11-8 advantage in those games, having outscored Pittsburgh 81-71 in total.
The Cubs and Pirates actually have the second and third-best records in baseball, respectively. Both teams would have won any other division in MLB with their records, yet one will see their season end on Wednesday night.
The starting pitching matchup is one between two heavyweights who should finish near the top of NL Cy Young voting. Jake Arrieta set records in the second half of the season and has allowed only two earned runs in his last nine starts, a stretch of 57 innings (!). Arrieta faced the Pirates twice in September and gave up only one earned run in 15 innings pitched.
Opposite Arrieta will be former first overall pick Gerrit Cole, who has pitched five consecutive quality starts. He has seen the Cubs in two of his last four outings, tossing a combined 13 1/3 innings with four earned runs allowed.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter
- Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches 4 scoreless innings in US defeat of Japan in WBC
- Tanner Roark to start in World Baseball Classic semifinals against Japan on Tuesday
- Dusty Baker concerned about Daniel Murphy not playing in World Baseball Classic
- Pitcher Max Scherzer 'probably not' starting for Nationals on opening day
- After tough 2016, Bryce Harper looks dominant in spring training
- Report: Nationals sign John Lannan to minor league deal
- Max Scherzer knuckles down, comes up with new fastball grip
- Stephen Strasburg is not trying to reinvent himself, but he is simplifying things
- Nats open new $150 million spring training site with walk-off win