It’s an even year.
That means, watch out for the Giants. In 2010, they won the World Series. And in 2012, they did it again — as Tigers fans painfully recall.
Here we are in 2014, and the Giants once again are contenders, though they’re not kidding themselves. The road is tougher this team, thanks to having to play the one-game wild card against the Pirates, and on the road no less. First pitch is 8:07 Wednesday; the game will be televised by ESPN.
The Giants are sending lefty Madison Bumgarner to the hill, for his first playoff start since brilliantly shutting down the Tigers in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series. The Pirates counter with Edinson Volquez, who makes his second playoff start. The first one was awful, but he’s on some kind of roll right now. His earned-run average since Aug. 7 is 1.36.
For the Pirates, this is their second consecutive year in the wild-card game. They won it last season.
Giants player to watch: Bumgarner — He was the easy call for Giants manager Bruce Bochey, who chose him over Jake Peavy. He’s been great away from home, though the Pirates rocked him this year.
Pirates player to watch: Josh Harrison — Prior to this year, his claim to fame was breaking up a Justin Verlander no-hitter. But he’s a rising star who gives this team a spark in so many different areas.
Giants edge: Experience — There aren’t too many key folks in that clubhouse who haven’t been in big games like this before, their manager, Bochy, especially. And that counts in the postseason.
Pirates edge: Playing at home — Another one of those “Blackouts” is expected to be out in full force. As the Tigers learned the last couple years, this is a tough crowd to play in front of.
At stake: Winner plays the Nationals in the NLDS.
Prediction: Giants, 5-3 — There’s just something about ‘em. They get the job done.