Results tagged ‘ Wild Card ’

9/30 Scouting report: Pirates

As the playoffs get underway, two Major League scouts offered their take on the National League Central contenders. The Pirates play host to the Giants on Wednesday in the Wild Card game at PNC Park. Here’s their take on the Bucs:

Scout #1:

Andrew McCutchen

“In my opinion, what makes him such a good hitter is he has very minimal movement at the plate and a very quick bat,” said one scout. “It allows him to get a good long look at the ball, and therefore swing at more pitches in the zone. You can’t pitch him any one way — you have to mix up speeds and locations. His preference is to pull but he can/will use the opposite field and has some power that way as well. He’s a good all-around hitter with a great feel for the strike zone. The best way to get him out is to move the ball around the zone on him and if he doesn’t bite, make the next guy beat you and don’t let McCutchen beat you.”

Josh Harrison

“He’s a great story, and I’m rooting for him,” a scout said. “He has got a chance to play and has run with it. He can hit the ball the other way, not with authority, not like McCutchen, but his preference is to pull. He starts with an open stance and closes up with a soft dive in toward the plate. Harrison has some hook to his swing. With two strikes, he will gear down a touch and take more of a right center look to help him try to cover all pitches. You have to show him something in hard during the at-bat or he will go out and hook you to left field. He has filled in nicely at third base, making some nice plays.

“Pittsburgh’s secret weapon is no longer a secret — Josh Harrison has burst on the scene and is making a name for himself with his play. Manager Clint Hurdle knows how to get his guys motivated to play and is a good motivational manager.”


Scout #2:

Andrew McCutchen

“He’s one of the most exciting players in the game today,” said a second scout. “He’s an elite athlete who can beat you in so many ways. ‘Cutch’ can beat you with his offense, his defense and also his legs. He is the one guy that you can’t let beat you with the game on the line. He forces the defense to hurry on any routine ground ball and hustles down the line each time.

“Defensively, he has great baseball instincts and gets tremendous reads off the bat. He has a slightly above avg arm and is usually pretty accurate with his throws. He is a special player and will be in the MVP conversations again this year.”

Josh Harrison

“Harrison is a guy who grinded it out over the last few years and blossomed with the opportunity he has been given,” the scout said. “Josh is a special player in the fact he offers so much versatility giving the Pirates much flexibility when it comes to using him in so many different positions. Josh, a former college shortstop, can play all over the infield as well as the outfield. Guys like Josh are irreplaceable for a National League team like the Pirates. Josh has been a spark in the leadoff spot and was battling for the batting title. He’s settled in at third and is very athletic. He makes all the routine plays and most of the exciting ones. He plays with emotion and hustles each and every time out of the box and forces the defense to hustle and get the ball in as he will turn a single into a double very quickly. He has a good arm with power. Paired with McCutchen, they offer a dynamic 1-2 punch.”

— Carrie Muskat

10/7 TV ratings

Tuesday’s 12-inning AL Central tiebreaker between the Twins and Tigers was the most viewed for a postseason play-in game since the 1998 Wild Card playoff game between the Cubs and Giants. The Twins-Tigers drew an average audience of 6.54 million viewers. Of the six one-game postseason play-in games since the Wild Card era, only the Cubs and Giants delivered a larger network audience.

The Cubs-Giants game, played at Wrigley Field, was watched in 6.1 million homes on ESPN and 1.4 million additional homes on over-the-air networks in Chicago and San Francisco. ESPN got an 8.1 rating for that game.

— Carrie Muskat