Open For Business: Cards-Bucs Right Off The Bat
By Phil Rogers / MLB.com | April 1st, 2016
NL Central foes clash in opener. Adam Wainwright and the defending NL Central champion
Cardinals visit Pittsburgh to take on Francisco Liriano and the Pirates on Opening Day
So here we are again. And it's like we never left.
On Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET/12:05 CT, Francisco Liriano will throw the first pitch of the 2016 season to Matt Carpenter.
Shortly thereafter, Andrew McCutchen will dig into the right-handed batter's box at PNC Park to face Adam Wainwright.
If you squint in your mind's eye, you can see the night of Oct. 9, 2013. The same basic cast of characters was at
Busch Stadium for the deciding Game 5 of the National League Division Series, although it was rookie Gerrit Cole
getting that start for the Pirates. The Cardinals did exactly what they had to do -- never letting McCutchen, who would
win the NL MVP Award a month later, come to bat in a spot where he could beat them.
Not only did Wainwright prevail in Game 5, but the Cards have gone 21-17 against the Bucs in the past two seasons.
By the slimmest of margins, they've held their ground atop the NL Central, keeping the invaders at the castle gates.
Pittsburgh won 98 games last season, matching the storied franchise's most victories since 1909, but St. Louis won 100.
The Pirates have been baseball's second-winningest team over the past three seasons, and in some ways also its most frustrated.
The Giants' Madison Bumgarner and the Cubs' Jake Arrieta beat Pittsburgh in the past two NL Wild Card Games,
following Wainwright's lead in Game 5.
One thing the Bucs haven't lost is their will to win a World Series.
"Every year, we're a little more hungry," reliever Tony Watson said. "Ninety-eight wins is nothing to hang our heads about,
but we definitely want to win a division, raise a World Series flag in Pittsburgh." Read More
3 Day Forecast For Pittsburgh, PA.
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