Barring a complete collapse, it’s appearing more and more likely that three teams from the National League Central division (St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates) will make the postseason. The division winner will sit comfortably awaiting their match-up in the Divisional Round while the other two teams will play in a winner take all game, with the winner of that moving on to the Divisional Round while the loser is done for the season.
Whatever fate the Pittsburgh Pirates have, be it the Central Division champions or a Wild Card team, Francisco Liriano is likely to start their postseason opener.
Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has cautioned that the club’s projected rotation after this weekend is written in pencil but at the moment Francisco Liriano is in line to open the postseason for the Pirates should they advance to October.
Hurdle said the team has also discussed throwing Liriano on short rest in the final series at Cincinnati if needed. A.J. Burnett projects as the club’s No. 2 postseason starter, with Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole following as the third and fourth options.
It was really a two man race for the opening game, either Liriano or rookie Gerrit Cole, with Liriano likely getting the nod thanks to his experience.