October Confidential: Cubs vs. Pirates

October Confidential: Cubs vs. Pirates

The Cubs will be in Pittsburgh to face the Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Wednesday on TBS. The winner will take on the NL Central rival Cardinals in the NL Division Series.

What's the best way to beat each of these teams? To find out, we asked players from across their respective divisions to give the inside intel on how these clubs can be beaten. Our sources were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

CHICAGO CUBS
Jake Arrieta
"Jake is throwing with that crossfire delivery, so as a right-handed hitter, the ball is going to be coming from behind you and coming at an angle. Feels like it's coming from 10 feet to the left of second base. What I like to do sometimes with a guy like that is angle my stance a little bit toward shortstop and try to take his angle away from him. He's still tough, though, because if he's locating down and away with that crossfire delivery, he's very difficult to square up." 
-- NL catcher

Date Result
Oct. 7 CHC 4, PIT 0

Anthony Rizzo
"He's able to stand on top of the plate. A lefty standing on top of the plate kind of forces me to throw that ball on the outer half. And that's where he does a lot of his damage. You really have to be confident in your stuff to throw on inner half of the plate and be kind of fine inside. Otherwise, you'll hit him. That's definitely something to his advantage."
-- NL Central pitcher

Kris Bryant
"His ability to stay inside the ball is ridiculous. I can run two-seam fastballs inside and off the plate. But he can foul it off or shoot the ball the other way -- he did that to me on a fastball in and up off the plate the last time we met. He was able to keep it fair down the right-field line. That's impressive stuff. To get him out, you have to hit your spots and mix up pitches."
-- NL Central pitcher

Read the complete Cubs October Confidential » 

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Gerrit Cole  
"I'm looking for a ball right down the middle. He throws the ball hard. If he throws that breaking ball for a strike, you've got to tee it up. For me, I'm looking for a mistake up, because he'll give you one. He has some trouble locating inside pitches, too, so if you see something in, you know most likely it's going to be a ball."
-- NL catcher

Andrew McCutchen
"Cutch is a guy you pretty much have to stay down and away from. If you go in on him, it's got to be up and in or off the plate. He's such a good fastball hitter, and there's not a fastball that he can't hit. I don't care how hard it is; the guy has the quickest hands and the best hands you're ever going to see. You have to be able to locate down and away and mix offspeed pitches in fastball counts. If you can't, he's going to make you pay."
-- NL catcher

Josh Harrison
"His swing is best for pitches up in the zone or down and in, so you have to make sure to stay down and away. If you go in late, make sure it's up, because you have to get it up over his swing path. You can also bury the slider or bury the curveball with two strikes, but don't throw it in the zone, because he'll hit it."
-- NL catcher

Read the complete Pirates October Confidential »