1) Francisco Liriano vs. St. Louis' batters: .146/.216/.191, 0 HR, 21 K
Having shut down the Reds in the play-in game, Liriano will only make one start against the Cardinals in the NLDS.
When he does start, though, he'll likely dominate.
Not only has he pitched well against these Cardinals in his career, but he has been almost untouchable in games played at PNC Park this season. The Pirates haven't officially announced any starters beyond A.J. Burnett in Game 1, but common sense suggests Liriano will start Game 3 at home on four days' rest.
2) Carlos Beltran vs. A.J. Burnett: 14-for-44, 2 HR, 13 RBI
Though these teams play each other 19 times per season, there isn't a ton of historical pitcher vs. batter data between them. Thanks to a plethora of starting pitchers like Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke who have combined for roughly 12 minutes of MLB service time, it's rare to find a significant enough sample size to mention.
With 29 combined years of service time, however, Beltran and Burnett have crossed paths more than a few times. Beltran has marginally gotten the better of Burnett, and will look to continue that trend in the NLDS.
3) Marlon Byrd vs. Edward Mujica: 4-for-7 with two home runs
Mujica was relieved of his closer duties late in the season, ceding the final five saves of the year to Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez and Seth Maness. In the month of September, he had an 11.05 ERA, allowing three home runs and striking out only three batters.
Who knows if he'll actually be used in any situation of importance? If he is brought in with the game on the line, though, Mike Matheny might want to make sure that it isn't with Byrd coming to the plate.
4) Lance Lynn vs. Andrew McCutchen: 4-for-26, 0 HR, 0 BB, 10 K
Lynn will start Game 2 of the series and would likely be available out of the bullpen in Game 5 should the Cardinals need to turn to someone who has made a career out of victimizing the presumed 2013 NL MVP.
In general, McCutchen struggled against the Cardinals this season, going 17-for-69 with just two home runs, 17 strikeouts and no stolen bases. Those numbers look even worse when compared to his successes against the other teams in the NL Central.
It has been Lynn in particular who has given him headaches, though. In Lynn's five starts against the Pirates this season, McCutchen is just 2-for-22 with nine strikeouts—which also includes his at-bats against relief pitchers in those games.
5) Shelby Miller vs. Pittsburgh this season: 22.0 IP, 29 H, 13 ER, 9 BB, 21 K, 6 home runs, 0-4 record
If not for Jose Fernandez and Yasiel Puig, Shelby Miller would probably be the leading candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year.
Pittsburgh was not impressed.
In Miller's four starts against the Pirates this year, Pittsburgh outscored St. Louis 24-1 and won all four games by something of a landslide.
Joe Kelly has been named St. Louis' Game 3 starter, meaning Miller could be headed to the bullpen after exclusively appearing as a starter this season.
Assuming he shows up at some point in the series, though, Garrett Jones has particularly destroyed Miller, going 7-for-10 with two home runs, two walks and no strikeouts in their 12 head-to-head battles.
X-Factor: Michael Wacha vs. Pittsburgh's batters: 3-for-30, 3 BB, 6 K
Where one rookie has struggled, another has flourished.
In Wacha's two appearances against the Pirates—one as a starter and one as a reliever—he has been almost unhittable.
Actually, Wacha's season both started and ended by being nearly unhittable. He took a perfect game into the fifth inning against Kansas City in his major league debut, and pitched 8.2 no-hit innings against the Nationals before losing his no-no in the 9th inning last week.
We'll see whether the Cardinals use Wacha as their Game 4 starter or as a long reliever, but he's the one pitcher that Pittsburgh is hoping to avoid at all costs in this series.