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October Confidential: Pirates

Rival players offer inside look at facing the NL Wild Card winners

How do you beat the Pirates? asked rival players from around Major League baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the NL Wild Card winners.

Gerrit Cole
"For a young guy, he's been doing a great job. He's a big, strong kid. He's got good stuff, a good fastball, curveball and slider. I know for me, he's a tough guy when you face him for the first time because his ball moves so much. After a while, you can see what he's trying to do, but his stuff is still so good."
-- NL West hitter

Francisco Liriano
"Liriano, you have to bring him up. He loves his slider. Whenever you swing at his slider, it's tough to hit because he bounces it out of the zone. When you bring him up and over the plate, you have a chance to have a better at-bat against him and hit him. Whenever he goes to the slider down and in and makes you chase, there are a lot of swings and misses."
-- NL Central infielder

Mark Melancon
"He throws an above average fastball, a really good cutter and he's got a big curveball. He really never pitches you the same twice. The first time you face him, he'll just pound you with cutters. The next time, he'll throw all two-seamers away. He's starting to backdoor his cutter and he's starting to pitch, you know? He's got good stuff. The ball moves a ton. He locates well. Even when he misses, he's around the zone with all his pitches. He can work. He'll start with something off and he'll just kind of keep working out and see how much the ump will give him."
-- NL Central infielder

Andrew McCutchen
"I think you have to be able to establish inside and get him off the outside part of the plate. He's really good on the inside corner too though. He's just a really good, premier hitter. You have to get him out on good pitches. He's going to hit your mistakes. You just have to execute a pitch. A good located pitch will get you a good result, statistically, a lot of times. He's so good on the outside of the plate. You have to be able to command the inside of the plate and get him looking at both sides. If they can eliminate a spot on you, it makes it easier for him."
-- NL Central pitcher

Josh Harrison
"The thing opponents have to worry about most is his confidence level. He's got a great deal of confidence going into the postseason. This is a guy that does all the little things to help a team win. He plays really solid defense, is a good base runner and can hit really well. He can drive the ball to all fields and can hurt you in a lot of different ways. More than anything else, it's containing a guy that can put the fat part of the bat on the ball on a regular basis. I expect him to have a really nice playoff run. They leaned on him heavily this year and I think he will do well in the playoffs.

"If Clint wants him to hit-and-run, he can hit-and-run. He's got the capability of driving the ball out of the park -- not only to the pull side but the opposite side as well. That's what makes him a good hitter. He doesn't have to pull the ball to have success. He can hurt you the other way as well. That's what makes him more dangerous than anything else. You do your best not to make his at-bats big. If you can keep guys off in front of him, then you'll have much greater success."
-- NL Central coach

"This was a guy not very many people were talking about a year ago. Now, in my opinion, he's become one of the best leadoff hitters in all of baseball. He's a good fastball hitter but a very good disciplined hitter, too. I think you need to attack him with strikes because you don't want him on base. He can do some damage on the bases."
-- NL West pitcher

Russell Martin
"He's been around for a long time. I saw him a lot in the Minor Leagues. If I'm pitching to him, I'm pitching to my strengths and not worrying about trying to attach his weaknesses. He's such a professional hitter and he's smart enough where he's able to make an adjustment so easily. Defensively, he's a good quarterback. He's been around. He calls a good game, can throw a guy out and has a book on a lot of guys. Not a lot of guys have that. It takes time."
-- NL West pitcher

Neil Walker
"Neil really had a great year this year. Traditionally he's better left-handed than right-handed. He's done a good job. He's kind of simplified to a certain extent his approach. Jeff Branson has done a great job with him this year and so has Jeff Livesey, the assistant hitting coach there. What he's done has been solid in the middle of the order. He handles whatever position he's thrust into -- two, three, four, five or six -- it doesn't matter. He's done a really nice job with it."
-- NL Central coach

"He handles mistakes well and I think you can tell that by the rise in his power numbers. He looks like he's starting to come into his own as a hitter and as a power hitter, especially in that ballpark. I've attacked him with fastballs away, sliders away and changeups away. Anytime you're facing a guy with power, they have holes. The heater down and away is still the toughest pitch to hit."
-- NL West pitcher

Read More: Pittsburgh Pirates, Josh Harrison, Mark Melancon, Neil Walker, Francisco Liriano, Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Russell Martin