While all eyes will be on the marquee players like Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner in Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park, there are a few players who may steal the spotlight and have huge games to help their team advance into the division series. 

One of them is Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison.

It’s easy to ignore what Harrison has done this season with McCutchen right next to him, but Harrison’s .315 batting average, which was just four points lower than that of NL batting champion Justin Morneau, is something the Giants should be taking seriously.

Consistently the catalyst for the Pittsburgh offense this season, Harrison batted .328 from the leadoff spot and seemed to get even better whenever a clutch hit is needed.

Harrison’s .360 average with one out and .359 average with two outs on the season are impressive enough alone, but what is even more extraordinary is his .392 average with two outs and runners in scoring position. All of those numbers are better than the ones put up by McCutchen this season (.320/.284/.283).

Harrison also seems to enjoy playing against Bumgarner and the Giants.

In five career at-bats against the Giants ace, Harrison has collected four hits, including a homer. In the six games he played against San Francisco this year, Harrison went 6-for-18 and belted three of his 13 homers on the season (including the one off Bumgarner), the most against any opposing team this year.

With more and more teams starting to pitch around McCutchen, it’s important for Harrison to set the tone at the top of the order to take off some of the pressure and ease the tasks for the heart of the order, especially when McCutchen is 2-for-10 against Bumgarner in his career.

Look for Harrison to create some chaos for the Giants on Wednesday in front of what is sure to be a raucous crowd at PNC Park and send the Pirates into NLDS against the Washington Nationals.


Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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