"We know the Cardinals and they know us; there won't be any secrets," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said.
Of course, these teams are no stranger to one another, having played 19 times in the regular season. In fact from June 21 on, it was essentially a two-horse race for bragging rights in the NL Central before St. Louis eventually pulled away from Pittsburgh and captured its first division title since 2009 by virtue of a league-best 97-65 mark.
So, the Pirates had to settle for a wild card spot, despite finishing above .500 (94-68) for the first time since that 1992 season. Nobody in the Steel City was complaining, though, as they hadn't experienced postseason baseball since Barry Bonds was roaming the outfield at Three Rivers Stadium.
And Pittsburgh rewarded its fans on Tuesday, as Francisco Liriano fired seven innings of one-run ball and Russell Martin cracked a pair of solo home runs in the Pirates' 6-2 win over Cincinnati in the NL wild card game.
"We didn't talk about one and done, we talked about one and run," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Win one and run to St. Louis."
The Pirates spent a good deal of time atop the division and were 26 games above .500 on Aug. 8. However, they were a .500 team in 48 games after that, but won five of six to close the campaign and secured homefield advantage in the one-game wild card.
Pittsburgh had five All-Stars at this year's Midsummer Classic, but none shined brighter than Andrew McCutchen, who continued to state his case as one of the best young players in the game.
McCutchen hit .317 with 21 home runs, 84 RBI, 27 stolen bases, a .404 on-base percentage and .508 slugging percentage in 157 games. He became just the fourth major league center fielder since 1947 to have consecutive seasons of hitting .300 with a .400 slugging percentage and .500 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, joining Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr.
The Pirates are going to need more than McCuthchen at the plate to get past St. Louis.
General manager Neal Huntington realized that midway through the season and after a few failed attempts at improving his team's offense eventually acquired former AL MVP Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd, who homered in Tuesday's wild card win.
Of course, third baseman Pedro Alvarez tied for the NL lead with 36 home runs and drove in 100 RBI, but still only hit .233 with a whopping NL-high 186 strikeouts.
Another big reason behind the Pirates' success this season has been their starting pitching, especially Liriano, who, despite missing the first month of the season, ended the year 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA.
Liriano was even better at home, where the Pirates lost just one of his 12 starts, including Tuesday's contest. They hope that trend continues, as he'll likely get the call in Game 3 when the series shifts to Pittsburgh.
Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett will get the call for the Bucs in Game 1. Burnett was only 10-11 this season, but pitched to a 3.03 ERA and is no stranger to postseason baseball.
"It means a lot," Burnett said about getting the ball for Game 1. "I wouldn't want it any other way. They've come a long way, these men in here. Step 2 was tonight. We have a lot of work still to be done, a lot of games to be played. It was a great win, a great step. Now we have to get ready for another series."
Burnett has pitched to a 5.08 ERA in seven postseason games, but is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his two Division Series outings.