Sep 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws out a runner at second base after a bunt against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates chase continues. The Pirates have been looking up at the National League leader in the NL Central throughout this wild 2014 season. And on the final day, the Pirates still have a chance.
If the Pirates lose and/or the Cardinals lose, the St. Louis Cardinals are the NL Central champions. The Bucs will host the Giants in the Wild Card Game on Wednesday at PNC Park with Kent Tekulve throwing out the first pitch.
If the Pirates win and the Cardinals lose, the cats and dogs scenario, St. Louis will host a one game tiebreaker on Monday at Busch Stadium. The winner of that game will face the L.A. Dodgers in the National League Division Series. Whoever would lose that potential division decider in St. Louis would host the Giants on Wednesday.
It’s crazy to think of all of the possibilities.
The decision to make is difficult. Let’s start with the one that Clint Hurdle will make. Gerrit Cole will start today. Should a miracle happen and Adam Wainwright get beat by the worst team in baseball, Jeff Locke would pitch against the Cardinals in St. Louis. So that would leave Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez for the Wild Card Game on Wednesday.
It’s hard to imagine the Pirates doing anything different. How could Hurdle pitch anybody other than Cole today with the “so you’re telling me there is a chance” option of winning the NL Central division.
The temptation to save Gerrit Cole for the one game that can eliminate you from playing any more games is the bigger issue to me.
If the Pirates lose today, their season is not over. If they lose in a potential division deciding game tomorrow the season isn’t over it. The season becomes more interesting. The Pirates strategy seems to be to use the best starter to possibly get the opportunity to face the L.A. Dodgers. It’s the toughest route, and yet, the one that only seems like the manly thing to do.
But let’s face it. The game that can send everyone golfing or to catch a big wave in the ocean is the game on Wednesday. The Pirates need to keep Cole for that game, he has pitched well against the Giants and the bottom line is that is the Bucs best option for that game. Not Francisco Liriano, not Eddie, not anyone other than there BAMF.
The Pirates Gerrit Cole’s new billboard
The man with the bleeding blister.
Gerrit Cole reacts after a strikeout on August 26.
Why the rotation wasn’t quite set up that way has turned out to be very interesting. To think the Pirates best starting pitcher might not be on the bump in the game that can end the season seems foolish. Isn’t that why you play all these damn games?