Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items from around the web.
Buctober Part III
Another September 23rd, another playoff clincher. Last night the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Colorado Rockies 13-7 to win their 92nd game of the season and clinch their third consecutive playoff berth. The celebration may have been a bit more subdued, but it was still a special moment worthy of celebration. I know myself and many fans will be making the trek over to the either Dick’s Sporting Goods or the the Pirates Clubhouse Store to pick up the official playoff merchandise.
The Pirates lost for 20 straight seasons and while just making the playoffs isn’t the end goal, it does feel good to see how far the Pirates have come in a relatively short period of time. The Pirates still have some work to be done, but lets take a moment to be happy that our baseball club is in the playoffs for a third straight season.
The Pittsburgh Kid
Neil Walker was the MVP of the game as he went 4-5 with a home run and six RBI. The Pittsburgh Kid provided plenty off offense in a game full of it. It’s only fitting that a local boy was the hero in the game the Pirates clinched another playoff berth. He set a career high in RBI and appeared to see the ball extremely well. If Neil Walker can get really hot down the stretch, that’ll go a long way in making up for the loss of Jung Ho Kang.
In addition to Walker making up for the absence of Kang, Jordy Mercer has completely stepped his game up. He’s hitting .360 since Kang was injured and has gone 9-13 in the Rockies series. If Mercer can hit like the second half of 2014, that’ll be huge for the Pirates down the stretch and going into the playoffs. Nothing can completely make up for the loss of a Rookie of the Year candidate, but Mercer being productive goes a long, long way.
Another player that may never want to leave Colorado is Starling Marte. He has had a tremendous series, going 9-15 with a home run and three doubles. Starling Marte has always been a streaky player, but when he is on he can carry a team and there is no better time to be on than late September. Lets hope that Marte can keep it going into the series against the Cubs and Cardinals.
A subdued celebration
The Pirates are one of the best teams in the league and the post season berth was a forgone conclusion, but many fans wondered what kind of celebration the Pirates would have. In 2013 and 2014 the Pirates went balls to the wall, but this season it was a very classy and private affair. There was no spraying of champagne and no googles. The celebration was as matter of fact as the berth. There were a few media pundits out there that would have been very angry had the Pirates had another wild celebration, but they got what they wanted, a team that acted professional and “like they’ve been there before.”
There is nothing wrong with either style of celebration and had the Pirates gone crazy, it would have been perfectly acceptable. Baseball is a grind and those players put in a ton of work. Making the playoffs is difficult and an achievement worth celebrating. However, the 2015 Pirates are different. They’ve known all year that this is where they’d be and they want that NL Central division title. They do not feel compelled to celebrate just getting to the playoffs. They want to catch the Cardinals and win the division. I know one thing, if the Pirates can catch the Cardinals and win the Central, there will be champagne seeping out of the walls of whatever clubhouse the team is in and that celebration will be enjoyed by everyone.
Around the Web
The Pittsburgh wore some amazing super hero costumed on their road trip and Sports Illustrated took notice.
The Denver Post talks about how the Pirates could be a model the Rockies can follow on the path to success.
If you can make it to a local Dick’s Sporting Goods or the North Shore, here is where you can get your official Pirates’ playoff merchandise. I know I will be buying that t-shirt as soon as I can. Making the playoffs never gets old to me!