Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call – Beautiful Agony
By Steve Kubitz
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-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
Yesterday the Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs in an emotionally charged playoff style ball game. The game had a little bit of everything; timely hitting, clutch pitching and solid defensive plays. It was everything September baseball is supposed to be. Two of the best teams in the league battling it out in a meaningful game.
The Pirates victory also meant the Pirates are now four and a half games up on the Cubs for the top wildcard spot, which would give the Pirates home field advantage for a third consecutive wildcard game. Wrigley Field is starved for playoff baseball, so avoiding that craziness would be a huge benefit to the Pirates’ World Series aspirations.
The biggest moment of agony yesterday, came when the Cubs had the tying run on third base with one out in the ninth inning. Mark Melancon did not have his best stuff to begin the inning, but after the Cubs pulled within one, he shut the door with back to back strikeouts to save the win. Melancon even showed some rare emotion, as he fist pumped and jumped up and down in celebration as the Pirates Raised the Jolly Roger for the 94th time in 2015.
Riding the Cole Train
Most of the talk surrounding the potential wildcard game has been the Pirates having to face Jake Arrieta, which is perfectly justified as he has been the hottest pitcher in the game for most of the second half. However, one thing has been far too overlooked and that is the Cubs having to face Gerrit Cole. Cole was every bit the ace yesterday as he went seven innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight. Cole was absolutely outstanding as he completely befuddled the Cubs hitters.
Since his 2013 call-up, Cole has earned the reputation of being a big game pitcher and I think the Wildcard game would qualify as a big game. Jake Arrieta might be getting all of the ink recently, but I would feel pretty damn comfortable having Cole in a do or die playoff game, even against someone as good as Arrieta. If Cole can stare down Clayton Kershaw and come away victorious on two separate occasions, I believe that he could hold serve and go toe-to-toe with Jake Arrieta.
Cards lose, Cards lose!!!
The Pirates not only gained ground by beating the Cubs, but the Milwaukee Brewers were bros and beat the Cardinals by a score of 4-3, which means the Pirates are now only three games out of first place in the NL Central division. If everything can hold serve, the Pirates would play the Cardinals at PNC Park and control their own destiny.
The final couple series of the year are going to be obscenely interesting as the Pirates are still very much alive in the NL Central division. The Pirates still have to focus on the Cubs, but as it stands right now, we are heading towards THE BIGGEST SERIES IN PNC PARK HISTORY…take 11. September baseball is supposed to be tense and that’s exactly what it is right now. We are going to be living and dying by every pitch and that’s exactly what a pennant race should be. Nothing like some good old fashioned dreadful fun to make you feel alive.
Around the web
Forbes talks about how the Pirates have gone to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons despite having the sixth lowest payroll in baseball.
Kevin Michell of Today’s Knuckleball talks about why the Pirates will win the World Series this season.
Pirates Prospects has a brilliant article talking about all the Pirates have overcome this season to clinch a third consecutive playoff berth. Really awesome stuff.
Next: Should the Pirates bring back Neil Walker next season?