Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call – reflecting on the season
By Tyler Waite
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 your way from around the web as well.
Reflecting on the season
Yesterday the regular season came to an end. The Pirates managed to clinch home field for the Wild Card game, but it took 162 games of meaningful baseball to get there. That’s two seasons in a row now where every game the Pirates played was meaningful. But this time, it didn’t take using Gerrit Cole in the final game of the season to get the job done. Instead, J.A. Happ cemented his role as the third starter in the playoff rotation if the Pirates advance past the Wild Card game. After six shutout innings of Sunday, Happ finished the regular season with a 2.04 ERA with the Pirates after posting a 4.64 ERA during his time with Seattle this season. Ray Searage continues to work wonders, and now Happ is looking at a pretty pay day this offseason, whether it be in Pittsburgh or somewhere else.
The 98 wins the Pirates compiled this season is tied for the third highest total in team history, and I could see them surpassing the 100-win mark within the next five seasons. This team managed to compiled that win total with Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, and A.J. Burnett each spending significant time on the disabled list, with Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke combining for 53 starts, and by getting at-bats off the bench from guys like Andrew Lambo, Pedro Florimon, and Corey Hart. This is a team that had multiple areas of weakness and still managed to dominate for much of the season. The Pirates will have certainly have holes to fill this offseason, but we should all be confident that Neal Huntington will take care of those holes when the time comes.
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Looking ahead to Wednesday night
The Wild Card game will be played at PNC Park on Wednesday night, and Josh Harrison called for a blackout in his post-game interview on Sunday. There was a blackout at PNC each of the past two Wild Card games, and the 2013 blackout is one memory many Pirate fans won’t forget. Who knows how much it will affect Jake Arrieta, who will be Gerrit Cole’s mound opponent that night. Arrieta himself doesn’t think PNC will affect him much at all, as he took to twitter to respond to a tweet:
PNC definitely affected Johnny Cueto two years ago, but it didn’t have much of an affect on Madison Bumgarner last year. We’ll see what it does to a pitcher whose never made a postseason appearance on Wednesday night.
Around the net
Stephen J. Nesbitt takes an early stab at the Pirates’ 25-man roster for Wednesday’s game. It makes sense to me. Check it out here.
And Travis Sawchik of the Tribune-Review recently spoke to Neal Huntington and got his take on changing the Wild Card format. You can read that piece here.
Keep an eye out the next day or two for a bevy of articles breaking down the Wild Card game as we’ll be comparing the lineups, bullpens, benches, and much more. You don’t wanna miss them.