The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Saturday that ace Gerrit Cole will start Wednesday’s wild-card game against the Chicago Cubs. Any team can beat any pitcher in a single game.
Milwaukee finally broke through after Arrieta yielded to the bullpen in the seventh.
The 1984 Cubs, who squandered a 2-0 lead to San Diego in what was then a best-of-five NL championship series, got a once-in-a-lifetime season from pitcher Rick Sutcliffe and one last hurrah out of aging players such as Ron Cey, Gary Matthews and Larry Bowa.
It strikes me that once all the playoff positioning is settled – and with these two losses, it could be sooner rather than later – the Cubs ought to give Cahill a start to see whether he’d be a useful addition to the playoff roster.
Arrieta, however, was more concerned with his next assignment, which will come Wednesday against the Pirates in the National League wild card game. Six innings, three earned runs isn’t bad, but the third run scored after he left the game.
“Nobody’s spoken to me about anything”, he said.
Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer took a lot of risks, flipping players like real-estate agents who rehab houses.
Of course, Pittsburgh still has a chance to catch St. Louis for the NL Central title. However, the Pirates moved to the cusp of securing the league’s top wild card by rallying for a 12-inning win over slumping Cincinnati.
The game turned into a circus in the fifth inning, when Kris Bryant hit a fly ball to right-center field that was misplayed by the Brewers outfield. Arrieta’s second homer of the season led to a curtain call for the crowd of 40,617 at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates were able to tack on an insurance run in the eighth when Starling Marte grounded out to short to force in Jordy Mercer from third base. Castro needs nine more hits to reach 1,000 for his career. The first is that he’s incredibly durable -see those 200 innings in seven-of-eight seasons- making him the good kind of innings eater.
Ramirez received a standing ovation when he was recognized by the Cubs during a pregame ceremony. The craziest, haziest, “Sammy-est” season ever, the one that most closely matches 2015, was 2003, the year of Sosa’s corked bat and the foulest of foul balls in the NLCS. 294 with 239 homers and 806 RBIs, and plans to retire after this season.
When it comes to stats, heading into the season’s final two games, the Pirates sport the fourth highest batting average in the N.L. with an average of.260, whereas the Cubs rank sixth (.244).
When Jon Lester was signed by the Chicago Cubs in December, manager Joe Maddon said he’d won the “baseball lottery”. “But all I need are a few reps, and we’ll go from there”.
Pirates: LHP J.A. Happ (6-2, 2.28 ERA) and Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (12-10, 3.16) face off in the series opener. There have been bumps along the way, but there’s no reason to think the winning can’t continue into the postseason, except their postseason might only be one game, a one-game series in baseball being as much of a holy-shit-roll-the-dice-and-pray moment as you can get.