Monday, October 7, 2013

Pirates lose Game 4 of NLDS, off to St. Louis for epic Game 5 on Wednesday

I'm always preaching about the awesomeness of the NFL playoffs and how a game is such an emotional roller coaster because of the lack of "tomorrows."

Today, on Monday, October 7, 2013, I'm glad there will be an October 9, because the Pirates will still be playing baseball, despite a 2-1 to St. Louis in Game 4 of the NLDS at PNC Park.

Like most Pittsburgh fans, I just assumed business would be taken care of in front of the home folks, but the Cardinals are not the Cardinals for nothing, and they usually have something up  their sleeve, elimination game or no elimination game.

That something was rookie pitching sensation Michael Wacha, who pitched 7 1/3 hitless innings before yielding a one out home run to Pedro Alvarez in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull the Pirates to within a run, at 2-1.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Josh Harrison was caught stealing later in the inning on a hit and run. And in the bottom of the ninth inning, after Neil Walker drew a two-out walk, Andrew McCutchen popped out to end the game and send the series back to Busch Stadium on Wednesday.

I'm obviously very disappointed in Monday's results, and I know a lot of people are already chalking up a win for the Cardinals, but I have a feeling Wednesday will be a special day for Bucco Nation.

You see, manager Clint Hurdle named rookie phenom Gerrit Cole as the Game 5 starter. It was a gutsy move by Hurdle, because if Cole struggles, and the Pirates lose, he'll be second-guessed by people who will say he should have gone with the veteran A.J. Burnett.

But like I said, it is a gutsy move, and maybe it's just the eternal optimist in me, but my gut tells me Cole will show the baseball world just what kind of phenom he truly is.

As for the Cardinals starter, they'll be trotting out Adam Wainwright, their ace and the man who shut down Pittsburgh in Game 1. However, no man is perfect, and I have the feeling that Wainwright's curve ball won't be curving as much as it did last Thursday, and the Pirates are going to get them some.

Not only am I predicting a Pirates victory, I'm predicting an easy win.

Regardless of what happens, though, I  think it's important to remember just how magical this season has already been. I hate to be like one of "those" fans that I always argue with online, but there was no sin in how the Pirates lost Game 4.

The Cardinals are tough, and like most great teams, they know how to win when their backs are against the wall. If Pittsburgh falls on Wednesday, hey, it wouldn't be the first team to lose to the Cardinals.

World Series or not, I honestly think this is just the beginning for these Pirates. They don't look like a team that's going to struggle for respectability in the ensuing seasons. If I had to make a wager, I'd say they have a really good chance of being the Tampa Rays of the National League and competing for many more years to come.

Big picture, I remember the days when anticipating a Game 5 was nothing more than a fantasy. Now, it's a reality. And in terms of the emotions I felt while watching Game 3, Sunday afternoon and into evening? It was by far the most fun I've ever had watching a Pirates game.

Nothing will take away how that game made me feel, and I just hope Wednesday is another great chapter in an already remarkable story.

Ah yes, there is still one more tomorrow for these Pirates, and I actually wish it was tomorrow and not Wednesday.

I shouldn't be pumped up, but I am.

Let's Go Bucs!

No comments:

Post a Comment