Eight days ago, the Pirates played in their biggest game in the last 20 years. But here we are again, the Pirates and Cardinals have played their way to another do-or-die, win or go home game. Losing on Monday means that the Pirates have to head to St. Louis, a wretched hive of scum and villainy. As the Twitter page explains, baseball’s (self-proclaimed) best fans are a pack of racist, sexist, witless dolts. Check out the violent crime stats per capita (2011 data):
Take note that both St. Louis AND Kansas City, Missouri are in the top ten. The Pirates are truly headed to an awful place, full of awful people. It’s the Pirates’ civic duty, as human beings, to stomp on their city’s dumb, racist dreams.
Following Monday’s loss, Hurdle quickly named Gerrit Cole the game five starter, likely to the dismay of one AJ Burnett. While there is a strong argument to start to start The Admiral, I think Cole is the correct choice here. If nothing else, there won’t be any “What would’ve happened if we started Cole?” talk over the off-season if we would have lost with Burnett on the hill. So there’s that, I guess. The biggest downside, as I see it, is that skipping Burnett tonight may be enough to push him into retirement.
Gerrit Cole has only faced the Cards once in his career, five days ago. It went really well for him/the Pirates/Pittsburgh/me, personally. The Pirates have seen Wainwright four times this season. He’s gone 7 innings every time out, posted a 2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and struck out 29. That said, he’s beatable. He’s shut the Pirates out in two of those outings and allowed 3 and 4 runs in the other two. After being near-perfecto’d on Monday, he looks like a trip to Six Flags by comparison. Though, it’s important that the Pirates don’t come out and try to be too aggressive or they might not get a hit until the 8th inning again.
I was going to speculate about possible lineup changes, but the lineups were posted already to squash that discussion. It’s the same cast of characters as Monday’s tilt, for better or for worse. If you’re into career batter vs. pitcher numbers, you can check those out here. Combined, tonight’s starters have hit .316 (43 for 136) against Waino in their careers with 4 homers. I’m largely ambivalent towards those numbers and so is Clint Hurdle, who opted against starting Jose Tabata (a career .375 hitter against Waino, 6 for 16) over Marte.
Clarice Starling Marte, LF
Justin Morneau, 1B
EL TORO, 3B
Clint Barmes, SS
Cole .45, P
St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Fatt Adams, 1B
Jon Jay, CF
David Freese, 3B
Pete Kozma, SS
Adam Wainwright, P
A week after playing in a coin-flip, wild card game, the Pirates find themselves in another coin toss game, this time as slight underdogs. Still, Michael Wacha was a powerful reminder that home-field advantage doesn’t mean very much if you’re ready to deal on the mound. Gerrit Cole is capable of dominating a lineup for 7 innings. Why can’t the Pirates win tonight?
Take a deep breath and remember two things:
-The Pirates are playing their 6th playoff game of the year with their former number one pick on the mound.
-Win or lose, we’re going to remember this game for a long time and our collective hate for the St. Louis Cardinals is going to grow exponentially.
LET’S GO BUCS