And so ends baseball in Pittsburgh. I actually watched the game over my friend's house, and I'm glad I did. I decided I'd rather not put down the $1,600 deposit needed to get my season seats for the full playoff strip, and decided instead to just buy two pairs of tickets to the NLDS home games. Looks like I won't be needing those. If I have to have my heart crushed, I'd rather do it with a couple boxes of frozen cheese filled pretzels and some chips with some friends than sitting in agony with 40,000 people feeling the same pain.
I'm sure Pittsburgh sports talk will have a field day with the next few months - should Cole have been held back until the Wild Card game; are the Pirates too cheap to resign Martin. At the end of the day, the Pirates probably had one of their worst games of the year. I would much rather have seen Cole, or at least a lefty. Volquez is a flyball pitcher, and all it takes is one missed spot to change the game, as we saw last night. But when you only pick up 4 hits, and two of those are infield gifts...it probably wouldn't have mattered if the Bucs had Sandy Koufax starting and Nolan Ryan coming in for relief. It's tough to win a game without any runs.
The Bucs offense had been fun to watch all year, and this was probably one of their worst performances of the year, if not the worst. The rotation held up well amid a series of failures, injuries, and a patchwork of starters (serious, we picked up Vance Worley for a box of chocolates and some window cleaner). The way the season ended was lopsided, overmatched, and just generally not a fun baseball game to watch no matter who you wanted to win. But as a Pirate fan the season was a major win. The team was in contention for the pennant until the last day of the season, and there is still reason to expect this team to be able to improve for next season.
But it's not all bad news for this guy - it should be a fun playoffs to watch. But I certainly wouldn't mind if the Cards and Giants get bounced in the first round.