Wake up call: Get your Wild Card thinking caps on
My season-long fret over the Pirates’ Spring Training declaration of “Central Division title or bust” has been … what if it’s bust? How do you make the mental adjustment to compete in a Wild Card scenario if it again comes to that?
We’re probably a week from finding out.
Even before that head-scratcher of a loss on Monday, the Bucs were looking at a stacked deck of Cards: Having to win out just to tie for the NL Central lead, since the Redbirds don’t figure to lose a game in their season-ending series with hapless Atlanta.
So even if a doubleheader sweep today leaves them two behind St. Louis — how are they going to make up those two games with the Cardinals playing the Braves?
So the best thing about winning two today would be avoiding having to watch the Cardinals celebrate in PNC Park. (Weird scenario: The Cardinals win the day game, and take the field at night in their champagne-soaked uniforms? No thank you.)
So here come the Cubs and Jake Arrieta.
The biggest help in making that mindset switch would come from Arrieta himself. The Bucs have seen a lot of possibly the Cy Young Award frontrunner and would be psyched to prove they can take him. The first five meetings with him have been tight.
The Pirates even won one of the five and were competitive in the other four.
#6 figures to be tight. To win, the Pirates wil have to do it 1-0, 2-1 or something like that.
Gerrit Cole would be just the man to do it.