Postseason pre-mortems: Home field? Whatever
What we’ve learned from the early phase of this postseason:
- Stressing over home-field advantage isn’t worth the trouble:
Thus far, visiting teams are 6-2. Most of the angst is over gaining home-field for the Wild Card Games. Forget it; this year’s Cubs-Rangers sweeps made visiting teams 6-2 in the one-and-dones.
- The Wild Card scenario puts an unprecedented premium on having an Ace:
This, of course, is a Pirates perspective. Two seasons of hard work have been undone in nine innings by Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta. The Bucs themselves are in a good place here, with Gerrit Cole.
- The NLDS has Buccos Nation pining for a best-of-3 Wild Card Series:
Seeing the Dodgers and Mets — two teams against which the Bucs went 11-1 in the regular season — is pouring salt into the Wild Card wounds. Pittsburgh is lobbying, loud, for an expansion of the play-in round.
Sorry. It’s not going to happen. The whole idea behind having two Wild Cards play-off was to give a rightful advantage to division winners. Having them sit and wait for five days would be giving them an unfair disadvantage.
- Clint Hurdle, even better than you thought:
Seeing hungry, energetic rookies grab the stage — Kyle Schwarber in the Wild Card, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty in NLDS-1 — dramatizes what a disadvantage the Bucs have had without such young blood. Experience is not a handicap, mind you, but there is also something to be said for trusting young players and giving them a role.
Once the pain of the Wild Card ouster subsides, appreciation of how this team managed to win 98 games will grow.