What better way to get back on track than going to Wrigley Field and beating the Cubs. OK, maybe there are a lot better ways to get back on track but after losing a bunch of games recently it doesn't matter who you play or how it happens, you just want to get a win and keep yourself at least tied for the top spot in the Wild Card race and giving yourself a chance to officially make the playoffs. The Pirates did all of that tonight even though it was particularly easy or pretty.
Starling Marte, a guy who hasn't played much recently after coming off the DL went deep in the top of the ninth inning of a tie game to all but win this one for the Bucs. This coming off the previous half inning where Mark Melancon gave up the lead in his third straight appearance. They all aren't pretty folks.
As it has been for some time now Charlie Morton was really, really good. Tonight he worked seven innings, scattering three hits, and now allowing a single run. He struck out five, walked only one, and finished the game with 89 pitches. The sinker was working and when the leadoff hitter got on for the Cubs in the sixth and seventh innings it was ground ball double plays that got him out of any trouble that might have been around the corner. Morton was recently named to a playoff rotation and this is why. While the Cubs aren't a terribly good it was a performance that the team needed and Morton was able to deliver.
The offense really didn't do a whole ton. They scored a first inning run when Neil Walker went deep for the fourth time in the last five games and that was all they needed. While the Cubs didn't put together a ton of hits the Pirates didn't either as they had only six hits in the game and the only baserunner to reach after the sixth inning was Marte and all he did was circle the bases. Luckily that's all the Pirates needed.
Who cares about anything else. As I was typing the last paragraph the Wastington Nationals lost and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in the 2013 postseason. Let that sink it. I didn't really know how i feel about the Pirates doing a lot of celebrating for just clinching a Wild Card but watching that team in the clubhouse was awesome. It's been a really long time since the Pirates have even sniffed playoff baseball and that year is finally here. 90 win as of today with five games left. 90 wins and in the playoffs for a team that lost 105 games in 2010.
Neal Huntington, Frank Coonley, Bob Nutting, Clint Hurdle, Jeff Banister, Ray Searage, and every single person and play on that team deserves this. It's been almost unlimited heartache and being able to finally, officially, stamp your ticket to the postseason is pretty awesome. Even if it only guarantees you one game. The Pirates, Reds, and Cardinals are still fighting out this whole NL Central/Wild Card thing but for tonight this is about a team that most predicted to win between 70-78 wins before the season by damn near everyone going to the playoffs and not giving a shit about anything else.
If you didn't see the interview Andrew McCutchen had in the interview it really just sums all this up. He was literally speechless and didn't know what to say. That is what it is all about. That man has been the best player in the National League this season and he deserves this. We all do. Enjoy it. There are bigger fish to fry over the rest of the week but for tonight it's all about the playoffs, and the Pirates are there.
Buy your gear people. It's real.