Nobody said the playoffs were going to be easy and while the Pirate have had a lot of success so far this postseason that didn't mean it was always going to be gravy. Tonight the Pirates and Cardinals played a game that was as close as the game was yesterday. The difference today was that it was more of a pitchers dual and unfortunately the kid that St. Louis ran out on the mound was better than the kid that the Pirates ran out on the mound. This means there is a winner take all gave five on Wednesday afternoon and I am not sure if my heart can handle that.
The Pirates only had one hit on the day and it was a monster solo home run by Pedro Alvarez in the eighth inning that cut the Cardinals lead in half. For much of the previous innings the Cardinals had taken the PNC Park crowd out of it but with one swing of the bat things got really interesting. The Pirates couldn't complete the comeback despite having the tying run on first base in both the eighth and ninth innings but somethings that happens.
The Pirates were held without a base runner for five innings and didn't have a hit until the Alvarez home run. A lot of people are really going to be talking about how bad the Pirates offense was but I think it was more of a case of Cardinals starter Michael Wacha being really than the Pirates bats being really bad. Sometimes in baseball you come up against a pitcher and he just takes it to you. Wacha has been a little up and down recently but he has been really good this year and he brought his A game today. He went 7.1 innings, walked two, and gave up one hit. He struck out nine Pirates hitters and used his 95+ mph fastball and his really good change-up to keep the Pirates off balanced and really win this game for his team.
On the other side Charlie Morton was actually really good today. I say that because he has had a pretty hard time against the Cardinals this season and he's struggled with left handed hitters which is something that the Cardinals somewhat rely on. I think going in I thought that if Morton could just keep the Pirates in it for five innings that would be good and he made it through 5.2 innings giving up two runs which came on a home run from Matt Holliday. The pitch that Holliday hit out was actually a good pitch as it was middle-down and Holliday was able to go down and drive it out to center. Nothing you can do about that but tip your cap.
The Pirates pen did a nice job as Vin Mazzaro came in to close out the sixth inning before Justin Wilson came in and gave 1.2 innings of relief before Mark Melancon pitched a clean inning to close it out. The pen couldn't afford to give up another run considering how good Wacha was today and they did what they had to do. The Alvarez home run and ninth inning at bats were increasing more important because of what the pen did today.
I guess when I sit back and think about this game I really will try not to get too invested in it. Sure, the Pirates could have ended this series and got some rest but at the end of the day the Pirates still get to play again with a chance to move on. They do have to travel to St. Louis on Wednesday to face Adam Wainwright but the Pirates get to counter with Gerrit Cole. Winner moves on. I am not really sure if series deciding games are good for my health but this is what playoff baseball is all about. Best against best and if game five is anything like the last two nights then we are in for a real treat.