This is going to take some time to get over. Nobody really expected the Pirates to grab a Wild Card spot, or even finish .500 but when they did both of those things the goals changed. Just because the Pirates hadn't been in the playoffs since 1992 didn't mean there was a "happy to be here" attitude for the playoff run which is probably why a lot of people, myself included, feel pretty down about things now. When you have a 2-1 series lead in a best-of-five and you don't win the series it is going to feel like the postseason was a disappointment no matter how good of a season you had. I think that is where I am at right now. Losing sucks and when you lose your final game of the season in the playoffs it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
This game came down to the Cardinals capitalizing on mistakes and the Pirates missing on mistakes. It wasn't going to be an easy game for either offense with Adam Wainwright and Gerrit Cole on the mound and that is pretty much the way it unfolded. The difference was that while Wainwright wasn't sharp early the Pirates weren't able to capitalize. Wainwright wasn't locating well and was leaving a lot of pitches in the heart of the plate and the Pirates were just fouling them off.
Cole wasn't missing with his pitches but in the second inning he made two mistakes and it cost the Pirates two runs. With two outs Jon Jay came up to bat and Cole got him to a 1-2 count. There really wasn't much to think of it as Cole put down the previous five hitters fairly easy but Jay worked a walk and the next batter, David Freese, took a hanging curve and hit a bullet out to left field. 2-0 Cardinals. While it was only two plate appearances it might have decided the game.
That isn't to say that Cole was the reason the Pirates lost, because it wasn't. There were a lot of factors that went into the loss tonight and Cole was a small part of that. Cole went five innings (pinch hit for in the fifth inning) and struck out five while walking only one. It was a big time game and Cole didn't flinch. This kid is going to be a monster next season.
Oh man, next season. While I understood this was a coin flip game I really wasn't ready to start thinking about next season. There are so many things to talk about still and breakdown but right now it just doesn't even seem worth it. Maybe saying it isn't worth it is the wrong way to put it but that is the way it feels.
I am going to keep this short and will probably get into some more season overview stuff over the next few weeks but while this season ended on a bad note you can't even come close to saying that this was a bad season. This Pirates season was a full roller-coaster ride with many ups and many downs. Breaking the losing season streak was nice but getting to the playoffs was better. Winning a Wild Card game was something I don't think any Pirates fan was expecting in spring training but here we were. This Pirates team gave us so much excitement this year and while there are certain things that were infuriating I don't think I would change anything about it.
Neal Huntington and company came in with a plan many years ago and while things weren't always good at the beginning their plan is working out. The Pirates didn't have to trade the farm for a playoff team, they just had to stay the course and build a good major league team while still having one of the best farm systems in baseball. While a lot of people are going to look at this season as an end I think I am looking at it as a beginning. A beginning of a fun baseball team to watch for the foreseeable future.
I would also just like to say thank you to all of you that came on here during the Pirates season. I know I cover a lot more than just baseball here but baseball, and the Pirates, are really my main passion. If you decide to stick around for some of the other sports stuff that goes on here you are more than welcome but if not it was a true pleasure to interact with everyone on here and on Twitter. This is really why I do this and it is very flattering that anyone care at all about this. So, thank you.