Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 10/10/13
Well, it’s over. The Pirates’ magical, unforgettable season has come to an end in the NLDS, as they were soundly defeated in Game 5 by St Louis. Very little went right for the Bucs, as things slowly got away from them and Adam Wainwright tossed another gem.  At the very least, it was not a heartbreaker or a kind of game where one mistake can be singled out. The Cardinals were the better team and advanced. Gerrit Cole took the loss but I think he confirmed that he was the right choice to start this game. He came out throwing the ball well with great movement and mostly good location, but made two fatal mistakes in the second inning – a walk to Jon Jay after getting ahead in the count, and a hanging slider that David Freese sent over the wall. Outside of that, Cole was excellent. He allowed just two other hits, walked only the one batter, struck out five, and was plenty efficient – he was lifted after five for a pinch hitter, but could have gone further. The mistake pitch was bad, but overall it was another strong outing that solidified his brilliant finish to the season, and re-affirmed his ability to pitch in big games. Unfortunately, as many feared, the one mistake was enough because the Pirates couldn’t do much against Wainwright. I thought there were plenty of hittable pitches he threw that the Bucs simply missed, fouled off, or failed to square up, but when a guy throws a complete game in a showdown like this, you have to tip the cap. His curveball was sharp, he didn’t fall behind very often, and the Pirates could not get anything going. Of course, some poor luck did not help. They had eight hits and a walk, but hit in to two line drive double plays, plus another one the ground. No hits went for extra bases, though, and several were on the infield and of the fluky variety. The one run came on three consecutive infield hits, aided by a foolish play at short and a Pedro grounder that hit first base. (Side note: with that, Pedro became the first player EVER to record an RBI in his first six playoff games. Pretty cool.) Things got out of hand once the pinch hit attempt for Cole failed. Justin Wilson yielded a run in the sixth, and things got very ugly in the eighth when Mark Melancon imploded…surrendering a massive three run bomb to Matt Adams (have you heard he went to Slippery Rock???). The Bucs still had an ounce of hope up to that point, but Adams’ blast was the dagger. And so, instead of moving on to the NLCS, the Pirates are done. It stings to fall short, especially after blowing a chance to advance at home. Who knows how long it will be until the Bucs have another opportunity like that again? It could be a while…but you know what? It also might not be. If you step back and look at the big picture, it is simply impossible to look at the Pirates in anything other than a positive light. Nearly the whole team will be back next year, the farm system is looking great, management knows what it is doing, and the fan base has been rejuvenated. I think most fans realize that, too – while everyone’s surely disappointed about what happened on this night at Busch Stadium, the amount of overwhelming support and positive reflections on the season was pretty nice to see after suffering through the end of this amazing run.  The ending was tough, but no fan will ever forget what this 2013 team meant to this fanbase and city. Cardinals 6, Pirates 1 / Box / Pirates eliminated / Next: March 31, 2014, vs. Cubs Source: FanGraphs
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