I picture is worth a thousand words, and this infographic by Joe Vince at Upworthy tells the tale of the Cubs Pirates Wildcard preview in Pittsburgh tonight.
I’m ten times as excited to watch this game as I was Astros Yankees last night. Both of these teams have exceeded expectations this year, and both feature players having their breakout years.
Arrieta v Cole
We’re in a beautiful era of baseball where offense is down and pitching is dominating. Who better to watch face off in a one game playoff than Jake Arrieta and Gerrit Cole. Two dominant hurlers for these NL Central clubs who feature a similar strikeout rate and lights out stuff. Of course you have to give the edge to Arrieta on this one. The guy has posted second half numbers that the game of baseball has never seen before. A second half ERA in the area of 0.70. Yes that’s ZERO point seven for the entire 2nd half of the season post all-star break. He’s showing 0 signs of slowing down, just getting a victory against the Pirates a week ago. Does that recent start mean advantage Arrieta for seeing the hitters recently or advantage Pirates for seeing Arrieta recently?
The Bad News
The good news is this is going to be one for the ages to watch. The bad news is, after tonight 1 of the top 3 teams in baseball is going to be eliminated. This has raised many questions about the MLB Postseason format, which I personally think are ridiculous. Everyone watches how other sports run and immediately call for change in baseball. One season where 3 teams from one division win 90 games doesn’t mean we should immediately change the format. Look at the AL East of the past. I bet the Jays Orioles and Rays would’ve liked to see formats changed for many years watching the Yankees and Red Sox dominate every year.
If you’ve never been to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, it needs to be first on your bucket list of MLB parks to see. It’s hands down the most beautiful park in all of baseball. It’s impossible to see on TV the entire beauty of the stadium without seeing the bars, restaurants, and all the entertainment around the park. Andrew McCutchen recently wrote in the Players Tribune about the playoff atmosphere at PNC. It’s worth a read.