Madison Bumgarner was the better pitcher and the San Francisco Giants were the better team in the Wild Card game on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Bumgarner's complete game shutout will go down as one of the best pitching performances of this season. The air went out of the stadium and the Pirates' game when Brian Crawford dinked his grand slam but even without it, the Giants were in control. The Pirates' depleted bullpen could do no better than starter Volquez did, their third best starter.
This loss is pretty directly attributable to the Pirates trying so hard to win the division in the past two games, which they also lost. I thought (and said here) that the Giants were looser and the Pirates could be deflated by two tough important losses in a row to end the regular season. The Giants, with nothing to gain or lose, could rest Bumgarner and give their starters some rest and easy innings. But as the game with the Pirates went on, the Giants playoff experience also figured in.
I heard the game from the Giants radio announcers, and since they weren't doing TV, with the addition of Mike Krukow, whose comments I really miss all season--although he usually joins in for the analysis afterwards which is broadcast on both radio and TV. (There's a nice ESPN piece about Krukow and the crew.)
Maybe they were a little hard on Clint Hurdle, talking about him limping out to the field every time he moved, and on the Pittsburgh fans, describing their exodus over the Clemente bridge in the late innings as looking like refugees, bundled up and forlorn. But they are a fun group, and so I'm happy that I'll be listening to them for the Giants series with Washington, when the Giants will be definite underdogs.