Clinchmas in Pittsburgh, Running on Empty in San Diego
For the third straight year--each season on September 23, now to be enshrined in Pittsburgh as Clinchmas--the Pirates clinched a playoff berth for 2015. They did it with a resounding victory over Colorado, with more power than pitching, but enough to get the job done. Congratulations and we had 'em all the way.
The Cubs lost but the Cards won, so positions hold for the Pirates to host the wild card game. An article at CBS Sports suggests that this year's Central Division leaders make this an historic division. If current rankings hold to the end of the season--that is, if the Cards, Pirates and Cubs are 1-2-3 in total wins in the majors, it will be the first time that the top three have come from the same division. And that seems pretty likely to happen.
Meanwhile in San Diego, the Giants bullpen pitchers ran out of gas, all nine of them. Jake Peavy pitched very well and had a shutout after 6 innings. But the exhausted bullpen gave up 5 runs, and although the Giants hitters kept fighting back, in the end Casilla had a terrible ninth and the Padres won 5-4.
If the Giants hadn't had a ton of bad luck this year, they would have had no luck at all. Mostly from injuries, which unbelievably continue to mount. That ball that hit Adrianza last night resulted in a concussion--another concussion on this team! And he's probably done for the season, which is mercifully only 11 more games.
Buster Posey came back from his "normal" injury after a game to play first, provide key hits and heads-up play in the ninth to score the tying run on a wild pitch. Brandon Crawford, who started coming out of his batting slump last night, had key hits, including the first two RBIs. But he showed signs of injury, almost came out of the game, and may be out tomorrow. If this game had gone to the 10th he probably would have come out. It's way too brutal to imagine this as an extra-inning game. Losing in the 9th may have been a mercy.
Latest newbie to impress is Jared Parker, who launched a homer, his second, and has previously looked good with situational hitting and baserunning. And these guys are probably going to be the main reason to keep watching the Giants, apart from the extra resonance of games in Oakland and with the Dodgers. Who won tonight.