While the SF Giants seem in pursuit of a record--how many games in a row a team can lose by the score of 5-4--the Pittsburgh Pirates are once again making things very interesting in the NL Central.
In what is likely to be the pitching matchup of a wild card game between the two teams, Garrit Cole faced John Lester, and the Bucs were one run better against the Cubs 3-2. Combined with a St. Louis loss to the Brewers, the Pirates moved to 3 games behind the Cards for the division crown.
The Pirates have won 7 consecutive road games, but they are playing the Cubs in Chicago for 2 more games this weekend, and then the Cards come to Pittsburgh for 3. The pressure is on, but unlike last year, the Pirates have not jiggered their rotation to face the Cards with their best. They tried that in 2014 in a last ditch effort to win the division, they failed, and were left with a lesser starter against the Giants in the wild card game, which of course they lost and the rest is history.
So it is still likely that the Pittsburgh will host the Cubs (who clinched tonight anyway when the Giants lost) in the wild card, while the Cardinals hold home field advantage throughout their series as division winner. But it is still possible that the Pirates win the division--in which case they will hold home field advantage over the likely western winner, the Dodgers.
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