By: Erika Fernandez (@sonrieitserika)
MLB’s Twitter page recently posted, “How old were you when the Pirates were in the playoffs?” Many responders like myself, were on the young side and others couldn’t really remember. The Pirates have moved on from being the Jacksonville Jaguars of baseball to the Indianapolis Colts of baseball. Meaning, they have evolved into this team that is creating a new fan base that didn’t exist before. This wonderful Cinderella story that’s happening in Pittsburgh is exactly what baseball needed. No one believed in this team at all at the start of the season, rated at the bottom of the baseball food chain and in change, they have proved everyone wrong.
At one point in the 2013 regular season, the Pirates had the best record baseball. Now that’s a sentence I never thought I would have been saying about them.
The Pirates’ performance on Tuesday night was stellar. In a one wild card playoff game, this was an exciting one. It seems like everyone was rooting for the Pirates. It has been 20 years since they’ve been here and they deserve to bask in this glory. Francisco Liriano pitched an impressive 7 innings last night and also had run support from his teammates, which led to his team winning 6-2 over the Cincinnati Reds. Liriano has matured as a major league player and it’s just going to keep on getting better and better. The Pirates need his arm to be healthy for the series versus the Cardinals anyway.
The home runs that took place in the second inning are what got the crowd going. Marlon Byrd’s homerun rocked the stadium and two batters later, Russell Martin hit it out of the park. But Martin wasn’t done. He homered again in seventh inning. Pirate fans, you can thank the Wilpons for letting Marlon Bryd go and Brian Cashman for not signing Russell Martin.
We must give the Reds some credit though. Their starter Johnny Cueto pitched a decent game and even had the fans chanting his name. But of course, Pirates’ batters took advantage of his distraction and capitalized it. The Reds are pretty decent when it comes to their fielding but last night, all balls were going in favor of the Pirates.
What’s to come of this Thursday afternoon NLDS game? The pitching matchup is definitely in the favor of the Cardinals because Adam Wainwright’s ERA is 2.94 and has a record of 19-9. Meanwhile ex Yankee, AJ Burnett, has an ERA of 3.30 and has a record of 10-11. Behind the plate will be Yadier Molina, so you can expect nothing to be getting past this amazing catcher. The Cardinals at home are typically better but this season hasn’t been the easiest for them and they barely won the division.
Hot off their streak, my pick to win the game and quite possibly the series, are the Pittsburgh Pirates. The fans need this. The city needs this before fans start committing suicide because the Steelers aren’t exactly winning these days. October baseball is in full swing ladies and gents. Play ball!