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NL Wild Card Game: Cubs at Pirates

Oct 7, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today


Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Gametime: 8:00 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees, wind 2 mph
Starting pitchers: CHC RHP Jake Arrieta (22–6, 1.77 ERA) / PIT RHP Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA)

The Astros punched their ticket to the next round on Tuesday night, so now it’s the National League’s turn to determine who advances to the AL Division Series to take on the St. Louis Cardinals, baseball’s only 100-win team.

The NL Wild Card matchup is one between two teams who know each other very well. As members of the NL Central, the Cubs and Pirates have already played 19 times this year. Chicago holds an 11-8 advantage in those games, having outscored Pittsburgh 81-71 in total.

The Cubs and Pirates actually have the second and third-best records in baseball, respectively. Both teams would have won any other division in MLB with their records, yet one will see their season end on Wednesday night.

The starting pitching matchup is one between two heavyweights who should finish near the top of NL Cy Young voting. Jake Arrieta set records in the second half of the season and has allowed only two earned runs in his last nine starts, a stretch of 57 innings (!). Arrieta faced the Pirates twice in September and gave up only one earned run in 15 innings pitched.

Opposite Arrieta will be former first overall pick Gerrit Cole, who has pitched five consecutive quality starts. He has seen the Cubs in two of his last four outings, tossing a combined 13 1/3 innings with four earned runs allowed.


  1. Gnat - Oct 7, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    Hmm.. AL Wild Card Game: Cubs at Pirates?

    Nice one Mr Hughes.

  2. stoatva - Oct 7, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    I assume the over/under for total runs is “2.”

    • Section 222 - Oct 7, 2015 at 4:48 PM

      Until the 7th or 8th inning. 🙂 This could be a classic nail-biter of a game.

      • jd - Oct 7, 2015 at 5:04 PM


        Arrieta has been out worldly in the 2nd half and he has beaten the Pirates a few times. I know for sure that they are lamenting this match up in Pittsburgh who would have a better chance in a series.

        I am pulling for the Bucs. I love their small town attitude where everyone pulls for the home team. It’s not like that in all cities.

      • NatsLady - Oct 7, 2015 at 5:37 PM

        I’m rooting for the Pirates also, and I’d like to see them get to the WS (after the Dodgers sweep the Mets, of course). Pirates are probably the best NL team and get a raw deal facing Arrieta in a one-and-done for their trouble. This is the third year in a row they’ve had to play the WC (they won it in 2013 and lost to Bumgarner last year), so speaking of washing out of the postseason early…! I love McCutchen, he wrote a GREAT article in the Players Tribune about the WC game. Hopefully, Cole will match Arrieta zero-for-zero and then the Pirates’ bullpen will defeat the Cubs’.

      • Section 222 - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:23 PM

        I’m with you NL. At least this year they have Cole going, instead of Edison Volquez.

      • NatsLady - Oct 7, 2015 at 5:40 PM

        Would like to see the Rangers on the AL side of the WS, because talk about overcoming adversity–! I know it’s unlikely because of (a) the Blue Jays and (b) the Royals, but a girl can hope.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:45 PM

        Gotta root for the Cubbies if for nothing else but a St Louis/ Chicago series. I hope they go all the way …. 100+ years is enough time don’t you think?

  3. natsfan1a - Oct 7, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    I’m on team Cubby because of friends and family in Chicago. That said, will root for whichever team prevails to beat the Cardinals.

  4. Whack-A-Mule - Oct 7, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    I must confess my rabid Cubs partisanship.
    When the Nats were stolen away to Minneapolis in 1961, I “fired” the entire American League
    and became a Cubs fan – consistently for the next 44 years. While I am now (and always have been)
    first and foremost a Nats fan, in the absence of a Washington presence in the playoffs it will be:

    ” C-U-B-S Cubs-Cubs-Cubs WOO !! “

    • natsfan1a - Oct 7, 2015 at 5:48 PM

      Wait, so you’re actually Ronnie Woo Woo? 🙂

  5. 3on2out - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:12 PM

    I know the Cubs have been in the wilderness a long time but I would hate to see the Bucs Bumgardened again in their own little jewel of a ballpark. I was there in ’13 when they whipped the Reds and Cueto. One of most incredible moments ever…like our game 4 vs. the Cardinals…the home team wins a win or go home game: INCREDIBLY EXCITING!!

    • Section 222 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:40 PM

      I had hopes of scoring a ticket for Game 3 of the NLDS in Pgh. on Monday. Looks like that’s not going to happen at this point. I feel bad for the fans there.

  6. Candide - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    Did you see what Joe Maddon had to say about Dave Martinez as a potential manager?

    • playturner - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:30 PM

      What did he say. Not a tweeter. Thanks.

      • Candide - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:32 PM

        Should show up on this page, but if not, click on the blue link. Says Martinez is very ready to manage, and that “some team’s going to get lucky.”

    • NatsNut - Oct 7, 2015 at 8:12 PM

      That, plus this from Bud Black, make me think that this might be a plum deal. I hope there’s real competition for this job.

      From washington post:
      “Asked about the Nationals on Wednesday, Black had kind words.

      ‘Very attractive position, very good team, great city,’ he said. ‘That’s good one.’”

      • ArVAFan - Oct 7, 2015 at 8:28 PM

        Good position? Yeah, considering the Marlins as an alternative!

    • Section 222 - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:58 PM

      Thanks for posting this. Very interseting.

    • janebeard - Oct 8, 2015 at 10:53 AM

      Wow. That’s a high endorsement. Almost like he read Rizzo’s job description for the new Skipper. 😉

  7. exposremains - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:47 PM

    Go Blue Jays..even tough they are Canadian as much as US hockey teams are American!

  8. natslive - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    Go Cubs! If Pirates win will root for them. Does kind of stink for Pirates to be another 1 and done game. Really hate listening to a Ripken and crew tho – might have to turn sound down

    • NatsNut - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:59 PM

      I’ve been listening to the Cubs audio feed. Let’s just say I really miss Charlie and Dave.

  9. Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    I was screaming…. Dont swing Marte, don’t. Swing.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    Unh…. benches have cleared… lets see if Jake is the same after being HBP.

    Emotions are high.

  11. natslive - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    Now we know who we can trade Papelbon to where he will fit in

  12. Nats Fan Zee - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    Beast!! Gosh, I miss him …

    • npb99 - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:48 PM

      Return of Mikey Mo! I miss him too. He’s had his injuries, but he also has a world series ring, and got a hit in this game.

    • janebeard - Oct 8, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      I love him too Always will. And I’m glad he got another playoff trip and a hit at that.

  13. npb99 - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    Is there any other sport where an average player like Arrieta is suddenly transformed into a beast? Absolutely bizarre. Makes the game fascinating, because you really never know what to expect.

    • alexva6 - Oct 8, 2015 at 7:30 AM

      Tanner Roark comes to mind though not at that level.

  14. Section 222 - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    Sad night for Bucs fans, but I’m tired of hearing people boo hoo over the fact that they had 98 wins and only get to play one game. They played the Cardinals 19 times this year and were 9-10. They only finished 2 games back in their division. 3 more wins against the Cardinals and they win the division outright. You want to avoid the one game do or die situation? Win your division. It’s as simple as that.

  15. Nats Fan Zee - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:14 PM

    Ya’ll see the Cubbies in the locker room celebration? NO GOGGLES! Old school!

    I LOVE it!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 8, 2015 at 12:20 AM


      • natsfan1a - Oct 8, 2015 at 8:59 AM

        I’ll see your 14 and raise you 10.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 8, 2015 at 7:17 PM

        I’ll call your (14 + 10) and raise. 26!

      • natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2015 at 9:41 AM


  16. Nats Fan Zee - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:16 PM

    Cubs celebrate old school … No goggles!

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 8, 2015 at 12:19 AM

    I was born on Gladys Avenue, just a few blocks west and south of what is now the United Center. So I’m glad the Pirates acquitted themselves honorably, they seem like decent guys, but the Cubs were my childhood team.

  18. natsfan1a - Oct 8, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    I was born in the Chicago ‘burbs, but we moved to California about when the Giants did (purely coincidental). My brothers grew up rooting for SFO, but I have friends and family who are in/from Chicago and still follow them. Truth be told, my little brother roots for the Sox. This morning, I had three (count ’em) emails from my old Chicago-now-Denver-soon to be Cali friend. She actually sent them last night, but I went to bed after the 6th, set the DVR, and had a computer and media blackout (shades of Seinfeld) until I could watch the rest of the recording this morning. I just replied to her. 🙂

  19. janebeard - Oct 8, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    I sure would like to see McCutcheon in an actual playoff series. He deserves it. But this year, I’m looking for a Cubs/Mets match up. I want the Cards GONE.

    • Dave - Oct 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      I agree. I would like to see the Cubs beat the Mets in three games. (Just because the Mets and the whole Harvey-non-shutdown thing annoys me so much.)

      My wife and I were talking about Harvey “accidentally” missing his mandatory workout a couple days ago. She wondered whether he might be trying to shut himself down by getting benched. It’s an intriguing thought.





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