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The American League had its Wild Card Game on Tuesday, with the slumping Astros taking on the also slumping Yankees, and New York ended up the loser. On Wednesday, the NL takes its turn, with the Cubs heading to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates in the last elimination game we'll see for a bit in these MLB playoffs. The Cubs get all the attention for their 106 years without a championship, but the Pirates haven't won since 1979, so there is plenty of drought to go around.
This one has a chance to be all about the pitchers, as it's Cy Young hopeful Jake Arrieta against Gerrit Cole, who in any other year would likely have the same hopes. Cole posted a 2.60 ERA over 208 innings, and managed these feats by somehow dropping his walk rate even further without giving up too much on the strikeout side.
Those are impressive figures, but they pale in comparison to what Arrieta has done in 2015: on the season, the Cubs' ace has a 1.77 ERA, has allowed the fewest hits and homers per nine in the league, all while striking out nearly five times as many batters as he's walked.
What should terrify the Pirates, who are in Baseball Thunderdome for the third time in three years, is that Arrieta only allowed four runs total during the final two months of the season. That worked out to a 0.41 ERA over his last 12 starts and 88 innings, in which he cut nearly an entire run off his already ridiculous season ERA.
How either the Cubs or Pirates will manage to get a hit on Wednesday is a question only the typical oddities of baseball can answer, but both clubs certainly have the talent to make it happen. Still, this has all the makings of a low-scoring affair, and that's perfect for a scenario where one of these teams is guaranteed to be done for the year after about three hours of trying to avoid that fate.
- Maybe the only thing more impressive than this run is that Arrieta is not necessarily the Cy Young favorite despite it, and there are arguments that he shouldn't be.
- The Astros popped bottles of champagne and partied on the Yankee Stadium mound after winning the Wild Card Game. Derek Jeter must be rolling over in his grave.
- Colby Rasmus' goggled, no-shirt look had him looking like Bret Hart's distant, evil cousin.
- The Astros and Royals are now official for the ALDS, and the schedule has already been released.
- You will be shocked, but it sounds like the Rockies are suddenly unsure if they'll be able to trade Jose Reyes this winter after all. Weeeeeeird.
- The Mariners might already have their next player development director.
- No matter what happens today, Pirates fans, remember to live in the moment. You've seen far, far worse ones in the last 20-plus years.
- Andrew McCutchen contributed another piece to the Players' Tribune, this time on the one-and-done Wild Card Game.
- As Yankees fans are already aware of, it sucks when your team loses in the postseason. Here's why it will suck for the rest of the fan bases.
- We made predictions for the postseason, and everyone who said the Yankees would beat the Astros is already wrong. Sports sure are brutal for guessing.
- Marlins Man was at Tuesday's game. Of course he was.