Daniel is faster than I thought he would be, and wrote a post about the season ticket holder event that he went to on Saturday, the day before my last post. Check that out here, or scroll down, because you are an adult capable of making adult decisions. Don’t let me tell you what to do! I was unfortunately not able to make it, due to money and previously-scheduled plans, but it sounds like Dipoto was forthcoming with his plans, occasionally fielding questions that were a little more like mini-rants, and not actually questions at all (not covered in the article, Daniel just told me some fans were using their time to vent). One of the risks you take giving a microphone to fans is having those fans say literally whatever pops into their heads. I’m sure Dipoto is used to it.
As I start this, we are in the bottom of the 4th inning in the National League Wild Card tiebreaker between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs are already up by 3 runs, and Jake Arrieta is dealing. I had to walk away from the TV a bit – we have a kitty who is sort of sickly and I had to take care of him – and by the time I got back to the game, Dexter Fowler was taking the fourth run in, after hitting a solo dinger. In the bottom of the 5th, poor Francisco Cervelli got hit by a pitch in such a manner that I thought he had been beaned; leaning back to miss what might have hit him in the face, it just caught his hands around the bat and knocked his helmet off as he fell to the ground. Cervelli got his base, of course, and with two outs faced Pedro Alvarez, who was brought in to pinch hit. Arrietta wasn’t having it, and even though Alvarez looked ready to make the game more interesting, he got caught looking on an 88 MPH slider.
Antonio Bastardo came in to relieve the Pirates’ starter, whose name I cannot track down right now because GameDay is being super wonky and I have been in and out of the cat thing and I am writing this as I go (EDIT; Gerritt Cole). Arrieta started to flail a little though, and wound up loading the bases. Manager Joe Maddon came out to speak with him, and I don’t know what he said, but Arrietta managed to get Starling Marte to ground into a double play to end the inning. PNC Park went from a roar to silence very quickly, and after commercial came back to the top of the 7th inning, was settling into just another day at the ballpark noise. Until, that is, Pirates pitcher Tony Watson plunked Jake Arrietta in the hip and caused a dugout-clearing scrum. Arrietta plunked two guys tonight, and while I don’t think it was intentional, the Bucs clearly did. Everyone went out, including the two bullpens, halfheartedly spilling out into the outfield, while both benches went at each other. Sean Rodriguez said or had someone say something to him that infuriated him to the extent that he had to be separated from the melee, in spite of the fact that it had little to do with him (unless he was one of the Pirates players who was hit by Arrietta, but I have been in and out of this this evening). Back in the Bucs’ dugout, Rodriguez beat up a water cooler and was ejected from the game. Jake Arrietta, meanwhile, took care of what remained of the Pirates’ batting lineup, and held the score at 4-0 Cubs.
Pitcher Joakim Soria took the hill for Pittsburg in the top of the 8th, and gave up a walk to Chris Denorfia, then got Chris Bryant to strike out swinging. The same treatment followed for Anthony Rizzo, who was called out. Arrietta came back out for the bottom of the 8th looking a little worn, but still throwing strikes. He was at nearly 100 pitches in this game and working a little slower now. Saving the bullpen. Smart. Josh Harrison was his final batter for that inning, and Harrison tipped a foul and was thrown out at first.
Reliever Mark Melanchon took the bump for Pittsburgh in the top of the 9th and took out Starling Castro almost immediately. Miguel Montero hit a short one to the first baseman Pedro Alvarez, and didn’t make it to the bag. Shortstop Addison Russell smacked a double over to left field, but was tagged out easily at the base, and now comes the moment of truth. Do the Pirates rally, or do they go down with a whisper? Arrietta decided to find out for himself, and took the mound once again to deal to Andrew McCutcheon. A comebacker later, McCutcheon was out. Starling Marte had no luck, either. Francisco Cervelli was the Pirates’ last hope, and he lined out to Starlin Castro while people in a bar in Chicago went nuts, and the Pirates walked quietly to their dugout, finished with a 98-win season. Jake Arrieta’s 22nd win in 2015 is now in the books, a 4-0 shutout.
I have to be sleeping soon, so I will just say this…I want the Cubs to win it all. I am not so emotionally invested that I will be too bummed out if they fall, but I’d like to see them break the curse. I want to be here to see it when it happens, and this game is so hard on these guys. A climb like this that these players make is surely difficult physically and emotionally, and you don’t get many chances. Once a year, and then you roll the rock back up the hill again. Sure, what a lot of people say might be true, that Cubbies fans and their bandwagoners will become unbearable for a while, or maybe forever…but I don’t really care about that. Ultimately, it’s the history of the game and how the game is played that has always fascinated me, and this is something, in my estimation, that falls under the category of a Really Big Deal in baseball. Will they go on to beat the St Louis Cardinals? I don’t know. I can’t watch Friday’s game, as I will be at a show that night; so this weekend might get pretty interesting.
And now, ’tis bedtime. We still have another month of baseball. Not Mariners baseball, but baseball nonetheless. I’ll take it.