Last night was the Pirates' 110th game.
In the Pirates' 110th game of 2011, they entered with a chance to get back to .500 despite a six-game losing streak. The Cubs took an early 4-0 lead, but the Pirates piled back on with six runs in the bottom of the fourth. The bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth inning and the Pirates lost 7-6. They fell seven games behind the Brewers, and they never had a chance to get back to .500 again.
In the Pirates' 110th game of 2012, they gave the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead early on, but fought back to take a 4-2 lead. They gave that lead up, too, but put three more runs on the board to go up 7-4. The bullpen and the defense tried to blow the lead, but the Pirates held on and won 7-6. They're 16 games above .500, 2 1/2 behind the Reds, 3 1/2 up on the Cardinals for the final playoff spot.
These Pirates are not last year's Pirates. If you're a long-time WHYGAVS reader, you know that I've always said that 82 wins shouldn't be a goal, but a landmark to pass on the way to something bigger. The Pirates only need 19 wins in their last 52 games to get to 82; it's time to dream about something bigger.
It's baby steps. Last night guarantees a no 100-loss season and 19 more for a winning season. Any other year, that would've been enough, but I liked the 28-26 for a 90 win season. Add a Wild Card spot with a hat and t shirt and I might pee in my pants a little from excitement!
I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we are having non-sarcastic discussions about which players we should call up this month so that they would be eligible for the playoff roster.
This whole season is just plain nuts, isn't it? It has a bit of a Freak Show vibe because it's all been so unexpected, but that season had a bit of an air of inevitable failure about the whole thing. This year, it really feels like something very good could come of the whole thing, and it is all pretty hard to take in.
Something bigger, like 100 wins and a playoff birth. With that being said, anything can happen in October.
@TWT_Junior I'd be happy with just the second part. I'd be particularly happy with the second part being a real playoff spot and not a measly one-game wild card.
I had always thought that it was a little cheap for the wild card team to get a short series against the top seed, and I fully supported the system having two wild cards while penalizing them for being wild cards. Now I'll be a little miffed if now the Pirates finally make it as the top wild card, becoming the first team to be disadvantaged by the new system.
@whygavs @TWT_Junior Yeah, it would be great to have games at PNC. When the Majestic cruised by the Stadium last night and blew the horn, I imagined how insane that would be with a packed house during a playoff game, and I started to hyperventilate.