On Wednesday, the Pirates face off against the Cardinals in St. Louis for a winner-take-all Game 5 NLDS game (5p PT, first pitch). The Cardinals start Adam Wainwright (1-0, 1.29; won Game 1), and the Pirates start Gerrit Cole (1-0, 1.50) on short rest.
So which team do we want to advance in that NLDS?
I'm more worried about the Cardinals. Yes, the Cardinals still have Matt "Nutshot" Holliday out there in the field to come through for the Dodgers in a pinch. But the Cardinals were solid divisional winners, and they've got pitching (Wainwright and Wacha among others), a solid lineup (Carlos Beltran, Holliday, David Freese), and good defense (Yadier Molina, for starters). 97 wins can't be that bad of a team.
The Pirates (who also finished with more wins than the Dodgers (94 to 92)) would be favorable solely for the lack of home-field advantage, which would flip to the Dodgers by virtue of the Pirates being the Wild Card team. But Andrew McCutchen scares me, Marlon Byrd has been pounding HRs this postseason, and then there's that annoying Russell Martin character who is only batting .200 but has had a flair for the dramatic late this season.
Prior to last night's Dodgers win, the last series-winning celebration I recalled involved Martin on the dugout roof, spraying champagne into the crowd. I would hate to see Martin spraying champagne again.
I suppose the benefit that we get, either way, is that both teams have to pitch one of their best pitchers in Game 5 just to advance. (Hopefully the game goes 26 innings, as well.)
So who you got in tomorrow's game, boys and girls? Pirates or Cards?
art swiped from this deviantart page