This is the sort of game that I feel strange about offering much of an opinion on because I was watching Durham and Indianapolis play tonight (I will write a little bit about the minor league game, probably on Monday and not in the way that I usually do, but we’ll get to that in time), but it also feels odd to let such an exciting win go entirely unmentioned.
I suppose what I’ll say is this: I’ve seen the Pirates blow some golden extra inning opportunities. I think it must’ve been the summer of 2007 when the Pirates loaded up the bases in the bottom of the ninth or tenth against the Diamondbacks and struck out three straight times, only to blow the game an inning or two later. Putting runners on second and third with no one out in the bottom of the tenth inning and failing to end the game sucks. I mean, literally, it creates this vacuum in your chest when you’re on the wrong side of it (speaking as a player and a fan).
For some reason, though, when I checked my phone during the fireworks in Durham tonight and saw that the Pirates didn’t score, what I thought was this: “Oh, well, if they can put another zero up in the 11th, that’ll just give the offense another chance at it.” One more chance was all it took.
For as bad as this team was in April and for as bleak as things looked when the Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole injuries hit, they don’t feel out of place to me at 41-39, hanging out at the edge of the wild card race. I don’t really want to make a stronger statement than that, but certainly, there are worse places to be after 80 games.