National League Wild Card: Giants @ Pirates

How in the world do you top that?

Giants
Pirates
5:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh, Pa.
CF
Blanco
3B
Harrison
2B
Panik
SS
Mercer
C
Posey
CF
McCutchen
3B
Sandoval
C
Martin
RF
Pence
LF
Marte
1B
Belt
3B
Walker
SS
Crawford
1B
Sanchez
LF
Ishikawa
RF
Snider
P
Bumgarner (L)
P
Volquez (R)

“That,” of course, is last night’s wild Royals / A’s derpfest of an American League wild card game, one the Royals took home in spite of Ned Yost‘s best efforts to prevent it. It was one of the most entertaining ballgames I’ve ever seen, and every few minutes I stopped to thank the deities¬†that the Dodgers had nothing to do with it. Watching it without a vested rooting interest was more fun, and easier on my heart. I’m also not sure I could have handled Don Mattingly calling so many bunts, while I futilely hope that any Dodger fan who dislikes Mattingly watched last night’s game and realized that yeah, every manager does things like that.

I guess the answer is that tonight’s game can’t match up, probably, and that’s fine. This is a one-game playoff that has Edinson Volquez — you know, the same guy the Padres DFA’d last August, the same guy who didn’t make the Dodgers NLDS roster — starting with everything on the line. This is a game that has Travis Ishikawa, who started his career as a Giants first baseman in 2006, and started his season as the Pirates starting first baseman, back with the Giants but in left field, a position he had never started at until last Thursday.

This game has Russell Martin trying to push his way through a bad hamstring. This game has Joe Panik, the youngest Giant second baseman in a playoff game since 1922. This game isn’t going to be last night’s game, but it doesn’t have to be. This one has plenty going for it all by itself, and the reward is a trip to Washington to get mowed down by Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and friends. Good luck with that.

Rooting interests are obvious here, I think, because no Dodger fan is cheering for the Giants. I would add that I’m particularly not rooting for them not only because of the rivalry, but because they’ve won two of the last four titles and I simply cannot abide a third. I’ll say this, however: I respect the Giants, but they don’t scare me. The Pirates, though, with Andrew McCutchen hitting better than he did in his MVP season, with Starling Marte destroying the world in the second half, with pitching that has just stopped allowing runs? They scare me a little.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.