This is it. The Pirates and Cardinals close out the 2016 regular season today at 3:15PM from Busch Stadium. Win or lose today, there’s still the hard realization that this will be the last Pirates game until spring training next March.
For the Cardinals, this could be the last game of their season and the Pirates will give it another shot to end their season. Heading into today’s game, the Cardinals remain one game behind the Giants for the second NL wildcard spot. The Mets have already clinched a wildcard spot and home field in the wildcard game. The Pirates could have knocked the Cards out already in the past two games, but the Cardinals won both games of the series so far.
For some reason that I can’t fathom, the Pirates are calling on Ryan Vogelsong to start this game. This will be Vogelsong’s 14th start and 24th appearance of the season and he sits with an even 5.00 ERA (5.03 FIP). Vogelsong has stated that he plans to pitch in 2017, and I have a sinking feeling the Pirates will be extending an offer for a one-year deal.
Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals and while he hasn’t been the Wainwright we’re used to seeing, I don’t think the Cardinals would want anyone else on the mound in this game. He’s 13-9 with a 4.67 ERA (3.99 FIP) this season.
While it would be nice for the Pirates to win on of these this weekend and knock the Cards out of it, the Cards may not make it anyway if the Giants defeat the Dodgers for the third straight time this weekend.
There’s also a report that the Pirates will be shopping Andrew McCutchen in the offseason to “gauge interest” in him around the league. While that’s no guarantee that he will be traded, it is a possibility that we could be seeing Cutch in a Pirates uniform for the last time. He starts in center and bats third after a day off yesterday. Alen Hanson with another start at second base and Pedro Florimon gets the start at short. It’s not the greatest lineup to try and knock the Cards out.
Here’s the final lineup for 2016…
Pirates North Shore Nine