I'm two for two in post-season predictions so far. Congratulations to the Astros and the Cubs, who both advance to play the best teams in their respective leagues. Here's what's on the schedule for today, and below we'll have a few highlights of Chicago's victory in Pittsburgh.
Today's playoff schedule
Game Time: 2:30pm
Rangers at Blue Jays
Watch: FS1 or SNET
Probable Pitchers: Yovani Gallardo vs David Price
Game Teim: 6:30pm
Astros at Royals
Probable Pitchers: Collin McHugh vs Yordano Ventura
NL Wild Card: Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Speaking of the Pirates leaving their best power hitter on the bench, here's Clint Hurdle on the decision.
I wouldn't ask you to watch this recap unless there was something truly special about it, and there is. Jeff Nelson looks hilariously uncomfortable in the opening moments, like somebody had shut him down for a few weeks and then flipped the on switch as recording started.
Jake Arrieta was ridiculously good last night. He struck out 11 en route to a complete game shutout, which is about as great as you can be without being Jack Morris in Game 7 of the '91 World Series. The Pirates had one real rally going in the sixth, when they were already down 4-0 but had the bases loaded with one out.
Arrieta had hit two Pirates, going high and tight to get Francisco Cervelli in the fifth (it looked bad but Arrieta barely grazed a finger), and in the sixth when it looked like a breaking ball got away and plunked Josh Harrison. You can see both of those in this highlight. In the top of the seventh, Pittsburgh decided to throw a fastball into Arrieta's hip.
The dick at the end of that highlight is Sean Rodriguez, whose sorry lack of self control - which was all in all pathetic in its childlike inability to deal with a complex emotion - led him to have this to say for himself.
My goodness, Kyle Schwarber. That one left the park. Holy cats.
You kinda feel for the Pirates after getting ousted again. And for Gerrit Cole, too, who is a fantastic young pitcher but couldn't equal Arrieta in this one.
How good was Jake Arrieta? He reminded his manager Joe Maddon of Bob Gibson. High praise.
Last but not least, you need to see Andrew McCutchen's mom singing the Star Spangled Banner before the game.