First Pitch: No One to Blame For Pirates’ Wild Card Game Loss

Heading into the Wild Card game, there was a lot of debate about whether the Pittsburgh Pirates should have held Gerrit Cole back on Sunday, yielded the division to the St. Louis Cardinals, and saved Cole for the Giants. Cole ended up dominating, but the Pirates lost.

Things didn’t go well tonight for Edinson Volquez tonight, and anyone saying Cole should have been the starter is definitely on the right side of things.

Clint Hurdle didn’t exactly do much to avoid further damage after Volquez gave up the fourth inning grand slam to Brandon Crawford. He kept Volquez in for the remainder of the fourth, sent him back out in the fifth, and went to him again in the sixth. Volquez gave up a leadoff walk in the sixth, and that was the end of his night.

Hurdle went to Justin Wilson, who allowed a wild pitch, followed by a single to make the score 5-0. The next inning he went to Jared Hughes, who gave up two runs before being lifted for Bobby LaFromboise. To be fair, Hughes has been a decent reliever all season. However, Wilson has struggled. When you’re trying to avoid the game getting out of hand, you don’t go to a guy who has been unreliable for most of the season, even if it is a lefty-lefty matchup.

It didn’t feel like Hurdle was treating this like a one game playoff that could end your season if you lose. Instead, this felt like a normal regular season game. Even with a deep bullpen that included two starters, Hurdle didn’t go to one of his best options. When Volquez started struggling, he didn’t go with a short-leash and switch to someone like Worley. These are approaches you take in a regular season game or a best-of-five series when you worry about blowing up the bullpen for future games, or saving your best relievers, rather than using them in a game that is getting away early.

And yet, none of those bad pitching decisions mattered. If your offense does nothing at all, then it makes all of the pitching decisions a moot point.

That’s the big story tonight. As much as you’d like to have a scapegoat after every big loss, the real culprit here is Madison Bumgarner. And he was really, really good.

“Bumgarner was fantastic,” Russell Martin said. “Attacking the zone. Not leaving many pitches over the plate. Mixing that cutter/slider with the changeup, the breaking ball, and the fastball. Just never let the foot off the pedal.”

Clint Hurdle echoed the same sentiments.

“The one thing that Bumgarner did so exceptional, he did a bunch of things well tonight,” Hurdle said. “It was a different game that he pitched, a different game than we’d seen scouted. He used all of his pitches. He was able to get his fastball in tight with the right handers. He was able to spin the ball late, dump it late for chase. Used some change-ups early after guys he’d showed the fastball to during it. He also knew how to elevate. I mean, he had it working tonight.”

If the Pirates would have managed a few runs off Bumgarner, then this might have been a different story. But with the way Bumgarner was pitching tonight, it wouldn’t have mattered who the Pirates had on the mound.

Overall, this was a disappointing loss to wrap up what was a nice season. In the coming days and weeks we will be recapping that season, and starting to look ahead to the off-season. For now, the hope would be that the Pirates find themselves back in this position next year, and for years to come.

Links and Notes

**The Single Good Moment From Tonight’s Wild Card Game Loss

**Pirates Eliminated from Playoffs in 8-0 Loss to the Giants

First Pitch

  • “If the Pirates would have managed a few runs off Bumgarner, then this might have been a different story. But with the way Bumgarner was pitching tonight, it wouldn’t have mattered who the Pirates had on the mound.”

    Sorry, but I respectfully disagree… imagine if Cole, Liriano or some other quality starter acquired at the trade deadline, matched 0s with Baumgarner thru 5, 6 or.7 innings, whose to say that it wouldn’t have mattered. As a former college pitcher, I can assure you that it’s a lot easier pitching with a 5 run lead late in a game than it is with the scored tied. Conversely, hitters may approach ABs differently if the game is tied than when they are trying to hit a 5-run homer. In short, having someone other than EV available to start a do or die game might have made all the difference. But, alas, we will never know… It’s another early exit for the team after 20 years of futility. Having lived thru the exhilaration of 1971 and 1979, I sure hope this is not as good as it gets. The journey is great, but getting to the desired destination is even better.

    • The team as a whole did not play very well to end the year. The last three games of the year were pretty much “must win” and we had major breakdowns in all three. On Saturday we got a very pedestrian start from the guy who won the WC game last year and following that start the bullpen blew a two run lead in the seventh before giving up a grand slam in the 10th to lose the game (as we know, if we had won on Saturday we may well have been tied for the division lead going into the last game of the regular season with the Cardinals who lost Saturday night). On Sunday and Wednesday, the last two games of the year, the offense was totally shut down, albeit by two very good pitchers, but we pretty much beat up one of those guys last year in the WC and beat up Bumgarner this year in July. (I understand SSS, I’m just saying it has not been impossible for the Pirates to score against either of those guys in the recent past; similarly, before this year, Bumgarner’s career ERA in the NLDS and NLCS was over 6.5). If not for Walker’s big hit on Sunday, we would have finished the year without scoring a run in 21 consecutive innings – that’s remarkable. Sunday featured another bullpen meltdown with a 27.00 ERA turned in by our pen. Overall, in the last three games of the year, when everything was on the line, the bullpen checked in with a 11.57 ERA. Its pretty hard for anybody, including Cole, who’s usually gone after the 7th at the latest (not a criticism – just a fact), to win a game when the offense is getting largely shut out and the bullpen is giving up runs by the dozen. This season ended in marked contrast to last year when we also played must win games against the Reds there to end the year (as we all remember, both teams were fighting for the home field WC advantage because both teams were much better at home than on the road). As I recall, we swept the Reds in Cincy and then, for good measure, beat ’em again in the WC with Cueto on the mound. As a corollary to your point, undoubtedly the team helped Liriano last year in the WC by jumping out to a lead to start the game, and never trailing, as I recall. As you point out, the hitters can help the pitchers, and the pitchers can help the hitters – given the way we ended the year hitting, and the way the pitchers as a group performed, its pretty hard for me to figure out how the team, as a whole, isn’t more responsible for the end of the year crash than are any one or two individuals on the team. Hopefully, things will be better(?)

  • Bucs Stop Here
    October 2, 2014 11:25 pm

    Bumgarner was near perfect but the Pirates as a whole had their heads in another world swinging at first pitches when patience was needed. By the 7th they had given up but nothing like Ian Kinsler tonight!

  • Overall this loss was the end to a disappointing season where the organization took a step backwards in my opinion. They played it cheap and let Byrd and Morneau walk. After a year where you made the playoffs you need to improve on what you started. They didn’t and that’s a fact. Brace yourselves because it’s about to happen again. The Pirates talk a good game but it’s time to show the fans that they are serious about contending. I hope I’m wrong!!!

  • I choose to blame Bud Selig.

    1) It’s the easy thing to do, and I like easy.
    2) This WC game has bit us in the butt in consecutive years.

  • So when do we start talking about offseason moves?

    I’d be interested in Trevor Plouffe. Super Two, due a decent raise, Twins are going nowhere and have a top 3b prospect blocked. Put Plouffe at 3b, move Josh to 2b and Walker to 1b. Dump Pedro’s salary and hope to get something. Dump Ike and Gaby as Walker eliminates need for a platoon and opens up a roster spot for Hurdle to work with as needs dictate. That bumps up IF WAR (both offense and defense) by 2-3 runs while eiiminating $9 mill or so of essentially dead weight. Spend the savings on a QO for Liriano or if Liriano goes, there’s $15 mill for a top pitcher.

  • Volquez has been the most consistent pitcher all season. I had no problem with him starting. I think he earned it. That said, with Worley and Locke in the bullpen, and missing his spots in that 4-run inning… he never should have been allowed to continue past Sandoval

    I can’t figure whether Clint was “tone-deaf” this season to Wilson’s struggles in the 2nd half of the season. As for SF loaded with lefties… Justin’s splits show lefties hitting .253 off him, and righties .201.. His ERA is nearly a run higher at home versus on the road — and almost 2 runs higher in night games than day.

    Whereas Justin was “lights-out” last season… he was not this season as he struggled with his control.

    Finally, I hope Neil spends time upgrading the right-handed platoon at 1B. I’m not so sure Andrew Lambo in his call-up did not show he’s ready for prime-time. While not displaying the power he has in the minors, he showed vastly improved plate discipline — and was actually a nice contact hitter. Interested in seeing what a healthy spring-training and early season will do for him next season. Alright — I’ll stop. Getting ahead of myself and the topic.

    • Whether or not Hurdle pitched Wilson wasn’t the issue. Might as well get a couple of those guys some taste of the playoffs – maybe they grow a little next year.

  • Tetrapharmakos In Coles biggest games he pitched last year he didnt give up 5 runs he pitched twice in the playoffs as a rookie and gave up 1 and 2 runs. Not saying We would have one but u play your best in a one game playoff and EV is not considered the pirates best option. HE HAD NO CONTROL DID U SEE MARTIN POUND HIS GLOVE INTO THE GROUND WHEN FACING SANDAVOL. MARTIN WANTED THAT PITCH IN THE GROUNDBUT HE LEFT IT UP AND IT GOT HIT FOR A SINGLE.
    HE LOADED THE BASES ON A WALK WITH NO OUTS.

  • I’m not here to try to convince anybody of anything or try to say my way of thinking is the right way but only this is the way …I ….feel.
    When the new regime came In and stated the way they were going to run things I bought into it and I haven’t changed my thinking.
    I never thought about World Series titles, my only thought was about the Pirates not continuing being the laughing stock of all major sports.
    The last few years the Pirates have put a good competitive team on the field and I have been able to enjoy watching winning Pirates baseball again.
    I look forward to seeing what takes place this off season and what the opening day roster looks like in ’15.

  • Two things I noticed last night that may have a bearing on the immediate future:
    1) the bullpen, to a man, except perhaps Melancon, looked like they didn’t want to be there. Including Holdzkom, who probably had the worst body language of the bunch. If he’s going to be a keeper, Bucs need to work on that.
    2) Bumgarner couldn’t beat Harrison. He could only make his contributions meaningless. I’m not saying extend Harrison this offseason, but unless he falls off a cliff before June, make the man a multimillionaire by next year’s ASG. He’s pretty unique with no obvious holes in his swing and an ability to adjust to the game.

  • wow simply amazed at how people perceive what just happened, you have winners in life and you have losers, you demand excellence from your doctors, your lawyers your dentists your financial advice people etc etc but i guess in sports it is ok to just be competitive this is what 20 years of consecutive losing does to ones conscience

    • Lee Foo Young
      October 2, 2014 12:10 pm

      Kinda hard to relate sports failure to a doctor or lawyer.

      Apples and oranges my friend. Only one team will finish up as the ‘winner’.

      None of us are happy, but what are you gonna do? Let it ruin your life? Sports is just entertainment.

    • Tetrapharmakos
      October 2, 2014 12:12 pm

      If you took the top 30 doctors in the world and put them in head to head playoff, only one of them would win. I guess that makes the other 29 doctors “losers” by your definition, but it doesn’t mean they were not excellent doctors, or that lives they saved, the good the achieved, was without merit. Anyways this is baseball, not life and death. Hardly any reason to get all bent out of shape by a little disappointment.

    • In any legal contest one lawyer wins, the other lawyer loses. As a profession they don’t do better than 50% success. Doctors often do more harm than good, though that’s not their stated intent.

    • I’d say most guys would not want to be your doctor or dentist or financial advisor. You must end up suing a lot of people for malpractice, for not being the best in the world.

  • I’m tired of dissecting whether Cole should’ve went Sunday or not as I’m convinced that was the right move. You try to win the division, period, even if you need help.

    As it turned out, Cards won that last game 1-0. Collmenter has been a better pitcher in September than even Wainwright. And there’s some chance that AZ could’ve done better vs. Waino than the string of bullpen guys the Cards threw if AZ had a game plan designed to face Waino.

    Cole gave up a run to Reds and didn’t make it out of the 7th inning. Bumgarner gave up zero runs and threw a complete game. Nothing more need be said here.

  • Scott Kliesen
    October 2, 2014 11:37 am

    Chalk this up to experience. Once Pirates figured out Mad Bum was on his game, they should’ve done everything in their power to get him off his game, I.e., step out of box at last possible second, shorten up to foul off pitches & put more balls in play, bunt, etc. it was their only chance, but it still may not have made a difference. He was just too good.

    In retrospect, this season was a good building block in the tower of perpetual greatness they are building. The best is yet to come for this franchise and I have no doubt the accomplishments and failures will be fuel to drive this team to an eventual division title, pennant and World Series win!

    • Yup. I couldn’t figure out why our guys kept hacking with home run swings early on. Probably wouldn’t have mattered though. A few more base runners weren’t going to make a big difference.

    • Exactly right about the offense. The offense didn’t even make Bum work. He had no pitches at all through 7 innings. And the game was like at light-speed. The offense didn’t work him at all.

      • Tough to work a SP that is basically promising to throw a first pitch strike on the outer edges. To work the count, you usually gotta take a few strikes. You cant take strikes with Bum as once he gets up 0-1 and 1-2 it gives him about 3 quality options to make you guess with.

  • Lee Foo Young
    October 2, 2014 10:39 am

    How well did Cole pitch in that opening game vs St Louis in Sept?

    Why people think Cole would’ve matched MBum is beyond me. He hadn’t tossed a shutout all season (he DID give up zero runs in 5 IP once). EV had FIVE shutout games of 6 innings or more and was one of the hottest pitchers in Sept.!

    Sounds like a guy I want on the hill!

    • EV couldn’t hit his spots in the first 3 innings he was to ramped up he was lucky to get out of the first 3 innings with zero runs
      That doesn’t sound like a guy i want on the hill

      • Lee Foo Young
        October 2, 2014 10:55 am

        EV didn’t have his best stuff, that’s for sure. Hard to say he was ‘ramped up’. Is that just your feeling or do you have proof?

        Lester and Shields were both off on Tues. Liriano sucked his last time out. It happens. Cole might’ve sucked. He pitched like a #3 or #4 starter all year. So, by your ‘feeling’, he was gonna be lights out?

        When we needed him most in St Louis, he failed us. No guarantee he would’ve come through last night. Even if he gave up just one run (or EV gets a couple of calls and gets out of that 4th), we’d still be trying to score one run off of MBum.

        • No disrespect Lee but I’m done explaining baseball to u. EV couldn’t hit spots and it was very easy to see. u can’t do that and get away with it in the majors. I’m not saying they would have won the game with Cole on the mound but he is a gamer can take the pressure and hit his spots.

          • Lee Foo Young
            October 2, 2014 12:03 pm

            so you have no proof he was ramped up?

            got it, Mr Baseball man.

            • Regardless it was a win-or-go-home game. Take him out. Pitch Worley 3 innings…and then 7-8-9. At least all the best matchups/best players would have been in the game.

          • Tetrapharmakos
            October 2, 2014 12:03 pm

            Not to disparage Cole, but if he is such a gamer, why did he give 5 runs on 8 hits in 6 1/3innings (walking 3 and striking out 4) in his biggest start of the year against St. Louis?

            • Lee Foo Young
              October 2, 2014 12:07 pm

              Tetra…exactly my point above. Cole wins that game and we are tied for the division.

              I think Cole was just too ramped up in St Louis. ANY baseball fan could see that.

          • and still give up a few runs over 7 innings. 2-0 doesnt feel any better than 8-0. Tip the cap to Bum and move on.

        • Keeping him on the mound after the 3rd inning was inexcusable. Worley not pitching at all was inexcusable. Watson never seeing the game was inexcusable. Lots of mistake made…nothing can be done now.

      • Lee Foo Young
        October 2, 2014 11:01 am

        btw………We know that before Cole’s last start (which he wouldn’t have made in your world) he had given up 15 ER in his last 32 innings. That’s a 4.22 ERA! No way can you just assume that he’d give you a great outing after that.

        His last 3 starts had been better, but EV still out pitched him!

        • Fine don’t use Cole or Liriano…how do you keep EV in the game! How does Worley not get in the game? How did Watson not get in the game against all those lefties?

      • Geez. Talk about 20/20 hindsight.

        • Tetrapharmakos
          October 2, 2014 12:25 pm

          I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to Hurdle and rarely do I find his quotes particularly interesting/enlightening, but the best part of this whole “To pitch Cole, or not to pitch Cole, that is the question” was Hurdle’s comment: When your business is other people’s pleasure, other people take pleasure in questioning your business. I imagine I will repeat that peal to myself for a long time to come.

    • Not agains that team you don’t. Period.

  • It was just a bad pitching matchup for a one game playoff. If this was a best of 5 or 7, I’d like our chances because the Giants remaining starting rotation is not that great. But, Bumgarner showed why he may be the second best LH starting pitcher in baseball. Reminded me of the game Wacha pitched against us last year in the playoffs. he was nearly unhittable. Not even many hard outs.

    With Cole unavailable, Volquez earned the opportunity with the way he pitched all year and down the stretch. But, I was concerned that the big stage may affect him ore than it would to Bumgarner – who has pitched in the World Series. He just did not have it and would have had to pitch a shutout just to match Bumgarner.

    • In a one game playoff u get beat with your best and the Pirates didn’t do that. Cole should have been on the mound. I agree Bumgarner pitched great but might have turned out different if its 0-0 in the 7th. its a whole lot easier to pitch with a 4 run lead early. I love Hurdle but he managed this like a series not a one game playoff.

      • Lee Foo Young
        October 2, 2014 10:37 am

        Cole hadn’t thrown a shutout all season. Volquez had…

        I had ZERO problem with EV. He was our hottest pitcher in Sept.

        • Not a complete game one, Worley had the only one this year.

          • Not a complete game one…

            _____________________________________
            Sure, he walked on water, but his feet got wet! What a bum!

            • A shutout is a shutout. Every time a reliever has a 1-2-3 inning he doesn’t run in the dugout and brag about his shut out. The Pirates have thrown exactly, entirely, and completely ONE shut out in the last two years, by Worley. Combined shutouts are better than losses, but they aren’t complete game shut outs.

              Repetition is the mother of learning.

  • I agree; Baumgarner was embracing the Tom Seaver mantra all night; the most important pitch is strike one. He was ahead of pretty much everyone last night, and when a quality major league hitter has you 0-2 or 1-2 every damn time, you’re in for a long night. I wasn’t a big fan of trotting out Volquez last night, but I agree with Tim; with the way Baumgarner was throwing last night, I can’t imagine it would have been a different result with Liriano, Cole, or anyone else outside of the young Koufax.

    • I think Bumgarner was getting some help from the umps. I saw some commentary from Sawchick about the strike calls where he alluded to the same thing. Doesn’t matter though. This team isn’t quite ready for a deep playoff run. Maybe next year though – things are setting up real nicely if Polanco, Marte, Mercer, and Harrison continue to develop and improve. We could have the best offense in baseball.

  • this game (every wild card game) shows why you need to win the Division.

  • I emphatically disagree. The chances of Pittsburgh winning the division were less than 12% going vs Cueto and assuming that Wianright would lose to Josh Collmenter. Then traveling to STL to pitch against Lynn.

    With no disrespect to Volquez, Hurdle, and the Pirates brass this WASNT just another regular season game. Add all of your sabermetric apopoligists that will say Volquez was as effective as Cole over the last 4-6 weeks. C’mon. We should have had Cole AND Volquez ready.

    Cole was born for these moments. We saw it las year. We also saw how he was throwing the last 20 innings. We were incredibly fortunate to have Cole throwing his best AT JUST the the right time…..Like a #1 pick. We also knew before Sunday that we would be facing Bumgarner. Every Pirate fan I knew was less confident in last nights game because Sundays decision. This wasn’t just another game, and we should have had all hands on deck, Liriano not included. We instead threw 3 guys September call-ups and our proverbial 4th starter. I will admit Volquez was a gem of a find and pitched great for us this year. But the Giants were ecstatic to be facing him instead of Cole.
    Winning the game is paramount in a one gamer. Nothing else. I’m really disappointed.

    • Travis Glasser
      October 2, 2014 9:08 am

      They could have thrown Cole last night and only given up one run or thrown Locke and given up 50. It would not have made a difference. The game was lost because the Pirates couldn’t hit. Bumgarner was too good last night and the hitters didn’t make him work for anything. I will agree that the timing of pulling Volquez and the bullpen management was beyond questionable. But when it comes right down to it, it did not matter. Can’t win ballgames if you can’t score runs. That has nothing to do with who the Pirates sent to the mound.

    • seriously, how much probability of victory would cole have added last night?

      it was like 49% chance of victory with Volquez on fangraphs.

      with Cole, what would it have been? 52%? Still a coin flip.

      • on the other hand, how much probability did cole really add on sunday?

        oh well.

    • But the Giants were ecstatic to be facing him instead of Cole.

      ___________________________________________________
      Source?

    • Tetrapharmakos
      October 2, 2014 11:57 am

      1) Who are you emphatically disagreeing with?

      2) No sabermetric apologist would say that he was just as good a Cole over the last 4-6 weeks, if for no other reason than small sample size.

      3) Speaking of small sample size: 20 innings!? Seriously. I would move on but it is worth noting that Cole gave up 5 runs over his last 3 games (21 inning) for an ERA of 2.14 and a .76 WHIP, which is great. You know what else is great: Volquez’s 0.43 ERA and .95 WHIP over the same 3 game 21 IP span.
      4) Pitching Liriano, who has had TJ surgery, on 3 days would have been reckless.

      “I will admit Volquez was a gem of a find and pitched great for us this year”

      Good enough for me.

      • Not sure what your point is. Unless you thought Cole was going to hit a grand slam of his own. This game was probably over in the first inning when Bumgarner realized his arm was on fire and that the ump was going to give him all the corners.

  • Ultimately managerial decisions probably did not really matter as the offense ground to a complete halt. However, I am very glad Tim that you felt similar to me when it comes to Clint Hurdle last night. Clint really managed the game more like it was a series or, at least, like there was a tomorrow…and there was no tomorrow. Very poor management during a huge game…ultimately probably did not really matter though.

  • I had the pleasure of watching the Bucs chase Bumgarner early after getting five runs off him in the early innings in San Fran in late July. They worked counts, forced him to throw strikes, didn’t chase early pitches and got his pitch count up.
    When he retired the Bucs on about 4 pitches in the first, I went “Uh oh!”

    • I said the same thing last night…”they aren’t even making him work for it.” We looked nervous and like we were pressing on offense. I wonder if we do the same thing if we have Cole or Liriano on the mound…I wonder if the players were thinking “we need to score runs” instead of having productive, professional at bats. Oh well.

      • Lee Foo Young
        October 2, 2014 10:35 am

        I think they had professional ABs.

        It was the old axiom “Good pitching stops good hitting”.

        • I have never felt that taking a first pitch for a strike is a good idea. Bum wasn’t consistently in the zone early in the count, not throwing chase pitches until he had two strikes. Great, great pitching from a mental point of view.

          • Not in the zone early in count? Starting the 4th inning, 23 of his 28 pitches were strikes. Bumgarner faced 32 batters, 24 of which saw first pitch strikes, 21 of whom faced 2nd pitch strikes. Only behind in count twice all night.

            • Exactly. Unfortunately, in frustration, some people just sort of make things up. He was slamming the zone all around the corners… leaving very few over the middle.

            • I miswrote. I meant “Bum was consistently …”.

      • No need to wonder if we would score more with Cole on the mound, he pitched Sunday and the offense was still shut down by a quality pitcher on his game.

  • As bad as last night was it still beats a losing season by a mile.

  • Joe Sweetnich
    October 2, 2014 7:23 am

    In the end it was the right decision to go for the division title. we had no chance in this one game series.

    • Lee Foo Young
      October 2, 2014 10:34 am

      all short series, 1, 3, 5 or 7 are crap shoots. Heck, the Cubs swept the O’s about a month ago!

  • Wilson “allowed a wild pitch?” He threw the thing himself!

  • Why the Pirates were better last night than the Steelers Sunday:
    1. No special teams mistakes
    2. No penalties

  • Between 1960 and 1979, Clemente and/or Stargell led the team to 3 titles. But they didn’t make it to the World Series in 17 of those years, and didn’t make the playoffs in 14 of them.

    You don’t win them all. Sometimes you just keep building and re-building for years and years and years. The journey is what makes it all worthwhile.

    • Well said, Andy. As in life, it is the journey, not the result, that makes me greet the sun each and every day.

    • A good take overall. The Pirates played themselves into the playoffs with a tremendous run down the stretch when the pressure was the highest. Maybe we shoulda, woulda, coulda with our pitching, but that might have earned us a tie, because we were not hitting Mad Bum. Volquez did not look sharp from the very beginning and it only was a matter of time before he hung one. A great year filled with adjustments, but also filled with promise for the future. Jameson Taillon, Nick Kingham, not too long for Tyler Glasnow, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, and the unexpected successes of guys like Harrison, Marte, Mercer, Worley, Locke, and the dependable results from ‘Cutch, Walker, and Martin.

    • they did make the playoffs in 4 of the 11 years with division play and would have made the wild card at least once if it had existed. Real drought was between 1927 and 1960, no World Series appearances in the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s.

      It is a good point that journey makes it worthwhile.

      • They made the playoffs 6 of the 11 years of division play during that time; 1970,71,72,74,75 &79

    • Back then you were limited to your players and what you could get in a trade..now a day you can get what u need in free agency..if you are willing to PAY…the marlins went to WS twice doing it that way..sign FA go to WS and selloff..right now the our owners are just sucking the $ out of the fans..”dangling a carrot in front of the horse” just because we are starved for a winner..and I know 99% of the fans don’t care if the NUTTING’S are making a profit = to 50% of payroll..all in the name of “small market team”..”you can fool some of the people some of the time…but you can not fool all of the people all of the time”.

      • Scott Kliesen
        October 2, 2014 11:20 am

        Speaking for myself, I would rather Nutting invest his money in things like DR Academy, Pirate City, homegrown talent, and just about everything else but high priced FA’s. I’d much rather build a relevant franchise that makes playoffs consistently than a continuously rebuilding team w rare glimpses of greatness.

        • i would rather have nutting put a new ski lift in seven springs at least something good would come of it i could go skiing on a nice ski lift

      • Higher payroll doesn’t mean more wins. 3 teams in the playoffs this year were small market clubs. Big payrolls and deadline trades for big names are overrated.

      • Yeah lets spend in FA, because we can totally get the best talent by competing with the Dodgers and Cubs and Yanks in money. Solid strategy.

    • Monsoon Harvard
      October 2, 2014 8:20 pm

      Exactly.

      Like the old saying goes, ‘It’s not the kill, it’s the thrill of the chase’.

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