Still, it's a remarkable last day considering where the Bucs started from this season, and you can't blame Hurdle for using all his bullets, even if logic dictates otherwise. His message is pretty clear: we're not taking our foot off the pedal. And it's not just Clint; he talked about the game with his Player's Leadership Council, per Travis Sawchik of the Trib, and they were all for Cole taking the hill today.
The Pirates are guaranteed to host the Wednesday wild card game at worst, and could win the division at best to avoid a one-game crap shoot. We'll see how things shake out. If there's a playoff tomorrow, Jeff Locke is due. Eddie Volquez, who has been performing as well as top guns Liriano & Cole, is in Clint's hip pocket for Wednesday (and that's the game that really counts), or Frankie could go on three days rest.
No sense belaboring you with the Cole-Cueto blurbs; you know them both well. Welcome to the September asylum; a wild season just got a little more crazy.
The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Starling Marte LF, Ike Davis 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Chris Stewart C and Cole P. Sorry for being late; we assume Clint was holding out until Russ' status was determined.
- The other big sidebar to today's game is Josh's run for the batting title. He's sitting second to Justin Morneau, at .318 to .319.