Shots Across the Bow: Back to St. Louis
To the extend that a team can prepare for an elimination game, the Pirates have had some practice. They beat the Reds in a one-game playoff a week ago to advance to the NLDS. They have another elimination game Wednesday, in Game 5 of the series, on the road at Busch Stadium.
"You can almost treat it like the wild-card game," Andrew McCutchen said. "Look at it like that. Going in and knowing it’s do or die, knowing we got to win. We won that one. We can treat it the same way and try to win not tomorrow but the day after. Just show up, relax and play like it’s the normal game."
Neil Walker agreed.
"You have to have that edge, you have to have that focus," he said. "We’ve got to be better than we were in Game 1. It’s do or die."
By "better than we were in Game 1," Walker referred to the Pirates' first shot at Adam Wainwright in the series. He hit on the key element of the game: It doesn't matter if the Pirates now have "playoff experience" or know how to handle themselves in an elimination game, having been there before. They need to solve Wainwright, the same way they would in a regular-season start in May.
"We’ve faced all these guys," McCutchen said. "We’ve faced each other everywhere we’ve been. I don’t want to say advantage, I’d just say we have knowledge of whoever we’re playing. It’s because we’ve played them so much. We’ve played them over 20 times this year including these games. It’s just one of those things. We both know each other. It’s not about trying to trick or fool somebody."
We are traveling to St. Louis this morning and will catch up with you there.