The Pirates will play the Padres in San Diego this afternoon in what would appear to be a game important only to the accountants of the players and owners. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates will affect the outcome of not one but both remaining playoff slots today.
In fact, this might be the first time in years that the Pirates will be the most important team in baseball on the last day of the regular season. Unfortunately for Pirates fans, that team is the 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates.
(2005 inspirational talk from Dave Littlefield, who finally gets to matter in a playoff run)
Cliff Lee, presumptive AL Cy Young award winner, will skip his start Sunday to avoid further abuse of his pitching arm. In his place, the Cleveland Indians will start one Bryan Bullington against the Chicago White Sox, roughly tied with the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title.
This former Pirates prospect, the spring training ace of the 2005 Pirates, wiped out of the majors entirely after that season, returning briefly in 2007 before being picked up by the Indians last July in a waiver move.
But wait, there’s more… guess which NL East team has pinned its postseason hopes on another failed pitcher from the 2005 Pirates?