McCutchen speaks out against wild-card format on Pirates full-squad report day
February 22, 2016 1:27 PM
Andrew McCutchen takes questions from the media during PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, in December.
By Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BRADENTON, Fla. — Were Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to change the wild-card format from a single elimination game to a three-game series, Andrew McCutchen would be in favor.
This comes as a surprise to no one: The Pirates have played in three consecutive NL wild-card games and lost the past two, both via shutouts at the hands of Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta. But McCutchen’s reasoning stemmed from the game’s departure from how the regular season is divided.
“Baseball’s built for a series more than a one-game [wild-card],” McCutchen said. “You don’t ever see anywhere in the game of baseball where 30 teams play a team one time. Doesn’t happen. I believe the reason behind that is because the game is so unpredictable you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
One game, McCutchen said, emphasizes the pitching matchup more than a competition between the teams. The Pirates ran into Bumgarner at the start of an unprecedented playoff performance and caught Arrieta at tail end of one of the best half-seasons in baseball history.
“If they were ever to go to three games, I think it would make it a little more even,” he said.
McCutchen spoke Monday, the day at which everyone in major league camp had to report before Tuesday’s first official full-squad workout. He said he had faith in the Pirates’ front office to assemble a roster capable of competing for a division title and following up on last year’s 98 victories.
“I trust what those guys at the top are doing,” he said. “I trust what [general manager Neal] Huntington, [president Frank] Coonelly, [chairman Bob] Nutting, I trust what all those guys are doing around us. That’s their job. And it’s our job to go out as a team and just go play. It’s worked for us in the past.
“Some things, as a player, we don’t understand, but I’m sure they don’t understand some things we do on the field. I’m just going to go out and play hard and we’re going to work with what we got.”
The Pirates have three years of contractual control over McCutchen. When asked if he wanted to remain a Pirate after that time, McCutchen said, “I think you know that answer. I don’t need to answer that, really. Everyone knows I want to be here. That’s nothing new to anyone.”
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.
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