Madison Bumgarner last year, Jake Arrieta this year.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have run into a Cy Young-worthy buzz saw in each of the last two NL Wild Card games and have lost both – by a combined 12-0.

The most recent loss came Wednesday at PNC Park, as the Pirates lost to the Cubs, 4-0, and saw their 98-win season end abruptly in disappointment.

“It’s not a very good thing here, that’s for sure,” 93.7 The Fan host Paul Zeise said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But I can tell you, I’ve been in this town for 45 years or something and this is not at all like 1992 – and it never will be in terms of disappointment. It’s a tough one for Pirates fans because they had such a great ride: 98 wins. And the other part of it is they kid of thought it was a storybook story with A.J. Burnett and Aramis Ramirez playing their last seasons, that they were going to go out on top. But it didn’t happen that way. I guess you go to the offseason and there’s a lot of questions about who actually will be back on this roster, but that’s for a different day.”

Just before Zeise came on air, Lawrence took a call from an angry Pirates fan who blamed Clint Hurdle for the loss. Nevermind that Arrieta struck out 11 in a virtuoso complete-game shutout.

“You know how it is. It’s the coach, the quarterback, the manager – there’s always about three or four different people who are always blamed no matter what,” Zeise said, amused. “It never comes down to guys making plays or guys executing. You have a special job because you get to deal with the lunatic fringe of every fan base. As the evening host here, I get to deal with the lunatic fringe of one fan base – but it’s the same, I’m sure. You know how it is. As soon as he announced that Sean Rodriguez was going to start at first, the meltdown began and it just built and built and built. So yeah, (Thursday) is going to be a fun day in Pittsburgh sports radio because we’ll get a whole bunch of that.”

Zeise even took a call from a Pirates fan last week who wanted Hurdle fired – despite leading Pittsburgh to the second-best record in the bigs. That fan probably feels the same way today. Probably even stronger.

Nevermind that Gerrit Cole gave up three home runs.

“It’s silly,” Zeise said. “Basically Gerrit Cole threw up a couple of meatballs. He admitted after the game he was just too amped up and too hyped for the game and he just really couldn’t settle into a groove. I really believe if he settles in after the first inning when he gives up one run and it’s 1-0 going through the rest of the game, it’s a completely different game altogether – as opposed to he could never get settled into that groove and he ends up giving up a home run to make it 3-0. But the bottom line is, I think if it’s a 1-0 game, I think you can manage it differently, and then some of those situations with guys being on base are different. It’s just not the way it was. It wasn’t in the cards tonight. If you have to make a villain – because we always have to have a villain – it’d be Gerrit Cole. And he’d be the first one to tell you he just didn’t get it done.”


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