Andrew McCutchen

The Pirates are finished

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This year, the Pirates are all about finishing what they start.

According to The Associated Press, the team ordered dozens of black-and-yellow shirts with the phrase “finish” to remind the Pirates about the importance of mental toughness.

The Pirates, of course, had a pretty nice first half last year before fading fast and finishing 72-90. They were 51-44 through 95 games and 21-46 the rest of the way.

The article continues:

[Manager Clint] Hurdle believes the team will be focused following the lessons of August and September. The addition of veterans Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes and Casey McGehee – all veterans of postseason play – should give the young clubhouse a calming presence.

Those veterans of postseason play have combined to go all of 4-for-28 in October. Barmes has half of those at-bats and went hitless in all 14. Barajas’ last postseason appearance came 10 years ago.

But they will be calming, for sure. Not a one of them ever figures to be responsible for A.J. Burnett whipping up a shaving cream pie this year.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.