AP Photo

Pirates shut out Reds, will host NL Wild Card game against the Cubs

3 Comments

The Pirates shut out the Reds 4-0 on Sunday, clinching the first NL Wild Card slot, which means they will host the Cubs in the Wild Card game. The winner will travel to St. Louis to play the Cardinals in the NLDS on October 9. The Pirates end the season with a 98-64 record, their best record since 1991 when they also finished 98-64.

Starter J.A. Happ pitched six shutout innings, limiting the Reds to three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Relievers Joakim Soria, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon each pitched a scoreless inning behind Happ to finish out the game.

Neil Walker provided the Pirates’ first run with an RBI single in the first inning. Pedro Alvarez ripped a solo homer in the fourth, Jordy Mercer doubled in a run in the sixth, and Josh Harrison hit an RBI double in the seventh to account for all of the offense.

The Cubs beat the Brewers 3-1 on Sunday to finish with a 97-65 record. They’re in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.