To borrow a term that Joe Lunardi and others in the college basketball world regularly use, the five NL wild-card race bubble teams all lost on Friday night.
— Marty Callinan
Cardinals (lost to Reds, second NL wild card)
— Mark Simon
Mets (lost to Nationals, trail Cardinals by 2 games)
Rookie A.J. Cole held the Mets to one run in six innings to earn his first win in his fourth career major league start. Cole threw 67 percent strikes, his best rate in those four starts.
His 37 percent called-strike rate (also his best) was aided by a few strike calls on close pitches. A look at the strike probabilities of each pitch he threw indicated he got 3.7 called strikes above what an average pitcher would have gotten, the seventh-highest rate for a Nationals starter this season.
Cole had good offspeed stuff. The Mets were 0-for-7 (with two walks) against his slider and changeup.
— Mark Simon
Pirates (lost to Brewers, trail Cardinals by 2 1/2 games)
The Brewers used seven pitchers in a 1-0 win, something previously unheard of in major league history, but which has now happened three times in the last three seasons, per the Elias Sports Bureau. The Brewers have done it twice (the other instance against the Pirates in 2014). The Mets have done it once (in 2015 against the Nationals).
The Brewers got their fifth shutout of the season, their first since July 4. The common thread between the seven pitchers was that they finished hitters off. Pirates hitters were 1-for-14 with five strikeouts in two-strike situations.