If Pirates Win Playoff Spot Over Cardinals, Pedro Alvarez Will Haunt Cards' Dreams

David Schoenfield has a nice article about the way Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has owned the St. Louis Cardinals this year.

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Alvarez has absolutely hammered the Cardinals this year. To fans in St. Louis, they must think they're seeing the reincarnation of Willie Stargell, a burly slugger launching mammoth home runs that no park can hold. On Tuesday, Alvarez went 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs in Pittsburgh's 9-0 victory, including the longest home run by a Pirates player in PNC Park history, a 469-foot blast that drew a rousing curtain call (here's the awesome video of that home run, including the reaction of an Alvarez look-alike in the stands). Wednesday night, he went 2-for-4, including a three-run homer off Joe Kelly that gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead. The Pirates won 5-0 and now they're one game back of St. Louis.

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When Alvarez has a great series (and this week isn't the first time this has happened), it tends to be really great, and his two-game outburst against the Cardinals this week truly was something to behold. But as Schoenfield points out, this wasn't just two big games against the Cardinals. He also hit the go-ahead home run in the two teams' 19-inning game a couple weeks ago. He had a grand slam against them in late June. And for the entire year (the season series is now over), he hit .397 against them, with seven homers and a 1.289 OPS.

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The Pirates took 8 of 15 games from the Cardinals this year, and that wouldn't have happened without Alvarez. The Bucs are battling the Cards (and whoever ends up losing the N.L. West) for a playoff spot. If the Pirates do in fact make the playoffs while the Cards end up going home, Schoenfield's right that Cardinals fans are going have nightmares about Alvarez this offseason.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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