Over the last three seasons (2013-2015) the Pirates have won 280 regular season games, more than any major league team other than the St. Louis Cardinals who won 287. During that span, the Cardinals have won three consecutive N.L. Central Division titles while the Pirates have had to accept the wild card invitation into the playoffs. Pittsburgh won the wild card game in 2013 before they fell to the Cardinals three-games-to-two in the N.L. Division Series. In 2014, the Bucs were ousted in the wild card game by the Giants behind the pitcher of Madison Bumgarner. In 2015, the met the same fate as the previous season with a 4-0 loss to the Cubs and pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Everyone knows that anything can happen in a one-game elimination contest—as Joe Garagiola would say, "baseball is a funny game." The Pirates deserve more than a winner take all game to advance into more meaningful playoff rounds that consist of five and seven-game series. If baseball is worried about extending the season an extra week, then maybe MLB should revert back to the 154-game schedule and extend the wild card playoff round.
It has been stated that owners would object to taking eight games (four home/four away) off the schedule because of financial reasons, but it seems little money is being generated by clubs that have losing records and attendance troubles—especially in the final weeks of the season.
Baseball is better off skimming the regular season schedule down a bit and improving the wild card playoff round by making it a three or five-game showdown—surely the Pirates and their fans agree.