In a game, which could not be less meaningful, the Redlegs of Cincinnati did their best to somehow lower the bar.

Starting a lineup that included neither Devin Mesoraco nor Todd Frazier on a day when Johnny Cueto was not to take the mound likely left many Reds fans failing to find a reason to engage with this contest a mere two days before the end of what has been a dismal season.

Fortunately for those in attendance and those who were listening or watching at home, Michael Raymond Leake came prepared to show the playoff bound Pirates that he, at least, had some fight left for them. For seven strong innings, Mr. Leake did his best Johnny Cueto impersonation. Walking only two and striking out eight while allowing but a single runner to cross the plate.

The intrepid Leake even did what he could to spark the offense, blazing through the stop sign held up by the beleaguered third base coach and scoring the home team’s only run.

Alas, it was not to be tonight. Despite collecting eleven hits to the six contributed by Pirate batsmen, that Redleg did what they have so often done this year and managed to fall short in a winnable game as the Pirates plated three runs despite the lower hit total.

Sadly, Reds’ fans. This is the way the season has gone. So many opportunities left in the open. Injury, misfortune, poor play. These things have done the home team in time and time again over the course of the year. In two days, the sun will set on this dreary season and, after setting aside some time to grieve, the fans will begin to hope again in the way the young man hopes for the young woman to notice him. Spring will come, my friends, and with it, hope. As members of the human race, what more can we ask? What more can we ask?