The Grilli question … And are the Pirates middle class?

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PNC PARK – Pirates manager Clint Hurdle often says “feelings aren’t facts.”

 

The Pirates have strong feelings of loyalty when it comes to Jason Grilli. In the first half of the season, Grilli was the best closer in the game. He’s been a good teammate and was really the face of the team’s first half success – the face of the bullpen.

 

But the unfortunate facts are Grilli has not looked like his pre-injury self since returning.

Continue reading The Grilli question … And are the Pirates middle class?

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Gerrit Cole isn’t getting tired, and he isn’t getting shut down … and redrafting the 2011 draft

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER –  On June 24, I asked Pirates GM Neal Huntington what the club’s plan was regarding Gerrit Cole and the rookie’s workload this season. After all, many organizations are treating young arms with kid gloves and the Nationals famously, and perhaps imprudently, shut down Stephen Strasburg in the midst of a postseason run last season.

 

Huntington said Strasburg and Cole were two difference cases, since Strasburg was coming off an injury. He said every pitcher has a workload limit but declined to discuss Cole’s.

 

“Part of our development plan is to build guys accordingly so that when they get to the big leagues, they are hopefully in a position to be able to log the innings without the media attention that some have gotten,” Huntington said at the time. “If he ever gets to his workload limit, we’ll let you know.”

Continue reading Gerrit Cole isn’t getting tired, and he isn’t getting shut down … and redrafting the 2011 draft

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Eighty-two was history but something else about last night is more important for the present

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER  –   Four days after Gerrit Cole extinguished two candles on his second birthday cake — Sept. 8, 1992 — was the last time the Pirates reached 82 wins.

 

Twenty-one years later, one day after Cole turned 23,  you saw a player with only three months of experience with The Streak help extinguish it.

 

For those who watched, you saw history.

Continue reading Eighty-two was history but something else about last night is more important for the present

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Silver linings playbook: finding the good in the ugly of the first failed attempt to scale Mt. 82

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MILWAUKEE – The champagne is still on ice. The Iron City sixer, or the Belgian triple you planned on downing in sweet victory is still in the fridge. Or maybe it’s not after what you saw Wednesday, perhaps it was drunk in despair, while watching a 9-3 loss to Milwaukee.

 

Yes, the non-winning season streak stubbornly lives on, at least until Friday in St. Louis.

 

Yes, there were was a lot of ugly Wednesday in Miller Park.

Continue reading Silver linings playbook: finding the good in the ugly of the first failed attempt to scale Mt. 82

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Thanks to Travis Snider the streak is over, well, kind of …. and the streak’s disconnect

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MILWAUKEE – Technically, the Pirates do not clinch a non-losing season until they reach 82 wins.

 

Why?

 

However remote and unlikely, it is possible to lose 24 straight games then qualify for, and lose in, a one-game playoff. The playoff counts as a regular season game and the Pirates would finish with an 81-82 record. Wouldn’t that be a tale of misery?

 

Continue reading Thanks to Travis Snider the streak is over, well, kind of …. and the streak’s disconnect

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Monday morning mop-up duty: how ordinary can transform Pirates to extraordinary

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MILWAUKEE –  Yes, the Pirates could have limped into a wild card game by standing pat.

 

Yes, this was a 90-win roster before Tuesday.

 

But should the Pirates lose in a wild card play-in game it would erode at least some of the momentum gains of the season. What if there was no playoff game at PNC Park this fall? That would not sit right with a city that has been waiting so long for a taste of October baseball.

 

After acquiring Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau, the Pirates are in much better position to not only advance to October, but they are in a better possession to capture the division and advance deep into October.

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Transaction analysis: Pirates acquire Justin Morneau … Huntington gambles and wins

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PNC PARK – Pirates GM Neal Huntington played a dangerous game in not making a pre-July 31 deal.

 

Yes, prices were inflated in a seller’s market at the deadline.

 

Yes, few teams acquired assets.

 

But the Pirates were not making moves in a vacuum they were considering them in the midst of a season that had historical importance. What was the cost of, the risk of, doing nothing? Significant. There were no guarantees the club would be in this position in 2014,

 

“We were willing to do something stupid,” Huntington said at the time, “just not something insane.”

 

Continue reading Transaction analysis: Pirates acquire Justin Morneau … Huntington gambles and wins

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