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Monday Mop-Up Duty: There will be blood

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PNC PARK –  Last night’s loss seemed soul crushing for the Pirates, blowing a late, golden opportunity to win the Million Dollar Arm Publicity Game. But big picture, the Pirates still finished their homestand with three series wins. It was a very good homestand (Jon Hamm even showed up). It could have been great.That’s progress.

The Pirates are relevant again as they head to Milwaukee. And if Pirates-Brewers was not a rivalry before the Easter Brawl of ’14, it is now.

The  two teams meet up for the first time Tuesday since the brawl last month that resulted in a number of suspensions, a black eye for Travis Snider, and Russell Martin challenging Martin Maldonado to Pay-Per-Vew fight.  So there figures to be some interesting drama unfolding over three days on the coast of Lake Michigan. But of course the more important question is can the Pirates or anyone else in the NL Central catch the Brewers? image3623504x

Throwing out the first pitch in Milwaukee

I think we’re going to have a tight NL Central race this summer and the primary reason for such a belief begins with run differential. The Brewers are actually one run behind the Cardinals in run differential, but entered Sunday with a 5 1/2 game lead. The same is true for the Reds, similar run differential, 5 1/2 games back of the Brewers. So the Brewers have been fortunate to a degree already this season.

The Brewers bullpen isn’t going to be this good as season, neither is their starting pitching, and they need Ryan Braun to be right. Then there is the issue of the Brewers’ depth and that they’ve already had some injury issues arise with key players like Braun and Matt Garza. (Braun is expected to be back Tuesday and Garza returned to pitch Sunday).

NL CENTRAL STANDINGS (AND RUN DIFFERENTIAL)

Milwaukee         24-14     +13

St. Louis              19-19     +15

Cincinnati            17-19     +10

Pittsburgh           16-21     -12

Chicago                 12-24     -16

 

Run differential is straightforward and I think it is a useful barometer.  The Brewers are going to come back to pack. The Cardinals and Reds are going to play better baseball. But are the Pirates going to rise to meet the pack? Three straight series wins is a nice start.

I think Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen are each improved offensive players  (yes, even McCutchen … more on that below). I think the bullpen is going to be better. The question for me is really about starting pitching.

The Pirates need Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton to being pitching like a 1, a 2 and a 3.

*If Liriano really was not healthy until his last several starts that is reason for optimism. He claims his groin strain lingered into the season. Liriano touched 95 mph on Friday for the first time in 2014. He topped out at 96.6 mph last season. His best velo to date had been 94.5 mph this season entering Friday.

*Cole threw eight mostly quality innings Thursday, that’s progress,  but that curveball has gone from having a +3.6 run value last season to a negative -0.2 mark this season.

Cole’s curveball:

2013 whiff rate: 20.2 percent

2014 whiff rate: 14.2 percent

There’s that question again: Where are the strikeouts? *Just when you think Morton is getting on track, Ground Chuck’s sinker wasn’t sinking early against St. Louis.  Morton’s groundball rate is down nearly 10 points from a year ago.  Morton is averaging an inch more horizontal movement, but the pitch is down 1.5 mph from last season….And the changeup remains a work in  progress. (And the Cardinals’ have Morton’s number.) Digging out begins with starting pitching, and really, it begins with the top of the rotation.

STARTING NINE THOUGHTS

9.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the reigning NL MVP has been even better this season. Crazy, right? McCutchen entered play Sunday with a .427 on-base percentage and a 15.9 percent walk rate, both which would mark career bests. He’s swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone and has not forced the issue much at all this season.

Here’s his triple slash line from a year ago: .317/.404/.508

Here’s his triple-slash line this season: .319/.427/.511

If the power shows up a little more, McCutchen could become a 1.000 OPS player. Even if this is who he is, he’s settled in as a .300/.400/.500 star, who plays a center-of-the-field position and is tied into a club-friendly deal through 2018. Don’t take this player for granted, Pittsburgh. Now, should he be batting second or cleanup instead of third?

8. I know Starling Marte has had some struggles but the Pirates don’t want to be without him for two weeks. Pirates GM Neal Huntington indicated he didn’t think Marte would need a DL stint, when speaking to reporters on Sunday, but he didn’t rule it out either. Marte’s baserunning and defense never goes into slumps. If Marte needs the DL, does that force the club to give Gregory Polanco a call? Probably not…but only because of Super 2.

7. Has Neil Walker become underrated,  at least nationally? A back-luck BABIP has suppressed is average, which is hiding some real gamins that include trimming his strikeout rate by 5 points and a spike in power (career best 14.6 HR/FB) as he leads NL second basemen in home runs (7). He still pops up too often, but Walker has consistently produced quality at bats this season.

6. Wandy Rodriguez is slated to start Wednesday in Milwaukee. He has not pitched well there. He’s struggled in rehab. Is he really the Pirates’ best option at this point? Jeff Locke pitched well Sunday. Brandon Cumpton has had a leap in stuff. The leash should be very short with Rodriguez at this point, imo.

5. Ike Davis might be trying to do too much. Has to have a better at bat there vs. Rosenthal on Sunday night.

4. Bryan Morris has a  big arm, big stuff and some big underlying stats – 70 GB % rate, 1.2 bb/9 and 13.4 swinging strike rate – but the results are lagging behind. I still believe.

3. I know it’s just 17 minor league innings, but  even before the season some believe Tyler Glasnow’s future home would be in a major league bullpen – not the Pirates’ rotation. A 15-15, walk-to-strikeout ratio isn’t easing those concerns. With Jameson Taillon’s TJ setback, with Nick Kingham’s OK-but-not-great start and another slow start for Luis Heredia, the Pirates’ Pitch-22 philosophy hasn’t quite taken off like the club would hope in 2014.

2. I think I like  Jaff Decker as a potential fourth outfielder. He has a strong, accurate throwing arm. He can play all three positions. He has OBP skills and he’s reportedly a good baserunner. He’s not a first-division starter but I think he can help a good team off the bench.

1. Jordy Mercer  was having a good night Sunday ….until the ninth inning.

The good news? He is starting to drive the ball – he smashed his first homer of the season off Shelby Miller on Sunday, and also doubled, before ending the game with a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded. Regardless of how Mercer performs, I still think they should make a run at Stephen Drew after the draft.  It’s unlikely but he still would be an upgrade at a position of need. I still like Mercer best as a super sub.

HE SAID IT

I like that Clint Hurdle is paying attention to splits. With two runners on and one out in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game, Hurdle explained why he went against conventional wisdom and let a left-handed pitcher, Justin Wilson, face right-handed Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday.

“I know people are going ‘You can’t do this.’ Well, yeah, you can,” Hurdle said. “if you look at (Holliday’s) splits, he’s 200 (batting average) points better against right-handed pitching. You look at him lifetime, he’s hit right-handers better than left-handers…. I’m sorry, but this is a better matchup than a right-on-right matchup. We did a lot of that (Saturday), some old school cutting it up and pasting.”

STAT OF THE WEEK: 29/28

McCutchen’s walk-to-strikeout ratio. NON- BASEBALL

RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK

If you like Big Data. Maybe you’ll like Big Data: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8b4xYbEugo

NON- BASEBALL RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK II Jon Hamm’s hair https://twitter.com/Sawchik_Trib/status/465603949438177280/photo/1 See ladies, if you play winning baseball even Mr. Hamm will show up to the park. -       TS

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Comments

  1. NMR says:

    Great talking points, Travis.

    -First off, great job pointing out Cutch. It’s all too easy to take for granted how great this guy actually is.

    -I was in support of giving Wandy another chance, but only if his minor league stint actually allowed him to find the feel for his pitchers that clearly has not yet returned. Can’t imagine this has been the case.

    -Bryan Morris has a big arm and no out pitch. Absolutely has to figure out how to get guys to swing and miss, because he doesn’t have the plus command needed to get by without it.

    -Jordy Mercer: amazing what happens when you actually hit the ball in the air.

    Off topic:

    -Defense is still killing this team. They simply do not, nor ever will, have a Detroit Tigers-like starting pitching staff. Not gonna have a guy out there every night that can strike his way out of situations. Extra outs are incredibly valuable in Major League Baseball, and we’re continuing to see that this year.

    -Haven’t seen or heard much of Brad Ausmus, but a couple other young Managers appear to be over their head.

    Matheny hasn’t impressed me at all. What took so damn long to put Bourjos in a position to succeed? And Mat Williams has turned into a running joke in Washington. Bad enough to hit Bryce Harper 7th in the lineup, but yesterday he intentionally walked the third batter of the game. I honestly do not know how Mike Rizzo doesn’t demand for explanation, before demanding Williams never do something so stupid again.

  2. Nate83 says:

    I agree with everything NMR said especially the Wandy and Morris comments. I also thought his response looked lonely.

    I guess everyone is still upset about the Penguins games and late Pirate rally coming up short. I don’t really beleive in good losses but there are some good signs that the Pirates are heading in the right direction. Also some troubling signs that things that helped them win last year may not be a part of this years club. I do think when it’s all said and done this will be a more productive offense.

  3. John Koury says:

    Travis – I have great respect for you as a baseball guy- however I must take serious issue with you saying that “Marte’s base running never slumps”. He is, without exaggeration, THE WORST base runner in all of MLB- and it is not even close. I can show you 20 examples over the last 2 years of being picked off, getting caught off of 2nd or 3rd base on ground balls hit to the left side of the infield, zero understanding of Base running situations, horrendous reads of batted balls- he is a complete train wreck on the bases- a complete disaster and not improving at all. End of story

  4. Bryan Morris has thrown 80 innings over the last two seasons. His HR/FB rate is over 20%, and it isn’t a fluke – he’s really that bad. He struggles to strike out a meager 5 batters per 9 innings, yet Hurdle continues to use him in high leverage situations. His last 8 innings – 13 hits, 5 runs, 4BB, 2K. The Pirates lost six of those 8 games.

    If you believe in Bryan Morris, Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are not far behind. Hey, but we can’t release him because he’s out of options!

  5. Nate83 says:

    Release him??? I just want him moved to a less prominant role and given a much shorter leash. I don’t think he is useless. I just don’t think he should be used in high leverage situations.

  6. NMR says:

    Yeah, let’s pump the brakes a bit.

  7. BostonsCommon says:

    Wandy has 10+ years of experience and results that says he should get another shot… I just don’t know what the rush is to give it to him? Let him get a few AA hitters out before he’s fed to the Brewers.

  8. NMR says:

    EXACTLY!!!

  9. Donald says:

    Yeah, Bryan Morris in his last 11 appearances… WHIP near 2… ERA near 5.50…. two blown saves… and last night basically cost us the win after we scratched away at that unearned four run lead all night. Those numbers can’t cut it in a contenders bullpen.

    Last year every time Morris came in I felt the need to cross my fingers, say my prayers, and utter “No, not Morris” out loud. He doesn’t leave me with a good feeling. EVER. People said he needed to make the club after a “lights out” spring training and the added MPH on his fastball. I’m sorry, but Travis Ishikawa needed to make the team too after spring also, and we see where he is. Spring performance doesn’t mean when you struggle every other appearance in April and May.

    Grilli and Wandy will be back on the 25 man roster soon. We have way too many guys at RP right now. I think Vin Mazzaro has earned his spot. You need Jeanmar to eat the short start innings. Obviously Wilson, Watson, Melancon not going anywhere. I think with Morris, his potential can only hold so much water at this point. We need results. I actually feel better seeing Jared Hughes than Bryan Morris at this point.

  10. Andrew says:

    I am developing an irrational hatred of Morris, but Morris has had a 62 flyballs in play in his career, that current HR/FB rate says nothing about his HR/FB going forward. Park factors are five year averages, this why there is xFIP.

    Morris’s issue is he doesn’t miss bats, his slider gets league average swinging strike rates. Ground balls are fine, but ground balls coupled with high walks and low strikeouts is a recipe for bleeding runs.

  11. Andrew says:

    NMR, I agree partly on the defense, with Martin out there has been a drop off at catcher, and McCutchen’s lack of an arm is costing bases. However the Pirates FIP and xFIP numbers are bad, especially the starters 2nd and 3rd worst in the NL. More walks is more base runners, less strikeouts is more balls in play, meaning the Pirates are leaning on the fielding, which outside catcher, left, and short (with Barmes), was never that good.

  12. Steelkings says:

    Neil Walker –
    In yahoo leagues he is valued as the number (6) 2nd baseman in baseball. How under the radar is he? at NO#6 he is only owned in 64% of all yahoo leagues. Amazing…He is a free agent in my league and he would be on my team if it wasnt for Robinson Cano.

  13. Nate83 says:

    I do have him but I also have Randon and I’m currently using Adrian Gonzalas as by DH so Walker doesn’t play much for my team. Adrian is much more consistant so I have to keep him playing.

  14. Jim S. says:

    Yes, Bostons. This feels rushed and just not right to me.

  15. NMR says:

    Gotta disagree with the use of xFIP in this specific instance, Andrew. Morris gave up 1.11 HR/9 and 1.17 HR/9 this year. His HR/FB rate is elevated because he’s allowing less fly balls overall, due to a 70% GB rate.

    I don’t think we can expect that to continue, and unless he starts striking guys out, his FB rate will obviously climb. Therefore, even if he does see a drop in HR/FB rate the increased number of overall fly balls will likely make it such that the actual number of homers he gives up remains the same.

    But we’re really just arguing on the periphery of the real problem, which you nailed.

  16. NMR says:

    First of all, the Pirates are actually walking LESS hitters than in 2013(7.6% < 8.4%), so let's displace that misconception.

    I looked at this issue last week, Andrew, and I believe this is where FIP/xFIP fails in small samples. I forget which starter was pitching, but there was an instance recently where he gave up a three run homer following an error that should've been out number 3. ERA, FIP, and xFIP all hated his start, but only because of the sequence that produced that homerun.

    Can we truly call a stat "Fielding Independant" if fielding, or lack of it, is what produced the at-bat in the first place?

    Extra out are incredibly valuable.

  17. NMR says:

    Now over 162 games/ 30+ starts, I’m still pretty comfortable leaning on FIP/xFIP.

    But this season has taught me something about looking at those stats in small sample, which was probably my mistake in the first place.

  18. Nate83 says:

    They are the turnovers of baseball. They are very costly and it seems like teams that commit errors lose more often then the team that doesn’t.

  19. I’m smiling so broadly as I reread your last sentence again and again!

  20. I would trade Jeanmar for a bucket of balls and move Vin Mazzaro to his ‘Long’ spot.

    Give peace and Morris a chance.

    Any more news on the PTBNL to the Mets? The longer that goes the more nervous I get. Don’t want a last year’s draftee.

  21. Some are writing that Rendon will never leave 3rd Base, even when Zimmerman comes back.

  22. NMR says:

    I’m with you on Jeanmar, Groat.

    Stunk as a starter before last year. Stinks all around this year. Is anyone ACTUALLY confident he can go five inning of quality baseball right now?

  23. Jim S. says:

    I’m not confident in Jeanmar, either. But, the Vin Man scares me also.

    When Hughes pitches like he has the last 2 or 3 outings, I start to trust him. But, I’m pretty sure that is Fool’s Gold.

  24. Jim S. says:

    It would seem they have a logjam about to occur on aisle 3 (1b). I think Zimmerman has to play 1b now, and Andy’s brother will be traded.

  25. The Gunner says:

    Why the BMTIB wants to throw Wandy to the Brewers after his lousy results in rehab, is beyond me. Maybe they’ll come to their senses before they throw him to the wolves.

  26. NMR says:

    I really think Wandy and Stolmy should be the long men with Cumpton in the rotation, for the time being. Grilli, Melancon, Watson, Wilson, and Morris filling out the rest of the pen.

  27. NMR says:

    Assuming all parties come back from their DL stints, but you knew that.

  28. NMR says:

    Don’t look now, but the Pirates are getting a wRC+ of 125 of out 1B, and thats with Ishikawa’s wRC+ of 77 over 38 PA factored in.

    Can we get a little Gaby Sanchez love?

  29. Andrew says:

    The walks came down since the last time I looked, but if you look at the K%-BB% difference for all Pirates pitching.

    Year: Pirates / League Average
    2013: 12.1% / 11.9%
    2014: 10.5% / 13.2%

    So Pirates pitching is even worse when compared to the league average.

    I am not following you argument about FIP/xFIP, if you are saying they don’t account for sequencing sure, that is the entire idea of those statistics. Evaluating the pitching independent of context and it has been much worse. Are you suggesting using RA-9 or ERA to evaluate a team total run prevention,? I agree with that, it is what actually what happen but ERA-FIP is bigger this year than last.

    We can debate this for awhile and I am not saying the defense has been good, 2B and 3B have been atrocious, but in my opinion, when FIP-WAR has the Pirates with the worst starting pitching in baseball and RA-9 has it 2nd worst I think the problems starts there.

  30. Andrew says:

    My point is that HR/FB is volatile and attempting to say anything about Morris’s talent level or ability at this point based upon HR/FB is incorrect.

  31. Andrew says:

    Jared Hughes and Bryan Morris are almost the same pitcher.

  32. Carlos Danger says:

    I really like reading all this statistical analysis. I have always liked numbers and baseball, but never knew where to even start to combine the two. Is there a book I should read to get started? Just interesting to read all of these stats and I wouldn’t know where to begin.

  33. Steelkings says:

    Drench your head in the toilet at the seediest gas station you know, then repeatedly ram it up against a brick wall. Drink 2 bottles of jack Daniels and then check and see if you can still gather a rational thought. If so, repeat the first 3 steps… Once you can no longer achieve rational thoughts about what the naked eye can see, you will be ready to move on to senseless stats that can be twisted and contorted into any reality you would enjoy.

  34. Ghost says:

    Carlos,
    You could do worse than to spend time over at FanGraphs.com.
    If you click on entries in their glossary, you’ll get pretty understandable explanations about the nomenclature the boys above bandy about.
    Or, you could drink those two bottles of Jack Daniels like Steelkings apparently has done, himself. :-D

  35. Steelkings says:

    As long as Laroache is hitting .320 it will be hard for Zimmerman to reduce his +75% ROB rating.

  36. Steelkings says:

    Carlos, my man!
    The newest stat is the greatest predictor of injury ever used in sports. If you get more than a +1 HTH, players will likely miss a few games. A +1 in HTHB is a certain trip to the DL. It will be all over fanGraphs.com any day.

  37. Steelkings says:

    In all seriousness. Someone has to explain a few questions I have about WAR ratings.
    IF
    1. WAR = Wins above replacement, Correct?
    Then…
    2. How does Snider, Tabata, Gaby and Davis all have positive war ratings?
    And since….
    3. Barmes and Mercer both have negative ratings shouldnt Positively rated Harrison be playing short?
    Or…
    4. Should there be a new category called LBR?( Losses below replacement )
    And will..
    5. FanGraphs need to scramble the fighting calculators in order to re-figure Tabata and Snider come mid June?

  38. LeeFoo says:

    Just wanna say that I agree about the Morris and Wandy trepiditious (new word) feelings.

    I think Hurdle is saying: “Darn it, NH, we’re gonna get SOMETHING out of that Bay deal”.

  39. Nate83 says:

    So………….your not a fan of stats????? I wasn’t sure because your post seems to put you on the fence :)

  40. NMR says:

    Sounds like Steel has quite the weekend hobby!

  41. Nate83 says:

    The first thing you need to realize is the replacement is not an average major league baseball player. It’s a player that would be brought up to replace you from AAA. You actually have to play really bad to be a starter and be below replacement. It means not only should you not be starting but you shouldn’t be on the roster.

    35 games really isn’t enough games to have a legitimate WAR. I feel safe saying that Gaby, Davis and Tabata have played well enough to deserve spots on rosters. They are all batting above .250. People don’t realize how difficult it is to hit .250 in baseball. Only 65 qualified hitters in the NL are batting over .250 right now. That’s 4.33 guys per team. Snider probably has a + WAR because of his 3 home runs in limited at bats. He also probably has a decent defensive WAR at this point which is misleading because we all know he is average at best.

  42. NMR says:

    Can’t remember being more disappointed to hear about an injury than Jose Fernandez last night.

  43. Carlos Danger says:

    I’m not sure I want to do that. Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do that.

  44. I have to think it is Blake Taylor. At the time the trade was made, there were comments from Alderson suggesting that the player had been decided upon. In that case, the likelihood is that the player is a 2013 draftee. Would the Mets want their return in the trade to be playing competitively until July, or would they prefer a player who is safely tucked away in extended spring training awaiting the start of short season ball? For me, all signs point to Taylor.

  45. Nate83 says:

    Come on!!! Your last name is Danger. I’ll help out. I’ll do the Jack Danials part for you then you only have to do the other 2 steps.

  46. Nate83 says:

    He is fun to watch pitch. Really unfortunate. Just goes to show you how fragile any team is when it comes to injuries. When you go on a stretch like the Reds did with none of their key players and none of their starting pitchers getting hurt for 2 years it really is amazing and is another reason they had regression in their future.

  47. I’m not sure your hatred of Morris is irrational. Of course HR/FB rates are very volatile, and Morris’ rate will go down, but extreme groundball pitchers actually have a higher HR/FB rate than most other pitchers. It has to do with elevated sinkers getting hit a long way, and we all know how prone Morris is to making mistakes. Anyway, he has enough baggage without even considering home runs – average secondary pitches at best, combined with poor command.

  48. Steelkings says:

    Silly Nate. Dont you know not to feed the wildlife?

    But since you did….

    Nate said:
    “It’s a player that would be brought up to replace you from AAA.”

    Does that mean that since Tabby and Snickering Snider has positive War numbers that I shouldn’t be so excited about GP?

  49. Steelkings says:

    Makes you wonder how long it will be now before Stanton starts bitching about playing for a non competitive team again?

  50. Steelkings says:

    AAAANNNNDDDD? Because Barmes and Mercer both have negative numbers, War is saying that there is a better SS in Indy? Im so confused!

  51. Nate83 says:

    No you should be excited about GP. It’s can’t possible be used for individual situations. It just means that there are teams in major league baseball that could make use of Tabata and maybe even Snider. The Pirates may have the best outfield in all of baseball when Polanco hits his stride so they are a unique situation.

  52. Steelkings says:

    Gunny
    Those are two rehab starts. 10 earned in 8.2 innings at Altoona is irrelevant. Rehab starts are akin to spring training starts. Its dangerous talk pal. The mere mention of rehab starts is likely to drive NMR completely bonkers!
    Willy Wandy is working on arm strength and fastball location at the chocolate factory. And guys who throw 87 MPH fastballs to guys that know they are coming are going to get beat around the ballpark.

  53. NMR says:

    “Silly Nate. Dont you know not to feed the wildlife?”

    Haha, saw this coming a mile away…

  54. NMR says:

    I know I would be absolutely livid as a Marlin fan. Complete and utter waste of talent. That organization needs blown up.

  55. cmat0829 says:

    As to Wandy, I am already biting my fingernails for his start in that bandbox of a stadium in Milwaukee… if he can’t keep the ball on the ground, it will be a lot of work for Bernie Brewer…. I do think you have to see if this guy can give you anything this season and if he is healthy you need to do it now, but this is one that is hard for me to admit….I think at this point he should be on a ‘one start at a time’ basis….if he falters, he gets moved to the long-man bullpen role and Cumpton is the #5 starter.

    Lots of great points, Travis, but the one that really is the key to this season is the thought that Cole, Liriano and Morton need to pitch like they are capable. The Pirates, Polanco or not, Stephen Drew or not, Nutting is cheap or not, have ZERO CHANCE to compete for anything if their top 3 starters don’t start pitching like it. ZERO, zilch, not worth talking about anything else, no chance.

    Cole is maturing, needs to continue taking steps to be that lock-down ace… Liriano needs to kick it in gear now that the cold months are mostly behind us… and Morton needs some better fielding, but also can help lock down innings.

    Very interested to tune in tonight and see if our ace, Cole, can overcome that silly stadium and get us a much-needed road W to kick off the road trip. A bit lost in the hand-wringing start to 2014, in addition to the injury impact on this team (notably Russell Martin), is that the road nightmares have returned…..Pirates 4-10 on the road, 12-11 at home.

  56. Nate83 says:

    Well then you should have told me a half mile ago. .

  57. Andrew says:

    Like NMR said we are discussing the periphery. Morris results haven’t match his stuff and haven’t for a while, the increased velocity could provide more room for error, but that has yet to show up.

    My last thought on Morris, I don’t think he gets enough velocity separation between his fastball and slider.

  58. Andrew says:

    Apparently, Fernandez had a like 6 mph velocity drop and the Marlins let him throw another 28 pitches.

    I was hoping the Marlins would finished above Philadelphia, its now on Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones.

  59. Steelkings says:

    “Complete and utter waste of talent.”

    Thats an ugly statement about our friend Garrett Jones!

  60. NMR says:

    Ha, I half started a reply to him (I mean, he said “In all seriousness..”!) and then remembered who I was talking to.

  61. Steelkings says:

    Uncle Steelkings prediction:

    Wandy’s upcoming box score 6IP 2ER 5K’s 2BB – Shutting up all the doubters

    What Morris, Wilson and Malancon due after that is quite unclear

  62. Steelkings says:

    Due was a Freudian slip!!! ;)

  63. NMR says:

    I know there is no definitive proof that this caused the injury, but it was just plain STUPID to have him throw 173 big league innings just two years removed form playing high school baseball.

    Just plain stupid.

  64. Steelkings says:

    I dont know that 173 is too big a number. That speaks to how good he is. It also needs to be considered how the Marlins staff battled injuries all that year.

    Sometimes things just break. Jamison Taillon wasn’t over worked

  65. NMR says:

    You’re absolutely right, Steel. Pitchers break.

    I just think it was completely senseless to rush him to the majors where he probably tripled the number of pitches he threw as a high schooler just two years before only to play for a crappy team going nowhere.

    Waste of talent.

  66. NMR says:

    There’s a sizeable chance that the Marlins will lose the best pitcher and power hitter in baseball without either playing a single meaningful game.

    What an absolute waste.

  67. Leo Walter says:

    Steel, sometimes I disagree with you, but on this one you are spot on. Rehab and ST starts really are irrelevant with veteran pitchers. The one set of numbers I didn’t like from him in his last start though was that fastball velocity, which were about 3-4 ticks shy of his usual MLB numbers.

  68. NMR says:

    I agree with you guys in principle, but was this REALLY a typical DL stint?

    He failed at the big league level this year because he wasn’t commanding his pitches. From all accounts, it certainly didn’t seem like he turned that around in the minors.

    Are we expecting it to come back on Thursday?

  69. NMR says:

    Just saw that the Pirates are 1-6 against the Brewers yet have only been outscored by one run.

    These things happen over the course of 162 games, but getting so many games against a team that is clearly playing over their heads like the Brewers can skew things pretty heavily.

    Braun doesn’t go crazy in back to back games and the Pirates are just one game below .500.

  70. Andrew says:

    I see that Braun is back and Rameriz is on the DL. With Mark Reyonlds playing 3rd.

  71. NMR says:

    Is Marte playing and if so can he just start out at 1B and save Reynolds the embarassment?

  72. Nate83 says:

    That would be suggesting this team knows how to bunt and you know better then that.

  73. Steelkings says:

    God! Finally someone disagrees with me. I was beginning to get bored being right all the time.

  74. Steelkings says:

    “without either playing a single meaningful game”

    Can you point out which of the 125 remaining games are meaningless?

  75. Steelkings says:

    No Marte is not . But Ha Ha none the less.

  76. NMR says:

    For the Marlins? All of them.

  77. bill says:

    When will Bucs seriously offer Walker a long-term contract and if not why not? He has shown that he can hit – is a switch hitter and has learned to play a demanding position as a second baseman and possibly could play any infield position with the exception of shortstop.

  78. Carlos Danger says:

    Danger is my middle name.

  79. Steelkings says:

    Well…..I guess now DK, not distracted by the Pens will become part of our conversation…..

  80. Jim S. says:

    I know. I love that kid.

  81. Jim S. says:

    I agree that it was senseless to force feed him 170+ innings last year, and put him on pace to exceed 200 this year. But, we are talking about a franchise that has such a negative perception among its fan base that nothing they do surprises me. I think they will do anything to prop up performance and take the heat off, even if just a little bit. There’s no long term plan there.

 
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