TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Bucco Blog

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

August 27, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


3 comments so far - add yours!

Gerrit Cole’s time of year

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – Gerrit Cole likes saving his best for last, apparently. At least the last quarter of the season.

Remember last year when Cole was solid but not spectacular the first three months last year after his call-up? Cole and manager Clint Hudle were asked ‘Where were the strikeouts from the former No. 1 overall pick with the 1o0 mph fastball?’ Well, Cole showed us where they were in September 2013 when he struck out nine at Texas when matched up against Yu Darvish on Sept. 9 – for win No. 82 – which was the beginning of a impressive final month of the season when C0le went 4-0 with 10.97 Ks per nine and a 1.69 ERA.

While it’s not quite September, Cole was as good as we’ve seen him since last September on Tuesday night.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 25, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


3 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up Duty: 101 ways to make out a lineup card

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

MILLER PARK – A three-headed platoon monster at first base is a difficult animal to feed.

It’s an unusual roster situation to manage, to have three players limited on the defensive spectrum soak up so much flexibility, and, moreover, two seemingly redundant left-handed hitting options against right-handed pitching.

But Clint Hurdle is doing his best to manage the situation, filling out his 100th and 101st different lineup cards of the season Friday and Saturday in Milwaukee to help the Pirates to a critical series win. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 22, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


6 comments so far - add yours!

Front and center

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – Howdy, folks. I’m awaiting my flight to Chicago and then rental car-ing it to Milwaukee and that little house of horrors known as Miller Park, where you might be aware the Pirates have struggled in recent years. The Pirates can’t afford for that trend to continue if they want to remain in the race.

The Pirates and Brewers have one key shared characteristic that has led to the Brewers’ success this year and the Pirates’ winning baseball over the last 1 1/2 seasons: they are both exceptionally strong up the middle as David Golebewieski noted in his series advance preview in today’s Trib.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 21, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


One comment so far - add yours!

Silver linings playbook

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – So that felt like a must-win game and important comeback last night for the Pirates, right? This weekend feels like it could be a time when it’s decided whether the Pirates remain in the division race or not.

In this space and elsewhere, the Pirates’ challenges that have led to this second-half slide have been addressed. But if you’re looking for reasons to believe why the Pirates can perhaps rebound again and finish as a 90-winish team and in the postseason picture, well, that hasn’t been discussed as much.

If you squint hard enough, there have been some silver linings lining these dark clouds hanging over the club.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 20, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


5 comments so far - add yours!

Falling off a cliff

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – This game can shift so quickly on us. One week the Pirates are a season-best nine games above .500,  knocking around Justin Verlander. A week later they’ve lost seven straight games and the season is on a tailspin out of postseason contention.

Blame can be assigned to many areas: the bullpen, injuries, poor starting pitching performances, some have criticized managerial decisions … But all these issues come back to something mostly out of Clint Hurdle‘s control: depth.

The game can shift on us quickly because it is a game of attrition. The Pirates are in a precarious position because of their lack of quality depth.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 18, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


5 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up Duty: Another collapse?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – The Pirates are testing your cardiac health, I’m sure. The Pirates’ own health has placed them in quite a heart-sinking bind.

After the Andrew McCutchen injury I wondered in this Web space if the Pirates’ season was again on the brink. The Pirates responded with surprising resiliency, but it came mostly against teams like the Padres and Marlins. The Pirates have had the benefit of a relatively light schedule the first month after the All-Star break.

This past week the schedule toughened.  The Pirates responded with an 0-for-5 road trip. This tougher stretch of schedule continues today with a three-game set opening against Atlanta,  divisional play resumes this weekend at Milwaukee, and the Pirates return to face the Cardinals. The Pirates cannot afford having their next 10 days go like the last five when they did not at all look like a postseason-caliber team.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 14, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


5 comments so far - add yours!

Challenges for baseball’s next commissioner

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – I’m a little concerned about where baseball is headed.

Yes, baseball has grown from a $1 billion to a nearly $9 billion industry of the last 20 years. But the explosive revenue growth is not unique to baseball. Every other major sport has enjoyed dramatic revenue growth tied mostly to what I suspect is large part due to the right-place, right-time phenomenon: advent of the internet, fracturing of cable audiences placing a premium on live events, new technology/advertising platforms and the stadium boom.

Bud Selig has touted growing revenues under his leadership (though his responsibility for those is highly debatable). He has touted parity (though that has much to do with the devaluation of free agency in a Post-PED era when the game has trended younger). Selig’s greatest accomplishment, for me, is labor peace, which has been an important development.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 13, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


10 comments so far - add yours!

Building trust?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – There has been a two-way trust issue in Pittsburgh regarding its baseball club: the city doesn’t trust the ownership to spend, and ownership doesn’t trust the city to show up at the ballpark. It had been this way for a while. It’s sort of a chicken-or-egg dilemma, though I’d argue that to whom much is given/purchased (a baseball club) more is expected.

Well, the city is doing its part this season as the Pirates have a chance to break their single-season attendance record of 2,436,139 set in 2001, the opening year of PNC Park. A year after the Pirates’ drew 2.26 million fans, the Pirates have drawn 1.8 million through 62 home dates, an average of 29,069 per game. The Pirates are out-drawing many of their small-market peers.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly predicted 2.5 million in 2014 attendance last year and told the Trib’s Karen Price that he’s optimistic the Pirates will set an attendance record this season.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 11, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


16 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up Duty: finding the unconscious Pedro … and enjoy Russell Martin, Pittsburgh

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

PNC PARK – Many things have been said, many things have been written about Pedro Alvarez. I tried my best to explain what has happened to his throwing in Sunday’s paper.

We know Alvarez is taking reps at first base but here’s what I think is important to remember:

*Alvarez is not a clear upgrade at first base. Ike Davis has better career numbers and similar 2014 value vs. right-handed pitching (career wRC+ 127 vs. RHP vs. Alvarez’s 116 mark). You can argue Alvarez has more upside … but that is based mostly on faith and hope. So unless you believe he will be more relaxed and freed up to perform at first base, which is plausible, he does not provide an upgrade there.

*Alvarez is most valuable to the Pirates – and his future earnings will be greatest – if he can stay at third.

*Alvarez has actually improved in every area as a defender except one key area: making the routine throw. He’s getting to more groundballs and has made only one non-throwing error. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

August 9, 2014
by Travis Sawchik


12 comments so far - add yours!

Pedro on the move … across the diamond. And about that bullpen surplus

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

PNC PARK – Today during batting practice, many of you got what you’ve been waiting for: Pedro Alvarez took groundballs at first base.  It should be noted he started at his usual third base position but then moved on to first. Clint Hurdle declined to address whether the club had plans to move Alvarez earlier this week. Well, the club is at the very least very curious about entertaining the idea of a position change.

Here’s the Bigfoot-like photographic evidence:

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
 
Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  


» Top TribLIVE.com Sports
» Top TribLIVE.com News
» Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News