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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Indians 5, Pirates 2, 11 innings

CLEVELAND — One hour to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (35-35) vs. Cleveland Indians (38-31)

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: Progressive Field, Cleveland

TV, radio: Root Sports, News Talk 104.7 FM

Weather: 78 degrees, overcast

Here is the official live box score, and here are the lineups …


  1. Andrew McCutchen, DH
  2. Xavier Paul, CF
  3. Neil Walker, 2B
  4. Garrett Jones, RF
  5. Matt Diaz, LF
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Brandon Wood, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Dusty Brown, C


  1. Grady Sizemore, CF
  2. Michael Brantley, 2B
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  4. Travis Hafner, DH
  5. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  6. Carlos Santana, 1B
  7. Cord Phelps, 2B
  8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
  9. Lou Marson, C

I am here and will be posting through the gamey, as time allows. Feel free to use this as a discussion forum, as always.

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.: First pitch from Justin Masterson to McCutchen, 78 degrees.

1:09: And just like that, it’s 1-0 for the visitors. Paul triples to right-center, and Walker singles him home. Paul was really motoring on that triple. He has three of the Pirates’ eight triples this year. Methinks he’s not coming out of the lineup anytime soon.

1:14: Jones’ single and Diaz’s fielder’s choice bring another run. Masterson looks pretty shaky. Kicking the dirt and everything else out there.

1:15: There actually were a few people starting a “Let’s go Bucs!” chant, but they quickly were drowned out with boos. If they were at a Browns game, they might be drowned with something else.

1:35: Great block by Marson at the plate. Cedeno never touched home. And I’m OK with his breaking there. You’ve got to try to get runs if you’re this team.

1:45: The great majority of Karstens’ pitches right now are up in the zone, and he’s going to have to fix that in a hurry to stay in this game.

2:03: Cedeno bounces out with bases loaded to end the third. He kept trying to hit everything away, as with his double earlier, but Masterson got wise and rode him in tight.

2:26: Ouch! First base coach Luis Silverio was just drilled in the upper leg by a foul liner off Jones’ bat. After a brief stop in the dugout, he’s back at his post.

2:52: Watching Choo’s single through the right side just  now, I can’t understand how Overbay doesn’t stop that ball. Should have been made.

2:58: As it’s turned out, it’s yet another good outing for Karstens. He clearly hasn’t had his best stuff — certainly not at the beginning — and he’s given up his share of hard-hit outs. But he’s through six innings with just two runs of damage, and he’s whiffed Sizemore three times.

3:15: Karstens is part of the solution.

3:21: Argh. Rain delay. Great call by the umps, though, to get the tarp out right before it arrived. Infield should be in great shape when this ends.

3:41: Karstens, who surely is done for the day, has a 2.54 ERA right now, seventh-lowest in Major League Baseball and two ticks ahead of Roy Halladay. No kidding.

4:56: Tarp is coming off. Game will restart at 5:15.

5:18: And we’re back, after a delay of an hour and 57 minutes.

5:33: Legend came oh-so-close to putting the Pirates ahead with a bloop to shallow left and two aboard, but it hit just foul.

5:37: So, Clint Hurdle correctly handled his double-switch by having Jose Tabata lead off the inning and Mike McKenry inserted at No. 5. But I’ll bet Hurdle would love to have that back.

5:58: Wow! One of the best plays you’ll see anywhere in baseball all summer, by Cabrera, barehanding the ball at deep short to throw out Wood. Amazing.

6:25: Will this game ever end? And what if it doesn’t? Do baseball rules account for the infinite game? (Stuff you think about 5.5 hours into a ballgame.)

6:29: That was Phelps’ first major-league home run, and that’s all she wrote. A sweep for the Indians.

What a difference

The Pirates’ starting pitching last season and this season:

2010 Statistic 2011

34-84 W-L 26-24

5.28 ERA 3.57

.297 Opponents batting .257

1 Complete games 4

1 Shutouts 2


  1. JMB says:

    Paul is in CF, I think.

  2. JAL says:

    No changes seem to bring on hits

  3. Bucco Fan For Life says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all the father’s! Go Bucs!

  4. JMB says:

    We scored and we have the lead!

  5. CDBrewer says:

    I like Paul. Forget Presley, I want to see Paul.

  6. CDBrewer says:

    lol…This is this team, just when we think the roof might cave, BOOM, Hurdle snaps them out of it…or they do it themselves.

  7. JMB says:

    why are they showing that tweaker in the stands?

  8. CDBrewer says:

    haha…he is a little jumpy…nic fit!

  9. JMB says:

    oh maybe that was just foreshadowing by ROOT….

    Heavy, heavy boos @ Prog Field for brave #Pirates fans in upper deck, chanting “Let’s go, Bucs” #dangerWillRobinson

  10. JAL says:

    2 runs in the first–that’s different

  11. CDBrewer says:

    We haven’t been boo-worthy for a long time…even in Cleveland.
    Another good sign…

  12. Bucco Fan For Life says:

    Big Difference:

    Friday Night: 11 pitch 1st for Cleveland
    Saturday Night: 8 pitch 1st
    Today: 30 pitch 1st

  13. CDBrewer says:

    And not to put the whammy on Karstens, but man, Josh Fogg 2.0 – just a bulldog…
    I love his attitude and that he is making it.
    And yep, that double is my fault

  14. Mark says:

    Not to pile on, but Brandon Wood is a joke. If we could replace Wood (maybe Alvarez eventually), Overbay, Diaz, and get a competant catcher, I would be very happy.

  15. Steve__Hartley says:

    Diaz almost screwed that up…

  16. Drew71 says:

    Brewski – You are redeemed after jinxing that double.

  17. Mark says:

    Speaking of Diaz, nice route run out there in LF on that catch! #hesucks

  18. Drew71 says:

    I would be too, Mark. Considering that’s half the position players.

  19. dwh0401 says:

    Love the line-up. Don’t recall if we’ve seen Walker at 3 followed by Jones much this year. Time for a shake up! I would like to see this for the next 10-15 games, along with McCuthen at lead off.

  20. JAL says:

    That was a bad AB by Wood but hitting a descent .256 in June.

  21. Drew71 says:

    Bring. Ron. Home.

  22. CDBrewer says:

    Need to get Ronnie in here…

  23. CDBrewer says:

    He never touched the plate…not even now.

  24. Mark says:

    @JAL while I appreciate your optimism, .256 is not decent.

  25. Drew71 says:

    i guess i had to add “Safely.”

  26. CDBrewer says:

    Bye bye scoreless streak.
    Still up one, but Ronnie was wasted

  27. JAL says:


    We have to agree to disagree on that. I consider it decent , not good and certainly not a joke BA for the month.

  28. JMB says:

    Almost inevitable, we score 2 and Karstens will give them back. Déjà vu all over again!

  29. JMB says:

    .256 for the Pirates is practically an All-Star!

  30. JMB says:

    that drum makes me feel like Custer must have felt….

  31. CDBrewer says:

    .256 is a good month for Jack Wilson (sorry, not fair, but always thought he was 1 dimensional)

  32. AJB says:

    Do you think it crossed Clint Hurdle’s mind to DH someone for Brown and let Karstens bat? It might be a better option.

  33. CDBrewer says:


  34. JMB says:

    I like NW’s dad. He seems like a cool dude!

  35. CDBrewer says:

    I miss being around calm, midwestern horse sense. NW’s dad sounds like it.

    Now, the racism…not so much, but CA gets a little goofy.

  36. JMB says:

    Diaz & Overbay got hits?!

  37. CDBrewer says:

    Maybe the key is to bat them next to each other…Keep the suck fest together and it is like a double negative.

  38. Drew71 says:

    well now

  39. JMB says:

    you might be on to something – now Wood gets on after a K.

    Triple suck of lightning in a bottle!

  40. Drew71 says:

    If nothing else, that was his 85th pitch. Bullpen soon.

  41. Drew71 says:

    JiMBo – I had to run out too early from last thread to post this. So just for giggles, go get em both. Beltran AND Pena. Lineup of Tabs, PineRichland, Andrew, Pena and Beltran. And when Pedro comes back, put him sixth with much less pressure, and Doumit on return 7th to give some protection to Pedro.

    Makes perfect sense.

    Somebody wake me up now.

  42. JMB says:

    The people of Cleveland should have its own website – like the people of walmart. They have some interesting characters in the stands!

  43. Drew71 says:

    If you were gonna give Hafner a single, shoulda just plunked him again. Saved a few pitches.

  44. CDBrewer says:

    Gallardo having ROUGH first inning…

  45. JMB says:

    That lineup gives me a ….well, never mind! This is a family site!

    If they got a bona-fide RF & 1B, I might have to build my own website shrine to NH and start calling DK nasty things on it.


  46. JAL says:

    Many chances to add runs wasted so far. Pirates could easily be up by 3 runs or more.

  47. Drew71 says:


    Well. 110 pitches. Give the kid credit. LOTS of pitches, bad first inning, but he struggled thru 5 with no more damage and kept his team in it.

    He was probably inspired cause he figured NO WAY the Pirates could score more than two

  48. Drew71 says:

    JiMBo – I’d see your shrine and raise it one renamed son. Change my oldest son’s first name to Huntington.

  49. CDBrewer says:

    Glad to see other teams not making important plays on the infield.

  50. JMB says:

    We are getting ridiculously spoiled by our SP’s QS. I expect a quality start every game now.

  51. JMB says:

    Jason Churchill on ESPN must not watch much of the Pirates. He linked to DK’s article on espn mlbrumors:

    “Pitching is probably where the Pirates could use the most help, with more depth in the bullpen and a frontline starter at or near the top of their needs list based on performance thus far.”

    Huh?! Pitching is where we dont need help, at all!

  52. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @JMB: He must not have read the column to which he linked, either. Yikes.

  53. CDBrewer says:

    That is just atrocious to say that AND link to it…not only didn’t he read the column, he hasn’t watched the Bucs. Awful.
    What is the saying? Better to be quiet and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt…

    Great point on the pitching…I am too

  54. JAL says:

    2 hits for Wood today and tarp going down

  55. JMB says:

    Dotel is battlin’ the Reds. Reds 2- Jays 1.

    bases loaded 2outs in the bottom of the 8th.

  56. JMB says:

    tops of the 9th coming up, Joey Bats vs. Cordero…


    Kartsens is Special and gets all out of what god has blessed him with, compared to others it wasn’t that much !!!! His I Q in regards to pitching is 2nd to none !!!

    The new Greg Maddux!!!

  58. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Daryle: DARYLE!


    @ Dejan

    Did AMAC step out last nite, turrble ab’s

  60. JAL says:

    Karstens is proof that a pitcher does not have to throw hard to be effective. Velocity allows a pitcher to be effective if he misses spots by a bit but as long a pitcher can can put the ball where wants he can do well.

  61. Keith Hadley says:

    @DARYLE: If AMAC stepped out, it was two nights ago. What was in that Mickey?

  62. Mike C says:

    DK im glad to see the game threads here i feel like you never left now just switched sites/papers

  63. Eric Bowser says:

    and just like that, we’re reminded of why the Pirates need offensive help as McKendry leaves bases loaded with a weak ground out to short.

    I keep reading comments on net and articles talking about pressure on Overbay… who exactly is hitting the ball well enough to take his job as it surely isn’t Garrett Jones or Brandon Wood.

  64. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Hate to second guess but maybe Alex Presley could’ve made a difference in this series.

    Certainly he’d be more valuable than Ciriaco over there in his familar spot on the bench.

  65. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    I think this team needs hitting a little more than a light hitting reserve infielder who never sniffs the field.

  66. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Wake up Hurdle!!!!

  67. Eric Bowser says:

    Dave – Huntington made comment today on that subject claiming if Ciriaco wasn’t here, it would limit the moves by Hurdle but let’s see here, they’ve got Walker, Harrison, and Wood for 2B and Cedeno and Wood for short, how many teams have a SS like Ciriaco just wasting space on the roster…. very few if any. It is stupid reasoning and just another reason I do not agree with Huntington receiving an extension.

  68. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    I’d rather have an emergency situation to finish one game and then bring up Ciriaco rather than have him sit the bench for 20 games in a row…

    …especially on a team that can’t freaking hit

  69. Eric Bowser says:

    @Dave – I agree. I don’t think he’s anything to be jumping up and down about but Alex Presley is hitting the snot out of the ball in Triple-A, it is make or break time for him.

    Lyle Overbay…. collecting a paycheck. He may not be the loser like Derek Bell and Jeromy Burnitz but he’s acting the part playing in games.

  70. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Presley may not make much of a difference but he’s the next best option.

    Right now they need to bring up the next best option.

    Because this is sorry. Awful offense. Grounder after grounder. No power.

  71. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Harrison came up and provided a nice lift.

    He’s hit the ball consistently, at least for singles.

    Presley most likely is going to be like that if not better. For not being that big he tends to get a lot of extra-base hits.

  72. TimT says:

    Whenever a lefthanded batter is up, you can see Frank Coonelly in the third row behind the Buc’s dugout. He’s been there all weekend and has rarely smiled. Can’t blame him.

    Let’s Go Bucs

  73. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Wow. Nice catch.

  74. Eric Bowser says:

    nice grab by Tabata in LF to save a double at least

  75. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    The Indians haven’t been scoring a ton but compare how many balls they’ve hit with that upper cut type swing with power vs. the Pirates.

    They’re sending the ball up in double/home run type fashion.

    The Pirates it’s grounder after grounder after grounder.

    It makes me sick to watch these games and realize how far away the Pirates are with what they’re doing from an offensive standpoint.

  76. Bucco Fan For Life says:

    Watson must be a Molly Hatchet fan because he was flirting with disaster!

  77. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Let’s go for the rainout!!!

  78. Eric Bowser says:

    @Dave – There’s very little power in the organization and should be a reason the Pirates really really overspend to sign second round pick Josh Bell from going to Texas.

  79. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    This would be a good 1 out of 3 if they can somehow pull this out.

    If there is such a thing.

    They’re overmatched in this series. Indians have a strong team. Impressive pitching and a lineup that isn’t hitting on all cylinders right now but they have a lot of tough outs.

  80. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Bell and Dickerson were pretty good picks in the second and third round.

    Dickerson was an advanced college hitter. His defense is the question.

    If they can get one of those two I’d be happy.

    But you’re right, no doubt. This organization is struggling to find power bats or maybe they’re struggling to develop it.

  81. Eric Bowser says:

    2 things this team hasn’t been able to find over the years, a SS and power bats.

  82. Eric Bowser says:

    Pirates lose because of some guy named CORD Phelps…. unreal.

  83. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    Cord Phelps with a Lyle Overbay like swing to win the game

  84. Drew71 says:

    With all respect…

    Pirates lose because they cannot score more than two runs a game. Often just one.

  85. Eric Bowser says:

    Pirates are CORD by Indians in 11th…. 5-2 losers

  86. Eric Bowser says:

    @Drew – I agree, main culprit are the punch and judy hitters on the roster.

  87. JMB says:

    35-36 262 runs scored / 3.7 a game / on pace for 598 runs for the season.

  88. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    How many home runs would Cord Phelps hit with the Pirates?

    he’d go two months and be hitting .210 with maybe 1 HR

  89. Eric Bowser says:

    Really hope we’re not about to hit the June swoon.

  90. Mark says:

    THIS.TEAM.NEEDS.OFFENSE. These pitchers should be pissed off, they have done way too much for this scrapheap of an offense to not have a better record than they do!

    I am sick of watching these putrid, and that may be an understatement, hitters in this lineup leave games that shoulld have been won on the field.

    It is pathetic and Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly (who had a front row seat on Root sports for this joke) need to do something, anything about this.

    It cannot continue, the fans and the pitchers deserve better.

  91. Eric Bowser says:

    It is going to be difficult to find a catcher, first baseman, shortstop, and right fielder.

  92. Eric Bowser says:

    And for those wondering, potential targets for each of those positions.

    1) Catcher – Ramon Hernandez, Reds
    2) Right fielder – Carlos Beltran, Mets
    3) First baseman – Michael Cuddyer, Twins
    4) Shortstop – J.J. Hardy, Orioles

  93. Curt says:

    I think we all are tired of the lack of offense. Time to cut ties or grab some pine for Lyle Overbay. He has been a huge disappointment. Wish we could swing a deal or two, its tough to see the starters throwing so well and not having run support.

  94. Eric Bowser says:

    Unfortunately, not many quality 1B heading into free agency according that the Pirates could even entertain to sign. Fielder and Pujols will be getting a huge payday from someone like Chicago Cubs.

    First basemen
    Lance Berkman (36)
    Russell Branyan (36)
    Jorge Cantu (30)
    Michael Cuddyer (33)
    Prince Fielder (28)
    Ross Gload (36)
    Brad Hawpe (33)
    Eric Hinske (34) – $1.5MM club option with a $100K buyout
    Nick Johnson (33)
    Casey Kotchman (29)
    Mark Kotsay (36)
    Derrek Lee (36)
    Xavier Nady (33)
    Lyle Overbay (35)
    Carlos Pena (34)
    Albert Pujols (32)

  95. Curt says:

    I know, what if they somehow swung a deal for David Wright and then Pedro Alvarez could shift over to 1B. I know I am dreaming, but that would be a big splash for the team and make a statement to the fan base.

  96. JMB says:

    The situation is tough. If the team doesn’t get things going, Balt / Bost / & Tor might bury them.

    It is like bailing water; the ship can still be saved today, but ten more days of flooding washes hope away for 2011.

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