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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Reds 3, Pirates 1

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (51-44) vs. Cincinnati Reds (47-50)

Time: 12:35 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, News Talk 104.7 FM

Weather: 87 degrees, and heading north

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


  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Chase d’Arnaud, SS
  3. Neil Walker, 2B
  4. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  6. Garrett Jones, RF
  7. Brandon Wood, SS
  8. Mike McKenry, C
  9. Jeff Karstens, RHP


  1. Chris Heisey, CF
  2. Edgar Renteria, SS
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Scott Rolen, 3B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Ramon Hernandez, C
  7. Jonny Gomes, LF
  8. Miguel Cairo, 3B
  9. Johnny Cueto, RHP

Rob Biertempfel has news updates on the Bucco Blog.

Some pics I took in an around the yard today …

These guys were walking up and down General Robinson Street with this Jolly Roger held up by two brooms. I asked them what it was supposed to mean — wasn’t being remotely serious — and they yelled back “Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!”


  1. Kibab1979 says:

    DK – I’ve noticed this several times over the last week. The link to “News Updates” on the Bucco Blog almost always seems to go to an error page.

  2. Curt says:

    Almost decided to make the trip, will watch it from home though.
    Hoping for the sweep! That would be huge momentum for Friday when the Cards hit town.

  3. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Every game is a pitcher’s duel.

    Go Bucs!

  4. pghboyinca says:

    I think Karstens has to be razor sharp today, don’t think this lineup has much chance against Cueto unless he was out really late last night and had way to much to drink.

    I thnk to even try and make a case against the idea of adding a bat is ludicious. The way this team and maanger have performed is unreal and to not help them would be a real sign to the players going forward that the emphasis her eis not on winning. All along we were told by the front office thatif the situation warranted it we would be buyers not sellers at the deadline. Also Coonely said that if the Pirate fans showed up in increased numbers then payroll would be added.

    To not make a move would show this regime to be everything negative ever written about them. There is no debate, this team needs a bat and another reliever, go get them. K-rod or Keppinger both would have improved this team (not that they were prefect fits for us but it shows htt htere are teams out there trying to improve) Actually I’d take K-Rod and Keppinger and consider us improved over what we have.

  5. Karen22 says:

    LET’S GO BUCCOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. CDBrewer says:


    Who do you want to add?

    Is Pena that big an upgrade from Pearce or Jones or Doumit or Pedro? Seriously, his average stinks, and he is hitting in a better hitters yard.

    I like Pence or Helton as ideas, but I am not sure either is even available.

    Beltran can’t play defense and who would you sit? Not Tabata when he gets back. Not Presley right now. Not Cutch ever. Beltran is timid in the field and has a rep in New York of ducking the media (NO accountability).

    I won’t make the argument against adding a bat, you make the argument for a bat that fits that is available and better than what is returning.

    Agreed completely on a relief arm – more than Grilli – and maybe even a starter to eat innings.

  7. JoeBucco says:


    Get ‘em ready.

  8. CDBrewer says:

    Wow, that was a terrible throw.

    mmmm…not a good start.

  9. JAL says:

    Reds had to score sometime.

  10. CDBrewer says:

    Not sure we had to give them the run though.

  11. Karen22 says:

    OK—we’ve GIVEN them two runs. An E that scores and a lead-off walk (and an assist by the ump who called two of the THREE strikes on Cairo balls! WOW!) MUST bring out the bats today! MUST! (That’s not going to be easy with Cueto on the mound).

  12. CDBrewer says:

    Maybe the knee tightens, or his control goes a bit – he has been known to throw some pitches…stay close, get into their pen in the 6th, maybe.

    But can’t give too many more up until we get a couple.

  13. Better Days Coming says:

    Biertempfel is tweeting a possible deal with Oakland receiving Jones in exchange for Willingham and Breslow.

  14. CDBrewer says:

    45 pitches through 3…thanks to McKenry’s AB

    Okay, coming around on Tabata’s leg won’t get better until mid August.
    Leg muscle on a speed player…not good for this season.

    Nice catch.

  15. Better Days Coming says:

    mlbtraderumors reports Jones would be part of a package in exchange for the pair from Oakland.

  16. BenderHeel says:

    I love the grit and speed d’Arnaud brings to the table, but I can’t wait for Cedeno to return. Another error (6 in 21 games), 1 RBI, and a .531 OPS outweighs any “A for effort” he gives and makes me appreciate Ronny even more (although I was a supporter of his this offseason too).

  17. CDBrewer says:

    I like Breslow…that’ll work.
    Jones is a lot like Willingham, and that park in Oakland is death for power hitters.
    I could live with that.

    Excellent move 10 days before deadline. Good start…then see what comes.

    Didn’t give up much and addressed 2 needs…possibly.

  18. Better Days Coming says:

    I still would “offer” to take Kouzmanoff’s salary off their hands as well for nothing more than a marginal prospect. He’s ML proven and has been tearing it up at AAA since his demotion. I like having him just in case PA flops again.

  19. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    That trade sounds like a winner.

    Of course you don’t know the package but I’m sure Marte is not included. Other than that, they don’t have anyone worth stressing over.

  20. J_C_Steel says:

    Overbay is useless. Seriously, does anyone NOT believe that a Carlos Pena/Steve Pearce platoon at first base would be a HUGE upgrade over what’s there right now?


  21. CDBrewer says:

    No, I do not believe we need Pena to be part of that platoon.
    Willingham, Jones, anybody could be part of that.

    I do not think we need to pay for a starter to platoon when we have so much returning.

    Not saying Overbay has a use, he should be dfa’d with the returning players.

  22. Better Days Coming says:


    Good chance Pena whiffs in that situation. He’s hit or miss…pun intended.

  23. pattonbb says:

    I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record…. but Overbay has to disappear…SOON.

    Would Jones still be in the game if that deal was close?

  24. Better Days Coming says:


    What would you do at 1B if Overbay is released? Especially if Jones goes in trade. Not arguing, just asking.

  25. CDBrewer says:

    Wood, Willingham, and Pearce can all play first.

  26. Bizrow says:

    I have no idea anymore with this trade stuff, don’t you add major league players while not subtracting anyone?

    We need an anti-Bay trade, give em nothing and get something good in return.

    Not that I have a crush on Garrett, but he is decent, getting Willingham seems to be simply a wash, and you lose control time

  27. CDBrewer says:

    When does Ronny get back?
    Getting close to running out of luck on the kid.

  28. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    They’ll keep Overbay the remainder of this season.

    Willingham has played first in the past and I think they’ll try him there. He’s right-handed so he’ll play there against some lefty pitchers.

  29. CDBrewer says:

    Remember, Willingham’s power numbers might be off because he is playing in the worst hitters park in the league, with a terrible line-up around him.

    Breslow isn’t bad. Picking up 2 for 1 with middling minor leaguers would be fine with me.
    Jones is found money, turning him into something is good.

  30. BenderHeel says:

    I need to update my above-post:

    I love the grit and speed d’Arnaud brings to the table, but I can’t wait for Cedeno to return. Another error (SEVEN in 21 games), 1 RBI, and a .531 OPS outweighs any “A for effort” he gives and makes me appreciate Ronny even more (although I was a supporter of his this offseason too).

  31. Karen22 says:

    Never thought I’d say this but we need Cedeno back in a hurry…Chase is killing us today, and no one has mentioned that he has exactly ONE RBI thus far. ONE.

    And I just can’t watch Overpaid’s AB’s anymore!! He has to go away!

  32. CDBrewer says:

    Willingham has 12 HR’s in 258 AB’s (and 13 2B’s)
    He didn’t play yesterday – thought to be just a normal off day.

  33. CDBrewer says:

    Willingham has 81 K’s and 4 walks…lol…Wow

  34. BenderHeel says:

    @CDBrewer: A pitcher would kill for Willingham’s K:BB ratio!!

  35. CDBrewer says:

    Career .263 hitter…115 HR’s in 2477 AB’s..

    Sorry that was 4 SB – read wrong column…K/BB this year is 81/26…That is better.

    Yeah, a lot like Jones…Played in Miami (big park), Washington, and this year Oakland.

  36. CDBrewer says:


    Sorry about the bad info…His splits are bad…I am really glad I checked again…

  37. CDBrewer says:

    I guess my thing is the Aki-ness of Overbay’s defense. If he were playing lights out d, I could tolerate his next-to-nothing AB’s, but he does have to go.

    Yep…I am late to that party, but I am there.

  38. JAL says:

    3 runs only 1 earned–that is no way to win a game.

  39. J_C_Steel says:

    Carlos Pena’s OPS against righties this season — .893 (with 16 home runs)
    Steve Pearce’s OPS against lefties 2008-2011 — .919

    Somebody tell me how that isn’t a HUGE upgrade over Overbay, who has a .647 OPS against righties and a .723 OPS against lefties.


  40. pattonbb says:

    Willingham might be a good fit for PNC park. He’s played in some pretty spacious ballparks, and still puts up “decent” power numbers.

    Better Days – I wish I had a really intelligent answer, but I don’t. It’s just frustrating. Get Pearce up as soon as possible and see what he gives us I guess. If Willingham really is coming, maybe he can handle it. I just don’t know how much longer they can afford to see if Overbay will start hitting.

  41. CDBrewer says:

    We got an inning with Ondrusek, Chapman, then Cordero the rest of the way.

  42. Better Days Coming says:


    I get that. It’s frustrating for sure but until I have a no-brainer better option I wouldn’t just release him. I’ll throw this out for argument’s sake.

    For what it’s worth, in the last 28 days Overbay has a .274 average along with an OBP of .312, a slugging percentage of .397 and an OPS of .709.

    Over the entire season, in his 92 PAs when the score has been tied, those numbers jump to .317 .387 .524 and .911 respectively.

  43. CDBrewer says:


    My argument is not for Overbay, it is against paying for a starter, acquiring a starter, then expecting him to love his role in a platoon when other options exist.
    My argument is against Pena. I watched his series against us and his series against the Giants, and he just has the malaise of the Cubs.

    He wants to play for a contract, not platoon. I don’t think he is a fit for a platoon for us.
    Pearce, yes. Then between Willingham and what comes back, we will be fine.

  44. J_C_Steel says:

    Willingham would be a nice pick-up. He’s hit .345 so far in July, with 2 home runs and 2 doubles. He’d look good in right field or at first base.

  45. J_C_Steel says:


    The Pirates wouldn’t be “paying” for a starter in terms of what Chicago would receive in a trade. If the team picks up the rest of Pena’s salary, they can get him for very little in return.

    And Pena is well worth it against right-handed pitching.

  46. Arriba Wilver says:

    Where do you guys get the info Willingham can play first? All I can see is he’s played 3 games there, and only 1 game since 2006!

  47. Better Days Coming says:


    I’m with you. I think they bring him in as the right fielder.

  48. J_C_Steel says:

    Willingham would probably play right field, but he could steal a few games at first base as well. Could he be much worse than Overbay, who leads the league in errors at first base?

  49. Better Days Coming says:


    Yes, he could.

  50. Jandy says:

    Why would you mess with the outfield, it’s working….if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

  51. CDBrewer says:


    The resources we would be giving up – whether it be the money or prospects – would be for a starter from them, even if it is .85 on the dollar (and I am sure other teams are interested too).
    I just don’t know how a career starter takes demotion to platooning in his walk year – especially platooning with unproven kid (Pearce).
    Just not worth the risk or resources in my view.

    I see the numbers, they are much better than Overbay’s. Not arguing – just a lot of questions and resources that could go elsewhere for a guy that is going to play 60 games for us.

    I would rather pay more in prospects and money for a better fit (like a Helton or Pence).

  52. TS says:

    Willingham doesn’t impress me. I’d be impressed if they got Pence. …Before anyone mentions $$$, don’t. It’s an old excuse. Pence is the real deal. If you want a shot in hell at competing down the stretch you get Pence, not Willingham.

  53. CDBrewer says:

    Boy, that bunt screwed up that whole bottom of the 7th.
    Man, that was not well thought out – hot hitter with the catcher running to 3rd.

    Don’t like getting greedy – 2/3 the rest of the way gets it done, but I hate wasting chances.

  54. CDBrewer says:


    I think the Oakland deal is as much about Breslow.
    I also think Houston would ask for Marte + to keep Pence in the division.
    The cost for Pence isn’t money, it is a boatload of kids. I am still good with it, but I don’t think it is dollars.

  55. Jandy says:

    Nice wild pitch by D McCutchen…not…

  56. Better Days Coming says:

    Say what you will about the bunt but Hurdle has been consistent all season long in that situation.

  57. CDBrewer says:


    Very true…and I don’t want to change Hurdle too much…I think he is a large part of the resurrection.

  58. TS says:

    @CD Brewer

    It may be about Breslow, but WIllingham is not the answer for the bat they need.
    Houston can have Marte. It’s been 18 damn years. Pence is a proven commodity. Marte is not (not to mention he’s another Pirates OF prospect with little power). Every good organization trades prospects. The Pirates more often than not is not one of them.

  59. CDBrewer says:


    Yeah, I guess I am okay with trading Marte for Pence. My thing is, we have holes – most noteably at first. If we are going to trade for a piece – it should fit what we need.
    I don’t see OF as the need right now.

    Just seems like moving sideways unless we can put one of them at first.

    And if Pena is the best we can find at first? No thanks.

    18 damn years for all of us…and I don’t want to disappear for 12 more after this one. It is a longshot with or without Pence AND Pena this year – they are young and hitting inning highs…
    I would trade a bunch for Pence though.

  60. JMB says:

    I’m late to the party, but I have given up on Pena. When DK came back from the Futures game saying “Almost Everyone” (meaning?: I think it means all the Pirates scouts in attendance talking on the company line) think that Pena’s “attitude” wont fit with the Hurdle was a the ultimate dousing of water.

    Either Hurdle doesnt like him or Frank’s hatred of Boras is driving the fact that we aren’t getting Pena.

    It’s too bad since Pena is by far the best fit for this team based on it just being $ to get him.

    Willingham and Breslow — I dont hate it, but they wont be difference makers on any level.

    This team needs a bona fide clean-up hitter, and Pena is the only one we can afford ( $ & Prospect-wise).

    Oh well.

  61. Jandy says:

    UGH bottom of ninth…c’mon bats, do it!

  62. TS says:


    The Pirates need a bona-fide hitter. Period.

    Whether it’s 1B or OF does not matter, bro.

    If they had Pence, you can play Pearce (soon), Wood (so-so) or Diaz (not ideal) at 1st. In the majors, you make it happen. But alas it will probably be Willingham, because that’s what the trade-for-a-mid-level-hitter-guy-whose-salary-is-within-our-desirable-allowable-permissible-plan Pirates do.

  63. pattonbb says:

    Isn’t it fun to be talking about who we might trade FOR, instead of who we might trade AWAY?

  64. Jandy says:

    can’t win em al :/

  65. JMB says:


    No doubt!


    2 of 3 vs. the Reds is still exactly what I wanted 3 days ago.


  66. Jandy says:

    @JMB that’s true, 2 outta 3 is good!

  67. tmp444 says:

    Keep taking 2 out of 3 and we’ll win the division by 7-10 games.

    Sweep would have been nice, but time to focus on the Cards.

    That said — 4 runs the entire series, and today we lose because of 2 errors and a leadoff walk. I’ll stand by my first sentence, but the problem is we won’t win 2 out of 3 consistently with the way baseball was played this series…

  68. CDBrewer says:


    2/3 the rest of the way will get it done…

    Pence I am good with…at whatever price pretty much.
    Helton I am good with…
    Not too many other names out there…

    Off to run that off…good weather in Seattle…who knew?

  69. Better Days Coming says:


    Every good organization trades from strength. Prospects is not the Pirates strength right now. At least not the type that would get Pence.

  70. Jay G -Jacksonville via New Castle says:

    Scored 4 runs in 3 games and we took 2 of 3……Alvarez and Pearce should be here by Friday…………

  71. TS says:

    @Better Days

    The Pirates have the prospects. They’re mostly in A-ball, but they have what it would take to get Pence. If they offered something akin to Tabata, Marte and Lincoln, Houston would bite, as they’re pretty much in rebuilding mode.

    But the Pirates won’t do it. Because they are the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  72. Better Days Coming says:


    I understand what you’re saying but I’ll disagree with the philosophy. If the organization was loaded I’d say go for it. But to trade what it would take to obtain a high-profile player like Pence would set the organization back two years. If I’m in Huntington’s shoes I don’t lose sight of the mission whxih is building a stronger, long-lasting foundation.

    Just a different view point. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think the three you mentioned gets it done.

  73. buckeyehba says:

    Since it is being strongly hinted that Willingham is on the way, is he really as much of a liability defense wise as people on these blogs have been saying?

  74. TS says:

    @Better Days

    Set the organization back two years? It’s one player. I think you’re over-reaching. And it’s already been 18. Until there is at least a MLB minimum team salary instituted, the Pirates have scant chance to be in the WS ever again. And that’s even if they raise the payroll to, say, $75 mill in two or three years. Still not enough in today’s game.

  75. Bizrow says:

    Nancy52 sorry for the late welcome, but welcome

    Yup Forest Hills and Jaxonville are logged in

    106 locations represented in the blog
    7/20/2011 6:36 PM

    Did I see a post from the Phillipines earlier today?

  76. CDBrewer says:

    Carlos Pena had 2 errors today…Overbay has been bad at first (not that he could have helped d’Arnaud today)…not so sure there is a good defensive player out there other than Pence or Helton (yes, I am going to keep bringing him up – maybe he liked Hurdle)

  77. JMB says:

    Sources: HOU shows willingness to trade Pence; rival executives expect he will move. Braves have prospects to make deal happen; we’ll see.


    I’ll see your 2 errors and counter with .893 OPS vs Righties (as many have posted).

    1.395 OPS vs Cincy

    .848 OPS vs Milw

    .947 OPS vs StL

    For the season.


  78. CDBrewer says:

    Okay, this needs to be considered…

    Pirates have played 3 games fewer than the Giants…
    The Pirates have scored 12 more runs than the Giants (373-361)
    The Pirates have given up 17 more runs that the Giants (360-343)

    Okay, so we aren’t the Giants, but they are a decent comparison – young parts, pitching first, defense 2nd, then try to score runs.

    We aren’t that far away from that model, and we have guys coming back that should fill in the difference. The yards are even similarly pitcher friendly.
    I would argue we have better speed and versatility to our offense.

    Karstens, Maholm, and Correia don’t match Timmy, Vogelsong and Cain, but Morton, and McDonald match-up pretty well with Bumgarner and Zito/Sanchez.

    And Karstens is closer to Timmy (without the K’s) than we might realize.
    And the closers are 1 and 1A in the league.

    And oh yeah, they won the Series and are sitting relatively comfortably in their division.

    I think we are just fine.

  79. CDBrewer says:


    I love the Pence idea.

    I see a loafer in Pena. He just looks lackadaisical to me…that is the first time I said that because I hate impuning him with those specific words. I don’t watch enough, or know him well enough to type things so disparaging, and frankly, I respect your view a ton and that is why I broke down and wrote it. You made me write it :)

    Now, that said, go get a guy who will be here a couple years – like Pence, if we can.

    But the numbers above still stick, I think we are dang close to achieving the Giants model – I would want a back end starter and a situational rp to sure that end up.

  80. JMB says:

    The Giants are an interesting comparison.

    They did get ridiculously lucky with Cody Ross in the 2010 playoffs.

    They traded for Jose Guillen after the deadline for PTBNL & $.

    So they didnt just stand pat (though close), and they did have a crazy amount of luck (the ball thru the Braves 2B legs & Ross, among others).

  81. Bizrow says:

    John, lets hope they do something

    Pena, they owe us

  82. JMB says:

    I play too much fantasy baseball, and it colors my views of players.

    But Matt Kemp is #1 in Yahoo fantasy rankings for the season.

    I am still hoping he becomes available by the deadline.

    A week ago, there was no chance Pence gets traded: now he is probably going to move.

    Anything can happen!

  83. CDBrewer says:

    The Giants did get lucky last year with Ross, but they are doing it again.

    The other thing is even their 3B power let them down last year.

    Hey, if we make the playoffs, I will take getting knocked out because the Braves make the plays in the field.
    I guess I can live with making the playoffs and not winning the Series. lol.

  84. JMB says:


    Exactly, this team has earned the chance to have some talent “heaped on” .

    ‘We got Cliff Lee, dude” got Texas to the WS.

  85. Bizrow says:

    John, yup Hurdle is all in, me and you too. I think if I can reas things right, Dejan has said this for a while, roll the dice, be smart, but roll the dice

    Lots of folks in, opportunities only come so often

  86. CDBrewer says:

    The fantasy does me in too…I was all over Raul Ibanez for years, irrationally.

  87. ddom says:

    ESPN Radio’s Brian Kenny show is currently debating wether Pirates should be buyers. Kenny says they should be holders because the ‘metrics say they aren’t that good YET. He agues they should keep developing and they are on the right track but aren’t good enough to win the division this year even with help. I would LOVE to hear he and DK debate.

    DK, you could call in. I’m sure you listen to ESPN Radio hanging on every word waiting to hear them talk Bucs.

  88. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Tomorrow’s Headline……..

    Pirates Finally Get Someone Who can Hit Ball Into Seats

  89. JAL says:

    That is big question, hold or buy. What would make difference. Best difference maker is usually a starting pitcher who come in and runs off 10 wins or so–like Doyle Alexander in 87 with the Tigers or Zane Smith who went 6-2 down the stretch for the 1990 Pirates.

    One bat usually not enough unless you get a super bat. Get a Pena and his 20 HR with a .230 BA and how many wins will that bring? BA in line with Overbay and Jones. With his 20 HR he has 51 RBI, Overbay has 35, so if Pena had hit same for Pirates they would have 16 more runs. Cubs a better hitting team than Pirates so Pena would probably have less RBI with Pirates because less runners on base.

    You can do that with any potential pickup then ask how many more wins that would bring.

  90. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Dom. I don’t, actually! But you knew that.

  91. Playoffs by 2012 says:


    I’m gonna pose the question again. Tyler Clippard and Michael Morse. Not as sexy as Pence, but you get a reliable 8th inning guy and a righty who can play first and hit for power.

  92. Karen22 says:

    From MLB Rumors: “Rival GMs believe Pirates GM Neal Huntington over-values his prospects, so they’re suspicious that he can be an effective ‘buyer,’ according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.”

  93. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    K-Rod delivered tonight…

  94. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Arizona, runner on third no outs, and two groundouts to third…pathetic

  95. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    ….and it goes to extras, pathetic showing by Arizona. I’m going to sleep. Night lunatics

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