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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Hanrahan’s 2 1/3 innings per week

PHILADELPHIA – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column analyzes the trades, what went into them, what came out.

I didn’t find myself feeling a whole lot of absolutes on the topic, as you’ll see, so I pretty much just picked it all apart and went from there.

>> The Pirates pitched 66 1/3 innings on this very trying seven-day trip, and the best reliever in baseball was summoned to pitch just 2 1/3.

I don’t feel absolutes when it comes to “Moneyball” principles, unlike many in that small but amazingly vocal segment of society, but I subscribe to quite a few. Chief among them is a manager’s misuse of a closer strictly for ninth innings as opposed to, oh, you know, when the game is on the line. Joel Hanrahan just sits in the bullpen while the rest of the relievers try and try and try to get him the ball for a save.

The idea is to win. The best chance to win is with your closer in other roles sometimes. The Braves did that this week, as did the Phillies here yesterday. Clint Hurdle just won’t budget on this one.

I understand Hanrahan could be fresher down the road. I also understand a lot of what goes into the mindset of assigning an individual the responsibility of pitching the ninth inning. Players are human. Some can handle it. Some can’t. But I don’t understand managing strategically in line with a statistic. I’d rather see Hanrahan pitch when needed rather than with a three-run lead in the ninth against the Astros.

>> If Lyle Overbay isn’t released today, I’ll be surprised. Makes absolutely no sense to keep him, given that he plans only one position.

If I had to guess the other roster move, it would be sending out Steve Pearce.

The bigger question is what happens when Alex Presley comes back in a week.

>> I am really looking forward to getting into some football the next few days. Details to come in the Call tomorrow, but suffice it to say I need to set my Mapquest to find my way to Latrobe. Been a while.

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