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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist


  1. SouthSideBucsFan says:

    Looks like the question about the Steelers not signing Cotchery was a bit premature…

  2. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    It’s funny how everyone questions a manager’s decisions when the player’s fail but give the players all the credit when they succeed. Hurdle’s bullpen strategy never made any news until a couple of the pitchers struggles in the last two weeks. Revisionist garbage…

  3. CDBrewer says:


    I am with you largely on your point about second guessing, but I think you take it a little far.
    We have gone back and forth on it, and I think you want to give him the benefit of the doubt both ways. I like Hurdle, but there is an error in his thought or an inconsistency in his philosophy.

    I get Hurdle not using him in non save situations on the road, but when Hurdle was FORCED to get him an inning on 8/2 because he had not used him in a game since 7/28, he demonstrated a real flaw in the strategy on 8/1 (which was a 1 run deficit going into the ninth at home, so NO SAVE opportunity would present itself).

    Either Hurdle wasn’t aware of how little use Hanny had gotten, and what he would need THE NEXT DAY – which would be a terrible job by Hurdle, or he changed his philosophy the next day and decided to use him in a non-save situation.

    Either you get to play to win EACH day (which would ask the question “when would he have used Hanny on 8/1?”) or you don’t then use him on 8/2 because it is a meaningless inning.

    Hanny has pitched in 4 games (4 innings) since 7/28. NONE have been save situations. Only 1 has been in a situation where the difference was fewer than 4 runs. Meanwhile the team has played 13 games and 5 have ended closer than 4 runs.
    I like Hurdle a ton, but he has demonstrated he doesn’t know what kind of situation calls for Hanny when it isn’t defined as a save situation.

    I am also willing to put a little of this on Searage if you want. And I am also willing to give on the idea Hanny might have had some minor tightness we weren’t told of or something.
    Absent of those two things, I don’t know why you can’t see it was being questioned DURING the span of games (not revisionist) and at least raises eyebrows in a couple spots.

    Bunch, seriously, I commented on the morning of the 2nd to my wife we were going to HAVE to use him because it had been a while. The night before was a fine time to use him AND still have him available the next day (which turned out to be a blowout – he could not have known that either way).

  4. HWL says:

    Absolutely clueless about this DK comment:

    “I know that the Pirates are interested in discussing a return with Lee. Options at first base are pretty much limited to Garrett Jones, Hague and … well, Jones and Hague. They’re going to need to go to the outside again if they don’t keep Lee.”

    What’s the knock on Hague? I can understand being tentative to consider a rookie your everyday first baseman, but all Hague has done is consistently succeed at every level of the minor leagues. He’s definitely earned his chance and shouldn’t have his development blocked by a guy on the downside of his career.

  5. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t have a big problem with Hurdle’s bullpen strategy, but it’s plain inaccurate to state it’s revisionist and/or that it only happened in the last two weeks (coinciding with the losing streak). It’s true the Hanny stuff only started happening once they started losing (Duh), and it’s true that the players (and Searage, I might add) get the credit when they win, and Hurdle usually is only criticized when his strategy doesn’t work out (double Duh). But there have been complaints about his usage of the bullpen for most of the year (again, unjustly in my eyes usually). Whenever any bullpen guy would fail, or a starter would maybe be left in a little too long (usually in hindsight, but not always), some people would complain about his usage of the bullpen (See Veras, Crotta, Resop, etc.). I know, because I was usually defending him. Bottom line, not revisionist at all. Maybe the criticism is invalid, but it’s been there most of the year. (When they were winning at a .600 clip it may have gone into hiding for awhile).

  6. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    It’s a team and every player has to do their job. The simple fact is that Hurdle has to try to do what’s best for the team AND the players. Using Hanrahan to stop a rally in the 7th inning of a game with 6 other relievers in the bullpen because of some fantastical idea about “playing to win every game” is wishy washy nonsense. The whole mantra is coachspeak meant to keep his players focused on the task at hand. Hurdle is responsible for much more than that. Regardless of what anyone says, its a 162 game season with a 25 man team and sometimes you have trust guys to step up. That’s how it is and there are no two ways around it. I stick by my statement. This whole argument is revisionist garbage so people can cast blame and feel like they’re smart because they know what went wrong.

    You are certainly allowed to have your opinion, as does everyone else, and this is mine.

  7. CDBrewer says:

    Hey Bunch,

    I will let this go, and really, I do not just agree with the basic sentiment of most second guessing being revisionist AND blame assessing, but I think these are MAJOR underlying societal ills. I do want to give a big “+” to the basic idea – even if I disagree with a narrow part of this example.

    Now we keep the faith and go get the big bully!!
    2/3 from Milwaukee and we will feel pretty good about life.

  8. pghboyinca says:

    I think Hurdle is a beath of fresh air following a guywho managed in a coma. His enthusiasm and fire are a welcome change as is his backing of his players.

    He was a hitting coach and has not been able to help these hiters, the bunting obsession is maddening, and I agree with D.K. that if you have a certtain mindset and refuse to deviate you miss oportunities to utilize him. I have seen countless situations where Mariano Rivera worked more than 1 inning or came into a tie game. How did that work out? I would rate him an above average closer , wouldn’t you?

    I give Hurdle a 7 out fo 10. He is really helped by the fact that he was replacing the worst manager in baseball.

  9. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sometimes people allow facts to help form, or inform, their opinion. Sometimes not.
    I agree with most of your comment up until right before “This whole argument is revisionist garbage so people can cast blame and feel like they’re smart because they know what went wrong.” My point was it isn’t “revisionist,” which either you don’t get or have a different definition than I do for “revisionist.”

  10. CDBrewer says:


    I have really gone around on how good I think Hurdle is – Is he a 10 given what he did with a bad franchise? Is he a 5 because all he is, is a rah-rah guy who bunts and can’t manage his best RP.
    Thank you, I REALLY was unable to come down the middle and accept both until you put a 7 on him. Maybe he is a 7 in a perfect storm for him – making him look better, but yep, 7.

  11. CDBrewer says:

    Braun isn’t starting tonight…resting him vs Cards to get him ready for us?

  12. Arriba Wilver says:

    And I think the main point about Hurdle is that the BMTIB, in this one instance, probably couldn’t have gotten it more right.

  13. LikeaBugonaRug says:

    Re: Obligatory vague Spirit player. If you want vague, go with Nathan Sacks. That guy was always good for a couple field goals per game. Wasn’t safe to be in the “E” section during his shots.

  14. Arriba Wilver says:

    CD–nah, probably because the Cards might throw at Ryan, and our guys won’t (since Karstens just pitched). :-)

  15. LikeaBugonaRug says:

    @PghBoy – comparing Hanrahan to Rivera is misguided. Two totally different types of pitchers.

    I think Hurdle would rather have his closer available for multiple games in a row for 1 inning than fewer games at multiple innings. And we don’t really know Hanrahan’s durability at this point, so I’d rather have him available for more games. Yes, I know, they can lose it in the 8th so there’d be no save for him in the 9th. But, what if you use him more and you blow games in the 9th because he’s not available? You know people would be screaming then, too.

    Same with the 7th inning. Big situation, bring him in. Fine. But then, who do you use in the 9th with bases loaded and no outs? As someone else mentioned, it’s up to the other players to perform in their roles. If they don’t, then it’s up to management to find better players. Of course, it’s also better if they all fail in one game rather than 1 fail tonight, someone else tomorrow, someone else the next night, etc… like they’ve been doing. Look at McCutchen. He was pitching lights out for awhile, Hurdle uses him in the 8th, and he gives up a couple runs. I forget if we were ahead or tied at the time, but we lost the game.

  16. CDBrewer says:


    It is up to others to perform up to their roles, but there are times – the 19 inning game, the 10 inning game the next day, the top of the 9th on the 1st of this month – when others have pitched well, and now we are resisting using the best pitcher for a situation that might not arrive.
    I don’t want to kill Hurdle on this, but the idea that Hanny might have been used a little more effectively over the past two weeks has to be more than just a second guess. If you have a great pinch hitter, you would save him for situations when he can either get you tied or close. When you have a great RP, sometimes the bullet needs to be used before the bottom of the last inning – especially when trailing at home or in an extra inning game.

    Your point is understood that some people would kill Hurdle no matter what when the players fail.

  17. pghboyinca says:

    The idea that Hanrahan has been used effectively the last 2 weks is a joke. He hasn’t pitched a meaningful inning in what 2 weeks? There are some times that if you don’t get a meaningful out in the the 9th inning of a tie game there won’t be a 10th inning. And Rivera and Hanarahan are both closers, Hanrahan throws harder but Rivera is not a knuckle ball pitcher. D.K. and some of the other posters on the board are not suggesting that he should be routinely used in the 6th inning or brought in down 2-3 runs. The thought is there are probably 2 situations a month where you can utilisze him for an extra out or an inning in a tie game to make sure you get at least another at bat. Especially in cases where the guy has thrown 2 innings in 8 days. Some of you act like suggesting he be utilized means bringing him in for long relief.

  18. CDBrewer says:

    Pghboy hit it on something else in this mess…he hasn’t been used in meaningful situations, but finished up a 9-2 game and an 11-6 game as two of his 4 appearances in the past 2 weeks.
    He actually has appeared in the wrong spots…

    But perhaps this horse is subterrainean from the beating it took.
    Players probably didn’t have any more fun…off day in Milwaukee is not the road city you are hoping to be free for.

  19. Happy G says:

    St. Louis just beat the Brewers 5-2.

  20. JoeBucco says:

    10 GB right now. 3 wins and we’re 7 GB. We need a sweep in the fiercest way.

    2 out of 3 still leaves us 9 out and you can stick a fork in us.

  21. JoeBucco says:

    @CD – as much as I hate the Brewers, I enjoy when I am in Milwaukee. Not a bad little city at all.

    And it sounds like a few of our guys went to the Wisconsin State Fair tonight, taking in a little Skid Row and Whitesnake tonight. And to think, I skipped out on that one to work late. Coulda worn my 52 jersey too. :)

  22. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:


    Revisionist: an adjective for someone who rejects traditionally held beliefs about a particular event or events

    Any person who blames the manager for a failure by a player is a revisionist. Hurdle can not throw pitches or hit pitches. Hurdle plays the tendencies and matchups as much as any manager I’ve seen. He puts his players in the best position he can. It’s up to them to succeed (especially when it comes to the bullpen and at the plate). If Joe Beimel’s job is to get one out then he should throw strikes and get that out. It wasn’t Hurdle’s fault for raising his left arm as walked out to the mound.

  23. JoeBucco says:

    Cool discovery I just made – I’m going to be on Boston for work in September and am hitting my first game at Fenway.

    Just found out it is Roberto Clemente Day at the park that day. Should feel right at home. :)

  24. JoeBucco says:

    @CD – also, would you mind changing your last name for the weekend? Just a karma thing, but CDPirate is how I think I’ll have to refer to you until Monday.

  25. Happy G says:

    @JoeBucco: I’m not sure I agree with the “not a bad little city at all” description of Milwaukee. I’ve lived in northern Illinois for the last five years and my opinion has evolved since I first moved here. My initial impression was the same as yours, not a bad city. It kind of has a Pittsburgh feel.

    Then there were the numerous Packers fans that bought NY Jets Favre jerseys because they were “Favre fans.”

    Then there was a drunk Brewers fan cussing my dad and I out a few years ago during a Pirates/Brewers game. I turned around and politely told him that there were kids around so he should watch his language.

    Then I witnessed the debauchery that is a Cubs/Brewers game in Miller Park.

    Then a Packers fan asked me two years ago if I was upset the Flyers lost the Stanley Cup to the Blackhawks. People in Wisconsin think Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are 2 hours apart and we cheer for any team in our state.

    Then there was the Packers fan in a full Favre jersey that looked at a replay of the Super Bowl in Sams Club and said “did Favre just hit a home run?”

    I could go on.

    I love two things about Milwaukee, the Miller Brewery tour and the Harley Davidson tour. Both are worth seeing.

    The one thing I love about Wisconsin that is a little further south is the Mars Cheese Castle. For those Pirates fans that drove, it’s worth stopping at on the way home. They just built a new facility that opened in April and it offers excellent sandwiches. It’s on the west side of 94 about 10 miles north of the border with Illinois.

  26. Happy G says:

    On a side note, I will be attending the game tomorrow. I’ve always enjoyed seeing the diehards in past years that made the trip despite the Bucco’s record. I’ve given away many IC Lights to them if they walk by my car on the way into the game.

  27. Happy G says:

    Just saw that Jerricho Cotchery signed with the Steelers.

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