Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Twins 11, Pirates 6


Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (8-16) vs. Minnesota Twins, Grapefruit League

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.

Radio: 93.7 The Fan,

Here is the live box score. Rob Biertempfel is on the scene.

And here is the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Josh Harrison, SS
  3. Jose Tabata, RF
  4. Casey McGehee, 3B
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Nate McLouth, CF
  7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  8. Michael McKenry, C
  9. James McDonald, RHP


  1. Finally, Neal Huntington has figured out a way to cut down on Pedro’s errors——put two guys on 3B!!

  2. Looks like Bucs are playing for the tie today——with that lineup “they shore ain’t goin’ fer the WIN!!”

  3. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Thank God. Baseball talk. Enough of the blog design. They can win this, Groat. Remember, McDonald pitched well his last outing and even into the uncharted waters of the 7th inning. Might be 2-1, but they can win!

  4. JoeBucco says:

    McGehee at 3B? Freudian slip, DK?

  5. Kentuck Knob,

    It’s not McDonald’s pitching I’m worried about . . . . . it’s the Bucs catching the balls hit off JMac.

    This looks like the old “Sunday Lineups” that were regulars when John Russell was manager. The joys of Spring Training . . . . . . .

  6. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Good point(s).

  7. radio wave says:

    Already they’re running on McKenry. I thought he did pretty good back there last year. it’s beginning to feel like Doumit Jr. now.

  8. radio wave says:

    Twins take 1-0 lead on ground out to third.

  9. radio wave says:

    There are 2 out, pitching coach at the mound. He’s throwing a lot of pitcches, already walked two.

  10. radio wave says:

    No more damage, remains 1-0 after 1/2 inning.

  11. LuckyNKentucky says:

    There goes the shutout. Still has the no-hitter intact. JAL will love those 3 walks in the first inning.

  12. Black n Gold (not yellow) says:

    The overwhelming majority of stolen bases are the fault of the pitcher or a result of the jump by the baserunner which is, coincidently, usually the fault of the pitcher for not keeping the runner close. The catcher can only get the ball to the base so fast. Honestly, where do people come up with this stuff?

  13. radio wave says:

    Black and Gold:
    Point well taken.
    But there is a stat for catchers called caught stealing percentage, and Doumit’s was low.
    So there is some validity, in some circumstances when fault is with the catcher.

  14. JoeBucco says:

    Could also be because the runner is freakishly fast, as Revere is.

  15. JohninOshkosh says:

    I understand, but do not like, the reasons for ESPN regularly showing Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago during the regular season. Higher ratings means more dollars from deodorant companies and more dollars from deodorant companies pay better salaries to executives and increase stock and company values.

    But in preseason, it would be nice, when ratings are minuscule anyways, for ESPN to televise someone other than the aforementioned teams. I love MLB network, who broadcasts many more teams, but, sometimes I get sick of DVRing teams like the Pirates when they are occasionally showed at midnight.

  16. JohninOshkosh says:

    Is it for sure that Halladay is starting the opener. Does Manuel go righty lefty lefty with his 1-2-3 or lefty-righty-lefty?

  17. radio wave says:

    With two runners on, base hit by Walker ties it.

  18. Barajas had a worse “caught stealing” % than Doumit last season.

    Neil Walker with a ribbie! Dejan might not believe in RBI as a stat, but I DO!! Especially with 2 outs!

  19. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    Halliday, Lee, Hamel, Kendrick. That’s their order.

  20. Milo Hamilton says:

    Actually Vance Worley is pitching the Sunday game in Pittsburgh & Hamels pitches the Phils home opener.

  21. Black n Gold (not yellow) says:

    Radio Wave

    Caught Stealing percentage doesn’t differentiate between good throws, bad throws, pitch type, pitch location, runner lead, etc. It’s only a record of the success rate of the runner. It does become slightly more telling the longer that a catcher plays because some catchers can, somewhat, make up for pitchers who are weak at holding runners. To really understand a catcher’s ability to get the ball to second or third base, you need a stopwatch.

  22. radio wave says:

    Interesting you mentioned Worley. he got bombed yesterday, after being perfect against the Bucs. McDonald isn’t the only inconsistant pitcher, but to listen to Blass today, you would never know it. Blass is really annoyed.

  23. Milo Hamilton says:


    Steve is thinking ahead to that 18 hour drive home.

  24. LuckyNKentucky says:

    So much for a 2-1 game. 5 walks and a home run in 2 innings. Great.

  25. JohninOshkosh says:

    Even Blass is questioning Pete’s mental state.

  26. JAL says:

    McDonald, Karstens, and Correia give up a lot of homers. The walks more troubling than the homer.

  27. JohninOshkosh says:

    How about J Mac for third base?

  28. Thanks, Milo, for correcting me about Phils announced rotation. Pirates get a real break not facing another lefthander, especially tough-guy Hamels.

    Pedro making progress——took him 4 pitches to strike out.

    Keep throwing him out there: there is no other choice.

  29. radio wave says:

    isn’t it interesting how Pirates management uses the broadcasters to send little messages to the public about roster decisions. Brown commenting that it is almost assured that Harrison will make the squad. Really, in st his bat is ahead of his glove.

  30. Milo Hamilton says:

    Steve’s been there.

    Just speaking from the team standpoint, can you imagine the sense of relief if they just bite the bullet & send Pedro down ? I can’t help but think that this whole thing is hanging over the team like a dark cloud. He does not belong in the major leagues right now. I’m not giving up on him & neither should they. But having that hot mess in the everyday lineup is not fair to the rest of the team.

  31. JohninOshkosh says:

    Do you think the consecutive losing streak weighs heavily on the FO? It might be healthy for FO to just say that, though the heavens fall, Pedro will be our third baseman? Other organizations, with less warts, could say that, and hope that it rights the kid mentally. But with their roster, history and brutal April schedule, the Pirates do not have the luxury to say, or even do that, with Pedro, lest watch their season disappear in April.

  32. Milo Hamilton says:

    And another thing. The fans have been pretty understanding with Pedro so far. Some boos sure. But this could turn real ugly, real fast.

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    God help him, if he looks at strike 3 in his first AB. I, for one, never boo. But I won’t be at PNC for the opener.

  34. JohninOshkosh says:

    Kent Hrbek has an outdoors show (hunting and fishing) that they show around here. Lets just say he isn’t missing any meals.

  35. Jandy says:

    Milo, what happens if his teammates get fed up?

  36. Milo Hamilton says:


    Frankly, his teammates should be fed up. That’s what happens on good teams. It would be refreshing.

  37. Jandy says:

    Well, I didn’t want to look silly. But if I were Hague and some of the other guys, I’d be friggin furious. It’s high time someone spoke up, someone who can…like maybe McCutcheon. He doesn’t have much to lose. This is riduculous!

  38. Jandy says:

    I mean, they’re working their tails off to improve and make the team, and PA is basically given a free pass. Baloney!

  39. JohninOshkosh says:


    I once warned you about the Pirates. It’s already happening. Your blood pressure is skyrocketing:)

  40. Milo Hamilton says:


    That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Nothing needs to be said publicly. That’s what the locker room is for. But that’s the issue with such a young team. The lack of veteran leadership. And it can’t be forced either.

    Think of a similar situation in the Penguins or Steelers locker room. Do you think Pedro wouldn’t have had a talking to by now ? I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but the odds are low with such a vacuum in the leadership department. And I’m not talking about fly by night Doug Mientkiewicz leadership. I mean “been there done that” James Farrior leadership.

  41. JohninOshkosh says:

    Do I get a prize for continuing to listen to this game?

  42. radio wave says:

    This has gotten ugly.

  43. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I’m a D-Mac fan, but, like DK said, he hasn’t shown much and Leroux has no options left either. Might be syonara, adios, Feliz Navade or whatever for Daniel. Hope he clears and goes to Indy.

  44. NMR says:

    Milo on number #30 said it perfectly: relief.

    I highly doubt the other teamates are angry. Baseball is an incredibly hard and humbling game. Every one of them have been in Pedro’s shoes at some point, yet none of them have had the intense pressure he’s dealing with.

    I haven’t heard a single claim or even rumor that he’s a bad teamate or person. This isn’t a case of Derek Bell and his yacht.

    If anything, I think the team would benefit from not having Pedro out there everyday for Pedro’s sake. None of them want to see him fail, either.

  45. NMR says:


    What exactly would a veteran leader say to Pedro?

    You can’t out hustle a curveball.

  46. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Did I read that wrong or did Pedro get a hit? Opposite field, too. Was it a bloop, a seeing-eye single or a solidly struck rocket to left? Gameday says a “sharp fly ball” which makes no sense.

  47. Jandy says:

    Milo, thanks for the input, I appreciate it, and I’m taking it all in…from ALL you guys :)

    Lucky ~ hey, if YOU get a prize I want one too!

    I better go see the doc about blood pressure pills ;)

  48. Jandy says:

    John, yes you DID warn me, and I failed to listen, now I must pay the price…
    where is my doctor’s phone number?

  49. Bizrow says:

    I heard Pedro singled off the left field wall.

  50. Milo Hamilton says:


    How about this, and I think it means more coming from a fellow player:

    Pedro, you have all the talent in the world. I wish I had half as much talent as you have. You’ve proven it. You tore up college, you tore up the minor leagues & you knocked the cover off the ball when you 1st got here. Now I have no idea what’s going on with you, but whatever it is it’s all in your head. And whatever it is, it’s time you leave it outside those doors because it’s starting to affect what we do in here. We’re here for you, brother, whatever you need. But this “stuff” has to stop and it stops now. Starting today the old Pedro is back. Whatever you have to do to get your mind right, I suggest you do it in the next 5 minutes because we’re not waiting on you anymore.

    This is a family blog so I left out some words. Besides, I don’t want Lucky mad at me.

  51. JAL says:


    Daniel McCutchen does not have to clear anything unless they DFA him. He has options

  52. Jandy says:

    Milo, hhh..that’s way nicer than I would be…gotta give you some credit ;)

  53. NMR says:


    That makes for great print, but do you really think that works in baseball?

    If thats the case, then Steve Blass has a bone to pick with whoever the clubhouse leader was in his day.

  54. JohninOshkosh says:

    This game is so bad, Steve Blass is talking about him and teammates raising hell and getting action 50 years ago in Daytona. Ear Muffs, Lucky

  55. Milo Hamilton says:


    I never say it would work. Just grasping at straws here.

  56. Jandy says:

    A few cuss words now and then does everyone good.

    NMR, I see your point, but this PA fiasco has gone beyond ridiculous.
    This isn’t the little league where everyone gets a chance to bat. Isn’t this a case of PA needing to put up or get out? I mean, c’mon. Some of these guys are busting their tails…for what? To watch Pedro get a free ride?

  57. NMR says:

    The come-to-Jesus speach works for guys in muscle sports. James Farrior could conceivably set Lawrence Timmons head straight and get him focussed on executing the game plan.

    I don’t believe it works in finesse sports. I’d love to be proven wrong.

    Again, show me the first sign that Pedro isn’t trying or doesn’t care and I’ll eat my words.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:


    Bringing a little hockey mentality. I like it.

  59. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think Ted Williams said that the hardest thing in sports is hitting a round ball with a round bat.

  60. Jandy says:

    NMR, maybe these guys are humoring me a little bit here, but darnit, if I were one of the guys trying to get a roster spot, and saw the special treatment PA is getting, I’d be ticked. Period.
    OK, female rant done ;)

  61. Jandy says:

    Milo, I work with a lot of men…gotta have that hockey mentality at times lol

  62. LuckyNKentucky says:


    That’s good news to me. Thanks. Someone said this morning he was willing to go to AAA. I’d say he’s probably punched his ticket.

    Did Pedro really single off the left field wall? He had a runner in front of him, so it’s not inconceivable.


    I’d say Blass’s memory, along with some other things, are waning.

  63. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–I agree with your overall approach to Pedro. What I’ve been thinking is they should bring in a hitting instructor, especially and solely, for him. And then get a retired pitcher who still can throw a mean breaking ball, and just work with him. Don’t care what level, AAA, AA, whatever. But this “experiment” to have him fix the problems at the MLB level just seems doomed to fail. Hope I’m wrong about that last part, but I just can’t see it.

  64. Jandy says:

    Speaking of hockey…Brent Johnson was sucking up the rink with his back up goaltending. Brad Thiessen was called up and played 3 games so far.
    So, why does PA get al the breaks? Maybe comparing apples to oranges…but really…from a fan’s standpoint it makes management look pretty bad.

  65. NMR says:

    Fair enough, Milo. Trust me, I’m out of ideas.

    Jandy – What exactly is Pedro to do? Quit? His GM and Manager are penciling his name on the card. What in the world would getting in his face accomplish?

    And don’t get caught up in the media circus. It’s only Spring Training. There was a time, long before live-tweeting of ever at-bat, when a Spring Training report before the start of the season might be all you’d hear of this. To call this a fiasco is a bit of hyperbole.

    Now come June, if the situation doesn’t improve, thats another story.

  66. Jandy says:

    AW, you speak wisely. And not only does this experiment seemed doomed to fail, it’s making a lot of people (management etc) look terrible. And it has to be creating bad feelings in the dugout.

  67. Milo Hamilton says:


    Expect Brent Johnson to start tomorrow in Buffalo.

  68. Jandy says:

    NMR, it was pointed out several times, this isn’t something “new” for PA. He’s consistently not doing well at this level. But yeah, ok. See how it goes. I hope come June, PA *IS* doing better. Heck, I hope he’s batting a mean streak. I just have a gut feeling he won’t be.

  69. Jandy says:

    Milo, I was expecting that when he went on the trip with the team. I hope he does play and I hope he’s out of his funk.

  70. Jandy says:

    Looks like Revere is getting a good bit of fielding practice.

  71. NMR says:

    Speaking of hockey, do you think Brooks Orpik got in James Neals face last season when he was brought in to be a scoring winger and didn’t, you know, score?

    Was Joe Vitale po’d because he was left off the post season roster?

    Maybe I’m playing the devils advocate, but I’d be shocked if anyone who’s actually been in Pedro’s shoes would recommend tough love treatment.

    The kid looks lost out there.

  72. Jandy says:

    HA! PA Strikes out swinging. ::sigh::

  73. JohninOshkosh says:

    Nicely said, NMR. Hard to struggle in the internet era. Would Willie Mays have become a HOF’er if playing today. Yes, but the start of his career would have been a different story. And, no, I am not comparing PA to the great Mays.

  74. Jandy says:

    NMR is the “kid” is lost, he needs sent home. Meaning down…to find himself. Playing lost with the big boys likely won’t help. But that’s just an opinion, and I don’t get paid to coach the team. So I guess we’ll have to go with the flow and see how things are in June. =)
    Don’t mind me, sometimes I get…frustrated I guess.
    The hockey parallel isn’t quite fair either. James Neal had to learn a whole new system to play with his teammates. I feel he did rather well overall, even if he didn’t score a lot.
    PA isn’t learning anything new.

  75. Milo Hamilton says:


    If he’s so fragile that he can’t handle a good stern talking to, then he’s never going to make it.

  76. NMR says:

    Don’t get me wrong, Jandy. I’m not saying Pedro deserves to be the 3rd baseman.

    We’re talking about solutions, not problems. The problems are well known.

    I don’t claim to know what to do with Pedro(although I agree with Arriba), but having played a shred of baseball, I know that verbally reprimanding him won’t help recognize a curveball.

    I guess at this point, I’m sympathizing with the guy. Call me soft or whatever, but Pedro is the one who has to sleep at night knowing that he’s obviously failing.

  77. Jandy says:

    LOL if nothing else I stirred up some good debate. Thanks for indulging me, guys. I gotta get some work done. later!

  78. NMR says:


    I don’t care if Pedro can handle a talking to, I care if it would make him hit a curveball. I’ve yet to see any evidence of this. If not, then what good would it do?

  79. NMR says:

    Amen, Jandy. Have a good one!

  80. Jandy says:

    OK I caught NMR’s last reply. So, one more…I didn’t quite mean to reprimand PA, I meant to reprimand the powers that be. I realize that’s like treason, but heck, the kid isn’t cutting it. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for PA too. It has to be embarassing as heck to have issues the way he is. I guess there isn’t an easy button to push. Thanks again, guys :)

  81. Milo Hamilton says:


    Or swinging through 88 mph fastballs. Equally alarming.

  82. radio wave says:

    This has turned into New Britain vs. Altoona, that’s enough for today.

  83. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–I was waiting for the fastball thing, but here’s my logic (such as it is and I don’t know what I’m talking about), if he can fix the breaking ball problem, the fastball problem will take care of itself. He can hit a ball a LOONNNGGG way if he catches up to it. No doubt. I think, again with no knowledge, he’s missing the fastballs because he’s so messed up on what to do with the breaking balls. Fix the breaking balls, he’s golden. That’s the theory, anyway.

  84. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Another hit for Pedro. Average is up to .171.

  85. NMR says:

    Arriba said it better than I could.

    Pedro Alvarez can hit an 88 mph fastball.

    Pedro Alvarez can’t hit an 88 mph fastball when he’s worried about just being able to get a bat on a curveball.

    As much as saying Pedro’s probems are all mental is a blanket cure-all for his woes, the real fix is going to be mechanical. The dude is just a trainwreck in the box.

    I’d rather see this be rock bottom instead of reverting back to just being able to hit 88 mph fastballs. Rip his swing down and build it back up.

  86. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think we’re all in agreement here, it’s all in his head.

  87. NMR says:

    And yeah, I know my defense of Pedro Alvarez basically sounds like this:

    Don’t judge me.

  88. Bizrow says:

    Hitters can look like your grandmother swinging and then all of a sudden you can’t get them out.

    Not saying its gonna happen, but that is baseball.

  89. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Natinals have signed Zachary Duke. And the Orioles have DFA’d Dana Eveland. I always thought he had an interesting 4 pitch mix.

  90. Milo, re: Eveland

    There you go, joking again!

  91. Arriba Wilver says:

    My grandmother had a mean swing. Oh . . . we’re talking baseball again. Sorry.

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 Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News