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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Pirates 2, Diamondbacks 1


Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (4-7) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (7-4)

Time: 3:40 p.m.

Site: Chase Field, Phoenix

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here is the live box score. Rob Biertempfel loves these afternoon getaway games.

And here is the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Clint Barnes, SS
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Case McGehee, 1B
  6. Garrett Jones, RF
  7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  8. Michael McKenry, C
  9. James McDonald, RHP


  1. JAL says:

    Another player to try in the 2 spot, can’t be any worse than Tabata has been

  2. Baywatch says:

    And it’s kind of “shades of Freddy” again with Barmes there. I say that, not to say he’s as good a hitter as Freddy, just that Bay Jr. and I have noticed how he does that little always-off-balance, try-to-drop-a-filet-of-fish-into right field thing a lot. And, as you say, could NOT be any worse than Tabata right now.

  3. If Barmes is batting 2nd, it allows him to bunt the lead-off hitter over . . . . . . . thus making his inevitable out at least productive.

    However, I still feel more comfortable with him in the field than “Frequently-Taking-A-Walkabout” Cedeno.

  4. JAL or Dejan,

    Any word on when Lincoln arrives this afternoon——in time to be used if needed in today’s game? Bullpen went 8 yesterday!

  5. Milo Hamilton says:


    Ronny just threw one into the 3rd row in Atlanta.

  6. Milo {not the terrible and non-laconic baseball announcer},

    I can picture it fondly!

  7. JAL says:


    He will be there and in the pen. Correia can also pitch an inning or two if needed.

  8. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    JAL- Can you please go back to the “ants marching” phrase so I’m not posting in another blog when everybody is somewhere else?! LOL.

    I too like Barmes in the 2nd hole and pulling a Jay Bell impersonation and bunting Presley over when he singles.

  9. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Ronny finished 2nd in Gold Glove standings last year…….I guess the writers really don’t watch the Pirates play at all.

  10. NMR says:

    In spirit of the article JAL posted this morning on changing the conventional Bullpen, would a Jmac/Lincoln starting combo really be that crazy?

    Lincoln hasn’t been able to stick as a conventional starter and I’m assuming the thought is to keep trying him in that role to maximize value, buuuuuut if the team could use him for 3 innings once a week, why not?

  11. JAL says:


    Glad you read that, thought it was an interesting article.

  12. JohninOshkosh says:

    Barmes batting second should be interesting. The 8 spot in the NL can be one of the harder slots to hit from, so maybe this will jump start him a bit.

    That is 2 days in a row Tabata hasn’t started. I might be the last person left that still thinks he is a quality major leaguer sure has a nice swing. Hurdle likes to trot out the different lineups.

  13. gregenstein says:

    @JAL – “Another player to try in the 2 spot, can’t be any worse than Tabata has been”
    Barmes has a lower BA and OBP than even Tabata, so it is very possible.

  14. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Pitchers are also less likely to give Barmes better pitches in the 2 hole, they’d rather face Cutch with nobody on that with a man on….not that they’ve really had to pitch around him, unless he’s been chasing alot.

  15. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Presley walks to start the game….do they bunt him over? if he doesn’t steal the base he should.

  16. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    and he steals second..

  17. Milo Hamilton says:

    I also read Verducci’s story about the bullpens. It just goes back to what I’ve been saying for years – babying these guys arms isn’t working. I’m reminded of this as I see Cole & Taillon throwing 4 inning starts.

  18. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Get em on, get over, get em in…… 101

  19. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Presley to 3rd, 1 out.

  20. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Cutch walks……..I like this pitcher for the Dbacks

  21. Milo Hamilton says:

    Melancholy happy trails – Dick Clark has died. RIP.

  22. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Walker grounds into double play to kill the 1st inning…….bummer, 8 pitch AB to end that way, my question, why does Cutch not steal that base?? He seems scared to steal, no aggression.

  23. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Bloomquist triples to open the bottum half for AZ. sweet

  24. MrB says:

    Agreed, why isn’t Cutch running on the first pitch in that situation? If they throw, Presley can break for home. If not it’s two men in scoring position that score on Walker’s hard grounder up the middle.

    Bad luck there with a big assist to our coaching for not doing the obvious to avoid it.

  25. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    A Hill lines out to 2nd. Bloomquist still at 3rd.

  26. Milo Hamilton says:

    James McDonald never met a full count he didn’t like.

  27. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    MrB- This isn’t little league. That play doesn’t work in the big leagues. They dont usually steal on first pitch because its generally a fastball. They try to run on a offspeed count but, 8 pitches and no attempt?

  28. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Jason Kubel hits one up the gut, scores Bloomquist…

    This is going to be scary.

  29. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Montero walks, runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out….yikes

  30. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    And back to work I go……….Let’s go Bucs……..ehh, I’m afraid to see what the score will be when I get back.

  31. Baywatch says:

    I’m no expert, but it seems to me that JMac’s mechanics are ALL messed up. I watched the sequence on all the hitters he faced. He got ahead on their leadoff hitter Bloomquist, then lost him playing around with spots. By the end of the inning, it seemed he was just “throwing” instead of pitching. His left leg looked funny, like he was aiming. Again, no expert. My impression is JMac gets fairly psyched on the negative side out there sometimes.

  32. JohninOshkosh says:

    Suddenly, I feel like a salad at BK. Don’t know why.

  33. JAL says:


    Not lower by a significant amount

  34. JAL says:


    Mac doesn’t trust his pitches, the mental part of the game. I talked to Tony Clark about the mental part of the game for the article I wrote.

  35. MrB says:

    Any play can work at any level…especially with speed involved. We see examples of it in the playoffs every year when the stakes are highest. The Pirates have nothing to lose.

    Speedsters steal on the first pitch often and for the record, Cutch did attempt on every 3-2 offering in that AB, which is why the SS was parked at 2nd for Walker’s “hit”.

    Better things to do…

  36. Milo Hamilton says:

    Can’t wait to get on the plane, can they ?

  37. Cave Bonifield says:


    For the week ending 4/15

    POSITION- Honorable mentions go to SS DREW MAGGI at Bradenton (10-28) .357, 5 runs, 2 doubles, 6 RBI, 4 SB and RF GREGORY POLANCO at West Virginia (10-27) .370, 7 runs, 4 HR, 11 RBI. This week’s winner is:
    ALEN HANSON, 2B, West Virginia – Alen is a 5’11”, 19 year old, RHB, who was signed as a NDFA out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. Hitting in every game last week, he compiled some of the best weekly numbers that I can remember over the past few years. For the week he batted .467 (14-30) scoring 9 runs, with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 walks and 2 stolen bases.

    STARTER – Honorable mentions go to HUNTER STRICKLAND at Bradenton, (2-0) 11 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K’s and BRANDON CUMPTON at Altoona, (0-0) 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s. This week’s winner is:
    NATHAN BAKER, Altoona – Nathan appeared on this list a few times last year. He is a 6’3”, 24 year old LHP who was signed out of Ole Miss in the 5th round (145th overall) in 2009. For the week, Nathan went 1-0 with 6 IP, allowing 2 hits, 0 ER, 3 BB and 1 K.

    RELIEVER – Honorable mentions go to TIM ALDERSON at Altoona, 2 G, 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K’s, and DANIEL McCUTCHEN at Indy, 2 G, 5 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s. This week’s winner is:
    JOSH POYTRESS, West Virginia – Josh is a 6’2”, 21 year old, LHP that was signed in the 18th round (542 overall) out of Fresno State in 2011. For the week, Josh appeared in 2 games going (1-0) with 7.1 IP, allowing 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB and 8 K’s

    Congratulations to this week’s winners.

    Last week’s winners this week:

    POSITION – JEFF CLEMENT, Indy – For the week, Jeff batted .429 (9-21) with 2 doubles, 4 RBI and 5 walks.

    STARTER – BRAD LINCOLN, Indy – For the week, Brad had no decisions with 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB and 3 K’s.

    RELIEVER – KYLE COFIELD, Altoona – For the week, Kyle appeared in 2 games with 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 2 K’s.

  38. JohninOshkosh says:

    Keep wondering if any of Root Sports shots of Bucco fans are of our fearless man in the field, JRay.

  39. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    *** TV Personality Dick Clark has died of a massive heart attack this morning.

    He was 82…

  40. NMR says:


    “Babying” pitchers may not be “working”(as defined by preventing all injuries), but haven’t we already seen how the old school “send em out there til his arm falls off” is just as, if not more, incorrect?

    And you can’t use freaks like Nolan Ryan and Justin Verlander to dispute that point. For every one of those there are thousands of guys who don’t make it past high school because Daddy had them pitching on three different teams in Little League.

    At some point, people are just going to have to accept that throwing a baseball overhand is an unatural body movement. It’s going to cause injuries.

  41. Milo Hamilton says:


    I’ve never heard of strengthening any part of the body by using it less.

  42. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ve got a great idea for an endorsement for Cutch. The Andrew McCutchen Anchor. Keeps that little leaguer in your family right there at 1st base so you know where he is at all times.

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    They just mentioned on the telecast that former Bucco pitcher Blas Minor is a fire chief in Chandler AZ. I sure hope he does a better job putting out fires now than he did coming out of the Pirate bullpen. Blas Minor Leaguer, indeed.

  44. NMR says:


    Right. Every pitcher should be on a thousand pitch a day regimen.

    That oughta do it.

  45. Milo Hamilton says:


    That’s all you got ?

  46. 4 innings today after the 1 last night. The bullpen is going to be tired for the homestand – day off or not.

  47. JohninOshkosh says:

    For the life of me, I have no idea what sideline “reporters” add to a telecast.

  48. NMR says:


    There’s a fat check with your name on it if you can figure out how to prevent pitchers injuries.

    Something tells me people smarter than you have ruled out the ole boys way of thinking.

    My stance is that there is no answer. It’s not a natural movement. There will always be injuries.

    I do beleive that arm injuries are caused more from maximum stress than overuse. How many times has Tim Wakefield been on the DL? He can throw 200 picthes every five days but Evan Meek throws 15 every two nights and ends up on the bench.

  49. JAL says:


    Nothing, in any sport, sideline reporters add nothing.

  50. They seem to be falling into the same old story of having finally gotten 13 hits one night to come back the next day or night and not get much of anything. I know it may have been only a start or two, but Hudson must have been crushed in his previous starts to have an 8+ ERA before meeting our Buccos. Lets go HITS!!!

  51. That’s what he should do with a 2-0 pitch in the zone. Tie ballgame at 1.

  52. Milo Hamilton says:


    On bullpens specifically, I think you’re seeing such a rash of injuries the last couple years because guys are trying to do the same things they were doing while they were juicing. The body just recovered faster on that stuff. You’ll notice that most of the guys that baseball suspended have been relievers.

  53. Baywatch says:


  54. twentytwo22 says:

    Pirates better win this game.

  55. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Mr.B- Not all plays work at every level.

    Ok, you got me on the 3-2 attempts, I’m not watching the game. Cutch should’ve been running before a 3-2 count though.

  56. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Wait, Wait, Wait………Pedro HR’d?


  57. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Milo- Another thing to add to your perspective is a lot of the pitching programs have gotten away from long toss. An age old way of strengthening the arm.

  58. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    And I believe this is why Lincoln was brought in.

    Anyone else thinking that maybe JMac will get moved to the BP when Burnett comes back?

    The way Corriea has pitched he deserves to stay in the rotation.

  59. Milo Hamilton says:


    That’s exactly what Tim Alderson blamed for his drop in velocity after he came to the Pirates system. They won’t let their guys long toss over 150 feet. I think that’s the number, somebody please correct me if I’m wrong. He went back to his high school coach the last couple off seasons, ramped up his long tossing to 200 feet and is slowly gaining it back.

  60. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Can The Fort be an everyday catcher??

  61. NMR says:

    @milo – now that’s a theory that has legs. Never thought of it like that.

    I’ve always been hesitant to throw all the steriod era batting records in the garbage because I think just as many pitchers were using at the time.

    But that’s a topic for another day…

  62. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Exactly what made me think of it. I know Nolan Ryan was a huge advocate for the long toss.

  63. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    2 outs top of the 8th.

    Barmes singles

    Cutch singles.

    1st and 2nd

  64. Milo Hamilton says:

    Here’s the Alderson story, thanks Tim Williams. The distance is 120 feet. As the story says, some guys throw longer than that, Gerrit Cole & Jameson Taillon are mentioned. Sounds like guys with big time agents bring their own throwing program along. It’s a great read.

  65. Eric Bowser says:

    did THAT just drop in?

    A gift RBI single for Neil Walker, Pirates up 2-1… take them any way we can get it.

  66. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Walker comes through in the clutch!!

    singles to RF, scores Barmes, Cutch to 3rd

  67. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I read a lot of the Pirates Prospects articles, probably where I thought of that to.

    Very good read

    I always heard 120 ft

  68. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    McGehee pops out……end of the inning…

  69. JAL says:

    pirates Prospects articles usually the single largest unit in the morning links, average 5 to 7 articles a day.

  70. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Resop, really?

  71. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    JAL- And all done very well. I follow them on FB as they post the articles.

  72. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Is Hammer available today?

    DK: No. Friday.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:


    The guess is – not available until Friday at least.

  74. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Thanks DK…….Did I miss what’s wrong with him?

  75. Milo Hamilton says:

    A lower body injury.

  76. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Ok, thanks….totally missed that.

  77. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Nice job by Watson…more and more impressed with him as he pitches. Just wish I could watch the game today..

    Stupid work!

  78. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh boy, here comes the bottom of 91

  79. JohninOshkosh says:


  80. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    lol….and Lyle Overbay is in the hole.

  81. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Need a ground ball!

  82. Milo Hamilton says:


  83. JAL says:

    Pen did the job today.

  84. twentytwo22 says:

    After all our angst the Pirates are 1 win from .500 in 12 games. I’ll take it.

  85. JRay3 says:

    @ Johninoshkosh – that would have been sweet to make the Root broadcast, my dream job is to replace Tim Neveret!

    Well I will certainly take witnessing a series win! That is two series wins for the club in the first four so maybe the sky is not falling quite yet. There is nothing better than going into an off day riding a victory, I can savor the thrill a little longer. On to the good and bad.

    The Good – Made Daniel Hudson work in the first as he threw nearly 30 pitches, but double play halted any scoring. Pedro Alvarez, a timely HR to say the least, after Hudson had settled we could muster next to nothing until Alvarez took a rising pitch and belted it out. Back to back days putting good swings together I will take it. After hitting into two DP’s, Neil Walker finds no mans land in the Bermuda Triangle for the game-winning RBI. Cutch continues to be all everything for the club. How about Brad Lincoln getting to the park early and being thrust into action and giving the team three solid innings with very good command to earn the win. Actually looking forward to his start now on Tuesday. Tony Watson is about as calm and cool a pitcher I have seen and makes me miss Javier Lopez less and less, a critical ground ball induced double play in the 8th. And how about Juan Cruz earning his second save in as many days, even if he reminds me of the old guy pitcher from the movie Major League that had grease on his arms and files in his pockets to throw anything he could to the batters. Nice work filling in for the Hammer!

    The Bad – It reached the mid 90’s and was hot, how about closing the roof for this one? JMac, a pitch count soaring inning after inning can not be the recipe for wanting to be out in the field with him struggling to throw strikes. Could he possibly be the odd man out in the rotation when Burnett re-joins the club? Other than that not too much to harp about on getaway day.

    Anytime you can witness a series win against a very good team I will take it. The last few days have been a blast and many of the guys on this team are very friendly and good spirited which makes rooting them on even more enjoyable. Here’s hoping as they head back home to friendly confines we can focus on some home series wins versus the Cardinals and Rockies! And whoever said it earlier was spot on 5-7 is a whole lot better than 4-8….Let’s Go Bucs!

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