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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Rockies 2, Pirates 1, Game 1


Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game 1, doubleheader: Pirates (7-9) vs. Colorado Rockies (8-8)

Time: 12:35 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here is the live box score. Rob Biertempfel has asked if we can play two.

And here is the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Jose Tabata, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, C
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Casey McGehee, 1B
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  7. Clint Barmes, SS
  8. Michael McKenry, C
  9. James McDonald, RHP


  1. Thundercrack says:

    If I’m Hurdle, I have Andrew McCutchen stand on the on-deck circle every inning.

  2. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think power rankings are relatively useless, but this is too good to let go by. Sports Illustrated has decided to base their MLB power rankings this year on WAR, the opium of the sabermetric masses.

    This week coming in at #7 are the Kansas City Royals. That’s right, the 3-14 Kansas City Royals currently riding an 11 game losing streak.

  3. Naterosboro says:

    Anyone know the key to sweeping a doubleheader?

  4. NMR says:

    Once again, Milo, you spout inaccuracies in a post on WAR ratings.

    The Royals are riding a 12 game losing streak, not 11. :)

  5. Milo Hamilton says:


    Thanks. You’re my filter on these things.

  6. Marty says:

    Looks like Neil Walker will be playing pretty deep to cover the whole side of the infield alone. jk, go bucs.

  7. JRay3 says:

    @ Naterosboro – I have one key…make sure you win game one!

  8. JRay3 says:

    Jared Hughes recalled today to be the 26th player on the roster due to the DH being scheduled 48 hours in advance. A little surprised that we did not add a LH to the pen with 18 innings scheduled today and too have available for a situational play.

    Key to game one can James McDonald get his pitch count down, if not could be another quick hook with Brad Lincoln pretty fresh and ready to throw some innings.

    Let’s go Bucs!

  9. gregenstein says:

    @Naterosboro – “Anyone know the key to sweeping a doubleheader?”
    Scoring more runs than the opposition in both games.

    Now that the obligatory sarcastic comment is out of the way, it’s no different than winning a single game. You just have to do it twice, which is easier said than done.

    I hope the lineup Dejan posted is not the one Hurdle turned in. Who’s on 1st??

  10. gregenstein says:

    I like having a power hitting catcher too, but I hardly think playing 2 guys behind the plate is the best idea.


    Don’t have to worry abut Martin and Michalik . . . . . . . . don’t have to worry that Mike Wallace’s IQ is lower than his catch total (Dejan: Wallace is acting so stupid that you will probably have to translate “No Mas!” for him) . . . . . . . . don’t have to worry about the health of the Power quarterback (I know that’s a hot topic right now!) . . . . . . . . don’t even have to worry about the “Temporary Inconvenience—Permanent Improvement” status of this presently so-slow and disorganized site.

    The Pirates are going to take care of my day as they put it to Jim “let me tell you how my Dodgers used to do it” Tracy.

    The Drive To Five {hundred}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Jandy says:

    “I hope the lineup Dejan posted is not the one Hurdle turned in. Who’s on 1st??”
    I dunno…THIRD BASE!

    Had to ;)

    Milo and NMR ~ you guys are rollin’ right along!

  13. Jandy says:

    GROAT! It’s so nice to see you happy =)

  14. Hey Milo (not the inadequate and emotionless baseball announcer)!

    I noticed your comment last night about Hurdle dumping on Garrett Jones.

    Dejan’s Legend has probably been the very worst offender of baserunning blunders last season and this. He almost got picked off in the bottom of the 8th last night when he is the go-ahead run.

    Nothing gets a player’s attention than being substituted immediately for an inadequate play. I absolutely LOVED that Hurdle pinch-ran Nate for Jones after his near-foolish-out last night! We NEEDED that run!!!

  15. Jandy——moving from the “Hockey Hostess” to the “Baseball Babe”!!

    You’re going to LOVE the angst of this sport.

    The Drive To Five {hundred}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Jandy says:

    G2M2S, thanks for the welcome, I think ;)

  17. Cajun Thunder says:

    Re: Jones getting pulled after almost getting picked off last night.

    One might notice that the Rockies are starting a RHP, and Jones isn’t starting. When was the last time that happened that an injury wasn’t involved?

  18. Milo Hamilton says:


    I think there’s always room in managing a baseball game for one simple sentence. That sentence is – “Get him outta there.”

    I just get the sense that Hurdle doesn’t like Jones very much as a ballplayer. I think a lot of guys could have done the same thing & not been pulled. I know he’s lousy defensively, but he routinely gets pulled in the 6th inning for a guy that’s not exactly Keith Hernandez. And today, I think I could have found room for that lefty bat in both games.

  19. JRay3 says:

    @ Cajun – I did notice that especially after Milo pointed out that Clint can not be too happy with Jones. I will really take notice if is not inserted in the lineup for Game 2.

  20. NMR says:

    As much respect as I give Jaime Moyer, and thats no small amount, how many Rockies fans would not trade him straight up for either Erik Bedard or AJ Burnett?

  21. Cajun Lightning———good observation!!

    Wonder if he’ll sit 2nd game as well?

    Wonder if McGeheeheehee starts at 3rd base and Jones at 1st in 2nd game?
    Wonder if Navarro starts at short and Harrison at 2nd?
    Wonder who Nate will start for?

    I like your observation about Jones not in line-up for 1st game.

  22. JRay3 says:

    Wow nice start for JMac, 11 pitches 2K’s and a 1-2-3 which has not happened but once at a start of the game for us. Maybe seeing Lincoln with the club and knowing Karstens will return at some point has put a fire into him.

    Now time to get some runs!

  23. TC says:

    With a day off tomorrow, I hope that the game 2 lineup isn’t our usual “Sunday lineup” full of Navarros and Harrisons. Give Pedro 8 ABs today against righties and see what happens. Hope still springs eternal?

  24. RobertoForever says:

    @Cajun Thunder

    I thought the same thing, but then I looked at the batter v pitcher stats for this young Right hander for Colorado – Nicasio.

    It turns out that this Right hand pitcher is actually doing WORSE against Right handed hitters than left handed hitters. Right handers are hitting over .300 against him this year. So it could be using the hot bat and playing the scouting report.

    Also, I expected Jones to have a pinch-runner IMMEDIATELY after he walked last night. In a tie game, don’t most managers put in a speedster to try to get into scoring position and/or be able to score from 2nd base on a single.

    So maybe it was just a case of the pick-off play triggering Hurdle to second-guess his decision not to pinch run. I didn’t see any comments by Hurdle in the post-game reports, so either he chose not to send a public message thru a public comment, or the reporters didn’t ask.

  25. RobertoForever says:


    Agree – I would like to see Pedro in for both games today as well. Get his hacks in and maybe build on some recent success.

  26. Milo,

    I don’t know . . . . . remember earlier this season when Jones was hot and Tabata was not hitting, Hurdle sat Tabata and put Jones in right field for a couple games, so both Jones’ and Mcgeheeheeheehee’s bats were in the line-up.

    I think Hurdle just believes a little more in accountability for the players than we have been used to for a while. Garrett Jones just needs to have a little more concentration on the bases and in the field.

    If you put the best Pirate hitters in the line-up, the top 5 are the Bucs best right now. Other than the management-imposed scholarship for The Natural at 3rd, Hurdle seems to be going with the ones earning playing time.

    He did a good job getting Tabata back on track!

  27. RobertoForever says:


    Are you watching the game on TV? Just wondering. I am following thru at bat app, and it looks like a LOT of JMac’s pitches are up. Hope that results in lots of pop-outs only. Maybe I am just getting spoiled by all the ground ball pitchers, lol.

  28. Cajun Thunder says:


    Hurdle doesn’t appear to have a history of throwing players under the bus like the Rockies manager does. I wouldn’t have expected him to make significant comments in the media about Jones.

  29. JaxBuc says:

    So our leadoff guy has the absolute definition of a great AB, nine pitches ending with a single. Then after the obligatory out by Tabata, we turns that awesome AB into an out, WITH OUR BEST HITTER AT THE PLATE. UGH! I can’t take it any more.

  30. JRay3 says:

    @ Roberto – No I am following through MLB Gameday…that thing called work is getting in the way, have to wait to watch tonight on DVR.

  31. JMac with a Perfect Game! Do you think I have just jinxed him?

    I also would like to see the same line-up for the 2nd game, especially with an off day tomorrow. Yet it will never happen.

    I hope The Natural starts both games——he needs it, especially at home, especially because of his scholarship.
    I will be very interested, though, to see if Jones starts the 2nd game.

    Lefthanders are batting 75 points higher against Moyer, but last night Hurdle started only Presley. I don’t think Hurdle uses those stats that much. McGeheeheehee is starting because he is swinging the bat!

  32. bob hasis says:

    Just reflect on Pedro’s first AB. The thought occurs to me that he is strictly a “guess hitter”, and a bad one at that.

    With a 3-2 count he was purely guessing fast ball, and got a change curve, down and in and out of the strike zone.

    He never saw the pitch, because his head was up and not on the ball.

    To some of the comments above, we waste alot of potential scoring opportunities because we can’t steal; conversely we can’t throw anyone out either. Welcome to Hurdle baseball.

  33. Milo Hamilton says:

    Conservative estimates, how much weight would you say Jose Tabata has gained since we 1st saw him ?

  34. Bobby Hoses,

    The people I watched the game with last night were complaining that McCutch did NOT steal. If Presley had been successful today (as he was last night) and McCutch hit a single rather than double, we would have earned that run.

    I’m OK with Hurdle baseball. I’d rather try and fail than sit around waiting for extra base hits. Slugging % is not a Pirate strength right now!

  35. T.S. says:


    Ever since Sports Illustrated went by the acronym “SI,” things just haven’t been the same. :)

  36. Milo Hamilton says:

    Too bad we were never treated to the battery of Juan Nicasio & Steve Nicosia.

  37. JAL says:

    Looks familiar, good pitching bad hitting

  38. Bob Walk says on the radio that the home plate ump has “that 1st Game of doubleheader strike zone” going.

    Next pitch: McCutch is called out on 3rd strike well outside.

    JMac still has his no-hitter!

    McGeheeheehee with another base hit!

  39. Pedro has more 0 — 2 counts than any batter I have ever seen!! Seriously.
    Can anyone remember any other batter who has had more?

    At least he did not strike out, with flyball to left.

  40. I love double plays!!!

    No hitter after 5!!

  41. tmp444 says:

    Groat — how deep was K-dro’s fly out?? GameCast made it seem like a warning track shot to the notch…..

  42. JAL says:

    Could figure it out but would be a lot of work. Going into this game he has had 10 0-2 counts (16 1-1 counts and 22 1-0 counts). McCutchen has had 12 0-2 counts

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    Glad I had the under. Way under.

  44. Milo Hamilton says:

    They should pinch run for McKenry immediately.

  45. Pedro’s fly out was a moving grab by Gonzalez near the warning track in left center.

    From description it was hit pretty well although easily caught. You know how Tim Neverette thinks every fly ball is a home run.

  46. Yeah!! They can send Barajas in to run for him!!!

    McCutch 60 % more ABs? Still surprised it is only 10.

  47. tmp444 says:

    Thanks, Groat.

    And, yes. He drives me nuts sometimes on the radio because he gets my hopes up with every crack of the bat. That said, with this offense, I should know better until I actually hear the words “it’s outta here.”

  48. Timmy Baseball won’t say that JMac has given up no hits.

    He just says, “You should tell your friends that something interesting is going on here.”

    JMac now has a no hitter after 6 innings!

  49. JAL says:

    Groat 67 PA for Cutch 38 for Pedro

  50. Kenerdivanis says:

    Tabata was safe. The tag never touched him.

  51. JAL says:

    may have been safe but don’t go for 2 unless it is a sure thing.

  52. Milo Hamilton says:


    2 things. The ball beat him. And he’s fat !

  53. Milo Hamilton says:

    Don’t you just an impending sense of doom about this ?

  54. Jandy says:

    Milo, no whammies please!

  55. TJA says:

    Yea, Milo…sure do…the way J-Mac is tossing…one (one lousy run) is all we need at this point. 7 hits and 0 runs! Geez!

  56. Kenerdivanis says:


    Yes. Yes I do.

  57. JRay3 says:

    Are we the only team in baseball that could be trailing having only given up one hit in 6+ innings?

  58. AJS says:

    Anyone who didn’t see this seventh inning coming hasn’t paid any attention to McDonanlds history. If he gets through 6 he’s lucky. Same was true today. With the hit batsman and the 4 pitch walk I’m not sure why they kept him out there. the signs of impending doom were all there.

  59. Kenerdivanis says:

    Only the Pirates could give up 1 run and 1 hit in 7 innings and be losing.

  60. AJS says:


    Is there a worse 6-9 out there?

  61. 7 innings, 1 run, 1 hit——that’s the best you can ever expect from James McDonald!
    It figures walk, wild pitch, and sac fly would get him.

    Let’s get us some runs, boys!!!!

    Let’s see how Garrett Jones does pinch hitting this inning!

  62. Milo Hamilton says:


  63. TJA says:

    Righto AJS. Still….This is nuts!

  64. I’m a happy happy boy!!

    Pedro for President!

  65. JAL says:

    Pedro gets the run back

  66. JRay3 says:

    And Pedro goes BOOM!

  67. Kenerdivanis says:

    3 homers for Pedro in April. He barely hit 3 all of last season.

  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    Home run or nothing here on Home Run Derby.

  69. AJS says:

    Apparently Pedro heard me and took it personally. It drives me nuts that he is so all or nothing, and that the nothing happens so often.

  70. JRay3 says:

    Maybe we found our recipe against the ROX….quiet for the first six and than explode late in the game!

  71. tmp444 says:

    Groat — how was Neverette on the home run? :p

  72. Kenerdivanis says:

    Another blown call at 2nd base. WTF?

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    He wouldn’t have been thrown out stealing had they just bunted.

  74. Jandy says:

    Oh rats! :(

  75. twentytwo22 says:

    1 on 2 outs instead of 2 on 1 out three times today.

  76. Kenerdivanis says:

    I think that the Pirates should do what George Costanza did on Seinfeld – do the exact opposite of what they always do/think. It helped George get a job with the Yankees, so maybe it’ll help the Buccos out.

  77. Jandy says:

    Ha! Wild pitch!

  78. Jandy says:


  79. It got out so fast Tim barely got to say anything before it was gone! Just gave us his “el Toro!!”

    Hey Milo! Interesting that Garrett Jones did NOT pinch hit for McDonald!

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    Here comes Chris Resop to walk somebody.

  81. Milo Hamilton says:

    …or hit somebody.

  82. JRay3 says:

    And the Rockies have been hit more times than they have hits.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Another successful outing for Resop.

  84. Milo Hamilton says:

    Nice throw, chubby.

  85. Kenerdivanis says:

    Why is Resop even on the team?

  86. Milo Hamilton says:


    There’s not enough room on Indy’s roster for all the guys that belong there.

  87. Who, pray tell, would you replace Resop with?

  88. Milo Hamilton says:


    Exactly my point. The guys at AAA are there by merit. We don’t have 25 major leaguers in this organization.

  89. AJS says:

    Struck out in order in the eighth. Rockies 2 runs on 2 hits. Pirates 1 on 9…and the Bucs are teh team with the HR. Strange line. These guys need some extra base hits and to stop running into outs. I get they want to be aggressive and manufacture runs. But apparently base stealing is not this teams cup of tea.

  90. twentytwo22 says:

    Quality at-bats there by our 2-3-4 hitters.

  91. Man, Evan Meek must really stink!!

    He still doesn’t come into the game in the 9th!
    Bucs bring in the most assuredly 26th man on the roster.

  92. AJS says:

    25 major leaguers? Do they even have 10?

    The Starting Rotation less McDonald and only sometimes Morton

    Maybes go to Tabata, Pressley, and Barmes

  93. At least if they all strike out, no one gets thrown out on the bases!

    There’s a silver lining in every cloud!

  94. Milo Hamilton says:

    Katie O’Malley just tweeted that she’s sitting behind the little girl that caught Pedro’s homer & someone from Pirates told her Pedro’s going to sign it.

    I’d much rather have Katie O’Malley sign it, and bring it to me personally.

  95. Kenerdivanis says:

    The PBC really failed with the bullpen this year. Resop? Jared Hughes? Only one lefty? FAIL.

  96. AJS says:

    McGehee, Pedro and 3 automatic outs in the 9th. I almost typed McGehee and 3 automatic outs, but then I figured I should at least factor in the chance that Pedro might luck into running another one over the wall.

  97. Kenerdivanis says:

    I turn away to make a call, and there are already 2 outs. Amazing.

  98. Milo Hamilton says:

    Now, for everyone out there. Count up the actual major leaguers. Whatever your number, how many were acquired by the current GM ?

  99. TJA says:

    I asked this question yesterday…should they fire Gregg Ritchie? I know, I know…coaches/managers cannot hit the ball, but…

    What do you all think?

  100. Kenerdivanis says:

    Two runs on three hits. One run on nine hits. /smh

  101. twentytwo22 says:

    feeble frickin baseball

  102. Kenerdivanis says:


    I thought Gregg Ritchie should have been fired in the offseason. Now I really think he should be gone.

  103. Johnnie Ray III was right——to get a sweep, ya gotta win the first one!

    9 hits, 1 run, 3 outs on bases, a walk and a hit-batter score against.

    Sounds like a constant losing formula!

    The Drive To Five {hundred}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  104. AJS says:

    6 no hit innings, a wild 7th and an in-ept eighth = Loss. Sounds about right for this team.

  105. Mike A. says:

    Un-believable. You’d think that after 19 years, I’d come to expect this kind of incompetence. Yet I keep following this pathetic bunch. Their complete inability to grasp and execute the most fundamental concepts of the game astound me. Always that one little mistake (sometimes bad baserunning, others poor situational hitting, or today – a wild pitch at PRECISELY the wrong time) ends up being the difference in yet another frustrating loss.

  106. Jandy says:

    OK so shouldn’t JMac have been pulled after 6???

  107. AJS says:

    McCutchen – No
    Walker – No
    McGehee – Yes
    Bedard – Yes
    Morton – Yes
    Correia – Yes
    Burnette – Yes
    Karstens – Yes
    Hanny – Yes

    Tabata – Yes
    Presley – Not sure. Thinking No.
    Barmes – Yes

    A lot of yeses there. i think it is obvious starting arms are something the managment team is not bad at finding. The inability to find a legitimate SS is haunting. Now, just because those guys are all legitimate Major League quality guys, it doesn’t mean they aren’t lower tier or twilight guys. They need to find that SS and boy weer they screwed with Pedro.

  108. Don says:

    Anatomy of a Pirates loss: 9 hits; 7 singles; 0-3 with runners in scoring position.

  109. Good teams find a way to win——against all odds.

    Bad teams find a way to lose——against all odds.

    How do we bridge that gap, with little or no help at AAA??????

    My patience is waning . . . . . . . The Drive To Five {hundred}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  110. TJA says:

    No doubt…the most difficult loss of this young campaign…

    I am still shaking my head…

  111. AJS says:

    I would say yes Jandy. But I think Hurdle was caught between a rock and a hard place there. JMac had a bad 6th but was able to work out of it and preserve the no hitter. How do you not let a guy go out and try to keep that going? But mcDonalds history as a low stamina pitcher who gets wild late in his outing is almost too hard to ignore. But when he walks another guy on 4 pitches to start teh 7th you have to take him out then in my opinion.

  112. TJA says:

    Just like Jim Leyland used to do…someone needs to flip the post game spread and have a few plates of pasta salad stick to the wall!!!

  113. Jandy, I disagree with even considering taking James McDonald out.

    1/ The team object in April is to build up his stamina to go longer into games.
    2/ His pitch count was low.
    3/ There had been only 3 baserunners in 6 innings, one wiped out by a double play.
    5/ Without the wild pitch, he also gets out of the 7th inning.
    6/ He only gave up 1 run (& 1 hit) in 7 innings. Nothing wrong with that!!
    7/ He struck out eight!
    8/ We would be gaga over his pitching effort if Bucs had scored some runs!
    9/ Today was a nice step up to achieve his perceived ability. He can’t get better if you don’t give him a chance.

    The problem was not leaving James McDonald in—or even bringing Chris Resop into the game. 2 runs in 9 innings is great!!

    The problem is SCORING! Bucs can’t win many games with only 1 run——on 9 HITS!

  114. Nate83 says:

    I second everything Groat says above. How can you pull a pitcher with a no-hitter and a low pitch count. If he puts Resop in the game in the 7th and he gives up a run just imagine the kind of things people would be saying about that decision.

    I also think it is unfair to say they found a way to lose because they are the Pirates when just yesterday they found a way to win. They are 5-4 after the 2-6 start against some amazingly tough pitching and they have yet to play any of the lower 5 teams in the National league.

  115. Nate, you’re my kind of guy!!

    Don’t give up the ship!!

    The Drive To Five {hundred}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ants Marching = = = = = = =

  116. AJS says:

    Groat, you are probably right. But doesn’t the fact that the Pirates had not scored any runs have to play into a decision at some point? If you know you may have to give up 0 to win like Hurdle had to have been thinking at that point, and your pitcher had just got through hitting a man, walking the next on four pitchers, getting an undisciplined batter to ground into a DP, and getting out of an inning with a strikeout, only to come out and start this inning by walking another batter on four pitches and giving up a tough luck infield single, don’t you think that maybe just maybe the guy is tiring and it might be time to go to a fresh arm?

    Don’t take him out to start the 7th, but when he got into another jam he should have probably been taken out at that point. And his pitch count was in the mid 80s after 6. That is pretty high for 6 innings. He finished 7 with 101.

    I do agree with everything else you said though. You have to give a guy a chance to accomplish what you wanted him to accomplish this season. He pitched a great game and only the situation the rest of the club put themselves in may have dictated his early exit.

  117. Don says:

    Six of our nine starters in game 2 are hitting under .170.

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