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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Tip cap to Pirates’ pitching


DALLAS — Brief and to the Point …

>> There’s been an awful lot of focus on the Pirates’ awful offense lately, and it should be awfully obvious why.

But let’s step back for the day to tip the cap to a pitching staff whose 3.12 ERA is second-best in all of Major League Baseball after Brad Lincoln and company got the job done again last night in Miami. Only the Nationals, who are the buzz of baseball for their pitching, have a lower figure. They have 248 strikeouts to 104 walks, a fine ratio. They’ve allowed opponents to bat just .239. That’s like facing the Pirates every night. (Sorry, I can’t stop.)

It’s outstanding, especially in light of having missed A.J. Burnett, the expected No. 1, and Jeff Karstens, last year’s No. 1, for extended stretches. And it’s not just the starters. The bullpen ranks No. 4 in the majors.

Now, if only Neal Huntington could employ scouts capable of evaluating hitting …

>> In the first moments after news broke of Dale Hunter’s abrupt resignation as the Capitals’ coach, all kinds of thoughts swirled:

Was he having any fun? Those nervous, dull press conferences sure didn’t suggest he was.

Was he sabotaged by Alexander Ovechkin after limiting his ice time?

Was he simply not cut out for the job?

Turns out the man just wants to be a good dad. Good for him.

>> Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t been as singlehandedly responsible for the Rangers’ success as some in New York would have you believe. But he sure was last night.

>> From the blind squirrel department, Duquesne did the right thing yesterday and extended Suzie McConnell Serio’s contract through 2018, giving her plenty of time to achieve what I believe will be the best women’s basketball program the city has seen. The 20-win seasons are just the start.

I know the bar isn’t exactly at the UConn/Tennessee/Baylor level around here, but there’s no excuse for the programs to have all been also-rans for such a long time. Recruiting is recruiting. Coaching is coaching.

>> Bill O’Brien will choose his starting quarterback at Penn State sometime soon. Even if he chooses “D. None of the above,” it will be a step forward from the split-series silliness of last year.

>> I’ll be flying back tonight after the end of the Olympic summit here.

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