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Wakeup Call: The myth of lineup protection

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Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column raises 11 points about the Penguins’ No. 11. It’s no given that Jordan Staal will still be here next season, but neither is it set that he’ll be gone.

>> I enjoy baseball’s deeper statistical analysis. Unlike some of its subscribers, though, I don’t treat it like religion, nor “Moneyball” to be the Bible. One word the stats guys love to toss around is “objective” to describe their approach, but most often it’s anything but. Their view is the only one that counts, and everyone else is less than “intellectual.”

Drives me nuts.

But again, I find merits in a lot of what gets raised. One fascinating point raised by sabermetricians over the years, fortified a lot by studying Albert Pujols and various cleanup men in St. Louis, is the concept of protection within a lineup. The stats show that protection means almost nothing. The people within the game talk about it as imperative.

Andrew McCutchen is tremendously good. He’s batting .349 with his two home runs last night raising that total to five. And he’s done this within the context of one of the worst lineups of our lifetime, usually with somebody batting 150-200 points lower right behind him in the order.

Now, some of this has to do with opposing managers being stupid and pitching to McCutchen when they don’t need to. Maybe it galls them to pitch around a Pirate. But it also tells you that, in most cases, a good hitter will make sure he sees good pitches to hit just by having good at-bats.

>> Sometime today, the Pirates will promote a designated hitter from a Class AAA affiliate that’s been shut out in its past three games, with one total run in the past five games.

The scripts write themselves.

>> The Pirates will make interleague history tonight and have the pitchers bat for themselves.

>> It’s not just that the Kings are now 11-1 in the playoffs. It’s not that they rubbed out the West’s top two seeds in the Canucks and Blues. It’s not even that they’re a No. 8 seed that barely qualified for the playoffs.

It’s the how.

You watch L.A. right now, and they’re just playing hockey. There’s the discipline and toughness you’d expect from a Darryl Sutter team, but there’s also an aggressive system and an emphasis on taking advantage of a good amount of skill. If all you saw last night was Dustin Brown springing Anze Kopitar for that sweet breakaway goal, you’d know they’re not shy about stretching the rink. In all, they’ve outscored opponents, 37-17.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt having the best goalie in the world: Jonathan Quick.

>> This is great. The Mets’ manager, Terry Collins, pokes fun at John Tortorella’s antics.

>> The early — and heavy — favorite for comeback of the year in the city of Pittsburgh.

>> Here is yesterday’s chat transcript.

220 Comments

  1. McCutchen is so tremendously talented. I finally had the opportunity to watch our Buccos tonight. AMac, in almost any other market, would have ESPN drooling over coverage.
    Barajas launches another one tonight as well….still doubting this signing? The intangible is what he has done (as well as Searage) with our pitchers. MacDonald was brilliant, in large part thanks to Barajas.
    Without having read your column to this point, I would find it hard to believe that this team would move forward without Staal in the lineup. He is every bit as important to this team as is Crosby and Malkin.
    Contrary to what some people have said or believe, I believe in Byslma, Shero et. al. Falling short this season will strengthen their resolve for next season and Staal will be a factor in our success next season.
    Entirely random, but let’s see what contribution Matt Hague can give to this pitiful lineup!!
    FInally, I still believe in this Pirate team…having been to the NLCS in 1992 and sticking with them ever since, I see something (not sure what yet) that makes me believe in this team and this manager. Call me naive, but this pitiful hitting cannot continue, e.g., Barajas. It WILL work.

  2. And now, having read your column…couldn’t agree more. Rather than wonder what “return” we could get for Staal, let’s just let the BMTIH do what they do best…Patience is the greatest of all virtues, eh?

  3. When Staal is on the penalty kill, his great value is his wing span which prohibits many entry passes into the slot and most lateral passes – that is disruptive.

    When he is on the offense, as a third line center, he is usually the best player on the ice because the opposition defense has their third line out also.

    His large body in front of the net (on offense) and his physical strength makes him a weapon for rebounds, tap-ins or junk goals (no intention to minimize their value) in general.

    He is not as fast or as deft as Sid or Geno, but he is as valuable as mentioned above. He is a player that the opposition HATES to play against, and I’m certain the Penguins would hate it as well. Just like Sid and Geno, I love his no-nonsense demeanor. I’m certain Mario does.

  4. JAL’s Take it on the Run Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    PIRATE BLOGS

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: James McDonald Taking Steps Forward Thanks to Slider

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/05/pirates-notebook-james-mcdonald-taking-steps-forward-thanks-to-slider.html

    Offense Stunned Again In Indians’ Third Shutout In A Row

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/05/offense-stunned-again-in-indians-third-shutout-in-a-row.html

  5. 7 McEffect

    5/17 Recap | Pirates 5 Nationals 3

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/05/517-recap-pirates-5-nationals-3.html

    8 WHY GAVS

    Game 38: Pirates 5 Nationals 3

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/may-2012/game-38-pirates-5-nationals-3.html

    9 Green Weenie

    McCutch, Barajas Blasts Lead Bucs To 5-3 Win

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/05/mccutch-barajas-blasts-lead-bucs-to-5-3.html

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Mc’s come up big

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/05/mcs-come-up-big/

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    11 CBS Sports

    Detroit vs Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120518_PIT@DET/piratestigers-preview

    12 Washington Post

    Nationals fall short against Pirates; get ready for Orioles

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals-fall-short-against-pirates-get-ready-for-orioles/2012/05/17/gIQArYrKXU_story.html

  6. 13 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – Team Report

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120518/SPORTS02/205180433/detroit-tigers-loss-minnesota-twins?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports

    14 Washington Times

    Nats befuddled by McDonald in 5-3 loss to Pirates

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/18/nats-befuddled-mcdonald-5-3-loss-pirates/

    15 Detroit Free Press

    Minnesota 4, Detroit 3: Jim Leyland puzzled by team’s continued inconsistency

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120518/SPORTS02/205180433/detroit-tigers-loss-minnesota-twins?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports

    16 The Kittanning Paper

    BUFFONE: Should the Buccos Trade The Hammer?

    http://www.kittanningpaper.com/2012/05/18/buffone-should-the-buccos-trade-the-hammer/27290

  7. Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The Pittsburgh Way: How Do You Find People That Fit The Culture?

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/17/3026787/the-pittsburgh-steelers-way-culture-environment-system-of-values

    Talkin’ More Offensive Line: Willie Colon’s Move to Left Guard Opens Up Tackle Competition

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/17/3026099/talkin-more-offensive-line-willie-colons-move-to-left-guard-opens-up

    <b Pittsburgh Steelers News Bulletin: Offensive Line Transition, The Rise of Cameron Heyward

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/17/3026739/Pittsburgh-steelers-news-willie-colon-david-decastro-cameron-heyward-ziggy-hood

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Reading Between The Steelers Lines Post Willie Colon Move To Left Guard

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05/reading-between-the-steelers-lines-post-willie-colon-move-to-left-guard/

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    Steelers Willie Colon Moves to Left Guard. Good Move?

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/05/16/steelers-willie-colon-moves-to-left-guard-good-move/

  8. Pitt Blogs

    23 Pitt Blather

    “1,2,3,4,5 – Go!” ?

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/05/16/12345-go/

    24 Cardiac Hill

    Big East Confab: Which Big East Football Team Travels The Best?

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/5/17/3018983/big-east-confab-big-east-acc-expansion-big-12-louisville-pitt-pittsburgh-panthers-football-wvu

    WVU Blogs

    25 Metro News

    Pros and Cons of an Early Season 2014 Matchup: WVU vs. Alabama

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=52747

    26 WV Illustrated

    Holgorsen and the Mountaineer to Star in ESPN Commercial

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/18493711/holgorsen-and-the-mountaineer-to-star-in-espn-commercial

  9. PENGUIN BLOGS

    27 Pensburgh

    Looking Forward to the 2012 NHL Draft; Who Might The Penguins Be Targeting?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/5/15/3023051/looking-forward-to-the-2012-nhl-draft-who-might-the-penguins-be

    Soccer(football)

    28 Sky Sports

    Reds target Roberto

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/20298/7759699/Reds-target-Roberto

    29 Daily Telegraph

    Reds icon Kenny Dalglish sacked by Liverpool after lacklustre EPL season

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/soccer/reds-icon-kenny-dalglish-sacked-by-liverpool-after-lacklustre-epl-season/story-e6frey4r-1226358482943

    30 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: Stories you need to read, May 16 th 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-16th-may-2012

  10. Take it on the Run, REO Speedwagon As mentioned earlier, MTV went on the air in 1981 and the album oriented 1970s gave way to the video oriented 1980s. First song MTV played was Video Killed the Radio Star by the never heard from again Buggles. Take it on the Run was 9th video played that day and also MTV’s first technical problem as the video stopped after a few seconds. REO Speedwagon was very popular in the early 1980s but their popularity was over by the late 1980s. Another one of the big sound groups that dominated the era.

  11. I’m waiting for some of the other hockey ladies to let DK have it for that one line…”Trade Paul Martin.”
    I was a ssupporter for a long time…but he just doesn’t flourish in this system. He will do much better in a defense first system.

    Anyone who thinks the Pens should trade Staal, isn’t…well…paying attention. bob hasis above sees what most see….all the “stuff” Staal does, every single game. We lose him, we’re in trouble. But I agree with DK, patience. The CBA must first be settled.

    How bout them Kings???? I HATE Mike Richards, but you sure can’t take anything away from the team, they’re playing lights out hockey. Quick is unreal.

  12. JAL ~ love your music pick this morning…REO was always one of my favs.

  13. None of the affiliates tearing up at the plate this past week, most glaring being Indy. Some are even getting shredded on the mound, too, Indy not one of them. Wonder if the word gets around that many have been ripping “The Plan” and rightfully so. Very doubtful and maybe impossible, but sure seems that way to the anxious onlooker.

    JAL,

    Ditto Jandy on REO.

  14. DK,

    I’ll pose the same question to you that I have to everyone else who says protection is a myth. If it isn’t because of who was batting behind him (protection) how in the world did Rod Barajas draw the Pirates first 2 IBB walks of the season?

  15. Well, lets post this on the daylight thread, we got no bites last night

    Cmon gang, TRY

    Just state where you currently reside

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Austrailia – Mackay
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City
    Canada – Toronto
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park, Denver
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford
    Costa Rica
    Delaware. Newark
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Lincoln Park, Chicago
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf
    Massachusetts – Boston
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Nebraska – Omaha
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon
    New York – New York, Smithtown
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, Wilmington, Chapel Hill
    North Dakota
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, DuBois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, DuBois, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilks-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Dannys Hoagies
    The Philipines
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia
    South Korea – Seoul
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield, Virginia Beach
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville

  16. REO! My first concert at the Arena!

  17. DK–Just read the chat transcript. I’m far from a Neal Huntington apologist, and I know you are having a little fun with this “they tried,” but this idea that he says no other GM would give up anybody isn’t exactly accurate. I heard Neal’s pregame show this weekend, and he specifically said they could get a middling bat right now if they “overpaid” in what they would give up. He also said they would be “idiots” to do so at this time. Seems to me, even if you disagree with him, he’s dealing with the issue head on. There has been a lot of “they tried” coming from the all trades were good crowd, but that’s not Neal’s fault.

    DK: Both of those are fair points, AW. … It’s time for results.

  18. If you look at that Indy schedule that DK posted, not only have they been shut out in 3 straight, not only have they scored only 1 run in the past 5 games, but:

    51 total runs in 17 games in the month of May
    Avg runs for May: 3.0
    One game with more than 5 runs: a 7-2 victory May 8.

    Sound familiar?

  19. If I were the manager of a team playing the Pirates, would I pitch to McCutchen? No. But god bless them, they keep on pitching to him. Did you see that former Pirate farmhand Rich Thompson got his first career hit last night? He was part of the Rule V fiasco with Jose Bautista, if I remember correctly. Played briefly with the Royals, and then had to be offered back. Still looks the same, baby faced!

  20. tmp,

    The weird thing about Indy is their still 22-18, half a game atop their division. Putridity must reign supreme in the IL, also.

  21. John,

    Good stuff.

  22. And the contraction “they’re” is not spelled “their” even here in KY.

  23. sure sounds like hitting is an organizational issue, not just at the big league level.

  24. Lucky,

    I saw that — I also noticed, and, again, “sound familiar?” …. that the Indy pitching has only given up 40 runs in that same span of May that a cited above for an average of about 2.35 a game.

    Other sound familiars:

    PIT avg/slg/ops: .221/.349/.622 – 38 games

    IND avg/slg/ops: .232/.324/.628 – 40 games

    ERAs – PIT: 3.31; IND 2.71

    Now, before DK calls me a knucklehead stats guy, I’ll stop ;)

  25. cosmo,

    Last night only: Indy, 1-0 loss, Altoona, the only winner, 4-2, WV 8-3 loss and Bradenton 2-1 loss in 11 innings, in which they managed all of 6 hits. Much truth to your statement.

  26. John L

    Link 19 , post 8 is on Thompson

  27. Bizrow – add Lincoln Park, NJ to your list….

  28. If we could get some balance, we’d have this thing. As Groat (not the beloved shortstop) said yesterday, when we had hitting we didn’t have pitching. Now, we’re getting the pitching and can’t hit. What’s the answer? Maybe State College has some hitters (only 3 years away). When they start in June, we’ll see. Seriously, the answer doesn’t seem to be within, but without and the “without pool” is currently pretty dry.

  29. Not sure what the stats are, but in watching every inning of PIrates baseball this year from sunny Phoenix, it seems to me that the Pirates biggest problem is lack of baserunners even more than it is they don’t produce a big hit when they do have runners on. Now I know there are the glaring cases when we’ve choked with the bases loaded,etc, but more often than not it is two quick outs and it is hard to generate big innings with 2 outs. Our top of the order guys (Presley and Tabata) have been mostly atrocious… saying this because let’s just say teams start to pitch around Cutch. Having traffic on the bases is not a bad thing and may help spur the offense.

    How many times have we seen the Pirates or teams pitch around Pujols, Fielder etc only to be burned fo a multi-run HR or a big inning?

  30. cmat,

    You and JRay3 have good insight from sunny Phoenix. Good points. We need to keep a guy like JHay with good RISP numbers in the lineup. He’s been mostly clutch throughout his career, even in the minors. Let him play his way out, like Barmes has.

  31. This just made me re-live the worst moment of my childhood all over again…..

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/want-sid-bream-sliding-bobblehead-210332365.html

    I feel like crying.

  32. The IL is known as a pitching league.

    10 of the 14 teams are hitting .252 or below.

    And the Indians are in first place.

    I would have thought after a big win, including Clutch getting top play on the mother ship, there would have been more discussion on Cutch, our bullpen.

    Instead, the negativity remains, but tries to find warts on the first place triple A affiliate.

    Ah well, at least TGIF

    DK: Ah, well, so you completely missed what I wrote about McCutchen up there. Who’s choosing to focus on the negative here?

  33. @tmp

    The classic channel showed that game last Friday. I turned it on right at the end. It still hurts. I can remember exactly where I was at the time. Tragic.

  34. I have to agree that lineup protection means very little. A pitcher still must throw strikes in order to get outs. There might be a key situation somewhere that Cutch could get pitched around, but statistically speaking, you are better off pitching to a guy most of the time. Josh Hamilton right now might be the exception. Most guys have OBP lower that .500, so you’ll probably get them out if you pitch, and most guys have SLG % lower than 1.000, which is what a guy would have if you just walked him every time.

  35. tmp,

    Got a picture of Sid Bream and my 4 sons when he spoke at our church many years ago. I like that one better than this one.

    Roberto,

    No negativity. Just the facts, sir, just the facts. Where do you think the hitting will come from? Cutch won’t hit 2 dingers every night. Warts? How about runs to support this tremendous pitching?

  36. The problem with the lineup protection analysis is that nobody knows what the stats would be if the scenario was different. What would Cutch’s stats look like if he had a real hitter behind him? Pitchers know who is in the on deck circle and they approach hitters slightly differenly depending on who’s there. Would Cutch get better pitches early in the at bat? Would he capitalize on it? You really can’t just look at his good numbers and say it doesn’t matter because he’s doing well.

  37. @Lucky

    5 runs last night. 4 the night before. Against 2 CY Young candidates among the best pitching staff in the majors.

    Just the facts.

  38. Seems to me that we should keep a few things in perspective at this point of the 2012 season:

    1. The Pirates are 18-20, hanging in there and really maximizing the results with an atrocious offense.

    2. The most important piece to be competitive and to eventually compete for championships is PITCHING and the Pirates are shining there with lots of help on the way.

    3. Offense is down throughout baseball with some notable veterans struggling.

    4. Veterans who have ML track records generally hit their historical levels… so not sure what the issue is with giving Barajas, Barmes, McGehee and even McLouth the at bats they have been getting. The guys can’t hit better if they don’t get up to bat.

    5. Younger players, like Presley, don’t have the track record and do need to regain confidence. (other teams like the Diamondbacks are contemplating sending down Paul Goldschmidt to the minors… he was raking last year but is lost this year). ..net is, “it happens, folks and not just on the Pirates”.

    6. Not real clear what concrete moves can be made by the front office at this point…options are:

    a) call up someone from AAA (Hague, Fox, Hernandez, Mercer, Clement) because “anything is better than the stiffs that are playing now”… Clement, really? Do I need to go to the blog transcripts from 2 years ago for your collective opinion of him at the ML level? I’d prefer another 2 weeks of hoping McGehee discovers his swing or McLouth shakes out of the funk or Barmes actually stops swinging at a slider two feet outside than playing “AAAA player merry go round” lineup chaos but to each his/her own.

    b) make a trade or pick up someone else’s AAAA player (cue the blog banter of the Pirates “dumpster diving” with memories past (Wood, Brandon, et al).

    c) trade a TOP prospect for marginal hitting help now. Again, offense is down across baseball, and with the extra wild card not a lot of teams are looking to trade. I’m sure we could get Carlos Lee (anyone? anyone?) or someone like that but not sure how excited that gets me…

    7. We are fans and fans can dream big, but let’s be real..2012 is not the year for the Bucs. Never has been. In that context are you really looking to trade any of the top prospects in search of the holy grail? Even if we stay in the playoff race, do you want to part with Taillon, Heredia, etc?

  39. Roberto,

    You shifted the facts from AAA to MLB. You said we were putting warts on Indy and they’re in first place. Not denying the runs the last 2 nights. Just where does future help come from? Even this season? We need sticks to support the pitching. Is it “as good as it gets” right now? (Jack Nicholson)

  40. Column is the only sane thing I have seen written or spoken on the Staal subject for a long time. Anyone who thinks Ray Shero will trade Staal before knowing about the cap simply hasn’t been paying attention.

    What isn’t being addressed is Fleury. I have criticized him in the past and praised him when he’s been good, but I am convinced he’s a head case who will not win another Cup in a Penguins uniform unless the Pens begin playing NJ Devils 90′s version style trap hockey. He needs to go, even if it takes several years to develop his replacement. Crosby and Malkin are just entering their primes, Shero could have some patience with a young goalie, if another possible star came along. I understand this is much easier said than done–Cup winning goalies are not a dime a dozen, but if the Penguins commit themselves to Fleury for the entire future of the Crosby/Malkin generation, I firmly believe there will be no more Stanley Cups. He simply does not have the mental fortitude to get it done.

    As always, interested in others opinions on this subject.

    Trade Paul Martin for Hal Gill’s unwashed athletic supporter.

    Not hearing Clint Hurdle get much credit for keeping this historically inept Pirates lineup in contention for a .500 season. I think he should. Anyone?

  41. CW,

    Bob Hasis will answer your Hurdle question.

  42. Lucky– sorry, Bob Hasis?

  43. Oh the negativity. Woe is me.

  44. With Indys batting average, they must be facing the AAA version of Cy Young every day, just like the parent club “is facing Cy” every game at the ML Level?

    Just saying…..

  45. CW,

    He’s the president of the Clint Hurdle Fan Club and elder statesman of this blog. When he wakes up, he may have an opinion on it. I love Hurdle, as a person and a manager myself and I agree with you. Was being sarcastic on the Bob thing.

  46. CWalton, I don’t think Fleury is a head case. I think he’s been hung out to dry once too often. Get the defense settled in front of him, he’ll be just fine.
    I DO have to agree on giving CH some credit for keeping the team “in there.” You can only do so much with what you have to work with.

    RobertoForever, you have some really good posts, then you call everyone negative again. Cut the crap, dude, and it will a lot nicer in here ;)
    Facts are facts. Opinions are like ********, everybody has one, and sometimes they stink. :)

  47. Milo,

    Thank God you’re here. The voice of reason. (That ought to get a rise out of Roberto).

  48. @Lucky

    OK, How about the Indians scoring 30 runs in the previous 7 days. How about them tossing 3 of their own shutouts in the last week and a half. How about yesterdays shutout loss was against Dave bush, a major league veteran.

    And finally the Indians are in first place, dominating the league known for pitching with great pitching. But let’s criticize them for wearing their hats wrong.

  49. Nobody on this blog would accuse me of being a Pirate appologist and I’ve certainly made my opinion of Neal Huntingdon known, but after this week all I can say is:

    WAH, WAHH, WAHHH…

    Seriously. The team is 18-20 after just about everyone was predicting catastrophe in ST because of their April schedule.

    Their hitting is bad. I get it. But excuse me if I find it a bit overkill when the Pirates AAA affiliate gets more press than the big league club. If the Indians had scored 20 runs a game all we would be hearing is “big deal, its just the minors!”.

    People have been talking about the ’08 team like tearing it down wasn’t optional. The ’08 team was going to be lost to attrition regardless of who got traded. Jason Bay wasn’t staying here. Freddy Sanchez wasn’t staying here. Fans packed Adam Laroche’s bags for him. Moreover, that offense WAS NOT EVEN GOOD. The same team ranked a whopping 22nd in runs scored in 2007.

    In what context is that considered good?

    While we’re talking about myths, lets add that one to the list.

  50. Jandy,

    You’re wise beyond your years.

  51. @Lucky,

    The Pirates winning is something worth investing emotions. Milo being always negative hardly registers on the blood pressure cuff. I’ve had more difficult 8th graders in class.

    It does make it harder if his friends are encouraging his snide, juvenile comments. But knocking down his attempts at fair representation of things is like knocking down a 5 year old tower of oversized cardboard bricks.

  52. Have you seen the way the Indianapolis Indians wear their pants ? SMH.

  53. Maybe next he’ll try to bait me with a political reference.

  54. Jandy,

    The tone in here is negative. That is a fact. Not an opinion. Feel free to tabulate yourself.

    Wonder what it will be like here when the BattlinBucs make it back to. 500 with these hitters?

  55. Lucky, nah….just stating my opinion…and we ALL know about opinions ;)

    Roberto, keep on going, the hole is getting deeper….

    Milo’s humor is well known here and many like it, including myself. Some see nothing but negativity. Others see calling a spade a spade. Nuff said. Bah, I will just quit wasting my time…

  56. Roberto,

    I think it’s Pedro that wears his hat wrong, right? Since when is “dominating” losing 4 out of 5?

  57. Roberto, you don’t like the negativity? Feel free to exit. No one says you have to stay here. I DO like a lot of your posts, but your constant baiting is very immature.

  58. …or continue to insist the Twins haven’t made the playoffs 6 of the last 10 years.

  59. Jandy,

    You’re right. Guess it’s time to keep quiet and let the Roberto’s of the world bask in mediocrity at every level.

  60. Lucky, honestly, I’m SMH here.

  61. …or go back a thread or two, or even a day or two to post something just so he can have the last word.

  62. @Jandy–I could certainly be wrong, and MAF has his supporters. He’s also an incredible athlete who can be literally spectacular. I just don’t think he can win in Bylsma’s system. He DOES get left out to dry, and I don’t see that changing. And I don’t’ see him being able to handle it mentally.

    Find myself in agreement with NMR–as comically inept as these Pirates can be at the plate, this spring has not been a catastrophe, which is really pretty amazing. That is why I think Hurdle deserves some credit. I can see the reasons for the criticism of his in game decision making at times–he’s not the best baseball tactician, but he must be doing something right to motivate these guys. They are going out there each day with the belief that they have a chance to win, and credit for that goes to the leader.

    I don’t know…I really want to like this team; the players have sack, as Grilli would say, and then they do something like load the bases with no outs and fail to score. Maddening.

  63. I think the most important question has to be – How can Anze Kopitar win the Conn Smythe if Jonathan Quick continues to play like this ?

  64. >> The Pirates will make interleague history tonight and have the pitchers bat for themselves.

    Seriously?

    I DO NOT see this series going the Buccos way. Freakin Prince Fielder!! Detroit has a really solid, tough lineup and their starting pitchers are really good also. Verlander speaks for himself. I smell a no-hitter tonight for him, he’s that good.

  65. I won’t get excited at all when (if) the Pirates reach .500. Even if they go a few games above .500. I’d rather they be well above .500. I would get excited if at this point they were like Baltimore (+11); Tampa Bay (+9), Cleveland (+6), Texas (+9), Atlanta (+9), St. Louis (+6) or LAD (+12).

    I would expect that after 4+years of work on a project, I might be grouped with those teams by now. But, hey, who doesn’t get excited about 50% “Hey kids- give it a 50% effort.” The entire problem with this franchise is that .500 is seen as acceptable. 81-81 after the last game of the season means only one thing: you are assured tee times for the next day.

  66. Also just saw this over on the “big network”

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/7945053/chicago-cubs-kerry-wood-retiring

  67. Milo, isn’t that a nice problem to have? Like DK, I like Anze. I first “noticed” him in the All Star Skills competition two years ago. He also seems like a class act. But dayum, you gotta hand it to Quick, he’s amazingly good.

  68. Jandy is correct, opinions are a dime a dozen, even inflation hasn’t changed that price for decades :)

    Opinions are also a form of claim and should supported by data and a warrant (the warrant links the data to claim), Without support the opinion has no merit.

    Example–Dejan wrote “Andrew McCutchen is tremendously good.” That is an opinion and claim. For data he used the BA, HRs, and the context of the lineup. The warrant, unstated, is that a player hitting .349 with 5 HR in a lineup devoid of talent is tremendously good.

    That can be disagreed with but not without explaining why the data does not validate the claim.

  69. @John

    “The entire problem with this franchise is that .500 is seen as acceptable.”

    I disagree. You don’t hear ANYBODY associated with the Pirates that says that the goal is .500. From the top (Nutting) down to coaches and players, they say that .500 is not the goal and that .500 is not acceptable.

    Now, in the dark hallows of the PNC Park offices, that may be a cause for celebration, but they should not announce that.

  70. Ryan, I believe John means it’s acceptable to fans…lol

  71. Ryan

    Keryy Wood A tremendous talent derailed by injury. When drafted he was seen as a coming superstar and showed that his first season but then the injuries began.

  72. NMR,

    The only reason to give any press to the AAA team or any of the affiliates is we’ve been told now for nigh on five-plus years that “It’s Where the Boys Are”. Well, it’s not proving out right now. I myself would like to live long enough to see championship ball played in Pittsburgh at PNC Park. If that’s in the future, that’s why I check the boxes of all the minor league clubs every night. I’d be tickled pink to see this version of the Bucs be relavant in the fall and, yes, top .500. Not being negative, just trying to exercise some foresight.

  73. @Jandy

    Then I might have to import an Iron or twelve if they do make it….I’d celebrate, screw it!

  74. @Jandy

    Remember all the talk about Dustin Brown being traded at the deadline ? He’s been quite a leader for them. And he’s made it possible for your boy Richards to just play & not worry too much about all that stuff that got him jettisoned from Philly.

  75. @JAL

    Yes he was…fun to watch pitch. Even if he was Cubbie

  76. Good lesson, JAL. (#70) I should have learned that by now.

  77. What’s with all the hate this A.M?

    Wanna hate? Go to Smizik’s blog. Its full of intelligent coversations……..

    Besides, its Friday, almost beer 30

  78. Lucky

    Students in my persuasion theory class learned that, or least most of them did.

  79. The BMTIB would be doing cartwheels across the Clemente Bridge and over to the bunkers on Federal Street if they ever finish 500 or above.

    But, that being said, all is right with the PBC and everything is peachy…..

    Lets keep telling ourselves that.

  80. I don’t know if anyone mentioned this, I really don’t feel like going back and checking, but talking about Indy and their “dominating” brand of baseball they’ve just lost 4/5. All 4 of those losses in shut out fashion.

    And as of right now, Jeff Clement is the leading hitter……….QUICK CALL HIM UP!!!

  81. JAL,

    Looks like I might need to audit that class.

  82. @JAL

    #80. You mean the ones that stayed awake?

    Persuasion theory? So glad I’m a business dude….

  83. Ryan,

    That’s been said and shot down. Good thing you’re in the military. We preachers have to turn the other cheek. You can fight back. LOL

  84. @Milo and Jandy– This just in–Kings are good. Nasty, playing with confidence, peaking at the right time. I’ll hate seeing Richards with a Cup, but it will be good to know Snider, Clark, and all Philthy fans are just choking that down.

  85. Fight back on the shot down?

    No problem….I can hang with the best of them.

  86. The only 2 position players I want to see called up and they aren’t ready yet, is Jordy Mercer and of course the great Roberto…..I mean Starling Marte. MAYBE Chase d’Arnaud (is he canadian) if he can get his stuff together…love his speed on the bases and range in the field.

    The rest of the lineup is filled with career minor leaguers and most will stay there. There is NO impact bat at that level.

  87. I don’t think there is hate. I don’t think there is negativity.

    There is a difference of opinion on what the facts and stats show between the big club and AAA. There is a difference of opinion whether the fan base should happy, pleased, unhappy, or realistic about what the first 38 games of this season have shown and the statistical lack of offense in the minor leagues.

    JAL’s point at #70 is right on: without facts/stats to back up your claim, your opinion is nothing more than a viewpoint that may or may not be accepted.

    The majority of posters this morning, myself included, have looked at: the facts that the big club still is not scoring runs consistently; that the stats support that little help is to be found in the minors for this consistent lack of run support; that the facts and stats continue to show that the Pirates have a top-10 pitching staff in MLB; and the fact that this team is 18-20 despite a very tough schedule to date; the undisputed star of this team, McCutchen, has performed extremely well the past 2 or 3 weeks.

    Opinions based upon these (albet, generalized) stats and facts are: that this team, realistically, is still not very good, and neither is the “immediate” help; that this team has done very well for itself despite the offensive pitfalls and thus we, as fans, should be extremely happy about that; or, the BMTIB still stinks (had to throw that in there).

    For this guy, I am thrilled the Bucs are 18-20. I also continue to bemoan the offensive ineptness, despite the “success” of the past two nights. Again, I cite: PIT avg/slg/ops: .221/.349/.622 – 38 games.

  88. Seems as if we’re all agreed that there isn’t much help for Bucs at AAA…anyone have thoughts on who might be available and a fit to put some punch in the lineup?

  89. Regarding Fleury…I agree that he does at times seem to lack a bit of mental toughness, but what goalies don’t? Even the greatest goalies have had their share of weak playoff series, and even Roy’s and Brodeur’s teams went home early far more often than they picked up that 16th win. I’m guessing most fans thought they played just horribly and lacked focus in the series they lost.

    I bet Jersey fans were bemoaning Brodeur’s lack of mental toughness when he gave up those two goals in the last 90 seconds of game 7 against Carolina in ’09.

    By my count, Fleury is 8-4 in playoff series. He deserves his share of the blame for the upset losses, but the guy is a great goalie who gives the Pens a better chance to win another Cup or two than almost any other goalie they’d bring in.

    An increased focus and mental toughness can be developed and technique can be improved, but pure, natural talent and athleticism can’t. Fleury is blessed with those qualities, and that’s why he stays longtime.

  90. Outstanding post, tmp444.

  91. @CW

    That discussion was a couple of days ago…LOL.

    Obviously too soon to tell who’s available. Most of our assumptions were at the 1B position, if I remember right. I have slept since.

    The names that come to mind are veterans on noncontenders as of now and probably wouldn’t cost the PBC much (assuming) as far as the return:

    Justin Morneau
    Todd Helton

    NMR-Pick me up, I can’t remember who else we had.

  92. tmp,

    Very good and very well-stated without harshness. (#80). Hats off to you.

  93. Ryan

    Some business students took the class

  94. tmp,

    Number 89. Sorry. Another in a long line of mistakes.

  95. @scapper–all very good points. Do you think that Roy or Brodeur would have won more Cups playing behind true superstars like Crosby, Malkin, and Staal?

    My feeling is that the Devils/Canadiens won their Cups with those goalies carrying the team, and Pens won while carrying Fleury.

  96. JAL

    Well then I apologize and I’m glad I wasn’t one of them!!

  97. @Ryan-
    I must have been working that day….missed it. I think either of those guys listed would be a great fit and better than anything the Bucs currently have. Would Morneau really be available?

  98. Hurdle said after the game last night that a move would be announced at the ballpark this afternoon. I think Clement is certainly an option, but he’s not on the 40 man. Maybe The Hague. I was thinking a lefty bat because the Tigers are starting at least 2 righties in this series. This is probably when we’ll see if I was right about Correia going on the DL. Just tea leaves on the Correia thing, no inside info.

  99. @Ryan

    And even with losing 4 of 5, the Indians are 9-7 in the month of May, and still in first place.

    So would that 4 of 5 games be considered a short step back, or representative of their entire season?

    Last year, the Indians were 4th in the league in batting. How did that help the Major league team? Sometime Triple-A teams get beat by major leaguers dwelling in Triple-A trying to get back. It happens.

    And I was actually wrong about one thing. The Indians did not throw win 3 games with shutouts in the last week and a half. They won FOUR games with shutouts. Sorry about that error.

  100. Lucky, don’t make me come to Kentucky and smack you upside the head ;)
    LOL, had to :p

    tmp, I’ll add my kudos to your post. Perhaps I was a bit harsh, but I’m tired of hearing the same whining/moaning every friggin’ day.

    Ryan, the Buccos get to .500 and stay there, I’m downing a 6 pack of Molson’s XXX, and my hubby can pick me off the floor ;)

  101. Milo,

    Is “actually wrong” and “truly wrong” the same thing? Maybe I could ask JAL that one.

  102. CWalton, I detest Mike Richards, but I hate Philly more lol. SO yeah, the Kings will advance, may even take the cup, and I will enjoy seeing the Cryers moan in their beer.

  103. Lucky, nope, two different ways of being wrong. With some people, there is no “truly.”

  104. Jandy,

    I’ll send you some KY Bourbon instead. It’ll be quicker. (Wouldn’t that look nice in the headlines? Ministers sends Bourbon across state lines. Story on FOX News at 9)

  105. Lucky, lol! Send it, I’ll drink it, it just may take me a while to finish it!

  106. Thing to remember is that goal in the minors is to develop players, not win games. Indy has 12 players who were born in 1984 or earlier.

  107. Speaking of hearing the same whining and moaning every day….

  108. Yup, Roberto, look in the mirror, dude.

  109. Sure hope that swarm of bees hasn’t made its way from Coors Field to the Motor City.

  110. OshKoshB’Gosh lol

  111. JAL,

    You’re right. Those old buzzards are 27. About out of their prime. Good point. (seriously). And some of those pitchers throwing gems were having a horrible time in ST.

  112. John,

    Billy the Exterminator probably “relocated” them there.

  113. @JAL

    That is generally true, but the Iron Pigs who just won 3 straight against the Indy Indians have 14 players born in 1984 or earlier.

  114. I hear the Pirates are bringing up Graham Koonce for the Tiger series.

  115. Jandy,

    I’ll do it if you do it. Do you not see the irony of your statement? I am complaining about the negativity and complaining, and you complain about my complaining. Priceless.

  116. Roberto, let me put it this way. You’re being annoying. I’m done with you. Have a nice day.

  117. @Roberto:

    If you ever find yourself in Oshkosh, I’ll treat you to a Pepsi and a Doritos Taco at Taco Bell. :-)

  118. Thanks John

    If you are ever in Chapel Hill, I”ll treat you to some beer and thumbs and toes at Top of the Hill. They do the coaches shows from there and its where all the kids gather when the Tarheels win the national title. Some pretty great baseball players coming through there the last few years, as well. This sophomore lefty Kent Emanuel is looking really strong.

  119. John,

    He probably prefers Coke for a multitude of reasons.

  120. Roberto,

    What are “thumbs and toes”? They’re chicken parts here in KY.

  121. Morton vs. Verlander tonight.

    Hmm…Charlie’s been pretty bad on the road, but he did pitch well last time out. Did I see Austin Jackson and Valverde might not be available tonight? Maybe we can catch Detroit napping. We played them pretty close last year.

    Oh, and just for those stat fiends in here…Prince has a career .182 ba against Charlie.

    Fear the Bones……

  122. Kum-ba-ya, my lord, kum-ba-ya….

    Goodness, glad to be a part of the convo today instead of just a comment or two, but c’mon people. This place is for fun.

    I’m starting my job as a Ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park next week, so will be around here a lot less. I’ll primarily be on Long’s Peak, helping people to stay out of trouble or assisting those who are already there. If any of you get out this way, let me know–I love sharing this beautiful place with others, and it’s a great vacation spot.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend.

  123. CWalton. Good point there, I must admit. When you think of that ’93 Habs cup and all of the Devils’ championships, you can’t immediately recall a bunch of big offensive stars, and Roy might have been the most deserving Smythe winner ever in ’93.

    But with the Devils, I bet Marty faced almost no odd-man breaks or flatout breakaways. Those teams were just smothering.

    I still think Fleury is a bigtime spring goalie who looked pretty darn focused during those ’08 and ’09 cup runs. Now, you might be right. If that Fleury is gone, then we have problems. But think he has many great playoff series and some late May and early June hockey in his future in Pittsburgh.

    Anyway, I like that “who carried whom” point, and I look forward to discussing this — okay, arguing! — with my brother about this one over the weekend.

  124. @Lucky

    They are – but chicken tenders. There is quite the chicken industry here in NC and Tyson is everywhere. You can usually smell the chicken farms before you see them.

    And I prefer Vernors

  125. CWalton, good luck with the new job! I envy you! You havea great weekend too :)

  126. @CWalton

    Stay safe – some of my best friends are park rangers in the Boston Harbor Islands. Different kind of dangers there.

  127. Roberto,

    I was just being a smart azz, as Jandy says, about the chicken parts. Very interesting that they really are. Try Ale Eight One, a KY exclusive. No caffeine, as the name suggests.

  128. LuckyNKentucky@43

    With regard to CW’s question about Hurdle @42, I need to clarify; Hurdle has made a lot of bad decisions regarding lineups, in-game strategy and his post game explanations leave me aghast, like the AFLAC duck, but when/if he begins to impress me, I will acknowledge it. Such as playing Harrison at SS more frequently, and while Barajas is doing what he’s doing – play him.
    Between the pitcher and Barajas they have to be more efficient in holding guys on, then throwing them out.
    Compared to his predecessor, I love Hurdle.

  129. CW,

    I present to you, Mr. Bob Hasis.

  130. Lucky,

    lol – I may be visiting that area later this summer, I will have to look it up. Thanks

  131. Lucky tell me I don’t have to stand up and bow, or give a speech.

    I did overlook two important items; don’t try to sacrifice SO OFTEN, with people who don’t know how to bunt. And when they learn how to bunt, they need to try and remember NOT to bunt it right at the pitcher, or leave it three feet in front of the plate for easy pickings to the catcher.

    Finally, I’m willing to be patient with Pedro, I just don’t think Hurdle knows what to do with him.
    I love Pedro’s gun, and his fielding in general rates about a 75% – in my book

  132. - Still wondering why anyone would trade Staal before knowing the salary cap rules and limits in the new CBA unless the trade offer was undeniable.

    - Carolina seems like the most obvious destination for Staal because of family ties but do they have the assets to make the deal? Are they willing to offer defenseman Tim Gleason, a forward prospect, and first round pick (8th overall) to get the help they need at forward? Can they afford to trade Gleason with Bryan Allen headed to unrestricted free agency by July 1st? The Canes are being talked about as big players for Staal, Parise, and others because their prospect pool isn’t exactly top notch and their NHL roster depth is in bad need of repair.

    - Trading Staal for a defenseman isn’t what I would be willing to do with this team so desperate for help at forward. They have maybe 3-4 potential NHL players in their control but unlikely any support from the current group in Wilkes-Barre for the ’12-13 season. I’d much rather look at acquiring a young top six winger (Jeff Skinner) from Carolina than a defenseman since the Pens are loaded with options.

    - If you want to address the defense, it first starts with unloading Paul Martin and maybe even Zbynek Michalek. $9 million in cap space is a lot of money to sign two or three second tier forwards like Mike Knuble, Brad Boyes, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, P-A Parenteau, and Chris Kelly to fill out a roster that needs to get back to having four quality lines that contain speed and skill.

    - Defense should be fine with Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Simon Despres, Matt Niskanen, and Deryk Engelland taking five of the seven spots on the roster. There should be cheap options in free agency like Greg Zanon, Mark Eaton, Hal Gill, and Shane O’Brien that could come here as a veteran leader for the defense while the team gives opportunities to other young players like Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Joe Morrow, etc.

    - End of day, I would do whatever I could do within reason to dump Martin and Michalek in order to resign Staal and hope Bylsma gets a clue on how to work all three centers into the mix offensively.

  133. Bob,

    No speeches necessary.

  134. I gotta say, Bob is a cool cat. I’ve busted his chops a bit before, but he sure knows how to roll with the punches.

    He might be a cranky old dude, but I like him – and his ape strippers – hanging around here.

  135. Ditto NMR.

  136. NMR..lol…that’s striped-ass apes!

    Eric Bowser, I don’t want Staal to go anywhere. But IF he does, we’d have to get good forward material in return. I’d say Skinner fits that bill.

  137. bob hasis isn’t the cranky one today, Mother Teresa is ;)

  138. @CW

    Is Morneau available? I’m not sure. He has a year left on his contract and its a pretty steep one for someone with his injuries. (Not injury prone though)

    It would be a AJ Burnett type of deal if they were to deal him. The Twins aren’t doing so well again this year and I could see him as trade bait, but maybe next season. Just a thought I had, always liked him.

  139. @Roberto

    I think the Buccos should call up Jo-Jo anytime now..he’s killing it in Indy.

  140. Ryan,

    What do you do with him? Lincoln back to pen and start him or versa visa?

  141. I really hope the Pirates take this series. Living in Toledo Ohio I am surrounded by Tiger fans at work and would really like to not hear their arrogent nonsense if we get swept. They are almost as annoying as Steeler fans (I say that being a Steelers fan and knowing how annoying we can be sometimes) but easily not as annoying as Red Wing fans. I actually had two friends call me up after opening day this year and tell me they bought their World Series tickets for the Tigers.

  142. Toronto sent 1B Adam Lind to AAA. $5,000,000 this year and next + 3 team options. They traded Aaron Hill last year and he played very well for Arizona in 33 games (24-9). I wonder if Lind is washed up at 28 or could provide a boost.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lindad01.shtml

  143. @Lucky

    I was kidding…Lincoln stays in the rotation IMHO. He gives the Buccos a better chance of winning than Corriea does, I believe.

  144. @22

    Change of scenary type of guy, maybe…

  145. I would think the more we give up the less of his salary we take on. I for one would just spend the 5 million which is what we spent on Barmes and give up very little. I think the guy was considerably above average and had some good power numbers for 2 years or so. It’s a position of need and it couldn’t be any worse than the money we spent on Barmes.

  146. @Nate

    You’re correct. The more money taken on usually the less you have to give up. i.e. AJ Burnett.

    If I’m NH, I want some serious money in return. This guy is signed for four more years and might be sucking it up

  147. @Nate

    The Pirates with less of a pitching staff last year took 2 of 3 from the Pirates, I believe.

    This wear we get them 3 games at each park.

    Tonight’s matchup is very tough, but Burnett vs Smyly is workable, and Correia vs Scherzer in a day game figures to be higher scoring, but I like Correia on the road vs Scherzer.

  148. Interesting to read the peanut gallery opine that Todd Helton or Justin Morneau would be available. NOT. Todd is a 10-5 guy for sure and a full no trade and he’s a Rockie until retirement. Book it. His salary is enormous with a TON of deferred money also for years to come. As to Morneau, I’m sure the Twins are itching to tear down and start over but not sure it will come so close to the new ballpark open and commitment to sign the beloved talent there… and he has some serious holes in his swing.

    Both profile as an Adam LaRoche type but older and more expensive and I’m sure we can pull the archives to see how y’all felt about “Is it July yet” Adam when he was with the Bucs. That’s a fact, not an opinion LOL.

  149. *two of three from the Tigers, that is

  150. @cmat -

    I don’t think Morneau is available either. Selling him now when he is just getting healthy after those concussions would be selling low. Plus I don’t think Terry Ryan will be responsible for selling off one of the 2 M’s

  151. Since I missed this earlier, I like Bob too. Maybe we could talk some Bill Cherpak & TJ football sometime.

  152. Just saw on Trade Rumors that the Giants are “monitoring the infield market.” How funny. Doesn’t Sabean know that no trades are made now ? Oh well, at least they tried.

  153. I don’t think Morneau is available because his performance doesn’t match his contract and the Twins are not the type of team that can take on a portion of his contract like the Yankees did for Burnett.

    This situation isn’t much differant then the Penguins with Martin except there is no salary cap in Baseball. Although I am sure the Twins play with a ceiling for their payroll which is sort of like a self imposed salary cap.

    It kind of stinks because the Pirates could be in the same position 4 years from now with some of their young guys in deciding wether to invest 15-18 million a year on one guy. 18 mil is 20 percent of a 90 mil payroll and if that guy bust he is untradeable and it sets your team behind 3-5 years. It’s just a horrible system that gives most teams one strike and the 7 or 8 teams 3 strikes.

  154. No Groat today…

  155. Nate

    Well said.

    If Morneau improves this year now that he seems healthier, do they try to trade him at the deadline? or offseason?

  156. @Jandy #102 – no need to apologize for any harshness. What I love about this blog is that we are passionate about this team and WANT to see them succeed. Negativity, or at least frustration, about what the future seems to hold is, unfortunately, going to overshadow short-term success. Why? Because the vast majority of posters on this blog are baseball people, not fair-weathered fans and cheerleaders. These are people who live the game and not just a Saturday night fireworks display. Thus, these are also people who know and understand what the facts and stats show.

    IOW, I think we can all agree that if the Buccos finish the season, say, 10 games over .500, based upon the evidence as it is now, that would be a statistical anamoly. But, you know the great thing about that? Statistical anamolies occur. LET’S GO BUCS!

  157. tmp, thanks friend. I followed the Bucs years ago, and am trying to pick up and absorb everything I can reading everyone’s posts. There is so much to learn! But I shall persevere. But you know, it’s kinda like being a Penguins fan for all the years of futility. Then things changed, and it’s fun again, even more so now that Crosby and Malkin are Penguins. But yeah, anamolies DO occur! We still root for our team, because we are true fans. =)

  158. Larry Richert will be the Steelers new PA announcer at Heinz Field. He’s been doing it at Pine-Richland for years.

  159. tmp,

    Well put, again. And, 10 games over might also be enough to win the division if the Cards flounder and Reds under-achieve, both of which are possible. Love to see it.

  160. JAL

    Just picked up on the great Cole outing in FSL in posting #5. That’s 4 straight outings of less than 3 ER’s and his first with no BB’s.

    Probably don’t say this enough, but love the links everyday. Its a thankless job, but much appreciated.

  161. Have a great weekend, everyone, I have to move it. go Bucos!

  162. Milo – doesn’t Richert also serve as the voice-over on Steelers’ films produced by NFL Films?

  163. Good call, Roberto. In my complaining about the hitting I hadn’t notice the Marauders drew 12 walks. That tends to keep the hit total down, and IMHO, the aggessiveness.

  164. @tmp444

    Yes he does. I think he does the Dolphins video also. He’s married to Dan Marino’s sister.

  165. @Milo

    What about TJ and Bill Cherpak…watch what you say!

  166. Why is Gerrit Cole in A ball ? Why was Gerrit Cole ever in A ball ?

  167. @Ryan

    I love Bill Cherpak. You a TJ guy, or Steel Valley ?

  168. Helton and Marneau were thrown out there because both teams are sucking up right now. Looking over the rosters of out-of-contention teams at this point we were looking for veteran guys that could fill a void. NOT suggesting that either were available.

    Todd Helton will probably retire a Rockie. But, many thought Peyton Manning would retire a Colt. Never know.

  169. Milo,

    DK, if memory serves me, which it doesn’t, stated Cole and Taillon should be in AA before the end of the season. Somebody said it. Taillon had a rough outing the other night, but has been solid.

  170. TJ

    My brother graduated there and I would have had my parents had not felt the need to move from snow and go to FLA. Many friends graduated from there. I pay more attention to that school than my own…strange.

  171. @Lucky

    I do recall that info as well, I believe it was in DK’s chat, but I could be wrong.

    If they end in AA this year, could start in AAA next and get the call next season, but more likely 2014, possibly at the same time.

  172. Ryan,

    You’re probably right. Cole will be a grizzled 25-year old by 2014. Hope it’s next year.

  173. @Lucky

    That sounds kinda…….ya know…ewwy

  174. Gorkys Hernandez – enter & sign in please.

  175. Evan Meek back to Indy. That was truly a cup of coffee.

  176. and pulled up Gorkys?? Really? Figure he’s going to be one of those up and down guys.

  177. I’ve never understood the Pittsburgh folks gullibility for buying into the longtime stance of the last couple of Pirates GM’s that a winning team ‘must be built on pitching’.

    You never heard that back in the 70′s when they won two world championships, or even when in the early 90′s when they contended. I guess so many people are gone from Pittsburgh from the days of the Pirates perennial years of contending that the public will buy into anything the GM’s sell, since they don’t have a clue what a winning baseball team looks like anyway.

    It was good hitting and a couple good pitchers that made the 70′s Pirates so good. The rest of the pitching staff was okay, but they only ever needed one or two real good ones to go with the good hitting line-up to contend every year.

    When the ultimate team ‘built on pitching’ faced those Bucs of the 70′s, they failed to beat them.
    The 1971 Baltimore Orioles faced them with an unprecented FOUR 20 GAME WINNERS, for crying out loud! And they LOST against a Pirates team mainly built on ‘good hitting and a couple good pitchers’.
    If anyone should know that a good hitting team is better than a good pitching team, it’s Pittsburghers, but this is a different generation who doesn’t know history very well.

  178. @ Milo – Interesting ? you posed a few post ago about why Cole is in A ball. His teammate at UCLA Trevor Bauer whom was picked a few spots later and is in the Arizona system has just been placed in Reno AAA and there is talk about him reaching the bigs this season.

    I have wondered as well why Cole has been down in Bradenton for this long and feel he should definitely be on the fast track considering he was a college arm.

  179. Hard to figure that recall.

  180. Wow the call-up of Gorkys Hernandez surprises me a bit, but I will say this if it leads to the eventual release of Nate McLouth it will work for me!

  181. @Pig Legs

    You know why the Pirates beat the Orioles in 1971 ? They out pitched them.

  182. @JRay

    I could see that happening. Kristy Robinson of Pirates Prospects tweeted something similiar to that at which I replied ” would be kinda funny for Nate to be dumped for a guy he was traded for.”

    Could see it happening.

  183. Milo,

    Bob Robertson might disagree with that, but we did get some great pitching in that series. Steve Blass, Nellie Briles. Robertson missed that stupid bunt sign and homered. Wonder if he got benched for it. He was platooning anyway.

  184. Stunned by tonight’s lineup: Our DH and leading off Harrison, Walker, Cutch, Alvarez, Jones, McGehee, McOut, BarmEs, McKenry, Morton

    I wonder what Verlander’s initial thought to this lineup is. Don’t know how many teams use the DH to lead off and secondly how many use a backup utility infielder.

  185. Somebody here yesterday mentioned the lack of hustle by Tabata in his last AB would earn him a spot on the bench, spot on! Maybe Hernandez is a wake up call to Nate and Jose to get it together.

  186. The Indians of the 90′s never won a championship with a ton of hitting and no pitching. San Fransisco just won a championship with only pitching and so did Arizona recently. Texas just spent 120 million to get Darvish because they didn’t think scoring 7 runs a game was enought to win it all. The Yankees and Boston both come up short when their pitching is subpar despite plenty of offensive power.

  187. If Adam Lind could play a corner outfield position I’d be more open to giving him a shot. But they already have some power at 1b, so it would just be rearranging the chairs.
    The place to focus for adding good extra base hitting where there is none currently would be both outfield corners. Having someone who could hover around at least .280 and hit 20 plus homers in left & right would make the biggest difference.

  188. @Lucky

    Robertson had a great post season that year. I remember the Briles shutout in Game 5. I was very sick that morning and couldn’t go to school, ha ha. My mom said I’d remember watching that game more than anything that happened in school that day. I’ll have to remind her of that & tell her she was right.

  189. @Milo

    You don’t understand history…….you’re wrong

  190. By the way, I’ll gladly rearrange the chairs by moving Jones to RF and putting Lind at 1B.

  191. @Milo

    My exact thoughts brother…….

  192. Need to remember that PNC park plays a little different than most parks. You need 2 CF type guys out there.

    Move Jones to RF and add a bat or, find a power hitter for RF, either way.

  193. Sure, the Pirates outpitched them and outhit them. But they weren’t ‘built on pitching’.

  194. Milo,

    I watched that entire series from school–my college apartment in Youngstown. Loved every pitch.

  195. Back to 1971, in the 3 games pitched by Blass (games 3 &7) and Briles (game 5) the Orioles totaled 2 runs on 9 hits.

  196. Gorkys makes as much sense as anyone, when they sent Presley down they were down an outfielder.

  197. I’ll go with Jones out there, but that’s just one corner. They need to fill both corners with good hitting.
    But the Pirates at least tried to get a hitter, and that is good enough. Besides, it is those 5 ace starters that are going to make this a winning team.

  198. Will Matt Hague ever sniff the big team in Pittsburgh again? Don’t understand what he did, or didn’t do to get a call back up.

  199. I actually like the Gorky call up. I know he has not hit for any power but it’s not like any of the other outfield options have. We consistantly hear about how good his defense is and maybe he can provide a little bit of what 2011 Pressly did by gettin on base on way possible and pressuring the other team with his base running.

    I also think it’s been 3 years with this guy and it’s about time to find out what he is capable of. What better time then now when no other options are any better.

    DK: Can’t hit at all, Nate.

  200. Bill Wennigton sang the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley. I knew he couldn’t carry Michael Jordan’s jockstrap. Now I know he can’t carry a tune, either.

    That’s right I just dropped an NBA joke up in here.

  201. But Dejan, they …nevermind.

  202. @John

    I’m watching that too. What happened to all that hair ?

  203. DK,

    Didn’t Gorkys originate with the Detroit farm system?

  204. @Milo:

    Unfortunately, no one has yet found a cure to the common birthday.

  205. Kerry Wood now making his final appearance as a major league ballplayer.

  206. @PigLegs

    Its interesting, because Buck Showalter, manager of those Orioles, said the other day that the only way for the Orioles to compete now is to build on pitching.

  207. Very emotional for Kerry Wood. What a great moment. Oh, what might have been.

  208. Kerry Wood & Mark Prior won a total of 128 big league games. Oh, what might have been.

  209. Milo:

    Prior and Wood pitched the doomed games 6 and 7, respectively, of the 2003 NLCS.
    What might have been, indeed.

  210. @Pigs

    Who would you put in LF instead of Tabby?

  211. I’ll use the 2010 Giants as a example again……..Great pitching, no hitting.

  212. By the way, Tabata is benched tonight. Kudos to Clint Hurdle for for noticing his total lack of effort & focus last night.

  213. I dont think Hurdle is afraid to do that sort of thing…….He’s done it to Cutch, he’ll do it to anybody.

  214. Milo @154 you have an open ticket (invitation)

    I would rather watch a TJ football game on Friday night than eat dinner – which by the the occurs, well . . . . every Friday night!!

  215. NMR@136 and Lucky@137, your words are very kind and accepted. Jandy, Playoffs 2012 and Roberto have already shown that a miserable old reprobate isn’t all that bad to have around – as long as they don’t have to change my diaper.

    Kidding – just kidding!!!

    A little old lady (listen to me call someone old) asked if she could go in front of me at the express lane at Shop n Save. Of course I told her, I’m in no hurry.
    Someday the remainder of my life will be measured in minutes and seconds -but not today

    She smiled – I wasn’t sure if she understood, or thought I was some quack.

  216. bob hasis ~
    bless you, you’re a sweet old dear :)

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