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Wakeup Call: Pitching can’t just be good

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Brief and to the Point …

>> Seeing back-to-back blah starts by Brad Lincoln and Kevin Correia surely will heighten the outcry for Rudy Owens — and friends, maybe — to come up from Indianapolis. It should also serve as a reminder of what these Pirates are all about.

The pitching can’t be average for this team to contend. Can’t even be good. It’s got to be great. And that means not much more can be tolerated.

Specifically, Lincoln should be replaced by Owens in the rotation, though it’s far from clear that will happen. Clint Hurdle has strongly suggested Lincoln will start Sunday in Cleveland.

Why?

Look, it’s not just that Lincoln has a 0.45 ERA as a reliever, 6.81 as a starter. Small sample size. It’s that he looks like a different pitcher in relief. He’s got a snarl to him. That’s the Lincoln I know off the field. A competitor. Let him be that.

>> A lot of things are out of a hitter’s control. But taking the first pitch after a walk that loads the bases is not one of them. Anyone can do it. You just stand there with the bat on your shoulder.

A lot of things about Clint Barmes’ awful season are worth some empathy. Any player can get into a prolonged slump. But watching him hack at the first pitch after Jose Tabata filled the bases with a five-pitch walk (and the one strike was out of the zone but fouled off), that’s something else entirely.

>> Really? That Brandon Moss?

>> Scary question: What if Pedro Alvarez just isn’t very good at baseball?

>> Wonderful must-read this morning about the relentless spirit of Kirby Wilson, the Steelers’ running backs coach and recent burn victim, by our Mark Kaboly.

>> Columnist Joe Starkey wonders why Bill O’Brien kept two assistants at Penn State, with so much still unsettled in the Jerry Sandusky case.

>> Our weekly chat is coming up today at noon. But you can submit entries as early as 6 a.m.

Comments

  1. T.S. says:

    Hey DK,

    I don’t think the question about Pedro is scary at all. While he acts as though (and has said as much) that he’s always on an even keel, I’m not buying it anymore. His struggles at the plate have gotten to him. Emotionally. Deeply. Sports psychologist, anyone? Or maybe, like you ask, he just isn’t cut out for MLB. From my seat, he’s looking more and more like Brad Eldred Redux. Plenty of pop. With fastballs. But nothing more. Bad omen.

    Others in this blog have mentioned that Clint Hurdle doesn’t have the matzo balls (my own spin on alliteration) to sit Barmes and give an extended look to Mercer, or to sit (or send down) Tabata. Is this really about their larger contracts? Because that’s long been a universal sentiment of why high-paid ballplayers who struggle don’t get the same benching/demotion as those paid the major league minimum, etc.

    TS

  2. Baywatch says:

    That IS a scary question, DK … but I’m glad you asked it. You’re good at asking questions like that. I honestly wonder how much time they will give him. I mean, practically … It’s not like he’s Jeff Clement who I’m convinced will NEVER get the same chance he had, what, three years ago, when they handed him the first base job and he flubbed it. But the time will come when there could come a practical “Goodbye, Pedro.” I just hope he doesn’t turn out like Baustista.

    But Bautista seemed to have so much more positive energy than Pedro. I guess that’s why I liked the way you worded that … just not very good at baseball.

  3. Baywatch says:

    T.S., I don’t even think Pedro does that well with fastballs … at least it seems every time he’s been interviewed after hitting a home run he says it’s a change-up! And if that’s all he can really hit successfully, yeah, something is very amiss.

  4. PetroSteel says:

    Small sample.

    Lincoln and Pedro have shown signs of what they can do. We just need to be patient.

    I know that’s difficult after all these years but we just need to give them more time to develop. Pedro has a great game tomorrow and we will be singing a different tune.

    Its not easy going from bullpen and starter. Lincoln needs more time before we should judge him.

  5. JRay3 says:

    @ DK – that is a very scary question in my estimation as he has been counted on to be the one true power bat we drafted and supposedly quickly developed. He is being counted on to be the middle of the lineup bat and presence behind Cutch this team so desperately needs. The Pirates will never be able to spend the money necessary for that type of bat so they have to pan out when drafted highly, if not it sets this team just that much further back.

    There is not a power hitting 3B in the system and none of the Pirates top 20 prospects fit that bill. So if Alvarez is not any good at baseball (and watching his half hearted attempt on the Davis foul ball is giving me my doubts) it will leave a crater sized hole I’m not sure this organization is prepared to fill or get out of.

    Your take on Barmes is spot on, even when he does have control he shows an utter lack of focus and baseball IQ, should not happen with a veteran. The organization made a horrible move by giving him a two year deal and they made a mistake paying him those dollars but it is time for them to own up to that mistake and try something else because it can not be any worse than what we are forced to watch each night from that position.

    Lastly, we are starting feel the effects of Karstens prolonged stint away from the rotation, Lincoln is being yo-yo’d from one role to another and a commitment needs to be made to not stunt his development. He has gone from having an electric arm and just filthy stuff to a very ordinary pitcher overnight. Correia should be done, there is nothing over the past year that suggests he provides a chance to win consistently or even remotely for that matter, time to cut bait and free Owens.

  6. Dave says:

    A couple things I’d like to ask.

    1. Why isn’t Mercer playing more? Granted he was just called up and isn’t seen as anything more than a utility player, but with Barmes currently having 2 (not a typo) walks thus far this season. Why isn’t Mercer or Harrison being given more playing time. Barmes is terrible and anyone who looked at his power charts from last season could’ve seen he’s a terrible fit for PNC. He’s struggled to be below average at 2 of the best hitters parks in the majors.

    2. When will Clement get another chance. McGehee has looked terrible all year, K-dro has been terrible with the exception of his 10 game tear. Give Hague some PT at 3b and call up Clement. Let Jones take over in RF since Tabata apparently doesn’t feel like playing this year (or maybe age has caught up to him). Give the pitching some breathing room.

    3. Rudy Jaramillo for hitting coach. Hire him yesterday, Gregg Ritchie is terrible and I wonder if Hurdle is any better.

  7. Boise Bucco says:

    …and if you weren’t mad at the Pirates after that game, try this out:

    “Oh, Matt Cain? That was the Bryan Bullington/Prince Fielder/Zach Greinke/Cole Hamels draft, wasn’t it?”
    :D

  8. Baywatch says:

    Hey, proof positive that a lot of it’s who you have to work with: Rudy Jaramillo is the hitting coach for the Cubs. They lost how many in a row, 10-15, culminating a few weeks ago? And much of it was for lack of hitting. He’s not so much the FAMOUS Rudy Jaramillo since he left the Rangers hitters.

  9. Baywatch says:

    I see a few other alums getting some good playing time in recently. Brandon Moss hit two home runs day before yesterday, and one yesterday, for the A’s; and Ross Ohlendorf was picked up by the Padres a few weeks ago. He got a win in relief on the 9th and is scheduled for a start this coming Sunday.

  10. Lasedog8 says:

    It’s laughable that people want to continue to give Hague playing time, but bench Alvarez. At least with Pedro there is a threat of power. However, I do agree about Barmes, he is terrible. It’s time to give anyone else a try.

  11. JAL says:

    JAL’s June is Busting Out All Over 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: Correia’s Luck is Running Out

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/06/pirates-notebook-correias-luck-is-running-out.html

    Prospect Watch: Taillon and Dodson Get Hit Hard

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/06/prospect-watch-taillon-and-dodson-get-hit-hard.html

    First Pitch: Correia Has Been Lucky, But Unlucky in a Way

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-correia-has-been-lucky-but-unlucky-in-a-way/

  12. JAL says:

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Jake Arrieta Dominates Pirates; Kevin Correia Pitching His Way Out Of Bucs’ Rotation

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/6/13/3084182/jake-arrieta-dominates-pirates-kevin-correia-pitching-his-way-out-of

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates Lose Again, RumBunter Is Camden Bound

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/06/13/pirates-lose-again-rumbunter-is-camden-bound/

    7 Hyzdu Headquarters

    Backdraft: 2004 MLB Draft

    http://hyzduhq.blogspot.com/2012/06/backdraft-2004-mlb-draft.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Blistered 7-1

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/06/bucs-blistered-7-1.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Crushed in Charm City

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/06/crushed-in-charm-city/

    10 WhyGavs

    Game 61: Orioles 7 Pirates 1

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/may-2012/game-61-orioles-7-pirates-1.html

  13. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Orioles Game Peview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120614_PIT@BAL/piratesorioles-preview

    12 Baltimore Sun

    Arrieta strikes out 9 in spot start as Orioles beat Pirates, 7-1

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-pirates-0614-20120613,0,435712.story

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze86dj180i7-20120613,0,552915.story

    14 Fortune

    How an upstart bat maker swings against Louisville Slugger

    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/13/how-an-upstart-bat-maker-swings-against-louisville-slugger/

    15 Wall Street Journal

    The Monet of Baseball Cards

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303822204577464813233710538.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    16 Sacramento Bee

    Ted Williams Leads As Most Popular Stamp

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/13/4558960/ted-williams-leads-as-most-popular.html

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    17 PBC Site

    Offense, Correia struggle in loss to Orioles

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_06_13_pitmlb_balmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Notebook: McCutchen not worried about All-Star voting

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120613&content_id=33235910&notebook_id=33236018&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    18 Fangraphs

    Matt Cain’s Place in History

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/matt-cains-place-in-history/

    19 Bleacher Report

    Why Kevin Correia Should Be Removed from the Pirates’ Starting Rotation

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1221327-kevin-correia-should-be-removed-from-the-pirates-starting-rotation

  14. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The Top 100 and Other Distractions From What is Important

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/6/13/3082258/nfl-top-100-players-pittsburgh-steelers-ben-roethlisberger-ray-lewis

    The Transformation of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/6/13/3082447/the-transformation-of-steelers-qb-ben-roethlisberger

    Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Schedule Preview Week 11: vs. Baltimore Ravens

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/6/13/3082407/pittsburgh-steelers-2012-nfl-schedule-week-11-Baltimore-ravens

    21 Steelers Depot

    - 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Minicamp – Day Two News, Notes & Recap From Wednesday

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/06/2012-pittsburgh-steelers-minicamp-day-two-news-notes-recap-from-wednesday/

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    No Matter Where He Lands, Gilbert Will Play Big Role For The Steelers

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/06/13/no-matter-where-he-lands-gilbert-will-play-big-role-for-the-steelers/

  15. JAL says:

    June is Busting Out All Over, Carousel, 1945 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II adapted a 1909 Hungarian play into Carousel. The musical was successful though not as successful as Oklahoma. From the 1956 movie

  16. MadTurk says:

    @ Lasedog8 “It’s laughable that people want to continue to give Hague playing time, but bench Alvarez. At least with Pedro there is a threat of power.”

    It’s a good point if he could hit, I would rather see someone who may at least put a ball in play when people are on base. I don’t think any pitcher fears Pedro at this time in his career. To me he looks lost once again while at bat. Last night swinging at pitches off the plate and letting fat meatball pitches right down the middle go for strikes was awful looking. A hit by Pedro every once in a while could change my opinion though.

  17. bdubb says:

    What doesn’t make a lot of sense with the Pirates is Mercer is on this roster, not playing. Harrison is still here to back up….everybody. So let’s get Clement up here. Send Mercer down and see if there isn’t a spark there. They already ruined the spark Mercer could have provided.

    What’s the book on Pedro? Anyone notice a difference in the way he is pitched compared to that hot stretch? I recall a lot of off-speed mistakes during that stretch that were crushed. Is he getting an off-speed stuff from righties?

  18. Thundercrack says:

    Pedro is terrible once again. But to me, he actually looks more relaxed in the batter’s box than he did before. Earlier in the year when he was struggling he looked frightened….as if that was the last place he wanted to be. But the results are the same as before. Too many misses and watching too many good looking pitches go by.

    It doesn’t look like he knows how to work a count or what to do when the count is in his favor (or not in his favor).
    I think instead of trying to guess at pitches he needs to focus on location. If the ball is in the certain location ( start at the location right down the middle of the plate) swing at it.

    If I was the hitting coach I would take Pedro into the video room and deconstruct his at-bats. Find out what he was thinking and what his approach was. “OK, you let this ball go right by you, what were you thinking – what were you expecting”. “Why did you swing at this pitch that was low and way out of the strike zone?”

    I think the improvement has to start in his head.

  19. Stuart says:

    Here’s a way to invest some good money after bad. I agree that Pedro doesn’t look like a baseball player. My first thought recently has been to send him to Indy or Altoona, and leave him there until he absolutely tears up minor-league pitching. In other words, don’t promote him if he is merely showing progress, insist on big-time results. Right now I think he needs baseball’s version of a total makeover. Again, as a late 50s and early 60s era Pirates fan, I raise the “spectre” of Harry the Hat Walker. He single-handedly transformed Matty Alou into a batting champ for the Pirates. The Hat was a one-person hitting coach for Matty in the off season. My idea, let’s spend some money on a personal hitting coach for Pedro. He doesn’t seem to have any kind of pitch recognition at all. Is it some kind of vision problem? Is it somehow psychological? Has he got some kind of neurological brain syndrome? I would also strongly insist that he not spend next winter in any kind of Scott Boros “camp”.

    Let’s send him down now (with a personal hitting coach) and leave him till he produces consistently. Maybe he’ll get the idea that he needs to earn the wonderful income he’s getting.
    Stuart “66″

  20. NMR says:

    Starkey just realized this today?

    This doesn’t have annnyything to do with trying to piggyback on the tail of the trial, I’m sure.

    More sanctimonious garbage.

  21. bob hasis says:

    @Lasedog8

    That “threat of power” in Pedro you cite is more aptly called unrequited potential.

    How good would this team be if we had 8 such players in our line-up? How frustrating would it be for you to watch them day after day?

    Every game he provides more evidence he has no clue what the strike zone is or where it is located, then he ambles back to the dugout with bat in hand and that perplexed look of “what just happened? Usually twice a game.

  22. Thundercrack says:

    Starkey’s column is a good one.

    Remember when some people were calling for Tom Bradley to be named the head coach?

  23. Stuart says:

    Here’s a “PS”. I have been nervous during the whole Oriole series that the Pirates might be considering Wilson Betemit. I would not trade a bat-boy for him. Neal, don’t get desperate.

    Free Clement. Free Owens.

    Stuart

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Is that a reprint of a column from February ?

    “If Bradley had been retained …”. Isn’t the point that he wasn’t ? Do you think it’s a coincidence that he doesn’t have a coaching job right now ? Who knew what & when is not a secret. Especially in what was the inner circle of Penn State football. Bill O’Brien had to have some pretty strong assurances that Vanderlinden & Johnson were “safe” hires.

  25. John Lease says:

    If only Pedro could be like Craig Wilson.

  26. Milo Hamilton says:

    And I’m a Pitt fan.

  27. David says:

    I see a few comments saying there is no other power hitting 3B in the Pirates system. Well that is not entirely accurate. There is one but he is a long ways away, Stetson Allie.

    Is he a possible replacement for Alvarez? Of course not but he is there. As for what to do with Alvarez I really have no clue at this point. If you send him to AAA and he hits 300 with 15 HR what does that really prove for him? Also who are you replacing him with in the majors? For better or worse Alvarez needs to be out there every day this season. If he fails send him down at the beginning of next year.

  28. NMR says:

    @Milo

    My issue is twofold. One, the tone of Starkeys writing is distinctly different than the work DK did last fall. Starkey reeks of self-righteous indignation. What he provided today is nothing but last October, redux. He even stretches as far as using the tired, old “head in the sand” line in the same week we learn that PSU’s own internal investigation uncovered more evidence against its own former employees.

    Second, I don’t hear Starkey calling for Mike Mcqueary’s father, the doctor the family consulted, the guidance counselor, any of the BoT, Second Mile employees or friends of Sandusky to lose their jobs. In a column that not-so-subtly hints at football overshadowing right and wrong, he chooses to speak only about, wait for it, football!

    Listen, as an alum, I want nothing more than for every single person involved in this tragic, sordid mess to be held accounted for. I was in favor of every single person being removed to this point that has, including Paterno. What I won’t do is damn every person who was in the program at the time, regardless of fact.

    For the column to be written in that manner, with this timing, is classless.

  29. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Stuart,

    Your take on Harry the Hat and Matty Alou is excellent, but, with respect to you, Harry made Matty the highest and best use he could be. He made him use that bat that was as big as him and utilize his speed and slap his way to the batting title. Pedro’s highest and best use is a middle-of-the-order power bat and his tools are being optimized now. He’s just not producing. Many have mentioned the “head” thing and sprorts psychologists, even in the blog today. That seems to be the way to go with him. Seems he has too many coaches now. Thundercrack had a good theory in #20 above.

  30. bob hasis says:

    Someone mentioned Pedro hits “off-speed mistakes” by the pitcher. If that is all he can hit – and Pedro is providing strong evidence how true that is – then he is not a major league hitter.

    Every team’s scouting report has formulated that truth in their pre-game discussions on how to pitch to Pedro, and any off-speed stuff must be kept out of the strike zone.

    So until he learns – if possible – to ATTACK the pitch rather than lay back waiting for a mistake, he remains a sitting duck for pitchers. Attack means hit the ball where it is pitched IN THE STRIKE ZONE to any field. If did that, he might even be able to hit a left-handers curve ball to left for a double. Naw, just kidding.

  31. NMR says:

    @Thunder

    I think you hit the nail on the head regarding Pedro’s approach.

    When was the last time you saw him hit the ball to the opposite field with authority?

    I won’t claim to know the inner workings of the team, but it doesn’t seem as though there is any reinforcement of that strategy happening right now. The hitting coach should be going through every at-bat, pitch by pitch with him at this point. And if Pedro is too stubborn or stupid to listen, then Hurdle should be holding him accountable by placing him directly on the bench.

    I understand DK’s question from a 10,000′ view, but I just don’t happen to beleive it applies to Pedro. Pedro is not a very good baseball *player* right now, but he is GREAT at baseball. Diving plays, cannon arm, plus power. The skills are there, the consistancy is not.

  32. NMR says:

    @bob

    “Someone mentioned Pedro hits “off-speed mistakes” by the pitcher. If that is all he can hit – and Pedro is providing strong evidence how true that is – then he is not a major league hitter.”

    The best hitters in the game do exactly that. Have the patience to wait for mistakes, and capitalize on them when they come.

  33. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Bob,

    I think you and I could get Pedro out now. The approach of the opposing team is probably “just don’t walk him”. Anything near the plate has him, one way or the other.

  34. Lee says:

    @ NMR

    Could not agree more about Starkey’s column. If he was in charge, where would it end? Would every single employee in the Athletic Director’s office be let go because they might have heard something? Surely someone in the University President’s office heard a rumor, so better dismiss them all too. What about the professors? Any chance they heard whisperings? Better clean house there just in case! Crazy to think O’Brien wouldn’t have thoroughly vetted the two coaches.

  35. LuckyNKentucky says:

    The week off for Robbie Grossman may have changed his attitude, but the results weren’t there in Altoona’s double shutout DH last night. He was 0-6 with 3 K’s and no walks. Guess he’ll need to get his plate eye back. His BA is down to .211. On the other hand, Tim Alderson had another good game. He may be ready to go back to Indy for another try when the Bucs call up Owens and Locke.

  36. bob hasis says:

    @NMR

    You just made my entire point – HE DOESN’T have the patience to wait, he flails at stuff he can’t read or hit. And just how often do you think pitchers make mistakes in a game?
    The answer – infrequently.

  37. nate83 says:

    NMR

    I’m not sure but I thought I heard at sometime during spring training that Pedro was constantly being told by the coaching staff to drive the ball to the opposite field. I do remember when he went on his 10 game tear he spoke about feeling comfortable and driving it to all parts of the field. I can’t imagine that strategy hasn’t continued to be reinforced because the player himself saw the results when he did that.

    Which leads me to think, DK’s statement that maybe the guy just isn’t that good may be true. I hope not. Other players have taken this long to figure it out but not much longer.

  38. bob hasis says:

    The best hitters in the game hit any or every pitch thrown at them, and very very often.

  39. Naje says:

    “What if Pedro Alvarez just isn’t very good at baseball?”

    I remember 2010… I remember the “he lives for these big moments” line… A notion and a thought that was very real then, but not lasting.

    The guy is failing. Miserably. My last, desperate thought is to send him to AAA. And leave him there. Just leave him. Alone. Let HIM hit rock bottom. Let HIM, when he’s finally broken enough, seek the coaches and advice he needs.

    This may see odd or unconventional, but Alvarez has to be the one to recognize that he’s not the player he thinks he is and that he has to do some of the toughest work on himself that he’s ever encountered.

    And this is a guy so supremely talented, that he probably never, ever felt remotely threatened by failure.

    So send him to Indy… and let him alone. When he’s ready, he’ll come looking for help… for some answers. And set clear guidelines for his re-entry to the big league team. And set those guidelines with a 2 month or 3 month stretch, not just 2 or 3 weeks of good baseball. But 2 months, minimum, of a .280+ BA/ .335 OBP / .425+ SLG…or something along those lines (it IS AAA pitching after all). And then when he returns to the big leagues, you let him hit 6th or 7th.

    His ego just seems out of whack… and I don’t mean that he’s an egomaniac… it’s just that he has no idea just how bad he’s performing and he needs to reconnect with reality.

    Sad to see… but no matter what our reactions are, I’m pretty sure we’re all pulling for you Pedro…

  40. NMR says:

    @bob

    “The best hitters in the game hit any or every pitch thrown at them, and very very often.”

    Thats just not true. How many times does Cutch hit a slider breaking off the plate at the knees for a homerun? How many times do you see Joey Votto flailing at balls out of the zone?

    All great hitters talk about having the patience to wait for mistake pitches. This is precisely why the best hitters usually have high walk rates.

    Think about how many of Pedro’s strikeouts occur on pitches out of the zone vs. in the zone. It has to be staggering. If he could just learn plate discipline, something I’ve been banging the drum for about half the Pirates lineup, you’d see his numbers explode.

    @nate

    And when he was actually doing that, look at the results! I could have the best patience in the game, but you couldn’t teach me to hit a ball 450 ft. Pedro unquestionably has the tools that you can’t teach. Its up to him and him coaches to put them to use.

  41. NMR says:

    @Naje

    Have you ever met Pedro?

    Clint Hurdle, someone who has, recently said that Alvarez is an absolute cage rat. A guy that never stops swinging the bat, trying to get better. So much so that Hurdle stipulated he wasn’t allowed to swing a bat during his recent benching.

    I guarantee you that NOBODY knows more than Pedro that he’s failing. He’s the one that went home last night after going o-fer the last two games. Not you or I.

    Call it a pet peive, but it bugs me when people make claims like this with absolutely zero knowledge of the situation.

  42. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Naje,

    Excellent take. Stuart mentioned above that maybe he needs a special hitting coach just for him. Possibly in Indy, and a counsellor, too. There has certainly been enough invested in him so far, time and money-wise. You know if other teams get him, they’ll figure a way to straighten him out or he’ll be a career AAA player like Eldred or Moss until recently, and you know Moss will be back down there sometime this season.

    BTW, nate83, Youk took one in the ribs last night. Bobby Valentine was shocked when it happened.

  43. bob hasis says:

    @NMR

    In mentioning Cutch or Votto in the same sentence with Pedro, is an extreme reach.

    Why disarm your own argument with such lame comparisons; for Cutch and Votto, the ratio of success is 3 1/2 out of 10. For Pedro it’s 1.9 out 10.

    I am not suggesting hitting a slider at the knees off of the plate for a home run. Where did that thought emerge from?

    And let’s be real honest here with each other; every (I’ll repeat EVERY) hitter gets fooled. The difference between good hitters and Pedro is – how often!

  44. Leefoo says:

    Send KDro to AAA.

    Play Mercer at SS.

    .

  45. pattonbb says:

    @bob hassis – I just saw your replies from last night. I agree with much of what you wrote. But, firing Clint Hurdle just doesn’t make sense to me. He fills out a lineup card before every game that has at least 5 or 6 names on it that have no business being everyday players. How is firing him going to fix that? As far as your other points…

    1. Leyva – I agree whole-heartedly. The guy drives me nuts. He should be replaced, before Hurdle.

    2. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t help but to feel Huntington might be behind why Barmes and Pedro continue to play.

    3. Ritchie should have been fired a month ago. No argument from me on this point.

    I just think for what Hurdle has to choose from for a line up, he’s done as well as can be expected. Give the guy some legitimate major league talent and lets see what he can do with it.

    Sorry I got your feathers all ruffled. I’ll try to limit my “silly entries” from now on.

  46. Naje says:

    @NMR–

    That’s exactly my point. The “cage rat” evidently is spinning the wheels deeper into the mud. He cannot keep doing what he’s doing and expect different results.

    His results speak for themselves and whatever he’s doing doesn’t work… not now, not last year. And that’s a huge sample size.

    I’m talking about re-inventing the guy and not just “going back to being a cage rat” because that’s exactly what got him here.

    He doesn’t know how to fix it and that’s pretty obvious. The coaches who are coaching him had a temporary fix, and that’s all. This is on him… and he doesn’t know what he’s doing right now. He needs to dig really deep to figure this out or attempt to simplify something to find some kind of success.

    This has nothing to do with knowing him…

  47. 21sthebest says:

    “But taking the first pitch after a walk that loads the bases is not one of them. Anyone can do it. You just stand there with the bat on your shoulder.”

    Completely disagree. Depends on the situation (score, inning, batter, pitcher, etc.). The goal of pretty much every at bat is to be able to hit a fastball and preferably one that is a mistake as to location, and not let the count get to anything and 2. Barmes got that pitch on the first pitch of that at bat. Had Barmes gotten a hit, everyone would be praising him of course. But during any at bat, you’re lucky to see one hittable fastball like Barmes did

    Now obviously if the pitcher was having control problems, different story. But right after that walk I wouldn’t categorize that as a control problem. Plus Barmes being what he is this year isn’t someone that the pitcher would likely be very careful with.

  48. Naterosboro says:

    I think Rudy Owens is coming to Pittsburgh (well Cleveland)…

    Just saw this tweet:

    “@Rudy_Owens

    Running across the airport could be rather embarrassing. I’m just waiting for the day that all 40 of us are gonna have to do it #indyindians”

  49. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Nate

    Good get. I’m sure Rudy will get in trouble for that.

  50. Jandy says:

    Naterosboro ~ nice find!

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    Rumors are flying that Charlie Morton’s injury may be quite serious.

  52. Milo Hamilton says:

    I don’t know why Rudy Owens would be rushing through an airport on Thursday morning when he wouldn’t pitch until Sunday.

  53. NMR says:

    @bob – We’re on different wavelengths here. How bout we call it a day and pick back up tomorrow.

    @Naje – I definitely don’t disagree with the spinning wheels analogy. I just thought the use of ego was odd if thats what you were going for.

    I will strongly disagree with you in that the coaches had a “temporary fix”. That sounds like a gimmick, a bandaid. What the coaches did teach Pedro how to be a complete hitter. If it means going back to the minors to learn how to do that consistantly, then I’m all for it.

  54. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Rudy Owens was called into Roberto’s office just minutes ago and enlightened on the proper use of Twitting.

  55. bob hasis says:

    @pattonbb

    It has been documented how many different line-ups Hurdle has used so far. I have no problem with that, he has shown the willingness to experiment so to speak. Having said that, then surely he has to do something different at 3rd and shortstop – especially with the funk in which Pedro and Barmes are performing.

    After Tuesday’s fiasco by those two, Harrison and Mercer needed to be in last night’s line-up. They weren’t. Hurdle displayed a distinct failure in that instance to recognize the need to do something different. Net result; the same thing on Wednesday as Tuesday occured with them.

  56. Leefoo says:

    Great story on Kirby Wilson. The antithesis to Starkey’s drivel.

    Foo

    .

  57. Naterosboro says:

    @ Milo

    Seeing on twitter that its expected that Morton will have TJ surgery. I’m not sure, but I didn’t hear about any meetings with Dr. James Andrews. Maybe they should get a 2nd opinion…

    @ all

    re: Pedro Alvarez

    I’m beginning to change my stance with him. It may be best to send him to AAA. Get him out of Pittsburgh. Lessen the stakes (so to speak). Let him go be the cage rat with less pressure. Let him go work on things in an environment where he’s not constantly under scrutiny.

    I think that also would allow Mercer to get some starts and regular ABs. Granted the hot streak he was on at AAA means nothing now, but why bring a young guy up and not play him?

    I’ll NEVER understand that logic.

  58. Leefoo says:

    LNK…..lol

    .

    Foo
    ..

  59. bob hasis says:

    @NMR

    I accept your concession!!

  60. Leefoo says:

    Nate….agree on Mercer. Totally illogical.

  61. Jandy says:

    Lucky, good one lol

  62. Jandy says:

    Bob is being sly too ;X

  63. LuckyNKentucky says:

    BTW, Rudy’s tweet said “could be” not “is” embarrassing. Maybe he’s dreaming of that because they had a 4:30 AM bus trip this morning to Charlotte. Who knows the mind of a young, soon-to-be MLB pitcher. For example, I give you Mr. Charles Morton.

  64. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Maybe Bedard slipped in the shower and Rudy’s going to pitch tonight.

  65. NMR says:

    Wow, Tommy John?

    Take that, Milo! I told you he was really injured. Woohoo! #RobertoForeverLogic

  66. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Like Milo said, no reason to run through the airport today. He could walk from Indy to Cleveland and be ready to pitch Sunday. Or the bus could drop him in Columbus and he could thumb up to Cleveland from there. Many theories come from the occasional cryptic bird chirp.

  67. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Where’s the Tommy John stuff? No tweets from DK or 24/7.

  68. JAL says:

    For a pitcher running through the airport much better than opposing hitters running through the bases :)

  69. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Priceless.

    If this stuff is true, I will apologize to Neal & the organization for my cynicism.

  70. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Sorry, Milo, I won’t. The CL is what it is.

    Good one, JAL.

  71. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Lucky

    You’re right. What was I thinking. :)

  72. LuckyNKentucky says:

    That’s the Milo we all know and love!

  73. tdb1977 says:

    See DK has tweeted – Major Pirates news soon on Trib website.

  74. tdb1977 says:

    Rob Biertempfel
    #Pirates RHP Charlie Morton has been shut down and might need season-ending surgery on his elbow. Morton is awaiting further word from doctors about whether Tommy John surgery is necessary. Morton has been out of action since May 29, when pain flared up in his right elbow.

    source – http://sulia.com/channel/baseball/f/8241577a-aea3-4ae1-a8ec-3b4520eb0ca5/?source=twitter

  75. LuckyNKentucky says:

    At least Charlie is only 28, not a grizzled, old 33 or 34. He’ll still be in his prime when he gets back.

  76. nate83 says:

    Well that sucks if it is true, but maybe it explains some of the issues he’s been having this year. It’s possible his arm hasn’t felt right all year and he hasn’t been able to pitch how he would like.

    DK: It’s true. I try not to put up false things.

  77. JMB says:

    IIRC, “people” said that Morton copying Doc’s style was putting more pressure on his elbow last year.

  78. Naterosboro says:

    Just saw this on twitter (I guess it’s gonna be a twitter morning…BTW, if you’re not on Twitter, GET ON IT!!! It’s where news breaks nowadays! Or just come to these blogs and watch us schleps post the tweets for you lol):

    “@colin_dunlap

    There is the Charlie Morton news, and then there is this — apparently Lacee Collins is no longer working at Root Sports.”

    Why would Root do that? Hopefully it wasn’t some DUI scandal. I guess we’ll see more Dan Potash now. What happens though when the Pirates are playing in October and the Pens season has started?…..

    Hey….

    A guy can dream right?

    DK: Twitter isn’t where the Morton news broke. We always put breaking news on our website first, then link out to social media.

  79. Jandy says:

    @Naterrosboro ~ keep on schleppin’ !!!

  80. LuckyNKentucky says:

    God bless you for that, DK. You probably don’t like the DH either.

  81. JAL says:

    Lost in the shuffle, some minor league moves

    Maggi and Chambers Promoted to Altoona

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/06/maggi-and-chambers-promoted-to-altoona.html

  82. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JAL,

    How can they promote Chambers? He’s hitting .202. Must be “working on something”.

  83. NMR says:

    Remember 36 hours ago when everything was peaches and rainbows?

    “I’m excited for the future of the Pirates.”

  84. nate83 says:

    Sorry DK wasn’t questioning you. Just typed that before refreshing and hadn’t seen your tweet or Rob’s.

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just reaching here, but it would create a spot on their sainted 40 man roster.

  86. JRay3 says:

    Well the news goes from bad to worse. Quickly all that pitching depth we were discussing is taking a serious hit. Lincoln struggling in a starting role, Correia just does not have much and needs to be removed from the rotation, Karstens suffering a setback when he was getting close to returning, Morton now lost for a year.

    The depth we do have will now most likely be needed to replenish our rotation and less likely to be able to be used as trade chips.

    The only move I was hoping to hear today coming from the PBC was that Clint Barmes scheduled a press conference to announce his retirement…wishful thinking.

    Truly hope tonight is the night we see Harrison or Mercer as SS.

  87. Naterosboro says:

    “DK: Twitter isn’t where the Morton news broke. We always put breaking news on our website first, then link out to social media.”

    I was just speaking in general. News outlets all have twitter accounts, and usually all (or A LOT) of the writers have their own personal accounts. Everyone (well, almost everyone) has a smart phone, and 140 character tweet gets that news out fast and to a poop-load of people and then it gets retweeted and retweeted and pretty soon, the whole world knows.

    BUT….

    There were a lot of rumors on twitter about Morton before the official news broke.

    Just sayin’ ;)

  88. Naterosboro says:

    @ NMR

    re: #86

    I’m still excited. A few bad starts/games won’t get me down. They’ve still played some pretty good baseball this season.

    As I say on Smizik’s blog, I just wish the Pirates would win so the sky would stop falling.

    It’s a long season, still 3.5 months to go. I think it’s going to be an interesting & fun summer ;)

    “I’m STILL excited about the future of baseball in Pittsburgh.”

  89. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Nate R.

    My phone is still pretty dumb. I know I’m old-fashioned. I like to wear my hat straight and read whole words and not stuff in code and alphabet. JMHO. LOL. I also like to see the pitcher hit and get beaned if he needs to, etc.

  90. DemonDachshund says:

    My family is vacationing near Bradenton this week, and caught Cole’s start on Saturday. For whatever reason, the one guy who stood out was Evan Chambers. Had a couple hits, played a very good right field, just in general looked confident and like he was in control.

    I got back to the rental house and looked up his stats. Decided it was probably a good thing I wasn’t a scout.

  91. Leefoo says:

    JAL……..as Tim alludes, Chambers and Maggi are just filling holes.

    =======

    “There is the Charlie Morton news, and then there is this — apparently Lacee Collins is no longer working at Root Sports.””

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…..I LOVE Lacee. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    Foo

    .

  92. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JRay,

    Just read on Facebook that Clint Barmes scheduled a news conference to announce he was shocked he isn’t hitting second in the order and that hitting 8th has caused a season-long slump.

  93. NMR says:

    @Nate

    My tongue was planted firmly in cheek on that one. A 162 game season is far too long for me to ride the highs and lows as a fan. I’m with you on this one.

    @Milo

    Looking on the bright side? Did you break out some old Regis & Kathy Lee VHS’s this morning?

  94. LuckyNKentucky says:

    All this minor league talk brings up another good point. Taillon got hit pretty hard last night–one of the few times he has this season.

  95. Milo Hamilton says:

    Is Maggi bringing gifts to Altoona ?

  96. Karen22 says:

    NOT the “major Pirates news” I was hoping for. Geeeeeez.

  97. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Now you’re really depressing me. But I could call mom & ask who guested with Kelly today.

  98. Milo Hamilton says:

    Howie Mandel in with Kelly today. Mom says she misses Jesse Palmer.

    I’ve really got to get to the bottom of this Lacee Collins thing.

  99. Milo Hamilton says:

    The person that hired Lacee Collins should be fired.

  100. Leefoo says:

    LNK……….JT hasn’t pitched well his last 5 starts or so….

  101. DemonDachshund says:

    Re: Why I want Pedro sent down and don’t care if Hague stays up…

    I still think Pedro has a ton of potential. He’s shown it in flashes throughout the years. He may be as good right now as the alternatives are, but the Pirates need to do whatever’s best for him in the long term. He needs to work on consistency and his mental game, and I feel those things will be easier to accomplish at the AAA level, without the pressure and expectations he’s seeing in Pittsburgh.

    Look at what happened to Presley earlier this season. The Bucs had no other good option in the outfield, but he needed to get back on his feet. He fell into a hole, ended up working things out in Indy, and bounced right back up. Honestly, given that Pedro’s issues do seem to be consistency, I’d send him down for the rest of the summer, or at least until August, but the theory is the same: Take a step back in the hopes that it will lead to two steps forward.

    Hague is what he is, a AAAA player. Sadly, he’s the best the Bucs can do right now for a bench guy, and he’s not likely to get better at this point. It hurts nothing for the long term to keep him struggling in the majors.

  102. NMR says:

    Follow up Jesse with Howie Mandel?

    Whoever scheduled that should be fired before Collins or Collins boss.

  103. Dan1283 says:

    I just caught the “Rudy can’t fail” tease to the blog on Twitter. Standing ovation, DK. And single greatest album ever.

  104. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    Not great news. ERA is up. Maybe no AA this year for him.

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    Maybe the “window” could add a category for if we’ll find out the reason Lacee is gone or the reason Grossman was suspended first.

  106. LuckyNKentucky says:

    ===================================

  107. JoeBucco says:

    Pedro will be fine. Joey Bats took a little while to click too, as some point out very often.

    And our pitching is good. 2 losses by your bottom two starters against a very good Baltimore offense is nothing to throw in the towel about. And yes, their offense is good. Adam Jones is probably the best healthy player in MLB right now.

    Bucs get a win tonight, and they are back on track.

  108. nate83 says:

    JoeBucco well said. A lot of panic over losing 2 games to a good team on the road with our 4th and 5th starters going. If they win tonight they are 4-2 after 6 road games and any team in baseball would take that result.

  109. NMR says:

    @Lucky/Foo

    From everything we’ve heard about the Pirates process in the low minors, I doubt they care much about ERA.

    I haven’t heard any analysis given for Taillon’s recent starts, but unless he’s elevating the ball or losing his control, I wouldn’t think this alters his developement path.

    I seem to remember hearing that he was still on the fastball heavy diet. That could be hurting him more than anything.

  110. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    You’re probably right, because his ERA is up to 4.72. He’s giving up a lot of hits and an HR last night. 10 hits is a bunch for him, especially in 4-plus innings.

  111. NMR says:

    Certainly would like to see him missing more bats with that high 90′s fastball, though.

    Sounds like he either got dink and dunked or started serving up meatballs.

  112. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Only 1 walk and 4 K’s. In the 6-run inning he gave up, there were 3 doubles and an HR, so it sounds like the meatball theory is in.

  113. NMR says:

    Thanks for the numbers, Lucky.

  114. JohninOshkosh says:

    Shaping up to be a fun US Open. The greens do not seem as inhumanly cruel as usual. A long time ago when I was in HS, I once had the opportunity to meet Tom Watson shortly after he had won the legendary 1982 Open. I asked him what it was like putting on US Open greens. He replied, “Like putting on Interstate 80.” Always love that line and always think about it during our national championship.

  115. BigHammer says:

    I can’t beleieve that all of the previously successful hitters cannot be helped, at least somewhat, out of their problems by a DECENT Major League hitting coach. I can’t remember the last time the Buccos had a I pitched in semi=pro ball for years. When I lost my focus, I sat down, somewhat successful hitting coach. I also am dumbfounded that pitchers making big $$$$ cannot throw strikes, nor can the coaching seem to help them in this area. Sometimes a simple WTF from the coach helps a pitcher regain his focus. I know this from personal experience. Correia, for one, has demonstrated rapidly deteriorating skills this season and should be on a shorter leash. As John Brodie used to say “there is no greater burden in life than talent.” We see lots of unrealized potential with the Buccos. Even in first place, there is lots of underachievement.

 
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