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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

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.

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