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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The last quality opponent until …

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column strays a bit to something that’s bugged me for a long time: Why do even the very best in women’s sports feel compelled to match their achievements with the men’s brand?

I am very interested in your thoughts on this, especially from the women’s perspective.

My thanks to Suzie McConnell Serio at Duquesne and friend Sloane Martin for their input.

>> This is getting ahead of things with the Pirates, even with the four-game sweep of the Astros, but first place is first place, so … has anyone else looked ahead to this schedule after the All-Star break?

After the Giants come to town this weekend, then the break, the Pirates’ next 19 games are against opponents currently with losing records: Brewers, Rockies, Marlins, Cubs, Astros, then Cubs again. The next winning team is Cincinnati on Aug. 3.

That could make for quite the run right through the trading deadline.

>> The closer has the simplest job in baseball to explain: Take the ball and the lead you’re given, and walk off the mound with a lead.

That’s it.

However many fingernails Joel Hanrahan cost people last night, the only thing that matters is that he inherited a two-run lead and walked off with the Pirates winning.

Yes, it’s clear he’s frustrated. He’s fighting his slider, and he’s overthrowing the fastball. As Hanrahan conceded last night, “It wasn’t pretty.” But here are the cold,  hard numbers: He’s 22 of 25 in saves with a 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .170 opponents’ average.

Let’s get a grip before blasting the guy.

>> Why does anyone, anywhere ever worry about Jeff Karstens?

How much more does the guy need to show to convince people he’s a quality starter?

>> Per a promise made on the chat yesterday, the blog will now be recommending a beat writer to follow for all our teams’ next opponent. Today, we start with the awesome Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, longtime chronicler of the Giants who blows away the competition out there and just happens to be a really funny guy.

>> Here’s the chat transcript from earlier this afternoon.

>> I’ll appear on Stan Savran’s show on 970 ESPN, at 11:30 a.m.

 
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