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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: If it’s 7 a.m., it must be … um …

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

LONDON — Brief and to the Point …

>> Wow. Talk about the cool parts of a job that really doesn’t have many non-cool parts.

This is one of the great cities in the world, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here for this extraordinary event — again, the greatest gathering of humans of any kind in our civilization — with a chance to help bring you a small part of it.

I’ll be writing a column every day from here, beginning with one tomorrow. That will be 18 in a row by the time they blow the torch out. And yes, they’ll all be Games-related. I’ll toss in my two cents about Pittsburgh sports here on the blog, but the columns and news coverage will be all Olympics.

Couple links: This is the Trib’s Olympics page. On it, you’ll find my daily coverage on the left, links to this blog on the right and global material from our partner The Sports Network at the bottom. It’s all there.

This is the official London 2012 page, this is NBC’s page, and this is the U.S. Olympic Team.

>> Oh, and for those curious, London is five hours ahead of Pittsburgh. Which means I’m typing this way before JAL wakes up to post his links in the comments.

>> Literally a couple minutes before my plane took off from Charlotte, I got a text from a Pirates source confirming Starling Marte was on his way to Houston to make his major-league debut.

I really had only time enough to put out a couple of tweets to share the news, so I thought I’d add a bit.

You’re really going to like this kid. He’s a tireless worker, a fun kid who’s been popular with teammates all the way up the system ladder, and a dedicated son and brother to a family that’s had more than its share of hardship in the Dominican.

Most of all, you’re going to like the player. You’re going to like the way he swings to all fields. You’ll like his pull power. You’ll love his speed, especially the first time you see him steal second standing up. That’s pretty cool. But most of all, if you’re a diehard, I’m guessing you’ll love most of all that arm.

Is there anything in baseball as scintillating as a dominant throw from the outfield?

>> You all know enough about the sport that you don’t need me to tell you not to expect Marte to go 5 for 5 every night, right?

OK, good.

>> Kudos to Rene Gayo and staff for signing Marte for $85,000 and for finding the Pirates’ first Latin American amateur to make it all the way up since Jose Castillo, who was signed in 1997. This is a really big moment for those guys.

>> Again, our chat will be pushed back to tomorrow at noon because of logistics.


  1. Jay Geyer says:

    Have fun across the pond, Dejan. I know writing a column every day for 18 days is probably a bit daunting, but if anyone can do it justice, it will be you.

    Just one question. It’s quite clear how excited you are to be in London, but is there just a small part of you that wishes you were in Houston right now? Okay, two questions. Looks like Mr. Marte will be taking his first major league at-bat around 1:05 a.m. your time. Will you be robbing yourself of sleep to check in on the young man you’ve told us so much about?

    DK: Thanks, Jay. And the answers to your questions are an easy no and no. It’s the biggest sporting event, biggest gathering of humans in the world. It’s not just an honor to be here. It’s a thrill.

  2. Jandy says:

    Dejan, I’m kinda, sorta….well, ok I AM VERY ENVIOUS of you! :)
    Have a grand time. I’ll be looking forward to all the columns on the Olympics.

  3. JAL says:

    JAL’s Year of the Cat Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Correia Could Be the Odd Man Out of the Rotation

    Errors And Former Tribe Pitcher Defeat Indians

    Prospect Watch: Cole and Taillon Struggle, Holmes Continues to Dominate

    First Pitch: Why I Don’t Think the Pirates Are Done After Marte Promotion

    It’s Starling Marte Time: What to Love and What to Fear

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Use Homer To Avoid Cubs Sweep, Winning 3-2

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates, Kevin Correia Win Again–Will He Be Traded?

    Some Quotes From Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Interview on 93.7 The Fan

    7 McEffect

    7/25 Recap | Pirates 3 Cubs 2

    How Good Does Michael McKenry Have To Be?

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Grind Out 3-2 Win Over Cubs

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bucs come back twice to avoid sweep

    10 WHY GAVS

    Game 97: Pirates 3 Cubs 2

  4. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Cubs Game Preview

    12 San Jose Mercury News

    Correia, Pirates outlast Cubs 3-2 and avoid sweep

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Trade grist grinding on Dempster–20120726,0,7300734.story

    14 Johnstown Tribune Democrat

    Shawn Curtis | It’s safe to forgive Meals

    15 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie Bytes: Analyzing Brian Fuentes

    16 Chicago Sun Times

    Ryan Dempster’s frustrations boil over in dugout tantrum after being pulled

    17 Houston Chronicle

    Harvey: Despite mounting losses, Astros have reason to hope


    18 PBC Site

    Correia tops Cubs to win sixth straight decision

    Notebook: Hurdle not worrying about brief offensive lull

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    20 Fangraphs

    Pirates Push For Postseason, Acquire Wandy

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Battle of the AFC North: Safeties

    Steelers Training Camp Open Thread: And So It Begins

    22 Steelers Depot

    -2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp – Day 1 Updates

    23 Steelers Gab

    Video: Steeler Nation Rises

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Haley in Unenviable Spot with Steelers? Not so Fast Mr. Judge

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Penn State Players Not Fleeing En Masse (This Year)

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Time To Give Pitt’s Steve Pederson Some Credit

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Hoppy’s Commentary for Wednesday

    28 WV Illustrated

    Mountaineers Will Play Three Times on ESPN’s Big Monday


    29 Sky Sports

    Transfer Clockwatch

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Chelsea sign Brazil midfielder Oscar

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 Ten stories you need to read, July 25th, 2012

  6. JAL says:

    Year of the Cat Al Stewart 1976. Al Stewart has craved a nice career out of writing historical songs. Could have used Roads to Moscow during travel week. Year of the Cat was his 2nd biggest hit (Time Passages his biggest). Got to love a song that mentions Peter Lorre in the first stanza.

  7. JAL says:

    Neat picture–have been to the Tower Bridge but, of course, it had no Olympic rings. Look forward to the coverage.

  8. bdubb says:

    I get the feeling too many on this blog will expect 5-5 for Marte every night. Let’s just let him do his thing and see if he can’t add a spark. One thing I will be excited to watch is him and Cutch in the same outfield (esp after watching Gorky’s run that 9th inning fly ball down – if Marte can cover ground like that…WOW).

  9. Jandy says:

    Alvarez doesn’t go 5-5 every night. No reason to expect Marte to.

  10. TJA says:

    It’s almost August and the Pirates are in a true, full blown Pennant Race! They are buyers…they are making moves…fans are filling the yard on a Monday and Tuesday and day games… It’s still kind of surreal…but still, this is fantastic!

    Oh, I *think* I heard that the Steelers reported to camp yesterday, but not sure…

    Go Bucs!

    Thanks DK for your coverage in advance. Looking forward to seeing your reports.

  11. TJA says:

    By the way…I kind of want to retract a statement I made the other day…I made the comment that I thought Pitt should say the heck with the Penn State when the series is to resume in 2016 and that would be a “slap” to Paterno. I am still really angry about this entire situation @ PSU, and how Paterno kicked Pitt around all those years. That said, hearing the afternoon show on “The Fan” on Tuesday, and hearing Starkey say “that Pitt could take the high road and extend the olive branch” seems to make a lot of sense. Maybe it would be good for both schools and the Commonwealth of PA.

  12. Skip says:

    The Bucs need Marte’s arm in right, but they also need his speed for all of the open space in left. It will be interesting to see in which position Hurdle decides to play him – maybe a little of both…

  13. Curt says:

    I just want him to play hard unlike Tababta. Swing the bat and not chase bad pitches unlike Presley and field his position unlike Sutton.

    If he can accomplish those things, then I and everyone will love him in Pittsburgh!

    Now on the checklist that is last for me is one more stick.

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  14. JAL says:

    Left or right he is out of position. Marte a CF. We saw in the spring his fielding is weaker in a corner spot. Huntington quoted in link 6

    “At times he will show he has times when he can be a gifted corner outfielder, at times he shows that he is a player that has played centerfield all his life. It will take him some time to be an accomplished corner outfielder when he comes up here.”

  15. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK— (or anyone) what’s the bullet-shaped structure behind the bridge in the photo?

  16. NMR says:

    OK, I’m on board.

    I didn’t share the Marte excitement of many simply because the Pirates are actually in a pennant race. Why the heck should I be excited about a rookie?

    DK’s words swayed me. Sounds like a great kid. I still don’t expect much from him, but it certainly sounds like it’ll be fun to watch.

    Oh and I don’t think the Pittsburgh region could find a better journalist to cover the Olympics. I believe DK when he says he won’t miss a couple weeks of August baseball because his writing has always seemed more “worldly” than strictly focused under the ‘burgh microscope. Might even actually get me to pay attention this time around :)

  17. Rocco says:

    No clue Arriba, but it looks like a pretty sweet building. Good luck in London DK, and, as always, Go Bucs and Go USA!!!!

  18. Corey says:


    regarding the building:

  19. LuckyNKentucky says:


    The kid has 21 doubles, 13 triples and is 21-33 in SB this season. He has some tools. Let’s see what he can do in the leadoff spot. 12 HR is solid, too.

  20. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, Corey . . . Very cool.

  21. Jandy says:

    Corey, thanks for the link….good stuff!

    NMR ~ welcome aboard ;)

  22. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    Presley’s OBP is .269… it is definitely time to get a leadoff hitter, whether that be Marte, or somebody else.

    let’s just say a decent leadoff has an OBP of .340. that’s a 7 more times out of 100 ABs that a decent leadoff man reaches than presley. That’s probably 2 or 3 extra times out of 100 times through the lineup that the leadoff man will score compared to presley.

    That is very rough math, and i may be over or underestimating. but still. point is that .270 OBP from your leadoff man is a waste, especially when cutch and walker are behind him. The pirates need every run they can get.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    Personally, I’m not expecting Marte to be superman, or the savior, just better than what we have, and have had (Tabby, Presley, Sutton). I think I probably have lots of company on that.

  24. pants-n-at says:

    Good morning all! DK, have a wonderful experience in London. I grew up watching the olympics and plan on catching as much of it as possible. However, for now I goota comment onthe BUcs. Some of my obeservations:

    1) Thank you front office for finally bringing up Marte. I know he is not the savior but I’m really expecting good things from him. Can it really be any worse then the production we’ve gotten from LF (last in MLB)?
    2) Handley Ramirez triples in hie 1st AB for the Dodgers (went 2-4). Would love to have picked him up. I see this as our biggest offensive issue now. I don;t know if we get someone through trades or not
    3) Time to give the Fort more starts. In July, McKenry is batting .276 and 6 of his last 8 hits are for extra bases (with 8 RBIs….Barajas, .167. More importantly, in July the Pirates are 7-1 in games McHenry starts, 6-6 in games Barajas starts.

    4) DK, With the addition of Rodriguez, who do you see as the odd man out in the rotation?

  25. Jandy says:

    AW, I read somewhere that Tabby isn’t doing all too well in Indianapolis, either. Wonder what his problem is? Mechanical, attitude mental or a combination?

  26. NMR says:


    Thanks for that, but I could pull up stats from Brad Eldred and Steve Pearce that make Starling look like a little leaguer. I, personally, don’t get too excited about a kid teeing off on minor league pitching.

    The root of my concern is and always has been the strikeouts and walks. Those things rarely, if ever, improve at the big league level. My worry is that Starling won’t be getting as many meatballs to tee off on against big league pitching. Instead, he’ll be forced to adjust to a steady diet of curveballs falling off the table and sliders trailing off the outside corner.

    Frankly, though, it doesn’t matter anymore. Starling is here, I’m excited to be proven wrong, and look forward to seeing him take the field.

  27. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Good points, all. Even Hermansen and JVB had good stats at AAA.

  28. 21sthebest says:

    Would definitely like to go to the Olympics someday so I’m very jealous DK. I’m especially interested in the running events and if you happen to bump into Kara Goucher or Alyson Felix, please let them know how much I love them.

  29. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hopefully Tabby will turn it around sometime, but he appears to have reverted to the player the Yankees had no problem getting rid of, or in Pirats terms, Ian Snell.

  30. TK says:

    From the prior post:

    235.Playoffs by 2012
    July 26th, 2012 – 7:56 am Let’s open the window!!

    Tonight’s TWO-LINE OVER / UNDER (always for fun of course)

    Please specify which line you are (fake) wagering on

    Line #1
    Total Hits + Walks for Starling Marte in Tonight’s Game
    Line is 1.5
    (Marte must start in order for this line to be valid. If he doesn’t start this line will be void and all (fake) wagers will be returned)

    Line #2
    Total Pirates Wins In This 4 Game Series Against Houston
    Line is 2.5


    62 Current Fair Weather Participants!!
    If you haven’t played yet, what are you waiting for??!!??
    Anyone can play!! Everyone should TRY!!
    What’ll ya have!! What’ll ya have!!

    Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) ** 1600
    Mlrgenuine ** 1350
    pattonbb ** 1300
    JRay3 ** 1125
    Nate83 ** 1040
    radio wave ** 1008
    Chico ** 830
    dcpinpgh ** 750
    Steve J Smith ** 700
    crkkid ** 625
    manny_sanguine ** 600
    DemonDachshund ** 510
    stuart66 ** 505
    Mike C. ** 500
    JohninOshkosh ** 500
    Naje ** 450
    Slack Boss ** 435
    jeffsbar ** 400
    JaxBuc ** 400
    cosmo ** 400
    Curt ** 400
    JD ** 375
    MarkV ** 375
    JMB ** 350
    dcpfjr ** 350
    Bizrow ** 345
    Evan ** 328
    cmat0829 ** 250
    likeabugonarug ** 207
    RobertoForever ** 180
    Officer Mancuso ** 180
    lawnbeaver ** 150
    Milo Hamilton ** 125
    milo66 ** 100
    lckythump ** 100
    Absolute59 ** 100
    Bucco_Jax ** 99
    Sir Lochsby ** 50
    JUCOfan ** 25
    Karen22 ** EVEN
    swissvaletoarizonapat ** EVEN
    NMR ** EVEN
    Dan1283 ** EVEN
    Drew 71 ** EVEN
    buggee ** EVEN
    TK ** EVEN
    Arriba Wilver ** -20
    tmp444 ** -45
    Hal Smith ** -50
    Petro Steel ** -100
    Joe Bucco ** -100
    K. PenFan ** -100
    Stickyweb ** -100
    OZ ** -150
    Kevin ** -150
    Pants-n-at ** -200
    GlassHalfFull ** -305
    bman ** -335
    Kevin S ** -500
    Boise Bucco ** -500
    bob hasis ** -575
    TDB1977 ** -940

    First Place at the end of the season will win:

    Second Place at the end of the season will win:

    Third Place at the end of the season will win:
    (1) 2012 Topps Roberto Clemente Card

  31. The Gunner says:

    @ Jandy – #25

    Your question is basically “what is Tabata’s problem?” The answer is: he is a lazy, no good for nothing bum who has basically stolen $15 million from Bob Nutting. Then, he went into Operation Shutdown, and, to top it off, disrespected his supposed hero, the late Great One, #21, Roberto Clemente.

    This guy is bad bad news, not the type of individual you want in your employ. I hate him!!

    It will be a cold day in h–l when he returns to the Pirates.

  32. pants-n-at says:

    @ TK.

    #1: 100 on the under
    #2: 100 on the over

  33. Jandy says:

    Woah, Gunner! Well, I guess that answers my question lol

  34. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Don’t sugar-coat it. Say what you’re thinking. Just kidding. I like a man who doesn’t mince words. .

  35. Jandy says:

    Lucky, so do I. It leaves no doubt in my mind what his message is ;)

  36. Milo Hamilton says:


    I’m not exactly sure where you stand on Tabata. I think you need to stop holding back & tell us how you really feel. Let it out, it will make you feel better.

  37. NMR says:


    Somebody run a background check.

  38. Jandy says:


  39. Matt says:

    I have watched Marte a lot in Indy. You (myself included) all will like what he brings to the PBC! What makes him exciting and valuable is that he has ALL the tools! IF he has a poor night offensively, he might make up for it by making a couple of defensive gems. If he only walks once on a night, his speed could get him around to score eventually. If he strikes out TWICE in one night, his other two at bats may be home runs! Like all players he has weaknesses, but look at what all he can do. We seem to forget that even McCutchen has his off nights. Again, you will like Marte. Go buccos!

  40. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I share Gunner’s sentiments on the Tabby front. My father and his father were steel workers, my other grandfather was a coal miner and I worked in a foundry and a steel mill when I was younger and I(no there is no music playing in the background) hate to see a guy, any guy, playing a “game” for big money, no matter how short his “career” is and not giving 100%. He may not be the low-life, rat filth that he seems, but he definitely needs to get his mind right or a can of Roy D. Mercer’s “a** whoopin”.

  41. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nobody’s a sure thing, but despite the superlatives, there were always questions with Hermansen, Eldred and Pearce. I will be VERY surprised if Marte, in the long run, fails. Not so much the others.

  42. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky–bull butter . . .

  43. Stickyweb says:


    #1: 100 on the over. Looking for Marte to have a sterling debut (sorry that was so awful I couldn’t resist)
    #2: 100 on the over. If Buccos only split 4 in Houston against basically a AAA team, then they’re in trouble.

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    And I think it’s “can of whoop a$$”. :-)

  45. Jandy says:

    AW, you have to remember, Lucky is a minister and he tries to say things “nicely” ;)

  46. The Gunner says:

    @ Jandy – 33 & 35
    @ LuckyNKentucky – 34
    @ Milo – 36

    Tabata needs to go get a regular job somewhere (maybe a banana boat is a good fit for him) to appreciate the opportunity he has been presented with. The Ian Snell comparison sure make sense. Maybe NMR is on the right track and a more thorough background check was in order when they acquired this guy. That’s water over the dam. There is no room anywhere for LOAFERS!!! Enough talk about losers!

    Let’s hope the Bucs sweep the Houstons the Reds sure are hot.

  47. Dan1283 says:

    I am really, really excited about following the blog for the next two and a half weeks, DK. This is always a fun time to follow sports and learn a lot of new things about new people. And sometimes we even get to keep you up to date since Hammer will likely be nailing down some W’s while you slumber!

    Good luck and looking forward to the column-binge.

  48. LuckyNKentucky says:


    You’re right. I had it backwards. How big an ol’ boy are ya’?

  49. Absolute59 says:

    tk: Over on both for 100 each

  50. McG says:


    Over on both

  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky and Jandy–I have most of the CD’s and find many of the bits hilarious. And some of the funniest are when the people on the other end crack up, which are the ones that reminded me of bull butter and can of . . . :-)

  52. Jandy says:

    Bull butter LMAO! For sure AW.

    Gunner, I wasn’t sure whom NMR was referring to on the background check ;)

  53. Mosca says:

    Regarding Pearce, I always felt he was cursed with the worst injury bug luck of any Bucs player ever. The guy could have been pretty good.

  54. Evan says:

    Finally the Buccos are in Texas!
    My girlfriend and I will be making the 3 hour drive Saturday morning to catch the last two games of the series, and I can’t be more excited. She grew up an Astros fan, but she’s been watching the Pirates with me all season and really likes to cheer for them with me.

    I hope she gets to see Cutch run out a triple in person. That’s all it takes to make someone a Bucco fan for life.

  55. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Sargeant Yorky and the Probe are my favorites. I love the ones where the guys on the other end threaten violence and start cussin’ at him. Classic.

  56. BigE says:

    Doesn’t sound like DK shares the the thought that Tabata is a bad seed or a lazy ball player:

  57. JohninOshkosh says:

    Dejan just retweeted Queen Elizabeth’s tweet saying Tabby is dogging it at Indy and should be dealt to someone for a corner outfielder.

  58. Jandy says:

    Tweetin’ times!

  59. TK says:

    Those who are addressing their bets to me, please address them to Playoffs so that he may record them.

  60. Isn’t this the wrong thread for the bets? That’s the Line-up thread 4 hours before “Play ball!”

  61. Jandy says:

    Groat, I think with Playoffs’ new job, he is posting differently now…

  62. DemonDachshund says:

    @Groat –

    Think someone posted the Playoffs thread here instead of in the game thread by accident.

  63. bman says:

    @groat: yes, I think so. Typically Playoffs posts the betting line at the end of the previous game and asks that it be copied to the game thread (not the ‘wakeup call’)

  64. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Her majesty also added in another tweet that Tabby was worth a bag of cricket bats.

  65. JohninOshkosh says:


    I was wrong. It wasn’t through twitter but through an exclusive interview between the Queen and Dejan. Dejan didn’t wear a tie for the interview and had Her Majesty hold his Starbucks for him while he fumbled for his iphone!


    I know how much you love football (soccer) but a couple of good group games going on right now: Japan is beating Spain 1-0 and Mexico and Korea are tied. Would be a big blow to our friends to the south and the Spaniards if neither team comes away from these matches with points.


  66. Jandy says:

    OshKoshB’Gosh, did Dejan have on his trademark Target Tee????

  67. Let’s take for granted that Starling Marte will be in the starting line-up tonight, since Pirates did not wait this long to bring him up from the Minors just to sit the bench.

    Does he start in right and bat 2nd behind Presley, with Garrett Jones moving to 1st Base and Casey McGeheeheehee taking his 2-for-his-last-20 to the bench? He could sure show off one of his most valuable assets—his arm—from right! Does he start in left, batting leadoff and making Alex Presley a valuable bench piece?

    I haven’t made up my mind yet . . . . .

  68. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    I root for all ‘ties’ in the sport that must not be named, since ties are like kissing your sister——and I don’t even have a sister! Sounds about right.

    I am glad I do not have access to a TV here at work! They frown on me falling asleep in my office.

  69. redus says:

    Tabata will be ok. Anyone out there ever found themselves lost for a little while? Ego may be too strong an accusation in his case, but his pride has taken a beating for sure. There is nothing wrong with pride, if he can use it to strut as opposed to building expectations. Pride is good for courage and working hard. Pride will make a good man bad when he uses it as a gauge for what he “should” already be…Tabby will find his way out and will be better for it. Believe that.

  70. Gary Redus’ Ghost,

    Do you have an opening for me on your couch at about 2:30 this afternoon?

  71. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Fine speech. (Braveheart). Just hope you’re right. Hard to “believe” something we haven’t seen except by faith.

  72. JHadar says:

    Looking forward to seeing Marte. I had the extreme pleasure of being at McCutchen’s first game, and although he impressed with the bat you could see that he was first of all an athlete — probably could have picked his sport and been successful. What little I’ve seen of Marte gives me the same impression. I wouldn’t be surprised either if he has rookie jitters and a slow start, or if all goes well and he gets off to a great start — but barring injury he should be a regular in the outfield for quite a few seasons; I hope that most of them are with us.

    I don’t think laziness or work ethic are Tabata’s problem, or that he was conniving to get a long-term contract so that he could goof off. Those are basically shallow charges. You simply don’t get to the big leagues on laziness and raw talent. It makes more sense to me that he’s frustrated with himself, and perhaps management, trying to hard, and losing control of his emotions and concentration — and as Hurdle thought perhaps playing to avoid injury. That’s an entirely different set of causes, but the results are the same.

    Is Huntington done yet or is there more help on the way? All of a sudden we have an extra starter. Can Correia or Bedard come out of the bullpen? Both of them have pitched well their last couple of outings while AJ and MacDonald have struggled a bit. I suppose that’s a mindset question, too. A starter can give away a run in the first inning and then settle down — a reliever can’t do that.

  73. NMR says:

    I’ll stick up for redus on the Tabby issue.

    Did my parents teach me to act the way Tabby has? No. I don’t agree with it at all.

    But I’m not going to go as far as to say I hate the kid for it.

    23, 25, whatever his age, he’s still a kid with plenty of maturing to do.

  74. Mattygabe says:

    As soon as Marte hits below 500 for a game is when I’ll start harking, “SALE THE DEJAN”

    (“SALE THE KOVACEVIC” would’ve been misspelled by too many, I’m afraid)

  75. bobhasis says:

    If it is so true that Marte is better in center than elsewhere, here is the explosive idle thought;
    Would Cutch be willing to switch to left and take care of all that space near the foul line?

    Just a thought, my morning coffee hasn’t as yet made me exclaim, “what a great day it is.”

    Line 2 OVER for 100, please!

  76. JHadar says:


    Put Marte in right with that good strong arm and speed and McCutcheon can shade a little more to left to help Prsesley.

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    “Hating” Tabata is clearly over the top. And I doubt he’s “lazy.”. But he didn’t have to be “conniving” for the contract to have affected things. And if his goals were to play right field like Roberto and get his guaranteed contract, he may have lost his way once he achieved those. And there’s been speculation he was tight with Ronny. Maybe no one was there to take his place. I doubt there’s any overall plan or intent there, it’s just what happened. Obviously, I don’t know what happened, but No one else can say he will work through it, either. There’s hope and conjecture. But right now things ain’t looking’ good.

  78. Boise Bucco says:

    I scoff at your time difference. SCOFF I say!

    For the window, I just want 100 on the OVER for #2 please!

    I’ve heard that the ‘Stros sent Owens straight to AAA, has that held up? He won’t be starting in this series, right?

  79. Arriba Wilver says:

    JHadar—McCutchen! No ” o.”!

  80. JHadar says:

    AW — Well, I got it right in #71. Not quite a typo, more like been doing it so long my fingers just type it that way by reflex. Does the blog forgive misspellings?

  81. bobhasis says:


    That also sounds feasible, because I don’t like the thought that Presley is being blown aside
    Jones and McGeehee could platoon at first. and Pedro (when he goes into his scheduled funks, could platoon with McGehee at third.
    One HR every 10 days and a .228 BA doesn’t entitle Pedro squatters rights at third, though his general defense and bazooka arm cannot be ignored

  82. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Morning all.

    I’m excited to see Marte play. I still question what the Pirates do with him if they add a bat??

    I’d rather see him play everyday, wherever he is. McGehee is slowing down at 1B, maybe he and Jones do some platooning, but Jonesy has been doing fairly well, for him, against lefties.


  83. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    For the window:

    Line 1: 100 UNDER

    Line 2: 100 OVER

  84. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I don’t see the Pirates even asking Cutch to move to LF. I understand your thoughts on that, but I dont mess with the guy right now, not the way he’s playing, he, can pretty much do whatever he wants to do.

    I can see the Pirates moving him around on the corners. Normal fields (not PNC) he’d probably be in RF, in PNC, LF…let’s use that speed!!

  85. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Love Gorkys defense, if that kid could actually hit the ball he’d make a great lead off guy, but he just doesn’t have it.

  86. Bill Born says:

    For those out of towners- free game today is our game.

    We can all watch AJ and the Pirates get the first game of the series.

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bob–why in the world would you want to keep Presley in the game at the expense of Jones and Pedro? It can’t be the .270 OBP. And his defense is way overrated.

    JH–I got used to “Cedano”. (i have no idea how you spelled it).I just thought with our best player in 20 years, it’s about time to spell his name right. He’s not Nate “McClouth” or Kevin “McLatchy.”. No offense intended.

  88. JHadar says:

    Ryan —

    I think Jones can also spell Presley and Marte when they need time off. Switch Marte for Tabata and you go back to what Hurdle was trying to do at the beginning of the season.

    I would still like them to add a bat in the infield, most specifically at shortstop. Mercer’s .238 batting average is still higher than Barmes’ OBP.

  89. JHadar says:

    AW — No offense taken. I finally caught myself a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to get it right. I’m another one who doesn’t use smileys though — part of the joy and risk of a little irony is letting it stand for itself, eh?

  90. bobhasis says:


    Agreed, it is a delicate situation. especially the groove that Cutch is in. Others above have stated Marte is a “natural” in center, less so elsewhere. Believe me, I love Cutch in center.

    The catch that Gorkys made to literally save yesterday’s game, should have earned him the 25th spot. Defense in late innings, pinch run otherwise.

    I was looking at the lineups for the Cards and Reds – and Yankees – and from 1-8 they blow us away with their averages, and we continually see Pedro, Barajas and BARMES. “On paper” so says the cliche, we don’t measure up. Well we had soon better. Mercer is not chopped liver in any aspect – as compared directly to Barmes.

    A little potpourri to ponder

  91. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    Until another OF is brought in/ if no OF is brought in, Marte to left, Presley to bench because Mcgehee > Presley.

    If OF acquired is speedy/good at defense, new OF to left, Marte to right because of his cannon arm, Mcgehee to bench/platoon role.

    If OF is bad at defense, keep marte in left because of PNC’s cavernous LF.

  92. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I’d like them to look at a Scuturo type of player, solid defense, solid offense. Nothing spectacular, but gets the job done.

    I’ve been on the “let Barmes work his way out of it” bandwagon, but a pennant race isn’t the time to do it. The farm system doesn’t have the depth for a SS version of Marte to let a rookie take over.

    I still wouldn’t turn down Victorino/Choo.

  93. bobhasis says:

    @Wilver #86

    Presley is a spark of hustle in the way JHay is. I said I didn’t want Presley blown aside. You perhaps undervalue his defense, and most assuredly he needs to up his BA and OBP.

    Isn’t that why they continue to feed us with Barmes in “hopes” his nos improve. So far the experiment there sucks.

    I think Presley is one of our top 4 defensive outfielders. (that’s a little LOL), but the little dude just hustles the whole game

  94. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    “The catch that Gorkys made to literally save yesterday’s game, should have earned him the 25th spot. Defense in late innings, pinch run otherwise.”

    100% agree, love how Hurdle works him in the game. The guy does need to get some AB’s though.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    bobh–agree on Gorkys and Mercer. Tough decision. Maybe Sutton goes down, but they love versatile players.

  96. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I’m also looking at the Pirates to continue their shift at catcher. The Fort doesn’t have the best average, but he’s doing better than Barajas. I like Barajas’s catching style and his work with the pitchers. So what they are doing is pretty good, don’t mess with the mojo

  97. bobhasis says:

    Wilver, I love to see Pedro when he keeps his freakin head on the ball and doesn’t get suckered on the curve and slider way off of the plate. A malady which is correctable

    One homer every 10 days will not win a prize

  98. Arriba Wilver says:

    bobh–nah, not undervaluing his defense at all. He’s better defensively than our two infielders (JHay and Sutton) who play there, but you and I may be at least as good as those two. I’m not saying send him down, just I think that right now Jones and Pedro bring more to the table offensively.

  99. pants-n-at says:

    I like Alex too, but he ain’t gettin’ it done. Sit him and give Marte a chance in left. Or maybe because of his inexperience, they may need to platoon Marte and Presley. Keep Jones in right…he’s earned it and give Mercer a few more starts at SS. And as I said earlier, the Fort has earned more playing time too. With the dog days of summer upon us, it makes more sense to play Barajas less. Jones and McKenry have been getting some clutch hits for us lately.

  100. pants-n-at says:

    But who is the odd man out in the rotation? Would you trade one of our starters?

  101. pants-n-at says:

    I think Gorkys will be sent down. BA too low…although defensively he’s been great.

  102. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I’m tired of watching AP ground out to 2B or 1B. His defensive routes on the ball, over his head are terrible. 4th OF at best. Spot starter.

  103. Thus far it looks like we’re split!

    Some favor Option #1——Marte in right, showing off his arm and batting 2nd, with Jones to 1st and McGeheeheehee taking his 2-for-his-last-20 to the bench.

    Others favor Option #2——Marte to left and batting leadoff, Presley to bench, strengthening our bench. Bye bye, Gorkys.

    I still can’t decide! I think I am leaning toward Option #1 to start out, but I believe that Option #2 will be in force after 4-5 games, once McGeheeheehee gets his feet back under him. He’s our best fielding 1st Baseman, and for a while he was providing valuable extra base power.

    We’ll see the line-up at 4:10.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    bobh–IF Pedro were hitting one HR every 10 days (or games) you might have a point (works out to 18 for the year.) However, Pedro is hitting one every 4 games (21 in 87 games), which projects to 40. That’s a lot of spark!

  105. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I’m with ya, but I like a combination of the 2.

    Marte lead off, plays LF. Presley to bench, Jones to 1B/spot start in RF. McGehehehee (I’m glad I’m not the only one to type it that way) to bench.

  106. pants-n-at says:

    Clint’s response to their series with the Cubs:
    We didn’t hit,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before Wednesday’s win. “But to make any more of it than that? We deal with the reality of the situation, and then we move forward.”
    Sounds alot like Tomlin. And I like his “respect all/fear none” mentality. He’ll have Marte ready.

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    JH–on #88—yes. I blame it on Drew. :-)

  108. redus says:

    Groat – Can’t put you on the couch…but the lawn chair or cooler is open at that time.

    Lucky – I know right? 20 years of faith has been hard enough…at least we can pull the plug on individuals as hype presents new possibilities (see the potential leadoff hitter this evening).

    The thing about Tabata is that he just doesn’t seem like one of those stop-gap types. As good as Nate Mc and Bay were, it just never seemed like they were part of anything different…same old taste I guess. Maybe Hurdle has the greatest effect of any on how we as fans percieve the “new wave” of ballplayers? That and, I have no evidence to support this, it seems like Tabata has been through a lot of craziness both on and off the field. He will catch up with himself a some point. Let’s hope it’s before he is too old to perform or is out of the organization.

    Marte at least looks impressive…wasn’t there another free swinging type with a cannon for an arm roaming the outfield for the pirates some time ago? Can’t wait to see him with a lower profile MLB helmet on…those giant dome helmets in AAA are surprising – get the kid a helmet that doesn’t make his head look like a grape.

  109. By the way, I’m excited for Dejan an’ all ‘at . . . .

    . . . . . but I’ve been waiting 20 years for a pennant race!!!!

    I’ll check in to NBC when Usain Bolt is running, but I’m not interested in watching 79 pound girls twirl a ribbon on the end of a stick. Call me between innings so I can see the replay.

    London Bridge is sort of cool, but I used to sing about it falling down when I was a kid, and I actually saw it fall down in that Will Smith movie Independence Day. No biggie.

    Now Spain? “Now I’ve never been to Spain, but I kinda like the music . . . “

  110. JohninOshkosh says:

    There are direct flights from Pittsburgh to London, right? Is is really cheaper to go to London via Charlotte?

  111. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    It’s actually cheaper to go to Charlotte via London.

  112. JHadar says:

    Pedro is actually hitting one homer about every 4-5 days, he’s played 88 games and hit 21.

    Looking at the roster, I think Gorkys is the odd man out. I agree that it’s too soon to give up on Presley and I just don’t think Hernadez speed makes up for what we’d lose with Presley.

    Hard to keep Jones out of the line-up right now. Nice problem to have for a change. Reminds me of the debates we used to have, pre-internet of course, about who to put in the infield when the choices were Robinson, Cash, Alley, Hebner, Stennet, Tavares, and Hernandez — not to mention an aging Mazeroski.

  113. Milo Hamilton says:

    Mayor Murphy drove to Cleveland to fly to London.

  114. NMR says:

    This is meant completely good natured, but bob h. reminds me of the crusty old-school scouts that the Moneyball crowd stick their nose up at.

    bob h: I like this Presley kid. He hustles.
    nerdy sabremetrician: That kid? The LEADOFF hitter with an OBP lower than his body weight?
    bob h: Yeah, that one. He’s got spunk.

  115. LuckyNKentucky says:

    My son is flying home from Managua on Monday. He goes through Miami and DC to Nashville, then 2 more hours in the car. Total time is 19.5 hours including the car time in Nicaragua. I told him to charter a boat the next mission trip he goes on.

  116. You’re going to love how Starling Marte looks. He is slim and stands tall and just looks like a Clemente or a Mays or Frank Robinson.

    One thing is different . . . . . his forearms look like Popeye’s!

  117. bobhasis says:


    You know the adage about figures and stats, they are not always accurate and sometimes lie. Twenty-one HR’sin 87 games, but how many games did he have two?

    My point was there are big gaps between games where he produces, but there are NEVER any gaps where he K’s and looks hapless doing so. Usually once a night

    He is the one around whom the phrase “unrequited potential” was conceived. He has it, we see it sometimes, and too many other times he looks as lethargic as Tabata at the plate, and he leaves me shaking my head in disappointment

  118. bobhasis says:

    @NMR #113

    HUH?? If you say so I’ll go with it

  119. Kentuck Knob,

    Ah-h-h-h, Mission Trips. I love those things!

    I hope your son had a life-changing, life-giving, life-begins-and-ends-in-the-Son experience!!

  120. NMR says:


    Watch Josh Hamilton for any amount of time.

    The same complaints your have about Pedro’s K’s can be said about Hamilton.

    They are power hitters. It’s what they do.

  121. Milo Hamilton says:


    Even I can’t come down on the side of the crusty scout on this one.

  122. JHadar says:

    Presley in:


    Jones in:


  123. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I’m with you. I feel for Tabata. But I see too many husbands and wives working for $8 an hour or less down here in pallet mills and sewing factories. I work their Food Stamp and Medicaid cases every day. And they call our church asking for help. I just don’t like loafing and/or moaping for any reason. I don’t discount that he’s had it tough growing up and his personal life has been rough. I don’t hate anyone, but he needs to get his head straight, count his blessings and move forward. This is baseball not pro basketball.

  124. Jandy says:

    NMR ~ love the comparison for bobh, right on!

    Lucky ~ can your son bring us home some baseball prospects next time around????

  125. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Corrections for your “Jones In” line.

    swap Jones and Cutch (without the “o”)

  126. Kevin says:

    Mr. Playoffs –

    100 on the over Line 1 and 2, please. Thank you.

  127. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I think you just nailed Bob……..he’s not going to be happy about it.

  128. bobhasis says:

    How about this; move Pedro to the 8 hole, then his stats won’t look so bad.

    I think the odd man out has to be Sutton. I believe Tampa Bay realized quite soon he wasn’t a fit for their team. A seemingly obvious indictment against Sutton, who is not fast, a mediocre hitter and fielder and K’s way too much

  129. LuckyNKentucky says:


    We lost a great one flying to Nicaragua in 1972. We need some from there, you’re right. Glad they have better planes nowadays. (right)

  130. bobhasis says:

    @NMR #119

    Whoa, not so fast. If you are STATING unequivocably that Pedro and Hamilton are in the same class, then please get me a case of what it is that makes you say that. I’d like to join you in your La-La land

  131. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Since this is “Pick on Bob Day” I’ll add my 2 cents. Between the Gunner, Bob and myself, the old guys of the DK blog, I still like Bob’s ingenuity with lineups, etc. He also says what’s on his mind.

  132. Jandy says:

    Lucky, at least the planes in the States are better than the planes in Russia…that plane that went down and wiped out an entire Russian hockey team…wow…

  133. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    You gotta figure one of the OFers will be sent down. If Sutton’s out, you can removed JHay too. Seem to be the same type of player and the same caliber.

  134. Jandy says:

    Hey, I happen to like all you “old farts” :)

  135. bobhasis says:

    Ryan I could be happy with most anything. But I know neither of you believe what he wrote.

    Maybe someday – but not today. You know the phrase “I was born at night – but not last night

  136. Arriba Wilver says:

    bobh– you seem to be bobbing and weaving a bit. YOU chose the comparisons, YOU chose to cite to stats ( incorrectly I might add) . Bottom line still is, putting Presley in there every day over Pedro and Jones makes no sense.

  137. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I’m with ya on the comparison to Hamilton.

    NMR, that just doesn’t make sense, UNLESS you are only talking about HR’s, then I get your point. But overall, I’d take Josh Hamilton in a freakin heartbeat over Pedro.

  138. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    What who wrote?? NMR’s comparison to the grumpy scouts?

    I took it more as a humorous thing than anything.

    “I like his face”

  139. bobhasis says:

    Thanks Lucky for the support. Maybe you can send those whipper-snapper bloggers some GOOD Kentucky bourbon so they can continue on their unending buzz. Man they are trippin’

    Send me the bill

  140. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    BTW, totally off the subject

    Has anybody seen the TBS show “Sullivan and Son”?

    The one thing on TBS that actually is “very funny”.

    Based in Pittsburgh, Jandy, you’d love it, got Pens stuff all over the place.

  141. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Loves being a whipper-snapper………with a buzz

  142. JohninOshkosh says:

    bobhasis: Man they are trippin’

    I must say, Rapid Robert, you are pretty cool.

  143. JAL says:

    Barmes and Presley are not comparable. SS and catcher are the two positions you can sacrifice offense for defense. Corner OF positions are where offense trumps defense. That is why Jones plays so much in RF, not the best fielder around but at least hits a bit like a RF.

  144. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    LOL, they are trippin’

    1 phrase that I have never used in my life….and I dont think its used anymore

    BOB, you’re showing your age!!!

    just bustin’ on ya

  145. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Agree. But I do think Jonesy is getting better out there.

  146. Naje says:

    If only this blog had the ability to respond to each other’s posts…

    There seems to be a major case of he said/he said on here everyday. Got to read someone’s post and then 15 more saying that’s what I said, didn’t say and all that gets to be mind numbing.

    How long ago were they going to have this type of respond-to-a-post feature?

  147. bobhasis says:

    Arriba, I’m not sure I said “putting Presley in there everyday”, but as was pointed out by others, McGehee has slipped of late, so if Jones isn’t in right put him at first for now.
    When Pedro does his sporadic thing, put McGehee there for a while.

    In that context, Presley would be in there everyday but I didn’t say it – I don’t think.

    None of which is our biggest problem – that would be, well I’m sure with how smart this crowd is, I needn’t even mention it. Once Hurdle opens his eyes to the truth about the SS position, these other things become trivial

  148. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky–not picking on bob. He said something that was kind of ridiculous (been there, done that), then tried to support it with bogus stats, so he was called on it. Nobody attacked him personally, just the information and logic. And the way I interpreted it was that he was saying it was more important to keep Presley in there everyday than Pedro and/or Jones. I’d love to hear some other support for that, I just can’t think of any.

  149. NMR says:


    Never did I even insinuate Pedro and Hamilton are in the same class, just that they are the same type of hitter.

    Both are free swingers. Both have huge power. Both are prone to looking awful when the barrel doesn’t meet the ball.

    Just ask Nolan Ryan.

    And you know I enjoy your contribution on here, just bustin’ you up a little.

  150. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I agree its time to do something about SS. Barmes defensively has been solid lately and I can deal with a light hitting SS, but not at a .206 (or whatever it is now) clip.

    I expected for Barmes to hit around .240 to begin with. This has gotten ridiculous.

  151. JHadar says:


    If you guys keep after me I’ll probably start typing it right.

    I personally believe the Jones-in lineup is the stronger of the two. McCutchen’s talent is extraordinary, he would be our best leadoff hitter with an OBP of .426 and also our best clean-up hitter with a .634 SLG. Going purely on theory, Walker should be leading off if McCutchen isn’t, but I’m not as strict as some are with stats or I’d have McKenry hitting behind McCutchen instead of McGehee.

    I’m probably at odds with some traditionalists in batting him 4th because he’s fast and has a high BA & OPS, and I don’t think it works in the other line-up because it’s a little weaker behind him. but a 1.060 OPS batting third is an indictment of the rest of the line up. Especially when you have Barajas (.650) in there instead of McKenry (.854) and Presley (.634) instead of Jones (.789).

    I do get a catcher’s main responsibility is handling the pitchers and everything else is secondary to that, and I think that Presley is under-performing and will have better numbers in the future, although I don’t know whether that will be yet this year or not.

    Generally speaking, I try not to forget that this is a surprise team, and that if it had been progressing normally we would expecting to peak in another couple of years. I expect Tabata to be back, maybe not ’til next year, Pedro to hit more often, and for us to come up with a shortstop.

  152. RobertoForever says:


    Caught the first two episodes. Pretty good so far. Who would have guessed a bar show set in Pittsburgh would feature a Tiger mom? Lol

    Did you see the article where the Astros columnist used the Pirates as a success story and a beacon of hope for astros fans?

  153. JAL says:


    Jones is fielding better no way he makes the catch Hernandez made in the 9th that may have been a game saver

  154. Arriba Wilver says:

    bob, I agree you didn’t specify that, you just argued for all the reasons to sit the other guys and not Presley—same thing to me, especially after 50 posts going down that line. :-) I’m done, though, I was just trying to have a discussion ever the merits of it, and as Naje pointed out, it gets somewhat difficult with this format that hasn’t changed one iota since DK came to the Trib.

  155. JAL says:


    That story is morning link number 17

  156. bobhasis says:

    Ryan, I think JHay is awful in RF, and only somewhat better at SS. But some weeks ago we discussed here about the energy he brings – that Sutton nor Barmes do not. He may not be a major league anything, but he tries like Hell every time you see him. He too can pinch run if Gorkys is sent down, but JHay cannot do in RF what Gorkys does.

    I love The Fort, but he has a terrible arm. The Fort, JHay and Presley always bring energy in the game. That’s what you do if you lack certain skills and talent

    There are certain negatives that we may have to accept as was stated a little differently by JAL @#142

  157. Bizrow says:

    Hey, no fighting at all in here today, that is pretty nice.

    All I can think of is there is one guy that is missing, he went overseas….

    Kidding Dejan

    It is nice to see everyone bantering and no dissing.

    The other more substantial thing may be what folks are talking and not talking about here today.

    Don’t forget to sign in if you haven’t already regarding where you currently reside.

  158. JHadar says:

    JAL —

    Amazing catch aside, Jones will do more good with his bat than Gorkys will do with his glove.

  159. You are wise, JAL, on shortstop vs. corner outfielders. Different value quotients.

    Which line-up do you predict tonight: Option #1 or Option #2? (102)

    I vacillate even as I type about them. I can’t grasp a good feel.

    I am sure Marte will bat 1 or 2, versus 6 or 7 as some propose.

  160. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Thanks for the explanation….great job.

    I love Cutch in the 3 hole. Honestly, after that slap em around to wherever. I am a strong believe that your best hitter bats 3rd. Always felt that way, always will I think.

    Reason why I want Cutch 3rd, over Jones, is 1. Typically top 3 guys get most plate appearances, 2. I want guys on in front of him, to drive them in, instead of him leading off. He’s proven to be a power/rbi producer. 3. Jones has too many swing and misses for my liking. I at least want the 3 guy to be able to put the bat on the ball.

  161. Arriba Wilver says:

    JAL–agree 300% that Jones doesn’t make that catch yesterday. Have to add, though, that perhaps no one, including Cutch or Marte, makes that catch. That was an amazing catch, by what Neal says is the best outfielder in the organization.

  162. RobertoForever says:

    I can’t see how anyone would believe this team would be better with Jones on the bench. He is the 3rd best hitter on the team.

    And Jones has erased his ‘weakness against LHP. Looking at every starters splits and comparing their weaker splits, Jones splits against his weakness (lefties with .669 OPS) is better than every starter except Cutch and Mckenry and is tied with Alvarez.

    Jones should be starting every day unless the Pirates land Upton et al.

  163. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I recall the conversation and he does bring energy. But its a personality difference more than ability. Both Barmes and Sutton seem to be low-key guys where at JHay is the complete opposite. I agree that guys like that need to be on the team and yes, I like you’re idea of him pinch running late in the ball game. JUST PLEASE DON’T ASK HIM TO BUNT.

  164. cmat0829 says:

    YEAH>> the “Marte era” has begun. No doubt in my mind that Gorkys returns to Indy as the roster move. Marte will hit leadoff and play left field vs. RHPs.. Presley assumes role of late-inning defensive replacement for GI Jones in RF. The lineup vs. LHPs is less sure in my mind… I’m thinking that they will play Sutton in RF but they could play Presley some if his ABs warrant it and may give GI Jones a shot against more hittable lefties.

    I think part of the reason the Bucs waiting so long on Marte is they wanted to give Alex every chance because with this move, “Elvis has left the building”…at least in terms of starting.

    Now, if/when they pick up Shane Victorino, I think Presley goes back to Indy because Sutton is a better bench piece than Alex is. The issue with Mercer is that he is backup legitimate SS and I don’t think Clint will go with JUST JayHey in terms of backup infielder.

  165. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Agree totally……no way he makes the catch.

    @AW- NH isn’t the only one that says Gorkys is the best OFer.

  166. RobertoForever says:


    Should have known you would have it. Surprised no one commented on it, considering the Pirates are now the shining example. The new Devil Rays?

  167. cmat0829 says:

    As to the rotation, I think there is no question that Correia will shift to long relief role as I don’t think Bedard has that capability and they can’t ship Bedard to AAA. Karstens is pitching too well to go to the bullpen though his arm is probably best suited to actually contribute in that spot. I think Correia has some experience relieving.

    I think the Bucs will really try to trade Correia and that shouldn’t be that hard.

  168. JAL says:


    Agree, Hernandez is a poor hitter, was just comparing defense. That is why Jones plays most of the game and Hernandez goes in when Pirates have a late lead. Risky as Cubs might tied the game and then you have Hernandez hitting instead of Jones.

  169. Arriba Wilver says:

    Roberto–while I agree with you overall point about Jones, I think you are jumping the gun saying he has “erased” his weakness against left handed pitchers, and the stats you site aren’t comparable. Those stats for the other players are based on a whole season (for the most part) of playing against both right and lefties. Jones was protected against lefties until just recently. Hardly a fair comparison. He has all of 26 plate attempts against lefties. Works out to 5 or 6 games out of the 97 they’ve played so far.

  170. Jag7 says:

    If they brought Marte only to showcase him for a trade I’ll be sick. He’s their 1 legit position prospect, you don’t trade that.By the way, the Pirates still need help with customer relations: went to Sat. game and had SRO, so we watched from the restaurant above LF, standing at the windows. My friend messed up her knee playing softball a few days earlier, so we dragged a chair to the window so she could sit. We got away with it for about 5 innings before being told that was against the rules. Understand they don’t want everyone pulling up a seat there, but her knee was clearly swollen, they didn’t care, “that’s the rule”. Why is there no common sense here? I could give at least 15 examples of the ushers not letting fans move to WORSE unoccupied seats to escape the brutal heat/sun. Contrast that to the Pens ushers encouraging fans to move closer to the ice back in the day. It shouldn’t be that hard to treat your fans with respect.

  171. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan—was not suggesting he was. He just has more cred on the issue.

  172. JRay3 says:

    A lot of talk about Marte today, I just wish he would have been brought up a little earlier to see if we need a corner OF as bad as I think we do.

    I read he was going to lead off and play LF tonight. Also 24/7 tweeted that if not trade was consummated Gorkys would be sent down. I agree with an earlier post that I actually like him as a late inning defensive replacement, if only he could hit a single every once in a while.

    Rotation questions abound…everything seems to focus on Correia or Karstens being traded or moved into a long relief role and Bedard seems to be secure with the decision makers. Not quite sure how Karstens could me moved from the rotation with how well he has pitched of late. I have always worried with Correia and his low K/9 rate. He seems to gut his outings out more than having the stuff to win games.

  173. Jandy says:

    Ryan (#39) I have to admit I never heard of the show. But then, I don’t watch much television except hockey, baseball, occasionally UFC, and car shows (hubby’s favorite). Once in a while some music. Gotta love concerts on TV.

  174. RobertoForever says:


    Only one way to find out. Keep starting him vs lefties. And your stats are true, but his stats against lefties are even better recently. I believe he was 0 for 9 or 10 to start the season. Which means he is 9 or 10 for 16 this month. Sounds like a hot streak I would be riding.

  175. cmat0829 says:

    It’s TIME TO BUILD A PLAYOFF BENCH… which means Sutton is safe on the roster due to his being a little more of a veteran and is versatile…and Gorkys and Mercer are likely Indy bound. Would not surprise me a bit if the Bucs picked up someone like Marco Scutaro because their backup infielder right now is Jordy Mercer and once he goes down to Indy it is Jay Hey…. that isn’t gonna cut it.

  176. Arriba Wilver says:

    Roberto–re-read my post, I said I agreed with your overall point to play him right now. His stats lately don’t change a thing about the comparison to guys who have been batting against lefties all year.

  177. Naje says:

    Gorkys gets the best jumps, consistently, of any OF I’ve seen in a Bucs uniform… and seriously, he’s among the best in the big leagues at getting a read of the ball off the bat. He was at top speed in two steps and took a perfect, perfect angle to that ball.

    Hard to not have him around as that 25th guy… that guy that replaces a Jones or Presley in the 8th/9th inning(s). I mean, Sutton over THAT type of defense? I don’t think so, but it is a tough decision. Maybe he goes down to AAA for a bit and returns later in August and definitely in Sept.

  178. Arriba Wilver says:

    Although I shudder a little to say this, I agree with Drew that getting a starter (position player) solves 2 problems. It also strengthens the bench. I hope they are focusing on a starter.

  179. JAL says:

    Jag 7

    If they wanted to trade Marte they would have left him in Indy. Trade deadline is 5 days away, if Marte starts 0 for 12 his trade value decreases. Safer to leave him in Indy. 5 MLB games too few to showcase a player.

  180. Naje says:


    There was some chatter last year about a Doumit-for-Scutaro trade… seems like Scutaro’s name pops up with the Bucs quite a bit in the last couple of years… I would not mind him on this team (just for a rental) one bit.

  181. cmat0829 says:

    No way the Pirates trade Marte for a rental (Victorino) and now that Upton is off the market, not sure there is any trade where Marte would be needed. Span from the Twins is intriguing (years of control, low $$ contract) but Twins in desparate need of pitching and would likely want Jamo or Cole as centerpiece in that deal.

    With Grossman traded, Marte will be a Pirate for a while.

  182. cmat0829 says:

    Yes, Rockies will dump Scutaro so hold out until July 31 and get him by picking up his remaining salary and including one decent pitching prospect, maybe Jeff Locke or someone like that.

  183. Arriba Wilver says:

    Why do people seem to think I’m questioning Gorkys cred as a defender? I’m NOT! As I said yesterday, when that catch was made, I knew it had to be Gorkys and it was amazing. I do believe he’s the best we have, and personally I would send Sutton down over him. But maybe that works out better in September, and then they can decide for the post-season ( did I just say that? ). But, seriously, He’s a tremendous defensive player.

  184. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Re: Rotation

    Gotta be Correia. Though he’s done OK lately, he’s just not putting up the numbers the other guys are. Bedard might have his MOJO back and Karstens, whom I have had issues with for some reason, has proven to be more than reliable.

    Nice addition and a good problem to have.

  185. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I agree with keeping Gorkys, but I’d send AP down before Sutton. Sutton can play multiple positions.

    Though, if Scuturo is grabbed, then Sutton’s gone.

  186. cmat0829 says:

    OH, almost forgot….PLAYOFFS….

    Can I please have 100 FUs (fake units) on the OVER for both propositions? Gotta feel like the series win is in the bag just have a sense Marte will have a great first game similar to Alex Presley in Toronto last year.

  187. RobertoForever says:


    I saw that. Agreed the AB’s aren’t there. But maybe they should be for now. Batting 500 against your weakness for a month kinda begs to find out if its not a ‘weakness’ anymore.

    And in comparing to McGehee, his AB’s against RHP are only 88 and his stats against that split continue to get worse as the season goes on. Guessing when to jump on hot streaks and jump off struggling players is what could spark a winning streak or deepen an offensive malaise, no?

  188. JMB says:

    He also talks about Choo (a guy I also like), but I can’t see giving up a mega-haul for a guy like him, who is also switching leagues.

  189. Bizrow says:

    I saw a rumor out there, and just a rumor that they were considering trading Kartsens or Correia

    If its been posted already, sorry

    I hate to say this as I am not a big Gorkys fan, but I think I’d drop Sutton or Mercer instead of him, his defense has been impressive, trouble is with him, JHay, and Co on the bench, well PH wise, I’d favor sending Brad Lincoln up there

  190. LuckyNKentucky says:


    You’re right on those Pedro-Hamilton comparisons. You didn’t mention both can be head cases at times. Hamilton slumping now and is having problems. Hope he doesn’t start drinking again.

    I’d like to see them keep Gorkys. That late-inning glove is a great value. Even Hammer needs that, as was shown yesterday. Presley can get some AB’s in Indy. (sorry, Bob) Sutton is more versatile, albeit more of a liability in the field. Just keep the bat out of Gorkys’s hands except in blowouts where he can get some swings.

  191. Arriba Wilver says:

    Biz–I heard the same rumor/speculation. I cant see them trading Jeff; I wouldn’t. On the PH, I heard an interview with the Astros announcer, and he said Wandy’s a great hitter historically, and He’s due since he hasn’t hit too well yet this year. :-)

  192. redus says:

    Don’t give up on Barmes yet…besides the solid defense, if you cut him back now you risk neutralizing him should his hot streak make an appearance. As many allude to, he will get to his career numbers most likely before the season is out. One would think that at some point he get’s hot (relatively speaking). I can totally see Barmes laying in the weeds and being a major contributor down the stretch. No clue why, but if Hurdle believes it, we should probably expect it to be true.

  193. Arriba Wilver says:

    Roberto–I hope you’re not a salesman. I don’t think I could state any clearer than “I agree with your overall point to play him right now,” but you keep selling. Get out of my house! :-)

  194. RobertoForever says:


    Barmes stats have been improving as the season goes on, but so far his monthly splits have reached a pinnacle of .250

    And considering the alternatives, if Hurdle believes in him, I would tend to trust that.

    Plus, I have always wondered – Guys that are really hot in the beginning of the season but then have terrible months at the end, tend to stay in the lineup. But guys who struggle early and are yanked, are their peaks being missed?

  195. NMR says:

    Great point, Lucky.

    I’ve read where Hamilton looks “disinterested” when he struggles. In reality, its the defense mechanism that keeps him frmo taking the game too seriously, which in turn has been a factor in his addictive past. Poor guy really has some demons up there.

    On a lighter note, reading Jag7’s post made me wonder if thats his favorite number or if there are Jags1-6 lurking out there. A tribute to yinzers everywhere.

    Deep stuff, maaaaan.

  196. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Suggestion for next new summer olympic sport… full armor jousting.

  197. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I like your faith. You’d make it in the ministry and probably in life. We sure haven’t seen it in Barmes, but we can still believe. BTW, the real Gary Redus is/was a preacher and built a church, I think I remember, with some of his BB earnings.

  198. RobertoForever says:

    Rudy Owens tweeted that he will be making his first triple-a start in OKC tonight. So I guess he will be waiting to make his major league debut, even though the Astros starting rotation has a hole and is struggling.

  199. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I happy for Rudy. Can’t imagine how hard that would be starting against the organization that you developed in. That would make it much tougher in that first start in the bigs. With their staff, he’ll be up soon enough.

  200. The Gunner says:

    @ Ryan – #149

    I am in agreement with you about Barmes although he has picked things up somewhat as of late. The latest sales pitch about Barmes is he is hitting .240 (approx.) the last couple months. Worst case, I think they should play Mercer 2 or 3 times a week as he looks like he has some pop to his bat. And Barmes, at his age, might benefit from the rest. But, the $10 million man has been an overall disappointment to say the least.

    On the “bring in a bat” front, if they can get something decent for Correia, NH should pull the trigger. But, he better not trade Karstens. Correia won’t be invited back next year most likely so they might as well move him while he is performing somewhat decently.

  201. JHadar says:

    I’m sorry, not only have I seen Barmes stats; I’ve seen him swing the bat.

    In order to come around, or progress to the mean, or find himself, or however you want to put it he needs to make both mental and mechanical changes.

    Defensively he’s a journeyman and looks good there because his predecessors haven’t.

    For the long-term good of the team we’re better off with Mercer in there — even if he were just getting experience for the future (albeit in the middle of a pennant race) what he’s shown so far is better than what we’ve seen from Barmes. If Hurdle continues to play him, I’ll root for him and hope it works out, but I’m not seeing it so far, nor am I seeing the hustle or a spark of “potential.”

  202. Happy G says:

    With PNC park we need two CF’s due to the north side notch. That said, I’ll sum up my thoughts on Tabata by predicting our opening day outfield next year will be Cutch-LF, Marte-CF, and Tabata-RF.

    Tonight, I’d like to see Marte in LF, even though it’s not as hard to play in Houston with the short porch, I he’s going to be our lead off hitter and everyday LF unless he fails.

    Tabata is still young and has time to turn things around. I’d love Cutch, Marte, and Tabata as our outfield for years to come.

  203. RobertoForever says:

    Like Wandy will have to do on Sat – make his first start as a non-Astros against the Astros.

    I will continue to follow him on twitter. Seems like a good kid.

  204. AJS says:

    A lefty pitching tonight so:
    Marte LF
    Walker 2B
    Cutch CF
    Jones RF
    McGehee 1B
    Alvarez 3B
    Barajas C
    Barmes SS
    Burnett P

    Against a right hander:
    Marte RF
    Walker 2B
    Cutch CF
    Jones 1B
    Alvarez 3B
    Barajas/McKenry C
    Presley LF
    Barmes SS

    Now the obvious gap is that you would like to platoon Jones and McGehee at 1B and keep Pressley as the 4th OF. That would require a trade for another corner outfielder. That, in my opinion, is what Neal should be focusing on in the trade market right now.

  205. The Gunner says:

    @ JHadar – 201

    Journeyman is a good term to describe Barmes. His predecessor, Ronald Cedeno, has only batted 99 times this year – obviously he must be injured. So, as bad as it has been with Barmes, a least he has been somewhat durable versus what could have happened had Cedeno and Hurdle made peace.

    But Mercer definitely needs more playing time – I like what I see of this guy. Also, on a side note, he needs to change his offensive lineman uniform #.

  206. The Gunner says:

    @ Happy G – 202

    You are killing me with next year’s outfield lineup. I think you will be disappointed.

  207. Happy G says:

    @The Gunner

    That’s only if Tabata is the he needs to. I haven’t seen Marte play but I’ve heard he is better defensively than Cutch. Hard to believe especially with that dropped fly ball in spring training.

  208. The Gunner says:

    @ Happy G – 207

    I think Tabata is going to have to really convince NH & CH that he has matured and will play with a balls to the wall attitude. I question Tabata’s mental toughness over the long haul – I think he has a real uphill battle ahead of him.

  209. Happy G says:

    Sorry, typo… Tabata is the player he can and needs to be. We can’t afford a$15mm mistake.

  210. RobertoForever says:

    Lineup is out.

    Marte is leading off in LF

    Everything else as usual

  211. Happy G says:

    @The Gunner

    I agree. Attitude and mental toughness aren’t something you can teach. I just hope this is due to his immaturity and his lack of confidence and he’ll break out of it soon to become a solid RF. *fingers crossed*

  212. Bizrow says:

    Dejan tweeted the lineup Starling batting first playing Left Field, then the usual for the rest of the lineup

  213. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Thanks. Seems as though he’ll be where most of us expected him to be.

    I wish him well.

    Can’t wait to watch the game thread tonight.

    Seriously, when the games over, you guys need to reread it. Typically hilarious.

  214. Happy G says:

    My parents still live in Pittsburgh and go to a lot of games. They’ve seen Tabata’s effort in person this year and tend to agree with @The Gunner 31. Actually very similar assessments. They made the point that Clint Hurdel demoted Tabata right away and gained a lot of respect for that. If you’re not performing, we’ll find someone who can. Go to Indy to grow up and figure things out. Great leadership.

  215. JHadar says:

    Gunner — Not disagreeing, but explaining a little more why I feel the way I do. Even if Mercer continues to hit at the level he’s at now, any defensive superiority Barmes has will not make up the difference. Mercer’s OPS is .789, Barmes’ is .519.

    I know that it’s a small sample but if you extrapolate both numbers to a full season that’s about 115 bases further that Mercer would advance than Barmes. So far, Mercer hasn’t made an error, and his range factor is 3.38 compared to Barmes 3.68. I just can’t imagine Mercer making enough errors and not getting to enough balls to give the other guys those 115 bases back

    Experience is great if by means of it you play better and help others to play better. I’m not saying that Mercer is a great shortstop, he is just better than Barmes by a considerable margin and ought to play every day until someone better comes along.

    Also, Barmes appears to be on the downside of his career with prospects of getting worse, while Mercer is on the upside with prospects of getting better.

  216. Curt says:

    Line #1: 100 on the UNDER

    Line #2: 100 on the OVER

  217. JHadar says:

    Gorkys has been optioned to Indianapolis.

  218. cmat0829 says:

    RE: Barmes and the somewhat insane idea that we should be playing Mercer everyday to get experience. or JayHey because Barmes sucks at the plate. the Pirates win with pitching and defense, notwithstanding examples of offensive prowess the past two months…. and they need a reliable defensive shortstop down the stretch. Playoff contending teams don’t “give it a whirl” with people that don’t have the ability to man that important position in the bigs. period.

    The moment there is a suitable shortstop on the roster to play in meaningful ML games, then the debate can commence.

  219. Arriba Wilver says:

    Personally, on the “Marte is better than Cutch” aspect defensively, I think people mix up raves about his arm to say that. I don’t think Cutch is moving anytime soon to another position. Some of the same people on the pay blog who argued Marte was better also argued that Tabata was better than Cutch. Let’s wait and see.

  220. JHadar says:

    cmat0829 — The Pirates win on pitching and defense because they have guys like Barmes hitting. Nobody is saying Mercer is a great shortstop, only that he’s a better option than Barmes. I don’t think that’s insane, but thanks for the name calling.

  221. Happy G says:

    McDonald will bat 8th his next start if Barmes continues his slump.

  222. albatross says:

    July 26th, 2012 – 1:38 pm
    If only this blog had the ability to respond to each other’s posts…”

    Amen, Brother!

  223. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    What about Corey Hart from the Brewers?

    He has lead off for the Brewers in the past, not a tradional LO guy, but I like him, even for a Brewer.


  224. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Of course, he wouldn’t lead off with Marte up… bad.


  225. MadTurk says:

    July 26th, 2012 – 8:21 am
    The Bucs need Marte’s arm in right, but they also need his speed for all of the open space in left. It will be interesting to see in which position Hurdle decides to play him – maybe a little of both…
    Marte will catch the ball in left field run to right field and then make the throw home. From all the speed I am hearing about this should work right?

  226. cmat0829 says:

    Not name calling anyone. Just the idea that a pennant contending team should be playing Jordy Mercer or Josh Harrison at SS over a veteran like Barmes, in my opinion, doesnt even qualify for a debate.

    And please don’t flash ANY stats for Mercer and try to think this is a data-based discussion at this point…. I’m all for a shortstop upgrade, via trade, but just can’t support plugging in an inferior defensive player at such an important position in a pennant run. No thanks.

  227. Happy G says:

    Hart would be a great addition but I’d hate to give any prospects to the Brew Crew.

  228. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I agree, but I don’t think giving him a start a twice a week would hurt anything.

  229. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I know……I hate those guys.

    We gave decent prospects the Astros too…dislike trading inside the division, but the Brewers the most.

  230. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Cards beating the Dodgers in the 9th.

  231. MadTurk says:

    @JHadar 121#

    I would switch out McGehee and Jones as well.
    McGehee and Pedro too.
    McGehee plays a better defense then Pedro at this point in their careers.
    Keep them all fresh and hungry to play.

  232. JHadar says:


    Then I just strongly disagree. Barmes has hurt this team so much at the plate that you could put in anyone who can hit over .230 and the difference on defense would be more than negated.

    You may not realize this, but minor league infields are not as smooth as major league infields so handling odd hops and whatnot there is better experience, and reaction time and speed cannot be taught. About the only thing that experience does for a fielder at the MLB level is make him better at positioning himself.

    The biggest difference between major league and minor leagues is that the pitching is much better in the major leagues. There is hardly any difference in the defense. Pitching does win ballgames, but defense at shortstop doesn’t unless it’s backed up with a bat. Plain and simple.

    If we were talking about a competent hitter in Barmes, then the defense would be a factor — but the fact is that of the experienced starters in MLB he currently ranks 30th in OPS.

    When something isn’t working, it does make sense to try something else. Doesn’t it.

    I do agree that a trade would be the better solution, but I haven’t heard that the Bucs are doing that.

    And with so many sub – .250 hitters there’s just no room for a guy who hits like Barmes even if he were a perennial gold glover.

    I understand your argument, I just don’t agree with it.

  233. JHadar says:

    Turk —

    Yeah, but that would have involved so many variations in the order that it wouldn’t have made sense to post them all.

  234. MadTurk says:

    Ants have marched………… I do agree with you though

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