Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Vacation Call: Explaining the inexplicable

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

For my years on the Pirates’ beat, the blog post headline you see above was my motto for anyone who would ask. Covered so many indecipherable decisions, and yet was answerable to a readership hungry for me to decipher them.

Good luck with whatever happened early this morning in San Diego.


Minutes after the game, these were my thoughts on the bungling of …

Clint Hurdle

and Neal Huntington

in contributing to a loss that utterly flew in the face not only of all logic but also the above-and-beyond effort of the core of the players.

Interested to hear your thoughts.


  1. Reading says:

    It’s almost as if the thought process is: Who is the worst possible pinch hitter we can have for a particular at bat?; Who is the worst possible player that we call up from Indy?; Who is the least effective pitcher for the critical situation at hand?; Walk the other team’s best hitter with first base open and the winning run on second, a guy who has hit 25 home runs against the Pirates in the last week and a half- what are you nuts?

  2. Ed says:

    I accept the decision to insert Dan McC. If he could have held them an inning or 2 and the Bucs scored a run, then Hanrahan could have saved it, plus avoided another long extra inning game.

    Not walking Headley on 3-0 was ridiculous. The Padres made a foolish move with the steal, thus taking the bat out of Headley’s hands; Clint gave it right back to him–ugh!

    Neil H. isn’t as interested in winning as in “playing” GM; he’s in a fantasy league mode at times. He most always is more concerned about the future. Pre-season, did anyone think the Penguins would be in the Cup final in ’08? No way! Then they ignored all the NHL precedents, (the losing finalist does not return the next season), and returned to the finals, and won in ’09.

    Here’s the point, the Pens went for it, sold out totally in order to win the Stanley Cup. Look at the circumstances that have prohibited their expected return, (see #87 injury).
    You never know, so go get it while you can.

    Finally, by the time minor league hot shot prospects make it to the majors, (if they do), their ace, Burnett, will probably be gone, plus the guys having big years this year may not do so every year.

  3. Jandy says:

    Oh man. I couldn’t watch last night, and reading what happened…this is just so wrong in so many ways. These guys have been battling thru so much, and these questionable decisions are just killers.

  4. Thundercrack says:

    It looks like Clint explains the Hanrahan move in RB’s article.

    If we don’t make the playoffs is it because we couldn’t beat the Padres this year?

  5. Dave G says:

    Congrats to Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, who set a minor league record with his 146th stolen base last night. Previous record: Vince Coleman, 145 in 1983…

    And you don’t get to 146 without being on the bases pretty often. Guy can hit, too.

    He’d absolutely steamroll the current Pirate catchers.

  6. JAL says:

    JAL’s Jambalaya on the Bayou Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Garrett Jones Has Been a Key to the Pirates’ Season

    Jameson Taillon Impressive in Double-A Debut; Reducing Drop in Delivery

    VandenHurk, Meek, And Wood Hold Chiefs To 3 Hits In Indians’ Win

    Prospect Watch: Strong Altoona Debut For Taillon; Avila Homers Again

    First Pitch: Free Bryan Morris

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Clint Hurdle, Pirates Blunder Their Way To 7-5, 10-Inning Loss Despite 2 Garrett Jones Homers

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Jameson Taillon Shines in Double-A Debut

    7 McEffect

    8/21 Recap | Padres 7 Pirates 5

    8 The Green Weenie

    Buc Pitching…What’s Wrong With The Kids?

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates nullify late heroics with bullpen stupidity

    10 WHY GAVS

    Game 123: Padres 7 Pirates 5

  7. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Fox Sports

    Pirates-Padres Game Preview

    12 Trenton Times

    Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon latest to tame sliding Trenton Thunder

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report,0,5300334.story

    14 KDKA

    National Perspective On Pirates’ Stretch Run

    15 Pop City

    A tour of six stadiums with a baseball (and Pirates) fan

    16 Wall Street Journal

    Nineteen Years, 19 Gangplanks

    17 San Diego Union Tribune

    Headley’s 21st homer gives Padres win in 10th

    On-Deck Wednesday: Werner makes Padres debut


    18 PBC Site

    Jones’ heroics go for naught in San Diego

    Top prospect Taillon makes Double-A debut

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    20 Fangraphs

    Is the Cardinals’ Offense a “Fraud”?

  8. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Injury Report: James Harrison Eyes Return in Season Opener Against Denver

    Steelers Position Battles: Offensive Guard Depth Chart Looks Firm

    22 Steelers Depot

    - The Terrible Podcast – Colts Game Recap, Talking Roster, Injuries, Wallace & More Episode

    23 Steelers Gab

    James Harrison and other Steelers Sing “Call Me Maybe”

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers Preseason Vs. Colts: Offensive Stars

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Voytik Flashes

    26 Cardiac Hill

    For Pitt’s Senior Receivers, It’s Now Or Never

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Dakich Sounds Off On Hardesty Denials

    28 WV Illustrated

    Mountaineers Forget the Past, Look to Future


    29 Sky Sports

    Hoops too hot for Helsingborg

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Former Norwich player Darren Eadie wants to tackle depression with a retreat for players

    31 World Soccer Daily

    The Premier League is back

  9. JAL says:

    Louisiana, Jambalaya on the Bayou, Hank Williams 1952 Influential musician who died at age 29. In his short career he had 35 top 10 singles on the Country & Western chart with 11 of them reaching number 1.His son did the Monday Night Football opening for many years.

  10. Thundercrack says:

    “The answers in Indy aren’t great. Jeff Clement’s .182 in August. But the Pirates have players better than what’s in San Diego.”

    Who are those players?

    I watched until the bottom of the 8th. To me, the starting 9 lost the game for the Pirates.
    Poor defense again, 12 K’s, 22 LOB. No clutch hitting.

  11. Jandy says:

    TC, seriously, 22 left on base?????? That’s epic fail!

  12. Jandy says:

    JAL, your 9 link Raise the Jolly Roger, I am getting a error Page not found message…is it me or??

  13. JAL says:

    Inexplicable? As to why the two bottom pitchers on the roster were in a winnable game? As to why those two pitchers are on the roster when you arms like Morris, Wilson, Locke, and McPherson in Indy? Beyond my ability to explain. Defies any logic I can see.

  14. JAL says:


    I just clicked on it and the article came up

  15. Jandy says:

    then it’s my work computer Grrr!

  16. Drew71 says:

    It’s you, Jandy.

    It. Is. You.

    (Context not explained)

  17. Drew71 says:

    Valid points galore.

    Inexplicable pitchers.

    Lack of clutch hitting.

    Fear the Padres.

    Well. At least a couple are valid.

  18. Thundercrack says:

    JAL, I’m not defending McCutchen or Quails being on the roster. But I do wonder if at this time of the season and where the team is in the standings, Clint would rather have guys that have more major league experience than Morris, Wilson, Locke, and McPherson.

    RB did a good job of explaining why Wilson and McPherson were sent down.

  19. Jandy says:

    Drew, I <3 u 2 :p

  20. Drew71 says:

    Made my day. Was that a hug? I like hugs.

    (Down, Thunder)

  21. Jandy says:

    Hugs n kisses lol

  22. JAL says:

    Here is little tech trick that some might useful. If you click on one of links it takes you from this page to the page the link is for. Then you have to hit “back” to come back here.

    If you put your cursor and the link and right click you will get a menu with an option to “open in new tab”. Click that option and you will get the article in a new tab while this page stays open. Depends on your preference.

  23. Drew71 says:


  24. Drew71 says:

    um, not for the tech trick, but I appreciate that too

  25. pants-n-at says:

    @ Dve (#5) Troll elsewhere. Reds fans not welcome here

  26. Karen22 says:

    Busy this week with out-of-town visitors. Glad I haven’t been able to watch the fiascoes. Reading these post-game articles just makes me want to rip my hair out…or cry…or both. I haven’t been able to rationalize some of the moves for weeks now. I see the situation is getting worse. My heart is sinking along with the Pirates’ ship.

  27. redus says:

    DCutch – maybe a nice guy…I don’t know man, this looks like the curveball is NOT back…3-0 changeup to Headly? If someone else called it…it’s because they were certain he’d miss with it. Oh well

  28. pattonbb says:

    I’m about to raise my “disgruntled fan” flag for a few minutes. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not an eternal pessimist, and I usually give Hurdle the benefit of the doubt. Hell, I always give him the benefit of the doubt.I like the guy. After watching the other clowns that managed this club for the last 10 years or so, I though he was a huge upgrade. Unfortunately, he appears to be absorbing some of Coonelly’s “I’m the smartest guy in the room” attitude. There’s absolutely no reason Daniel McCutchen should have been pitching to Headley. And certainly no reason why Headley didn’t get walked after getting ahead 3-0. Clint should know better. The mere fact that he’s on record saying he’s inquired about Qualls for 2 years makes me start to question his judgement.

    This team has a chance to exorcise almost 20 years of demons. I agreed when they cut Cruz. Today, Qualls name should be on that list. Sending McPherson and Wilson down so they can practice being relievers is yet another example of this front office dropping the ball. This team is in a playoffs race gentleman. I know it’s new territory for most of you, so I’d like to make one suggestion – put the best 25 players in the system on the roster, and go out swinging.They could have been using Wilson and Mcpherson as relievers in Indy a couple weeks ago. Now’s when those arms are needed, not a couple weeks from now. Will it really matter if we lose out on a wild card spot to then be able to say, “Well, if we had made it, our bullpen would have been really fresh”.

    *sigh*…OK, I’m better. Sorry for the mini rant. Lets Go Bucs.

    DK: Gentlemen, it’s a playoff race, indeed. Well put.

  29. Jandy says:

    Drew, try some ice lol

  30. Jandy says:

    OK this is weird. JAL, I like the new “trick”. I opened #8 The Green Weenie with it. Nice not to have to “go back”. But #9 still gives me the error Not Found message. Go figure.

  31. radio wave says:

    So disapointing this morning to see/hear the results from last night.
    When I went to bed, they had just taken a 3-2 lead. There were chants of Let’s Go Bucs ringing throughout Petco. The Padres radio crew was obviously annoyed/surprised by the vocal Pirates support.
    So to any Bucs fans who are on this blog, and in The SD area, keep up the good work.

  32. JAL says:


    No idea why the 9 link is not working for you.

  33. Matt says:

    I have mentioned it here before and was told he had “AAA stuff”, but in my opinion, call up Vanden Hurk!! All he does is win at Indy, what happened to rewarding someone based on performance? Am I alone on my thinking here? Go Bucs!

  34. NMR says:


    Not directing this at you personally, but how ridiculous is that statement about prefering pitchers with major league experience when you’re using it to defend Daniel McCutchen?

    Seriously? Not exactly a wily ole vet.

    I’m starting to question whether or not “veteran experience” falls into the overblown category of old school, by-the-book baseball. I was against bringing Marte up in the middle of a pennant race for that very reason and he’s proved me wrong. I thought the Orioles were idiots for pushing Manny Machado into the bigs for the same reason and he’s dominated thus far. I think the lesson is that talent plays. Period.

  35. CWalton_67 says:

    Extremely disappointing decision making by Hurdle. And even with his great leadership qualities, players will start questioning why the best players aren’t on the team, and why the ones who are, aren’t used when necessary. For all the “seminal” moments brought by this season, this could also be one–but going in the wrong direction. All thoughts of the playoffs are gone. Can they now simply hold on to break the streak?

  36. radio wave says:

    atMatt: #33
    I’ve been wondering the same thing for a month now.
    I wonder what the reason is as to why he doesn’t come up?

  37. NMR says:

    “All thoughts of the playoffs are gone.”

    Except in, you know, the standings.

    Everyone hide the sharp objects.


  38. Jandy says:

    JAL, just my luck lol

  39. Jandy says:

    NMR…lol…no sharp objects here. I’m even gonna still watch them play…starting this afternoon…what time is game time?

  40. Thundercrack says:

    I see your point. And I usually am on the side of having the best talent on the roster and not just sticking with a veteran because he has experience. ( I wanted Cruz gone for a while now.)

    But DMac does have 188 innings pitched in the big leagues. That is about 175 more than those 4 other guys mentioned above. (#113).

    It works both ways. If it is Justin Wilson that gives up that home run, people could easily say why do we have a rookie – that isn’t used to being a reliever – in that situation this late in the season?

    I’m not sure what argument is right…if there is one.

  41. Matt says:


    I have watched him several times in Indy this year and I am the first to admit that he doesn’t have one pitch that blows ppl away, but he has a nice arsenal and mixes it up well, not to mention he doesn’t walk ppl at inappropriate times. I grew up going to a lot of St.louis games in the 80’s and he reminds me of Tewksberry with his stuff. I would take that (winning ugly or tough) over someone with “electric” stuff that has hard luck! (ex: jose DeLeon, who i admired).

  42. JoeBucco says:

    Easiest schedule from here on out of anyone, by far. No reason not to make the playoffs. But you still have to win games. I think this is like the last time we played S.D. We pound this kid today to the tune of about 13 runs, and all is well again. Then a much needed day of tomorrow before we pick back up with the race.

  43. redus says:

    Laying low…coming for you Dusty

  44. Bizrow says:

    Last night kinda takes the steam out of the glow of the Sunday win.

    Time is starting to run on trying to catch the Reds.

    Question, did the Pads beat us last night, or did we beat ourselves?

  45. pants-n-at says:

    @ patton (#28): I hear ya man. I, too am a huge Hurdle fan. But especially when you see other teams in the hunt bringing up their studs and letting ‘em go at it, you wonder what they’re waiting for. You can’t have a set plan/timeline for everyone if someone is way ahead of the curve.

    Also, today we are facing a guy just called up and I’m concerned. We haven’t had the best of luck in those situations. JMO

  46. Jandy says:

    Biz, I’m leaning towards we beat ourselves.

  47. Jandy says:

    Where’s my cake????

  48. GlassHalfFull says:

    Maybe, just maybe CH and NH are planning ahead to Sep.(and Oct.) with these seemingly illogicle moves. In the next 10 days…let Wilson & McPherless do some bullpen work at Indy, allow Qualls to hang himself and have D. McCutch as a fill in. DFA Qualls, send McCutch down and bring up the kids for the playoff run. When Marte comes back from the DL it’s then time to adios Navarro. Not the perfect team, but then again there is no perfect team. JMHO

  49. JMB says:

    I enjoyed the game.

    While a win would have been much more satisfying, the game itself was full of exciting plays and big moments.

    This game was my best in person Pirates’ experience since 1992.

    If we get a win today, we will still be right in the hunt for the WC.

  50. Jandy says:

    JMB, and if we lose?

  51. Dave says:

    The more and more I watch Pirate games the more games I think we lose because of Clint Hurdle. This has been at least the 5th game we’ve thrown away this year because of his stupidity as a manager. As for Huntington he shows time and time again that he doesn’t know how to properly build a winner.

  52. NMR says:


    How exactly did that extra big league experience help McCutchen when everybody and their brother knew to pitch around Headley? Absolutely zero. If thats not the lethal blow to this trite “big league experience” argument then I don’t know what is.

    McCutchen gets as much blame as Hurdle, IMO. Even if your manager doesn’t tell you to walk the guy, a big league pitcher has to know not to groove a fastball in that situation.

    You’re absolutely right about the second guessing…but thats why they get paid the big bucks. Making the right call at the right time. Last night, they failed.


    Trust me, that wasn’t intended for you. Rain or shine, I’m confident you’ll eventually be smilin’ :)

  53. Thundercrack says:

    You’re right, Wilson or McPherson would have gotten Headley out.

  54. casper in a-town says:

    Good morning to all. This is my first substantive post so go easy on me. First off, I agree wholeheartedly that CH should have called for an intentional walk on Headley on the 3-0 count in the bottom of the 10th. There are several reasons why: (1) with a runner on second, putting Headly on 1st gives you a force out at any bag. That’s critical. (2) On a 3-0 count in the bottom of an extra inning with a runner in scoring position, any hitter worth his weight is going to have a green light in that situation because you want to end the game and you want to avoid a situation where there’s a force at any bag with a walk. (3) Headley has killed us as of late (see the last home stand) and he knows that if McCutchen is going to avoid the walk he is going to have to throw a fastball down the middle of the plate. So, he can wait on his pitch and drive it.

    But blame doesn’t rest with CH alone. McCutchen and McKenry need to recognize this, regardless of whether CH or Ray Searage do. They know, or should know, all 3 points above. When you play the game, you better know. So, McCutchen should have thrown his pitch, walk be damned. McKenry should have signaled such a pitch as well. Players, especially pitchers and catchers whose job it is to make these types of calls, have a responsibility to understand the situation and make decisions accordingly, even if the coaches don’t.

    Lastly, if someone told me at the beginning of the season that we’d be 11 games over .500 at this point, I would have been thrilled beyond belief. However, watching us lose games the way we have recently (bad base running, errors, mental lapses, questionable call ups and substitutions, etc.), tempers that enthusiasm because I see us wasting such a great opportunity. But, all that being said, I’m still tuning in. I love this team and will keep on touching the stove even thought I know it’s hot.

    Just my thoughts. Have a great day.

  55. NMR says:

    Fantastic rebuttal, TC. As usual.

    Stop making fun of Clint and Neal, guys. Nobody can definitively predict the future and tell Thunder without a doubt that other moves would’ve worked. Thus, no criticism is deserved.

  56. DemonDachshund says:

    Wait, so playing less than your best players is all part of a plan for making the team better in September? Sending Wilson and McPherson back to Indy is part of some master scheme? Even if that’s true, how exactly is 10 more days of minor league experience going to help?

    I can even kind of see sending one of them down to get Qualls back on the roster, if for some reason it’s believed that Qualls is better or brings something to the table that the youngsters don’t, but DMac is terrible.

  57. NMR says:

    Great stuff, casper.


  58. pants-n-at says:

    @ casperitis: Welcome!

  59. Jandy says:

    Hi Casper…welcome to the lunatics asylum. If you’re not registered, tell Biz where you’re from so he can add your hometown to the lunatics’ list :)

  60. casper in a-town says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome, fellow lunatics! Coming at you from Austintown, OH (right outside of Youngstown), originally from New Castle, PA. I’ve been stalking this blog for quite some time and have really enjoyed your posts (and your links morning links, JAL!). For some reason, having watched the Headley debacle last night, I felt compelled to get my thoughts of my chest.

  61. JohninOshkosh says:

    While I decidedly did not like the outcome of last’s night’s game, I really did enjoy following the game into the wee hours accompanied with the blog. From Blazing Saddles to genuine emotional outbursts-it was like hanging out at a Pirates sports bar. Except I was in my jammies.

  62. Mike A. says:

    I went to bed after Pedro’s reverse K after Garrett’s 9th inning heroics. When I woke up this morning and discovered how the game ended (without even knowing the 2nd-guessing about the managerial decision), I was reminded about how DK has referred to the reasons for the Bucs’ fortunes over the last 20 years…it’s “The seven letters stitched across the uniform”. Yes, we are experiencing the most entertaining, enjoyable, competitive season of baseball since the (older) George Bush administration; but games like last night just seem destined to end like that for the Pirates…it’s what they do. A win today would take some of the sting out of last night; but so far, the Pirates are 2-10 vs. the Dodgers and Padres (including 0-5 in SoCal). That’s significant for a team that’s scratching for a WC spot.

  63. pattonbb says:

    Great points casper.

    I’m extremely happy with the record. I agree, if somebody would have told me in April this is where the team would be, I would be doing cartwheels. But the possibility of bringing playoff baseball to PNC has caused me to raise my expectations. A playoff spot is within reach. Can’t keep pushing it further away with sloppy play and poor decisions.

  64. pants-n-at says:

    A must win today. Today we’re still on the inside looking out….and a win keeps us there no matter what others do. I don;t want to be on the outside looking in.

  65. NMR says:

    Call me an optomist, but I’m surprisingly willing to shake off these Padres series as just one of those things that happen in baseball. Kind of like the reverse role of the Pirates-Phillies series of the last couple years.

    I mean, Jason Marquis impersonating Cy Young(TWICE), struggling lineup lighting up Burnett(TWICE), Hurdle making unconscious decisions(TWICE, yes, we haven’t forgotten about leaving Jmac in the game too long)…yikes.

  66. GlassHalfFull says:


    Wilson and McPherless are starters at Indy. Giving them relief coming in with runners on base, learning how to go “all out” for an inning or two rather than pacing yourself through 5 or 6 innings etc. are things that should be done down there and not in the bigs.

    Agreed that Dmac is bad, Qualls too. Bofum gotta go.

  67. Dave G says:

    Re: Post #25

    I’m not a Reds fan by any means, but I can appreciate that Billy Hamilton is pretty special… and once he gets to the majors, he will be a handful for any team who cannot stop baserunners from stealing.

  68. JAL says:

    Dave post 51

    If Huntington doesn’t know how to build a winner how did this team get to 67-56?

  69. Bizrow says:

    Last time I looked, we haven’t won anything yet….

  70. JAL says:


    A winning team wins more games than it loses. A championship team wins titles. Can be a winning team without a championship. At 67-56 the pirates are currently a winning team.

  71. Boise Bucco says:

    Here’s your OPTIMIST Report, delivered because everybody seems to be on the edge of Clemente Bridge right now…

    I seriously considered going full-on Caps Lock mode last night…from Mayor Jones’ HR on, I pretty much did. Mayor might not even be a good enough title for him right now, I might nominate him for County Commissioner…GFCCJ? I can deal with that. Two jacks in a game we really needed, GFJ’s putting the team on his back, and he’s hitting in pressure spots.

    Cutch’s slump is showing signs of breaking up, and that’s a good thing. He had a ball hit in the gap last night that, if it weren’t for the fact that Venable was shading in exactly the right direction, it was going for a double and it was gonna plate 2 runs. If you don’t believe me, go watch it again, I’ll even give you my MLB Extra Innings password to check it out. Just as pitchers adjust to Cutch destroying them, Cutch is adjusting to pitchers constantly pitching him low and away–if we notice it, don’t think that he doesn’t. And I’m positive that he noticed Brach striking him out twice in two games–guarantee it doesn’t happen tonight.

    Bucs are still in the Wildcard spot, they still have a decent schedule ahead of them, and they’re looking at a long-overdue day off on Thursday before a 3 game series at PNC with Milwaukee, with one of those games being a potential 16th win for AJ. This was a brutal stretch for the Buccos, and while they could’ve done a lot better, they could’ve done a lot worse too, but they didn’t fold, and they showed that there’s still some battle left in them.

  72. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    What is it with Pittsburgh teams (namely the Pens and Bucs) refusing to let their young talent have a chance to perform recently? Especially the whole McPherson and Wilson/DCutch and Qualls situation? The whole “experience” factor gets way overrated. Experience doesn’t always=good (see Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz, Paul Martin, Zybynek Michalek). And I’m not even going to use the Cole or Taillon as the next Strasburg as an example like so many people seem to. That guy’s a once a generation situation, so it’s not fair to compare him with our guys. But keeping “experienced” guys in who grossly underperform while keeping all your “potential” in the minors just makes no sense. If NH or CH think Chad Qualls and DCutch’s stuff is better than the other two and they give us a better chance to win, I’d yell BS. I don’t think Cole or Taillon are quite ready yet, but there are other options that are. Marte isn’t tearing the cover off the ball (when not on IR), but I’d take him any day over The Scab or Presley. He should have been up here weeks before his call-up. NH is too enamored with the future for me. And seriously, how could Simone Despres or half of our 50 1st round pick D-men possibly be worse than Paul Martin and Michalek, one of which is still haunting our blue line thanks to his “experience”. For God’s sake gentleman, let the kids grow up!

  73. JohninOshkosh says:


    Well done on the musical selection this morning. One of my all time favorites. Influenced everyone from Bob Dylan to the Meat Puppets. Tremendous talent that, like so many in popular music. unfortunately succumbed to substance abuse.

  74. SDBurghman says:

    I was at the game last night. There are a list of mistakes made by Hurdle last night. Why let Burnett hit in the top of the sixth. The Pirates had just taken a 3-2 lead and Alvarez was on 3rd and Barmes on 1st with one out. It was the first lead of the series for the Pirates. Hurdle elects to bat Burnett and basically give up on the run at third. I could see if Burnett was on his game but he wasn’t. Although his pitch count was around 75 pitches, he was getting hit hard and getting out of trouble every inning. Of course, he strikes out, Tabata walks and Snider grounds out. In the bottom of the sixth, Burnett gives up a run, loads the basis and the only reason for not more damage is a sharp grounder causing a double play.

    In the bottom of the 7th, Burnett is again in trouble after a walk. Lefty, Amarista is up and clearly, the time to pull Burnett. Hurdle lets him pitch and Amarista gives up a double.

    The only thinking is (1) the 19 inning game has taxed the bullpen but how long are we going to use this excuse. Did the Pirates sell there season to win one ballgame; or (2) probably the more likely answer, Hurdle gave the ball to Burnett and said you are our leader and we either win or go down with you. If that’s the case, a terrible way to manage.

    It was one of the worst managed games that I’ve witnessed in a long time.

  75. Plenty of Hope says:

    @NMR: I say this respectfully to you in counter to you saying that Clint or the front office doesn’t deserve our criticism.

    Yes they do. Clint Hurdle is paid a ton of money (I have no idea how much, but I work in the newspaper business and any amount he makes would seem like a ton of money to me) to make these decisions, to do the best with what he has. I spend a lot of money on season tickets and MLB merchandise and the bigger cable package (I live out of market) to watch this team, to follow this team, to be such a fan of this team that many people in my household have advised me to seek help.

    I can not and WILL NOT be wishy washy about a loss like last night and say “hey, Clint is human and DCutch is human and it’s OK.” It is NOT OK TO ME. This team is about to kick the streak in the teeth and this is the time to be putting the fear of God in the Reds and have the Nats and the O’s worrying about facing us inthe playoffs even though they are really not losing much at all.

    I for dang sure am going to blame Clint decisions that do not show baseball smarts in a time when every game really does matter because we COULD PLAY IN OCTOBER.

  76. pants-n-at says:

    @ Dave G (#67)Please accept my apologies. not normally like that but I was not in the mood to give props to any Reds player this morning.

  77. JAL says:


    He was very influential. Thought is was a good song to represent Louisiana. Considered using Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight but thought Williams was better.

  78. Dr. Buster says:

    Hello. The discourse on this site is so less — angry — than on that other newspaper’s Pirates blog. Here, critical thinking has a home and ideas are discussed civilly, while bigotry and prejudice that cloud the mind are absent.

    For Biz? I live in St. Paul, but I became a Pirates fan at age 5 in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Dick Stuart hit 66 home runs in 1956 for the Lincoln Chiefs. Truthfully, I remember nothing of that year, but I do recall images of him from 1957 when he spent most, but not all, of the season with the Chiefs. That year, in 348 AB, he hit 31 home runs. He was a mid-season call-up for Pittsburgh in 1958, only solidfying my allegiance.

    I don’t know if I was present the night in Lincoln when his wife, visiting from California, and girlfriend were both at a game (at that time I couldn’t conceive of such a situation). But I have been told by reliable sources that there were a lot of stony stares from the women directed at each other, and at Stuart when he was in the on-deck circle and only a few feet from the two of them. I don’t think he had any dingers that game.

  79. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Agree with Plenty. The all-of-a-sudden mighty FO needs to realize that we fans fill their coffers. We are the real employers of professional sports. Yeah everyone is human and makes mistakes. But when those mistakes are downright ludicrous and ignorant of reality, there’s a problem. NH acting like he’s some master-schemer with a proven track record of building championship teams while often having a snobbish tone is upsetting me. We fans do have sport a vocabulary that doesn’t require him to answer every question with “interesting”. Is he an upgrade over Littlefield, yeah. Has he corrected the ship? Not yet. CH is waaaay better than Russell, but he’s not proven anything substantial (at least substantial enough for me as a paying fan) with this team yet either. If I wanna root for .500 I’ll just follow AA and be content. We still have a great chance this year. That’ll be gone soon if the FO doesn’t have some accountability for decisions that any mildly educated, semi-self-reliant individual can see are preposterous. But, maybe they think we are dumber than that.

  80. NMR says:


    I think you missed my obvious sarcasm towards Thundercrack. I couldn’t agree with you more regarding criticism, and said as much in every post up to #55.

    Thunder seemed to fall back on the “but nobody knows for sure what would’ve happened if so and so pitched” excuse, which is bologna, IMO.

  81. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Any word on NHL talks? Or are they just waiting until the CBA expires to discuss things…

  82. JRay3 says:

    I have to admit I come limping into this forum today, I am spent….the emotional roller coaster of last night still lingers. Having to endure the wrath of Padre fans on the way out of the park added to the sting.

    Great moments from Jones and Cutch and a team that showed all sorts of fight erased in one quick “cookie” as the relief pitcher who threw it described to the opposition’s best hitter.

    I look at the club and we can field a competitive team with a decent rotation but past that we have much work to do. Navarro looked like a tornado in his AB last night, spinning in the box coming out of his shoes. Qualls just does not have great stuff anymore very average, we have at lease four/five more live arms in our system. DMac tough spot to put him in.

    My only question was we were about to face the Padres heart of the order in the bottom of the 10th, get through that and we had Snider, Cutch, Walker up against a depleted SD pen and some soft thrower Mikolas in. Snider had two hits and than you had your three best hitters including Jones to follow.

    OK it is off my chest, I hope the team can move past this one quicker than I have and salvage at least one win this afternoon because as mentioned above we are still very much in the middle of a playoff race but need to start putting some W’s on the board.

  83. Plenty of Hope says:

    JRay3: Bravo to you for representing the Pirate faithful. It’s never easy walking out of an “away” stadium when your team lost.

  84. pants-n-at says:

    @Brad. Talks are supposed to resume today I believe

  85. Tom P. says:


    I and many others agree with you completely. I might go a step farther. Regardless of who the Pirates have coming to bat if they make it to the top of the next inning, put the best relief pitcher in against the heart of the Padres order. If you have to put in McCutchen later, so be it. At least you live to fight another inning.

  86. Jandy says:

    pants, thanks, I was wondering about that too.

  87. Jandy says:

    Tom P, that’s how they viewed things when I helped with Little Legue. Win the game you’re playing FIRST, worry about the next game later. Use your best NOW.

  88. DemonDachshund says:

    @GlassHalfFull –

    A) Both pitchers seemed to figure out how to throw out of the pen well enough to have very effective first appearances.
    B) I doubt 10 days is enough to learn much of anything, in AAA or at the MLB level.
    C) Wandy and KC have both been starters for years, and have been used out of the pen recently without need for 10 days of learning in the minors.
    D) When the choice is between talented players without experience and players you know are terrible, I’ll take the talented players every time.

  89. Boise Bucco says:

    I can’t check twitter from work…what’s the word on DMac and the ‘pen? Any plans on giving Cutch a day off or anything?

  90. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Jones was a beast last night……its a shame it go ruined by poor managing.

    I usually like his moves, but can’t get over these ones.

    DCUTCH needs DFA’d ASAP. Brings nothing to this team. Except poor pitching.

    This management team is not in for a playoff run

  91. Reading says:

    In watching the games lately, in addition to the Zoltan sign that the players do, it appears that whenever somebody hits a home run and gets to the dugout, some other player removes the guy’s batting helmet while he’s being congratulated. Not sure if this is a superstitious thing or what, but thought I’d pass along the observation.

  92. Jag7 says:

    Brad, you stole my thunder. I was getting all riled up constructing my “experience is overrated” rant and you beat me to it. They treat these young guys like babies – you know, if they fail that they’re so mentally weak that their careers will be ruined. Talent is way more important than experience, at least it should be.
    As for Qualls, if NH dfa than that’s akin to NH admitting he made a mistake(gave up McGehee for nothing), and we all know NH nevers admits to his numerous mistakes.

  93. JHadar says:

    I just don’t know what to say about last night’s game.

    Who’da thunk that San Diego would become our nemesis, just when we’re getting over Milwaukee?

    Shouldn’t a hadn’t a oughtna got in that position in the first place. Should’ve got out of it.

    Shoulda coulda woulda.


  94. JHadar says:

    JAL — was away for some time again. What was your Iowa song?

  95. I too have been a little slower at work all morning after staying with the Bucs to the bitter end at 5 to 2:00 last night! Painful loss to them; painful loss to me!

    What I do NOT understand is all the “manager is an idiot” comments here.

    Hurdle announced that Resop and Hughes were not available to pitch. Watson, Grilli, and Qualls had already been used. McCutchen and Hanrahan were all that was available.

    The Bucs were on the road. If they were to get a lead in extra innings, they would still have to get the Padres out in the bottom of the inning——Hanrahan’s specialty! Hanny doesn’t do particularly well when he is not in a save position. Remember the 19 inning game when he came in in the 14th, I think, and Bucs were hoping to get at least 2 innings out of him. He threw so many pitches and had guys on base so that he was only able to throw one inning. Hanny has never been very sharp in non-save situations.

    With only Daniel McCutchen and Hahrahan available and a clean inning starting out, Daniel seems like a good choice, especially with the meat of the PIRATES order coming up next, hopefully to get Hanrahan a lead to close down.

    Hurdle can only work with the players he is given. I too would have walked Heddy Lamarr, especially after going 3-0. Yet McCutchen did get two swinging strikes before hanging “the cookie” as he called it. That pitch is another discussion entirely. Hurdle can only pitch the players he is given.

  96. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    One thing I noticed about Cutch last night….

    His final AB, was a Cutch AB. Crushed that single up the middle, perfect timing, barrel on ball.

    The catch was an amazing catch, thought for sure the game was over.

  97. redus says:

    From what I’ve read DanCutch said he hung a changeup to Headley…so let’s not say that he threw him a get-me-over fastball anymore this afternoon. HOWEVER, we should talk about the fact that 3-0 changeup to a guy with his kind of power should NEVER under any circumstances, be anywhere close…that is the problem. You call a 3-0 changeup for 2 reasons….1) you know Headley is looking for something to drive and he’s most likely not thinking offspeed 2)If he chases a Garbage 3-0 changeup nowhere near the plate and puts it in play…then good for you.

    DCutch didn’t execute…he will probably not be executed just yet though.

  98. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I agree, but I would’ve liked to have seen Hammer in the 10th. Shut the Pads down. If he did it quickly, he could go back out for the 11th one more time.

  99. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Usually it seems that way with the FO and CH regarding the younger players.

    However, the night before last when Wilson, a lefty, was out there he got a quick out, then got 2 guys on base.

    Would’ve been an idle time to take the guy out, but I gotta think that Clint and Ray decided to see how the kid reacted in that situation. He got out of the inning with no damage.

  100. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Lol sorry Jag. My perspective is when it comes down to it, execution beats experience every single time. Think we saw that against the Flyers. And, as much as it sucks, the Steelers pretty much personified this idea last year. Different sports, but it goes for all of them. I’d rather have a player who can do what he’s supposed to over a guy that’s playing like garbage and has “been there”. I’m not even upset about McGehee, though I think he was more valuable than Qualms. Why can’t these gm’s and coaches just admit that sometimes the other option can’t be any worse? Other guy may not be the best answer, but for cryin out loud. Sports are a business, and successful, winning teams make money. Teams that come up short often go the way of the Thrashers and the Expos. If I’m the owner of the Pirates, I’m having a meeting with my GM and Manager today…

  101. NMR says:


    NH never admits his mistakes? Thats why Nate McLouth is still the Pirates 4th outfielder. Oh wait…

    Let’s not pile on after a bad night.

  102. DemonDachshund says:

    @Ryan –

    The previous Cutch AB was a hard hit ball into the gap as well… Seemed to hang up just enough for the RF to get to it. Thought as it left that bat that he had a double. Just hope it builds into something more soon.

  103. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I wasn’t going to go there, BTW, Nate has been doing OK with Balt. Glad to see it.

  104. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    That’s true too….I’m hoping he’ll come around, which I think he will.

  105. GlassHalfFull says:

    A) Agreed but Qualls had to be brought back so at least one had to go. You’re probably not allowed to DFA a guy from the Bereavement list (JAL?) nor would you want to. See Nightmare,PR. The bullpen in general has been used and abused recently probably necessitating the DMac call up.
    B) In 10 days nuances of being a reliever can be taught. More on that later.
    C) Wandy and KC have been in the bigs for what seems like forever. I’m not sure that’s a good comparison.
    D) I’ll take talent too but I want my talent fresh and ready. Those 2 pitched a combined 3 innings the night before. Chad and DMac hadn’t pitched in a while.

    Sorry it took so long to reply but I’m at work so I write when I can.



  106. JAL says:

    J Hadar

    Iowa song was Iowa by Dar Williams

  107. Tom P. says:

    Groat #95

    You are a better person than I staying up til 2 A.M. (I was asleep by the end of the pre-game show.) I understand everything you wrote. My dissenting opinion was based on the fact that (1) Hanrahan was well-rested and (2) the heart of the order was up. If it was batters 6-8 in the lineup, I might side with you.

  108. JAL says:


    You can DFA a player as soon they are removed from the list.

  109. Bizrow says:

    Did I see PoH in the building?

    Thats good to see. Welcome

    Well folks, here’s hoping we stop the bleeding today.

    IMO Clint is struggling as much as Cutch right now.

  110. Arriba Wilver says:

    The home run by Headley was on a 3-2 pitch, not what many seem to believe was a 3-0 pitch. I guess the confusion is because the criticism is that Hurdle should have walked Headley when it got to 3-0 . . . but the home run was on a 3-2 pitch, not a 3-0 pitch.

    I’d a walked him, too, on 3-0.

  111. NMR says:

    Hello, Buster! Dejan usually welcomes newcomers by explaining that your first comment takes a while to get posted, so thats the reason for the delay.

    You should be real-time from now on.

    And yes, just about everyone is here for good-spirited conversationg and ribbing. Even when it’s not.

    Have fun!

    DK: Hey, Buster, welcome. Your first comment takes a while to get posted, so that’s the reason for the delay. You should be real-time from now on.

    Have fun!

  112. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, and my vote for the song for Louisiana would have been for the Battle of New Orleans:

    But no, the Evil Dictator went in another direction. :-)

  113. GlassHalfFull says:

    Thanks JAL.

    Still not something you want to do to another human being…sorry you had a sickness/death in your family..YOU’RE FIRED!

  114. Arriba Wilver says:

    Talking about real life situations, just about every time I heard Mercer’s paternity leave referred to on the Fan, there was a certain nastiness to it. No one said anything directly, or even really indirectly (that I heard), but I got the distinct impression it was frowned upon. It was all in the tone of voice when it was referenced, almost mocking. Well, the tone of voice wasn’t “almost,” at least in my view.

  115. Jandy says:

    hey, babies are only born once, and people die once…let’s be real here.

  116. JAL says:


    We evil dictators go our own way :)

  117. GlassHalfFull says:

    @DD-88 continued
    B)Relieving is very different than starting. Relievers sometimes have to warm up multiple times a game and this from Rob Biertemple via Sulia yesterday “…experience different situations — enter in the middle of an inning, pitch back-to-back days, start an inning fresh, start with runners in scoring position.” All I’m saying is that in 10 days kids could probably learn something. I’m also not saying I agree with the moves (I don’t) just that it is a theory as to why the BMTIB made them.

  118. JAL says:


    Actually some people die more than once. Clinically dead people have been revived.

  119. Wilver Dornel,

    Thanks for re-emphasizing that Heddy Lamarr hit a 3-2 pitch, not a 3-0 pitch. Apparently I did not say clearly enough.

    And . . . McCutchen made Headley look foolish on the same slow curve pitch on 3-1. However, the 3-2 pitch had NO break and just sat there on a tee. BOOM!! The pitch choice was not a mistake, but it was a mistake pitch.

    Plus, I agree with you on the Battle of New Orleans. Or, I would have chosen “Born on the Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater. But I gave JAL credit for hanging Hank Williams out there as the standard!

  120. Arriba Wilver says:

    JAL–You can go your own way.

  121. Jandy says:

    JAL, I knew I would see that from someone, you Evil Dictator ;)

  122. Jandy says:

    AW, excellent!

  123. Arriba Wilver says:

    G2M–I saw you posted that, which was followed by a post that talked about 3-0, so I wanted to re-emphasize it. Also, I was in the car for a while this morning, and no one I heard knew, or at least mentioned, it was a 3-2 pitch. :-)

  124. Reading says:

    We never seem to hear that one or more of the other team’s pitchers are “not available to pitch.” Not sure why that information gets put out there. Will guys be “unavailable to pitch” if and when the Pirates get to a Game 7?

  125. JRay3 says:

    Lineup out:

    Tabata, Walker, Cutch, Jones, Sanchez, Alvarez, McKenry, Barmes, J-Mac

  126. Jandy says:

    OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0<

  127. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    If you were to pay attention to other teams, you would hear this quit often.

    This is not a new concept only done by the Pirates. RP’s usually don’t go more than 3 games in a row.

  128. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Are you in So Cal?

  129. Reading says:


    You’re right, I don’t follow other teams. I guess I’ll wait for the next time Chapman is unavailable for the Reds when they play us.

  130. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    DK: If I wrote for the Onion, this would be my follow-up coverage to last night:

  131. Cmat0829 says:

    Very disappointing loss last night and not because of the 10th inning walk off……managers will get second guessed and that’s part of being a fan. Can’t really defend the moves myself so won’t try. But let’s not forget the real reason the BUCS lost…… The PLAYERS did not execute. The defense was shaky, several plays should have been made. As bob walk said, the pirates are not doing the little things well enough at all. And for the life of me, how do MAJOR LEAGUE hitters swing for FASTBALLS against a pitcher that DOESN’T THROW ANY?????

    If the Pirates are going to win the players need to grow up and start playing like it. Yes it means making the right defensive plays. Yes it means bunting to the right side of the infield or hitting situationally. Yes it means making the right pitch by “following the bat” and learning what the hitter is trying to do in the situation.

    The only issue I have with critiquing the manager is that it shifts accountability from the players…….Cutch finally hit a ball the other way last night (line out to right field) which is first what he had been doing so well to be the leading hitter and second is where he is being pitched. Cutch being pull happy is going to make. Lot of bucco fans very sad.

    Let’s go BUCS and players, PLAY BALL like you deserve to be in the playoffs.

  132. buggee says:

    >>> Unbe-flippin-lievable!
    >>>> Just keep running Barajas out there like an insipid schlep. “DUH, he catches AJ well. DUH, he calls a good game.” Sometimes that stupid, downhome act from Hurdle spills over to game managment.

    >>>> Barajas is a joke of a catcher. The throws he made to 2nd on Friars’ steals were effin lollipops! If Cutch threw the ball in from the outfield like that, we’d be shredding him.

    >>>> DH. Walker needs a refresher in defensive batting. Cutch takes off on a steal as Walker backs away from the box. HUH?!?!?! Stand in there and make the opposing catcher THROW AROUND YOU. WTF?

    >>>> Yeah, good call bringing DMAC in and chucking those other two studs from Indy. STUPID MOVES CH & NH! They’re effin blowing games at the effin worst time of the year to be effin blowing games.

    >>>> I think Chapman hit Hurdle in the head with a 101 mph fastball. How else can this stupidity be explained? Maybe CH & NH need a good mental douche or something. This stinks!

  133. Boise Bucco says:

    Hey so check this out…

    So as far as the batting order is concerned, I wanted to find out which spot produced the highest batting average. Of course the 3rd spot was gonna be highest, and it was–Cutch has been holding it down for most of the year. 3rd spot produces a .343 average, when you factor in the couple times that Tabata and McLouth spot-started for him. But we knew this…

    What spot came next was what I wanted to know…I had a feeling, but I wanted to be sure–and I was right. The second spot–PRNW’s “normal” spot. The second spot in the order has produced a .267 average this year, with a .317 OBP and .756 OPS. Not too shabby. PRNW’s played 50 games in the 2nd spot, with Harrison getting 19 starts in the second spot and Tabata 18.

    County Commissioner GFJ is hitting .313 when he bats 4th, with 14 HR’s and a .934 OPS (!) LEAVE HIM THERE HURDLE HE’S DOIN’ GOOD. Or move him to the 2nd spot, where he would SURELY hit a bases-empty Grand Slam during a rain delay and the umps would count it (I’m convinced the 2nd spot is lucky and you can’t tell me otherwise.)

    I found this amusing, in that “only the Pirates could do this” kind of way…the 7th spot in the order is getting on base more often than the 1st spot in the order, which is funny considering who’s usually in the 7th spot…the breakdown in average for 1st/7th is the same (.230), but OBP (.275/.292) and OPS (.637/.670) is higher for the 7th spot.

    My lunch break is over, enjoy!

  134. casper in a-town says:

    Arriba Wilver #123 — In my post (way back when in #54), I neglected to say it was a 3-2 pitch. DK’s post had to do with what to do on a 3-0, which is why I only mentioned what to do when faced with a 3-0 count in that situation. However, you take the same approach at 3-1 and 3-2 because it’s a hitter’s count with the same factors in play as 3-0. Situationally, nothing changed from 3-0 to 3-2.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News