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Final: Cubs 7, Pirates 4

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (72-70) vs. Chicago Cubs (56-87)

Time: 2:20 p.m.

Site: Wrigley Field, Chicago

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here is the live box score.

And here is the Pirates’ lineup vs. Chicago LHP Chris Rusin

  1. Brock Holt, 2B
  2. Starling Marte, LF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Garrett Jones, RF
  5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  6. Michael McKenry, C
  7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  8. Clint Barmes, SS
  9. James McDonald, RHP

211 Comments

  1. This could be the most important game of the season. We need some bats, and need to have Karstens ready in the bullpen.

  2. Sweet, day game in Chi-town.

    Pedro goes off today.

  3. TV also on WGN which many cable systems have

  4. Today’s over/under

    Innings pitched by JMac……4.5

  5. 100 on the over

  6. Has yesterday’s bad weather cleared out of Chicago?

  7. This should be the line up for the rest of the year except when Walker comes back. When he does come back put Barmes or Holt at short and don’t change it. Pressley, Tabata, Snyder and Harrison can pinch hit and nobody else should even step foot on the field unless it is to celebrate a win.

  8. Very confident Nate

  9. Cool, I forgot it was a day game. And its on TV!

    Thanks, JAL! Brightened my day with all the …, well, you know.

    #LetsGoBucs

  10. radio, should have, it’s to hit here in PA very shortly.

  11. Hope JRay’s luck changes

  12. I know Barajas has been very underwhelming, but to CH’s credit, has anyone noticed that the starts are about 50/50 now?

    And McKenry has wasted his opportunity. 13 starts vs Rod’s 16. And McKenry has batted worse than Rod in those starts .183 to .186

    Catcher is a huge hole for the Bucs and that includes both catchers on the team. Certainly would have like to have had Morales up on Sept 1, rather than Fryer. Jose is a solid defensive catcher and usually hits pretty well.

    Wonder if there are any good free agent catchers this offseason. I would not be sad at all if it was a FA and Sanchez next year.

  13. Walker is on the lineup card as available.

  14. Lets go Bucs

    Pretty much a must win game today

  15. Ryan,

    I will take 100 on the over as well. Remember, Hurdle leaves J-Mac in too long every time. And after that skewering over removing Wandy in the 7th, I wouldn’t expect a quick hook.

  16. I expect Cutch to have a good game. He usually responds pretty well to criticism, and probably isn’t too happy about being one of the poster boys (literally in the Trib sense) for the collapse.

  17. @Roberto

    I counted exactly two catchers under 35 years old out of the top 100 free agents this off season.

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/07/2013-top-111-free-agents-nos-50-1/

    I said it earlier this year: go get JP Arencibia from Toronto.

    He’s “blocking” the best catching prospect in baseball and wouldn’t seem to require a top 10 prospect in return.

  18. What we need is a well-pitched game or 3. The Cubs hit us harder than usual last week, especially Soriano.

  19. I asked a retired Marine friend of mine what a Navy SEAL could help a baseball player with and here’s what he said:

    “Have you ever stepped off the back of a helicopter at night, with no NVG, wearing a parachute someone else packed, leaving the aircraft at a designated spot someone else said was correct, looked for a landing zone someone else briefed you on, completed the jump safely in the way someone else trained you to do, and rallied at a designated point using map and compass if necessary that someone else determined to be the place to go?

    If you have experienced that, or something similar, than you know what can be learned. It’s about trust in your team, confidence in your training, and being able to perform at peak in a high leveraged situation. It’s why a motivational speaker can do wonders for many people, in many different fields of which he has absolutely little to no knowledge of. But the message is apropos to all situations because there are elements in life that the things we do though disparate, are also similar. ”

    DK: Thanks for sharing that, 21. Good stuff.

    I never in that column dispute the value of the message or motivational speeches. My point was about priority. If you feel those three days are better invested in such team-building than improving awful fundamentals, I respect that. That’s your opinion. Mine obviously differs.

  20. @AW

    And does pretty well against LHP’s. I’ll call you on Cutch

  21. Doumit was a scrappy dude who was good for Pittsburgh baseball….Always noted as sub-par defense and good hitting, what an upgrade he would have been if we kept him……..He got dinged up a lot, but I miss that guy………..

  22. for those who missed it jumping to the game thread here, you gotta go and see buggee’s post on the regular thread for today, it’s a hoot!

  23. I just saw the attendance figures for this year. Looks like we’re an “absolute lock” to have the first 2 million + season since 2001 when PNC Park opened. At increased ticket prices.

  24. NMR,

    I believe today’s starting pitcher can fetch us a catcher in the off season.

  25. Snyder still out because of the hammy?

  26. No, Snyder has back problems but is with the Astros, Snider has a hammy problem.

  27. 21 – GREAT stuff, how DK cant see that is beyond me. FEAR has held them back – DK’s words and I completely agree. In no way is some supplemental SEALs training anyhing but a positive (worst case a non-story).

    And not to make excuses, but the Snider, Marte and especially Walker injuries have been crippling. If everyone healthy, all the sudden a bench of Sanchez, Holt, Tabata and Pressley doesnt seem so bad, they all appear to be legit major league bench plyers / spot starters.

    The run begins today. Assuming of course the Cubs dont go back on their promise to mercifully shut down Jeff Smardjza.

  28. @Ryan

    I’ll take 100 on the OVER.

    Beat ‘em Bucs!

  29. Lawnbeaver

    Snider is a lefty. And against a LHP, it makes more sense for Sanchez (righty) to be at 1B and move Jonesy to RF.

  30. @Arriba

    Did they raise ticket prices in the past offseason? I thought this offseason coming up was the first price raise? Since this is the first year I bought season tickets, I wasn’t tracking the prices.

    DK: This increase is the first for season-ticket holders in a decade.

  31. Roberto,

    This is 2 years in a row. Very modest though, in my opinion.

  32. JAL,

    I want to compile a list of all the different spellings of McLouth & McGehee.

    DK: My favorite of all time was Rameriz.

    ALL THE TIME.

    Never understood that.

  33. They definitely raised prices, many time in creative ways. I think they may not have raised “season ticket” prices until this coming year (Biz could confirm or deny that). They did institute “dynamic pricing” which I still don’t understand exactly, and something about buying seats within 3 days or something of the games. I know last year I could get tickets for $27 that are now $34.

    But I didn’t mention it as a criticism (I think they would have been better off raising them incrementally, but understand that based on the record and The past FO they couldn’t). I was only mentioning it in terms of they will have more money to spend.

  34. Did anyone NOT know where that 0-2 pitch was going to be to Marte?

    Seriously, the scouting report is out on that guy. I think Clint out to give him the take sign when he’s 0-2 in the count from now on, until he learns to lay off those high and away pitches that he has no chance to hit.

    DK: It’s definitely a shortcoming.

  35. @Milo,

    That would be a short list.

    Sincerely,
    Andrew McCutcheon

  36. Great, here we go again!

  37. JB–I didn’t see it, but I have to guess that the pitch was 6″ to a foot outside. Sometimes I wonder how he doesn’t hurt himself.

  38. Matt, my thoughts as well :/

  39. DK,

    And it’s only going to get worse. The Presidential election 40 years from now will center around our illiterate seniors and their arthritic thumb joints from too much texting.

  40. NMR

    Thanks for the info. Looks like slim pickings.

  41. Can anyone else just tell by our first 6 batters that either there is no sense of purpose or we act like we don’t really care?

  42. JMac is the key to this game. So what that the 1st 6 batters got out. He needs to keep the Cubs lethal offense in check..

  43. Roberto– here’s a link

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/breaking/pirates-raise-ticket-prices-for-first-time-in-nearly-a-decade-312448/

    Like I said, I didn’t mention it as a criticism, just a fact.

  44. “If you feel those three days are better invested in such team-building than improving awful fundamentals, I respect that. That’s your opinion. Mine obviously differs.”

    I think that if that’s the thinking, we’re in bigger trouble than we ever thought. In other words, I don’t see these three days as making a difference in a player’s fundamentals. If managment gave the team an additional 3 days off completely from baseball during spring training, would anyone notice?

    Anyways, they’ve added these days to the Florida Instructional League. They’re not taking them away from baseball. If your argument is to add days to work on fundamentals, that’s a different story.

  45. Considering that most of J=Mac’s issues come early, a 0-0 game going to the top of the 3rd is a promising sign.

  46. Let mcdonald swing away. He may be our best hitter right now!

  47. Re Navy Seals
    The argument should not be whether they should or should not receive that training but how the Front Office applies it. Before I retired from the Army (desk jobs, not combat), I attended (and also escaped from) numerous trendy mgt training courses that were supposed to jump start the organization and improve performance. However, in no instance did senior leadership every reinforce or use the results of that training.
    The same goes for the Pirates. This could be a gee whiz look what we can provide exercise. Or — Kyle Stark could have said, ” From the parent club all through the minors we competed well until we collapsed. We have a history of collapses over several years. They are detrimental to team and fan morale and performance, and we want to develop the mentality so stunning collapses won’t happen again. As such this won’t be a one-time exercise, but we will repeat this at all levels until we develop the necessary confidence, teamwork, and will-to-win necessary for success.”
    Of course, Stark would also have to say, “Nonetheless, SEAL training will not cure our woes. We weak on basic fundamentals and we intend to devote even more time at all levels in developing fielding, baserunning, and batting skills necessary for success at the highest levels.”
    Then again, if he said the last paragraph he would have to admit his own failures.

  48. Of course i am being darcastic.

  49. @AW

    Thanks for the link. So the Bucs soaked it to the 1% and lowered the prices in the upper deck last season. Sounds good.

    And for the dynamic ticket pricing, I didn’t follow that either. I know its similar to the airline ticket model, so I guess seats on Mon-Thur were typically cheaper than Fri-Sun. Hopefully it enabled so families to enjoy a summer mid-week game for less.

  50. C’mon Holt…line drive time

  51. I apologize for the run-on comments. My indents disappeared in the final product.

  52. Mike, no apologies needed, your post is fine.

  53. I kinda miss typing McGhehehehehehee

  54. Roberto–I don’t think I could say it any clearer—for the 3rd time, I was NOT criticizing! But my math tells me increased attendance + increased average ticket price = more revenue. If not FC was blowing smoke in the article I linked, or should be fired for incompetence.

  55. @Arriba

    I was not implying you were. I was providing my own commentary. Unrelated to you. Ease up chief.

  56. Bet AS gets this run in……….

  57. So Barmes is the only baserunner through the first three innings. Good thing he learned proper fundamentals to lean into one, and not jump back. I wonder if Alex Presley’s minor league coaches ever discussed that with him.

  58. And that’s why I don’t usually bet.

    HUGE early K for JMac.

  59. Roberto– the next time I see a post from you that doesn’t contain spin will be the first time. But I do like the use of “commentary” to describe your spin. Very clever.

  60. FWIW, as somebody who grew up playing organized football and baseball, and who also went through officer candidate school and served in the Navy (albeit not as a SEAL), I can honestly say that in the everyday challenges that I face now as a civilian, and being nearly 50, I draw upon the lessons that I learned playing football growing up a lot more than those that I learned from the military. In fact, the sports experiences helped me get through OCS and beyond.

  61. Roberto,
    Part of the Navy SEAL training is that baseballs will be thrown at hitters.
    Anyone who ducks out of the way has to run a lap and then get back in the box to get thrown at again.

  62. @Arriba

    Ok, Arriba. Talk about conspiracy theorists.

  63. @Thunder

    Any truth to the rumor that the training will subject them to the Pirates “root, root, root” song for 12 hours?

  64. Reading,

    And being nearly 50 certainly presents challenges. :)

  65. Wow, the Cubs announcers read off all the close games that the Bucs lost recently. 1 and 2 run losses. That is alot of missed opportunities. That must be frustrating. I am surprised we have not seen one of the players pop off yet. Maybe the team needs a good meltdown. Sure wish Phillips had worn another one on Wednesday.

  66. DK,
    One question about this morning’s article. Did you get the quotes from Kyle Stark via email, telephone, or face-to-face conversation.

    Just curious.

  67. Milo and Reading, once you clear 50, nothing phases you anymore…not even deadlines ;)

  68. another friggin strike out for Cutch :(

  69. @Reading

    I’d say my sport activities prior to joining the military definetly gave me the foundation of what is needed, but my military training has taken over. Granted, some of the training is worthless and a CYA thing, but the basis behind will hopefully lead me to the promise land in 5 years..

    Anyone wanna hire me in 5 years?

  70. Jandy,

    I can almost speak for 60. What’s a deadline? 8)

  71. Maybe we’ll get a hit today.

  72. Wonder if the SEALS know anything about base stealing?

  73. what are you old people doing in a blog? Aren’t you all busy golfing or trying to figure out those “computer contraptions?”

  74. Cutch: you’re lost dude… nothing cool about watching your at bats… you’ve lost whatever it was you had… look at a slow fastball right down the middle of strike two and then swing at a ball in the dirt for strike three….

    Look like a bad AA player. And of course the man with the scintillating speed who has stolen a ton of bases in his career pulls a Cutch and gets caught leaning by the pitcher. Love this disgusting display of unprofessional baseball…

    Send every one of these poseurs to SEALs training. Now.

  75. should’ve done over/under on the Pirates hit totals for today..

    Ug….

  76. Lucky, like I’m working on a bid my boss just gave me late this morning for three floors of different kinds of flooring for an office building that is due Monday mid morning.

    Ryan, watch it, dude! :p

  77. Naje, nah…send them back to Little League. Fundamentals :)

  78. @Ryan

    Would be glad to hire you. Have always given preference to folks with military service.

  79. @RF

    Thanks man…….um, for what and where though? I’m picky

  80. The Front Office, of course ::ducking::

  81. I’m down for that Jandy…….

  82. Another nobody made to look like Cy Young.

  83. Like that one guy that’s runnig for that position that we’re not allowed to talk about……I like firing people.

  84. ruh-roh

  85. Ryan,

    Us old folks are on the blog because we had 5 kids and still have a mortgage and a small church and will be working until we die. Other than that, no good reason. We figured out the computer contraptions before you youngsters were born, right Jandy?

  86. So on the first steal attempt, Marte goes full out, even though Jones swung, and slid face first into second.

    Then on the pickoff, he gives up and coasts into 2nd sliding leg first.

    So I am confused. Did the coaches have a steal sign on? Doesn’t seem like it would have been a hit and run. Does Marte have a green light to steal anytime? And if so, is it smart to try to steal again on the next pitch? Just wondering because none of that made sense to me.

  87. Lucky, you got it Lucky!

  88. RF,

    This entire last month hasn’t made a lick of sense for the Bucs.

  89. I only wish my challenges now were delivering a key basehit with guys on second and third and two out. That would be a great challenge to have!

  90. Lucky, spot on again, man, you’re on a roll!

  91. Sheesh, bases loaded.

  92. Looks like Clint has JMac fatigue too.

  93. J-Mac is a mess right now. Hard to watch such a talented pitcher forget he’s talented.

    How bad do the Cubs have to be to only have 1 run?

  94. wait, wait, wait

    You get paid by the blog?

    DK, I demand my portion of the stimulus!!

  95. whoa

    pulled already

    Nice over/under by THIS guy….yuck.

  96. That was a pretty short rope…….

  97. annnnddddd………

    ballgame.

  98. Qualls could have done that. So could van den Hurk and Takahashi.

  99. As a confirmed Cutch and Hurdle backer, here’s some stats:

    Cutch post AllStar break–.307 BA, .396 OBP, .462 Slugging, .858 OPS

    OPS in Sept—.851

    As someone whose favorite player all time is Clemente, I can tell you if the info today was available then, people would be screaming he didn’t step up at the appropriate time. Cutch batted .370 for a significant time. He’s the problem?

  100. This continues to make me sad. Being average all year would have been so much easier to handle. Part of me wishes the Cardinals would have just won 10 of the last 15 to put us out of our misery.

  101. :( I’m going to go wrap up this bid. Later guys. This is just too sad :(

  102. Freakin Frank Rizzo………

  103. Can someone please explain a “infield single to SS?”

    Where exactly did that ball go? Did Barmes missplay it?

    I’m sure some would think that he did regardles..

  104. We stink.

    DK: Could have saved me about four days’ work that went into today’s column with just those two words.

  105. I would’ve rather have seen what JMac’s response would’ve been instead of pulling him.

  106. AW

    Thanks for posting his stats. I thought they haven’t been that terrible except for a 2 week period in the middle of August. He set the bar so high for himself that it was impossible to maintain. A .330/35 HR/110 RBI season at the beginning of the year would have sounded awesome but somehow that now seems a disappointment to many?

  107. Ryan,

    Way deep in the hole. Barmes backhanded it, then bobbled. But he had no play even if he had fielded it cleanly. Saved a run as it turned out.

  108. Ryan,

    The ball was hit in between SS and 3rd, more on the 3rd base side. Barmes fielded it on the grass. The ball hit Barmes in the heel of the glove and popped out about s feet more towards the left field line.

    Not sure he would have had a play anyway with such a long throw and Soriano running.

  109. What do you expect against a Cubs team this good. We’re lucky to be within 4 runs of such a juggernaut.

  110. Thanks guys…

  111. I recall a much uglier game at Wrigley earlier this year, day of the trading deadline. Been downhill ever since. Perhaps that’s where this train started to derail?

    #HouseofHorrorsWithApologiesToMillerPark

  112. Nate–to look here you’d think he was hitting .216 like last year post break. It’s getting ridiculous. He’s either an MVP or a bum it seems.

  113. wow…Pedro with an RBI

  114. To show that they are not ignoring the situation, that they want to win, and that this type of play will not be tolerated; Nutting, Coonelly, Huntington and Hurdle should have went to the mound to take out JMac.

  115. A 70 point drop is a big drop off, but he was resurecting the ghost of Ted Williams earlier.

    .306 is still very respectable.

  116. BP getting some overtime today……

  117. Tell you what… Tabby may be our best hitter right now.

  118. bats are waking up….

  119. By waking up you mean, finally got a hit or 3?

  120. Maybe Jandy just needs to stop watching the games. She must be bad luck.

  121. I’ve determined the cause of the slump!

    Since playoffs by 2012 went away, everything fell apart. Playoffs! Come back!

  122. DK–sorry for the delay. :-)

  123. @Ryan – exactly. By waking up, I meant “no hitter broken up”.

    I’m dying to cheer about something.

  124. AW

    What is Pedro’s batting average since June 1st. I’m betting it is .270 or so. I don’t care if he strikes out 180 times a year if he bats .270 and hits 35 home runs I will take it. Some people are saying Ryan Dunn should be a top 5 MVP canidate and he is barely batting .200 last time a checked and strikes out a ton.

  125. Another lousy line for JMac today. He sucks, I never want to see this guy pitch again for the Bucs. He is becoming another Ian Snell.

  126. Notice how when the hitters were stinking, everyone wanted to fire the hitting coach.

    Not all of the pitchers are stinking, but in regards to the stench of JMac – not a peep about Searage.

    And I like Searage.

  127. Nate– here are Pedro’s splits. Knock yourself out but Sept has not been a good month for him.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=alvarpe01&year=2012&t=b

  128. Gunner,
    If JMac requested to be sent down to the minors, then he wold be another Ian Snell.

    But JMac is smart enough to realize that minor league guys will soon begin Army Training. So he is keeping his mouth shut.

  129. Wow gunner. That is a little drastic. He is still young and shows a lot of promise when using his abilities to his fullest. He was as much the reason we were 15 games above as anyone.

  130. Need Cutch to start tearing it up again…………..

  131. Lame.

  132. When the phonerang it was 1-0.
    Came back 4-0.strong pen?0

  133. I’ve noticed that, too, TC, about Teflon Searage from the anti -Hurdle posters. But seriously, I think the hitting has been the main problem in this collapse. And it isn’t just because Walker hasn’t been playing. It’s been a hitting disaster.

  134. @ Thunder – 131

    Thanks for making me laugh. Great response!

    But you gotta admit it, JMac stinks. The Bucs might as well give one of the callups JMac’s spot in the rotation.

  135. I can hear Greg Brown now..”Do we have another comeback from the comeback kids?”

    possible, but I doubt it.

  136. @ Nate – 132

    If you keep doing things the same way and get negative results, it is time for a change. JMac is not what everyone thinks he is obviously.

    Let one if the callups take his spot in the rotation. They can’t do any worse than JSuck.

    Sorry to be so negative, the great Bob Nutting should really be proud of this mess he has created.

  137. Aw man they can’t squander this bases loaded deal can they?

    Just one run out this, pretty pretty please.

  138. Hey Day-dro! We need ya!

    Need that triple lindy!

  139. @AW , yes I agree that the main problem has been the hitting. But I think a major problem of the second half has been that JMac really hasn’t kept us in too many ballgames.

    I’m not sure how bothered I am by this, but I have noticed it. Everytime they show Walker and/or JMac in the dugout – they always seem to be laughing and having a good time. Shouldn’t they be more serious. I mean, send the fans a sign that this collapse is not OK with them.

    And then I thank God that ROOT Sports is showing the players in the dugout and not another group of kids eating cotton candy or being coached by the camera man to yell “let’s go bucs”

  140. Barmes with the squeeze here?

    They can’t be expecting it again, can they???

  141. TC–assuming you’re right about JMac, and not disagreeing, it’s 1 out of 5 games at the most. We’re losing at a much higher rate than that.

  142. OK, I can deal with that……4-3? not bad, still got ducks on the pond.

  143. Good to see Walker on deck……

  144. I agree with what you’re saying Thunder except maybe Walker is on some serious muscle relaxers. :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSaTEv7GBus

  145. Hard to win games when you are consistanly playing catch up…

  146. Well, bases loaded for Walker.

    Hero or Goat? What’s it going to be?

  147. helluva AB by Barmes.

  148. RF

    Probably rusty……..

  149. Not that it’s a big at bat or anything, but when’s the last time we had a 7th inning lead? Feels like months ago.

  150. OK, got back into it….

    3 more chances.

    Still don’t see it happening.

    On the bright side, 2 scoring innings in a row.

  151. Ryan

    Agreed. Very good AB to battle for the walk after being deep in the hole. The Cubs showed his splits and he has taken the lion’s share of the AB’s vs RHP. IIRC, Harrison had more starts against LHP than Barmes.

  152. @JoeBucco

    Rhetorical Q I am sure, but it was last Wed vs the Astros. Does seem like foerver though, doesn’t it.

  153. wow…..just wow.

  154. And that…….ruins any comeback attempt.

    Swell. 7 in a row, 4 of those to the Cubs.

  155. Season’s over.

  156. More broken hearts in Pittsburgh……and we keep watching….and caring. No matter how this season finishes we will be back here in the spring…..,,but jeez, this is painful…….

  157. @Jay

    Yup…will keep watching and start all over again next year.

    Such is life as a Pirates fan. I really wish I could dump this team.

  158. Why do I always feel like Randy Quaid in the 2nd Major League movie?

  159. What happened to Hughes? That’s his 6th outing in Aug/Sept with a significant negative appearance. 4 of them included a lead/tie/1-run deficit which he struggled.

    That sub-2.60 ERA looks good, but the internals are not as a good for a set-up man.

  160. Speechless – just speechless.

  161. solo shot……

  162. @Ryan

    Doesn’t work. I bailed out early in JR’s last season(really out of outrage over Wilson/Sanchez fiasco), but came back when it looked like Walker was going to be the real thing, almost in spite of NH. Pain is part of the deal.

  163. I’ve tried many times over.

    When I moved to Florida and the Marlins were catching on–didn’t work.

    When I lived in Oklahoma and the Rangers (not to mention I lived 10 minutes from their former ST facility) were close by–didn’t work

    When I lived in SC and caught all the Braves games–didn’t work

    And now that I’m out here, near SF and Oak, the wife being a Giants fan–still hasn’t worked.

    I hate these guys….

  164. BTW, not that there are many left on the blog, but here’s a good article from the usually entertaining Jayson Stark ( Not relation to Kyle)

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8375277/buster-posey-andrew-mccutchen-ryan-braun-wild-national-league-mvp-race-mlb

  165. Wow. Cutch now with the big hit, with no one on.

    Jones with a 2 for 4 day.

  166. Good article, Ryan

    Here’s an interesting quote from the article

    “Since Aug. 8, in 31 games, McCutchen has hit just .242, slugged only .347, run up a wobbly .680 OPS and produced a mere three home runs and seven extra-base hits in 124 at-bats. And ohbytheway, in a related development, his team hasn’t exactly been the ’98 Yankees since then, either. In fact, the once-surging Pirates have gone 9-23 since that day, a worse record than (gasp) the Astros (9-22).”

  167. RF

    I thought the same thing.

    Didn’t someone say .306, or was that after the all-star game?

  168. And to compare further, since Aug 8, Barmes has hit .253, OPS of .643, and 1 HR and 6 extra base hits in 91 AB’s.

    Not saying Barmes should replace Cutch in CF when Walker comes back, but man is that comparison sobering.

  169. @Ryan,

    I think it was post-all-star break. But Cutch did have his best month in July hitting .450 or something. If you look at just the Collapse 2.0 numbers, it is just stoopid sobering.

  170. Hey its a Bryan Morris debut! The Jason Bay trade is now officially a success.

    [sarcasm alert]

  171. Ryan–it was after the AllStar game. We can pick all kinds of dates. Sept’s been, like I said, .851 OPS. Have at it. I would like to see a comparison of players’ worst stretch if we’re going there.

  172. Bryan Morris did something that no Pirate pitcher did today. Retire Valbuena, Rizzo and Soriano in order.

  173. We have all offseason to listen to the FO spin

    Pretty big collapse on the field

    Minor league system did not blossom

    Just sayin

  174. DK,

    Regarding the SEALS column can I make a request? Have the Trib send you down to participate in the training exercise and rewrite a column based on your experience. That might be worth reading.

    Love reading your columns, but this one was a swing and a miss. Just don’t see how having the prospects go through this really shows how the Pirates are inept. It doesn’t translate to what is happening with the big league club now. Just my opinion …

  175. Wow.

    72-71.

    The team has to actually have a winning finish (10-9) to have a winning season.

    7 losses in a row…

  176. Cut it out, Biz. Everyone knows the FO has no, NONE, responsibility for this collapse. It’s all on Hurdle and the players. (please suspend the idea that the manager and the players are chosen by the FO)

  177. Who would have thought that the Cubs, just as in 1938, would play a significant role in the Pirates’ downfall this year.

  178. Zoltan has turned into zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Not even the Green Weenie and the Black Max could save this season.

    #107 says it all.

  179. Hey!!!!!! Maybe everybody else will also lose!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry.

  180. @AW – Please check your email. I absolutely can’t use the tickets for the 29th

    JMac probably should be put to bed for the season.

    I hope like hell, but they have taught me to expect

    I am sick as to how this most promising season is ending up

    Pitchforks ready?

    Lets go get the mistake on Federal Street

  181. @179. I hope the whole post was sarcasm. I believe the GM hires the manager, and I believe the GM has a very strong influence on what players make the roster. And certainly, the GM hires the player development director, who in turn is responsible for hiring the minor league managers and coaches — who are the ones who should be drumming into the players proper fundamentals.

    Yes, the manager and the coaches and the players are to blame. But, as we all know, leadership — and winning — starts at the top. I think the owner should do the same thing to the front office that he did to the Latin American operation — There he realized it was a wasteland and needed a total makeover — with proper funds to accomplish that. It is not a matter of arguing who is a better GM or manager than the incumbents.

    You don’t have to hire big names — just people who know what they are doing. The Washington Nationals had the right idea. They got a nuts and bolts GM who surrounded himself with the cream of crop in scouts and look at the difference in the results of their drafts and ours. I am not talking about #1 draft choices (where they lucked on the year Strasburg and Harper came out #1) but the rest of their draft — and how they even traded several blue chip pitching prospects for a proven starter (Gio Gonzales).

  182. Do my eyes deceive me?….Or am I now getting the games of an extended season of the Triple A Indianapolis club??

    I have never in my life seen a MLB team….In a supposed pennant race….Running out the likes of Brock Holt, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, etc. for the last month or so of the season, in regards to a team that “was” in contention.

    You’d think this team was 22 games out in June.

    Only via the Nutting Regime would something like this happen.

    When will Bob Nutting’s free ride come to a halt?

  183. Since the subject of the Pirates and the teaching of fundamentals has come up, this excerpt from the Oct. 24, 1960 issue of SI following the 1960 Series chronicles the in-season writings of their baseball writer Roy Terrell:

    “April 11- The Pirates are an unusually sound defensive team, with adequate speed and sharp, line-drive hitting. They are an extremely tough club to beat in a close game….”

    “May 30- To play against them [the Pirates] is torture. They protect the plate, they slice doubles into the opposite field, they bounce singles over your head off the hardest-packed infield in all baseball. And then along about the 27th inning they score a run somehow, and the ball game is over….”

    Apparently, fundamentals were being taught somewhere back then. Maybe we need to look back, not forward.

  184. Mike–yeah, total sarcasm.

  185. UNBELIEVABLE!! Where did these Punch & Judy ballplayers come from?

    TO THE PIRATE MANAGEMENT; You have made millions of dollars from almost 2 million attendance this year. Do you really care if the team wins or loses. Why don’t you spend some of it and get some players who can hit and get some who can pitch.

    Personally, I hope they lose every game the rest of the season.

    Former Pirate fan.

  186. At long last we finally made it to 4th Place!!!
    Only need 1 more win and this season is a true improvement!!!

  187. It’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong, but something’s wrong. Last night a gem from AJ, tonight another bad JMac outing and respectable hitting. The problem, in one sense, is subtle, and DK has explained it as well as anyone. I’m thinking pro championship on the cheap is a plan which expired around the time the Pirates began stinking.

  188. There are several issues here (#188):

    1. I think they have many of the players. However, for some reason, the pitchers and hitters reach a point that for reasons of overconfidence, physical limitations, or psychology, they quit doing what they need to do to perform well. The solution here is better managing and better coaching.

    2. I think the organization does not trust who they have. We can all remember Neil Walker. The Front Office kept saying he wasn’t ready or would only be a utility player until they were forced to play him. Last year they kept bringing up Pedro Ciriaco but failed to use him (although in the limited times they used him he hit over .300). Now he is a hero in Boston. I keep wondering how good Jody Mercer or some of our other Indianapolis players are, but we will never know, because they seem to be bench sitters. You can’t judge them on limited starts or pinch hitting, because some people don’t do well in that role. It takes a special person. The solution is trust.

    3. Some people, for whatever reason, don’t do well here. Prime examples are Ryan Ludwick last year (although he did have the 5th best on base percentage of players with over 100 at bats) and Nate McLouth this year. Both are key players this year for Cincinnati and Baltimore, respectively. The solution is much better talent evaluation.

  189. I think the owners still believe they can find a number cruncher (Huntington) and a labor negociator (Coonelly) who can win on the cheap. Life is proving them wrong. Fans, with no vested interest in cheapness, have long known this. The current ownership and staff, with a vested interest in believing it, will cling to their false belief till someone pries this club from their cold, defeated fingers.

    Hopefully this happens before the team moves to the sun belt under cover of night.

    DK: About as bleak as anything I’ve ever read about the franchise.

  190. …with the Pirates on their way to another LOSING season, I’d like to remind everyone the team won’t have the financial commitment from ownership to spend the required funds to acquire legitimate major league talent this winter.

    There won’t be another A.J. Burnett but I’m sure there will be more of the same like last year’s group of Erik Bedard, Rod Barajas, and Clint Barmes.

    Next year is going to be bad.

  191. I’m not convinced this was our ONE chance for a winning year. Lots of promising young arms IMO

    DK: Welcome, Adam. What size straitjacket do you take?

  192. NEXT year is going to be bad??

    For several weeks now, this is the worst team in baseball.

  193. The. Worst. Team. In. Baseball.

    Not season long. But more than just this seven game losing streak.

    Nobody worse.

    Nobody.

  194. ~sigh~

    DK: You know, until your sigh, I’m not sure I’d thought of it that way. They really might be exactly that.

  195. Having lived many places closer to the coast but never found better fish sandiches than Pittsburgh’s, I suggest renaming this team the Pittsburgh Tilapia.

  196. Tilapia is appropriate . . . Bottom feeder!

  197. Tasteless, farm-raised, SEAL-trained.

  198. So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Buccos reach 82 wins this year. Is there anyone in those offices on Federal Street that would consider this season a success? Does 82 wins support the expectations Nutting spoke of before spring training this year? Here’s a reminder of what he said -

    “We have talked about expectations, but I really believe — and [General Manager] Neal [Huntington] addressed this head on yesterday — I really believe the level of expectation is different this year,” Nutting said. “I think the tone is different. And it needs to be. We got a glimpse last year of what this organization can do, the tremendous support and reaction that we got from Pittsburgh, and from the fans. That was very satisfying for those in the clubhouse who had seen that. We need to build on that going forward. I think it’s absolutely different, same path, but further along.”

    “I always enjoy getting a chance to kick off spring training with these guys. It was clear that we are talking about very high expectation levels for this season. We talked a little bit about the tremendous achievement from the first part of next year and how we expect and need to finish this year, pull all the way through. Once again reaffirm that we are here to build a championship organization. We’re here to win a National League Central Championship. And that’s the goal, that’s what we’re absolutely committed to get done this year. They needed to hear that from me. But they’ve heard that reinforced from Clint [Hurdle], from Frank [Coonelly], from Neal [Huntington] throughout the process” (Pirates Prospects, February, 2012).

  199. 34 long Dejan. Hopefully wont b needed to often, although since August, it may have helped.

  200. What bothers me most is it seems like the management team almost refuses to put the best guys on the team or play them enough. Mercer had a nice series in St. Louis and goes on paternity leave, and is basically never heard from again. Barajas. Enough said. Wilson, McPherson, Morris, Locke, Leroux…where where these guys when we started struggling? Im a McDonald fan but he should’ve been skipped or out a month ago. Now its probably too late

  201. I’m with Drew. Who *could* we beat right now? Maybe Houston? Maybe? 2 out of 3, if at home. Because that’s all we’ve won in a long time now.

    At least it is a total team effort. The starting rotation stinks. The bullpen is horrid. The offense is putrid. Name one player on our team outside of Andrew McCutchen who was better than his Cub counterpart today. 1B? Nope – Rizzo. 2B? Nope – Barney. SS – Seriously now… 3B? ok, depends. Hot Hall of Famer Pedro, or cold, send him to AA Pedro? Never know which one you are going to get. C? Somehow we win this one, but basically by forfeit. LF? Soriano RF?I would think Legend, but he’s cooled off a lot the last two (wee bit important) weeks.

    McDonald can’t be trusted to start again this year. Period. Hughes is terrible since the BP incident especially. Grilli and even Hammer are struggling big time and are hard to trust now too.

    How are we supposed to win any game with that?

    1 way. And 1 chance.

    Wandy. That’s it.

    Our slim, slim chance that only remains because the Cards are struggling too is all on the line tomorrow. Because if we can’t win with our ace, and at the moment there is nobody else even close – then we’re done. Probably done anyone, but tomorrow we either get a little back on track, or we’re out of the picture completely, back at .500 and no chance at even 81 wins.

    And how about this for mental fatigue factor? It is September 15, and A.J. Burnett has pitched exactly one game coming off of a team win since July 26. That’s 8 out of 9 starts having to be the “stopper”. And the one he wasn’t was last weeks 12-2 pounding to the Cubs.

  202. 2-11 record since those back to back shutouts against St. Louis, with both wins against Houston at home.

  203. Maybe that’s why my wife sighs so much when she looks at me.

    Or it could be another reason.

  204. To me, this whole collapse started when they failed to sign Mark Appel (for financial reasons).
    Fast forward 15 or so days later, and they fail to get a legitimate MLB bat for the line-up (again for financial reasons).

    Now the cows have come home and the milk has gone bad.

    On the bright side (for management), with attendance sure to break 2 million this year, their profits should be through the roof. Seems like they have a very profitable business model.

    Win 60 games by August + Don’t spend = More Profit

    Pure genius.

    If only the fans were smart enough to stay away…….

  205. Was not signing Appel some sort event that sprung some major bad luck on the team?
    Because Appel most likely was not going to pitch this year on the major league team.
    So how did that start the collapse? And if you don’t sign the pick, don’t you have more money….to maybe use on the MLB bat?

    And with all the trade deadline deals (including Wandy) did their payroll actually increase?

    Sounds like voodoo.

  206. it IS voodoo.

    and i have the pinpricks to prove it.

  207. @Hurdled – just a hunch here, and I’m not really a business guy( ok I am, but I’ll pretend for the sake of this argument).

    If they continued to win, wouldn’t profits *gasp* be even higher? Imagine if a playoff series was mixed in there. That ought to be worth a few bucks too.

    People blaming ownership for this is crazy.

    Except maybe for the timing of one specific charity event, but I won’t go there.

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