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Final: Curve 8, Pirates 6, exhibition

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates vs. Altoona Curve, exhibition

Starters: RHP James McDonald vs. RHP Jason Grilli

Time: 2:05 p.m.

Site: Blair County Ballpark, Altoona, Pa.

Radio: MLB.com

Here is the official live box score.

Here is the TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Karen Price is on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

100 Comments

  1. It’s getting close to go time. I hope Grilli enjoys his start!

  2. JAL’s Take Me Out to the Ball Game Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-gsdLSSQ0

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2013

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Ripple Effect of Small Major League Moves

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/first-pitch-the-ripple-effect-of-small-major-league-moves.html

    Minor League Results: Dodson, Bell, Mathisen, Herrera

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/03/minor-league-results-dodson-bell-mathisen-herrera.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates minor league preview, part 1: Altoona

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/3/29/4160412/pirates-minor-league-preview-part-one-altoona

    7 WHYGAVS

    Besides Andrew McCutchen, do the Pirates have enough offense?

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/march-2013/besides-andrew-mccutchen-do-the-pirates-have-enough-offense.html

    8 Rant Sports

    Is Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher A.J. Burnett an Ace?

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/03/29/is-pittsburgh-pirates-pitcher-a-j-burnett-an-ace/

    9 Rumbunter

    VIDEO: Pirates Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson Bat Against Mark Buehrle

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/30/video-gregory-polanco-alen-hanson-bat-against-mark-buehrle/

    Pirates Send Cash To Indians For Brian Jeroloman

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/03/30/pirates-send-cash-to-indians-for-brian-jeroloman/

    10 Green Weenie

    The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates – Position Players

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-2013-pittsburgh-pirates-position.html

    • Take Me Out to the Ball Game Edward Meeker 1908 First recording of the Jack Norworth/Albert Von Tilzer song which was popularized on the vaudeville circuit. First known use of the song a baseball game was in 1934.

  3. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Wall Street Journal

    Baseball 2013: Here Come the Flamethrowers

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323419104578376793663086624.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLE_Video_Third

    If Only Baseball Had a Bracket..

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323501004578388551051692928.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories

    12 Miami Herald

    Pirates SS Clint Barmes keeping it simple in 2013

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/29/3313339/pirates-ss-clint-barmes-keeping.html

    Astros the latest team facing daunting rebuild

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/30/3314430/astros-the-latest-team-facing.html

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze93ug5c04c-20130329,0,4462125.story

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Doc: Where’s the line between loyalty and stupidity?

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130329/COL03/303290126/Doc-Where-s-line-between-loyalty-stupidity-

    15 Globe and Mail

    Knuckle That: The perfection of baseball’s ‘oddball’ pitch

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/knuckle-that-the-perfection-of-baseballs-oddball-pitch/article10580703/

    16 The Guardian

    2013 National League preview: 10 things to watch out for

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/mar/29/major-league-baseball-preview-national-league

    17 Sweetspot

    You Can’t Predict Baseball: Bold predictions

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/34171/you-cant-predict-baseball-bold-predictions

    18 PBC SITE

    In his first opener, Burnett ready to lead Bucs

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130328&content_id=43443678&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Pirates’ projected Opening Day lineup

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130328&content_id=43450756&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    2013 Organizational Rankings

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20025

    20 Fangraphs

    Andrew McCutchen’s Controlled Aggression

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/andrew-mccutchens-controlled-aggression/

  4. Blog still in some form of blue safe mode on iPhones.

    help us, IT guys

    • Also I pad…

      • Are you using the mobile app, Mac? I’m no longer having trouble on the iPad through the App. It has it’s own little quirks, but those have been there all along.

    • Download the TribLIVE app. This blog is on there and displays just fine.

      • Not meaning this facetiously, but why? The thing worked great until two days ago, right around the time the chat came on. Seems like something changed with Trib, not with my iPhone, on which the blog has worked well for a year.

        • Something definitely changed with the chat switch, but I switched to the App months ago because I was having trouble with just going through the Internet. And even the app was messed up after the chat switch with the overlapping etc you described, but it’s fine now.

  5. Excellent article by Tim Williams in Link #5 regarding roster management.
    I have wished the team would have given younger players more playing time in the majors -especially when the team was out of ‘the race’. It does seem to me that the FO has botched up the roster management in the minors too.

    Williams makes a good case against Inge and McDonald. I have been on the side of the argument that they needed more veterans on the bench. Their pinch hitting has stunk in recent years. By possibly mangling the minor league rosters, this shows me that the FO wants/needs to win this year in the majors.

    One thing that caught my eye in a recent P2 article was that next year Stolmy Pimentel doesn’t have any minor league options after this year. Soooo, you traded Hanrahan and one of the players you got back better wasn’t good enough to make your team this year and he better make it next year. And by the way, he has already had mixed results in the minors.

    One thing I didn’t agree with Williams is this about Clint Robinson:

    ‘They play the Blue Jays on average about every three days. That means the Toronto coaches and scouts got to see plenty of Robinson this Spring. They must have seen something they liked if they claimed him after watching him all Spring.’

    Now I would have liked them to find a way to keep Robinson, but the guy is already 28 and had 20 at-bats this Spring. What exactly did the Blue Jays see in him from that…and they sent him to Double A

    • Good points on Robinson.

      I think Milo has a word for him, beginning with “s” and ending in “tinks”.

    • I know nothing about Robinson, and Milo is probably right. But as far as the article, it said the Blue Jays saw him every 3 days in Minor League camp. I think the 20 AB’s were in Major League camp. Of course, they may have seen him as minor league filler.

  6. Kristy Robinson ‏@Kristy_Robinson
    pirates lineup: Marte 7 Jones 9 McCutchen 8 Alvarez 5
    Sanchez 3 Walker 4 Martin 2 Barmes 6 Snider 0 (McDonald 1

    Kristy Robinson ‏@Kristy_Robinson 9m
    Curve lineup: Rojas Jr 8 Cunningham 4 Curry
    3 Lambo 7 Santos 5 Dickerson 9 Paulino 2 Howard 0 Ngoepe 6 (Grilli 1)

    • Lambo still languishing in AA. They must still see something in him or they would have released him or traded him by now. Was demoted from AAA last season or the season before.

      Wonder if he and Cunningham are starting the season there or just playing in this game.

  7. Let me get this straight. Kristy Robinson doesn’t work for any legitimate media organization. She doesn’t work for any blog. Yet she still apparently gets press credentials from professional baseball organizations. Hmmm.

    I guess if any of you are good looking, perhaps you should ask for media credentials from the Pirates or any of its affiliates. That is apparently all it takes.

  8. Keith Law has a new podcast and I’m listening to the first one that was out on March 12.

    He interviews Astro GM Jeff Luhnow. That guy is impressive.
    And of course I had to compare him to NH – - – and NH could learn some things from the guy. Like how to intelligently answer a question and not ramble on and talk too much.

    Luhnow says that their goal is improve as quickly as possible so that they can consistently compete. It isn’t Championship or nothing. It is a realistic approach.
    Regarding this year he says “We don’t know where going to play this year. We know we’re going to give it a good effort. We know we’re really young”

    He also give a good explanation about why they hired Kevin Goldstein and scouting today.
    This is a guy who didn’t get into baseball until 2003. Refreshing.
    And I might root for them this year.

    • Keep in mind, they’re still in the honeymoon phase with Luhnow. They’re going to be bad for a LONG time. Check back in two years and see how much they’ll love him.

      • I don’t know if they love him now.

        I was just saying how impressed I was with him – - and noticed some differences with our GM

    • I watched a little of the Astros/Cubs last night. You could have started a bonfire in every section and it would have affected no one. Completely empty. They are in for a long ride.

  9. Ruh-roh JMAC

  10. Alvarez 0 for 1 with a K and JMac gives up 4 earned in the first frame. Tell me again why I still follow this team 16 years after I left its town.

    • Well Pedro just hit a double. I hope that makes you feel better.

      Maybe it would help if you reminded yourself that these games don’t count yet.

      • I take full credit for Pedro’s double.

  11. Marte grand slam ties it at 4

  12. Quite a mix, Curve using Pirate pitchers and Pirates using Curve pitchers.

    DK: Look again.

    • After JMac in 4-4 game is was Melacon, then 4 runs off Nate Baker, then Jeff Inman, than I know not who

      Curve started with Grilli, then Watson.

      DK: Right. My reference was to the lineups. The starting eight was legitimately Pirates vs. Curve.

      • So we can’t lose today, right? And the Curve is actually better than the Pirates?

      • JMac threw two innings against our AA team and gave up 4 runs, 3 hits and 4 walks. I’d say he’s ready.

        But really it’s just that Neal’s farm system is top notch. That’s what he’s been saying all along, right?

        Watson needs to get ready, too, it looks like. We need that lefty in the pen. 3 hits, 4 runs and a walk to his own team.

  13. Calm down guys; this is all a ploy by the Pirates. They don’t want other teams to see their 2 point plays in the regular season cause they may need them for the playoffs.

  14. I wonder how the Curve fans took it.

  15. Can we start the NH watch yet?

  16. I guess some of us over-rated the Pirates when calling them a Triple A team……

  17. I fear serious issues with Tony Watson.

  18. Pirates pitching staff has to lead this franchise to ending this losing and make playoffs.

    And with that…
    James McDonald only pitched 2 innings, 4 walks, 4 earned runs…
    Tony Watson only pitched 2/3 inning 1 walk, 4 earned runs…

    Altoona hitters scored 4 runs off McDonald… that should be the story.

  19. DK tweet—”Any #Pirates apologist telling you lineups were mixed, here’s the box: pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/boxscore.… Team’s plan was for JMac to go deep, had 2 IP.”

    Seems a bit harsh, I mean the “apologist” aspect.

    • Are you seeing the tweets ripping him…

      This is why Dejan, I and others are calling a large contingent of Pirates fans as apologists.

      I mean, my god. The box score plainly shows Altoona with a bunch of minor league hacks.

      I don’t care about losing the game, no big deal to me. I’m more concerned with McDonald and Watson sucking.

      • No, Eric, I didn’t see the other tweets. The tweets I see are the ones he posts here. I don’t consider JAL as an “apologist” and he was the one here who mentioned the mixed lineups. I know he didn’t mean JAL, but, as I said, it seemed a bit harsh.

        And this is an example of my problem with the use of the term. Not that I don’t think they exist. I see some particular posters as apologists myself. But the blanket use of the term rubs me the wrong way. The “if you think X” on a particular issue, you are an “apologist.” I’ll step off the soapbox now. Just responding to your “justification.”

        • I’m not sure there’s a problem calling a large vocal group of Pirates bloggers as apologists since they seem to enjoy saying a columnist or another fan is wrong, misinformed, out of touch, or with an agenda when ripping the team.

          This is just the start as I suspect the pitching staff is built on a house of cards and will be ready to crumble the moment they realize James McDonald has a worse mental toughness rating than Ian Oquendo or Ian Snell.

          Some of bloggers are going to look rather silly with broken ankles as they jump off the Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly bandwagon on the day Bob Nutting finally figures out he’s wasting millions on bad and nowhere near a championship.

          • I’m not sure why anyone needs to be labeled anything or called a name. If you disagree with them, then disagree with them.

            DK: No problem with the term if applied literally. When it’s the same group of the same 25-30 people making the same relentless excuses for every single thing that goes awry, that meets the definition of apologist to a T.

        • I was referring to the pitchers

          Pirates threw JMAC , Melacon, Sanz, Baker, Inman, and Alderson

          Curve threw Grilli, Watson, Kasparrk, Hughes, Wilson, Crumpton, Townsend

          Do the math–Pirates used 2 MLB pitchers and 4 minor league pitchers, Curve used 3 minor league pitchers and 4 MLB pitchers.

          That is not apology, that is math.

          • The story is McDonald going 2 innings against minor league hitters.

            I could care less about the final score, though I think it is funny.

            • He and Watson are a true concern with OD on Monday.

              • I’m just hoping Burnett and Rodriguez can be lights out in April, they can get 1 quality start out of 3 with McDonald, Sanchez and Locke.

                Then come May, I hope Karstens is ready and by June, I would hope Cole, Morton, and Liriano are here.

                And that’s just the starters.. really not sold on this year’s group of relievers.

        • DK was wrong, JAL was referring to the pitchers, which was absolutely correct. The four of the first five pitchers for Altoona will be wearing a Pirates jersey Monday night.

          JMac is worrisome 4 walks and 2 wild pitches against anyone is a red flag, but I didn’t see anyone apologizing. All i saw was the usual snide remarks about the entire organization because of a horrible outing. If he had a flightless bird on his chest, all would have been brushed aside.

          DK: Yes, no one’s ever tough on anyone from the Penguins when they fare poorly — Sincerely, Tyler Kennedy and last year’s Paul Martin

          • How right you are. No bigger group of apologists than the local media who continue to slurp over every move made by a team that can’t seem to find its way out of the 1st round of the playoffs.

            DK: Slurping over a 15-game winning streak fueled by passion, depth, commitment, talent and exceptional roster moves that are generating raves across the continent?

            Guilty as charged.

        • JAL said what was exactly the truth. The pitching was, in fact, mixed.

      • Eric,
        Take a look at what JAL posted at 4:35 pm and look what DK’s response to him was.
        JAL was correct.
        If you don’t think that DK was wrong and should either 1) apologize to JAL or 2) admit that he was wrong about that post….

        then I would call you a DK Apologist.

        • I like DK, Eric and JAL, all 3 and I’m not an apologist for any of them, but JAL was right in this instance. They ran the box all through the game.

        • I’m not in 100% agreement with DK, I could care less about the final result.

          My concern is that McDonald went up against a lineup of AA hitters and failed horribly. If no one sees concern with that, then I don’t know what else I can say about it.

          DK: I wouldn’t agree with me, either, Eric, if I was being remotely serious. If you take a look at my very first tweet on the topic yesterday, I’d think most everyone would have seen it was in fun.

          Unfortunately and yet humorously, it inevitably riles up the same exact 25-30 people who always rush to management’s defense. And THAT’S when it takes on a separate life.

  20. Demanding fans should demand salary caps? Blowing up a union that is the toughest to deal with in all of sports? Demand an owner who would probably rank close to 30th in personal wealth among all MLB owners to sell the team?

    Yeah… that’s Pittsburgh.

    • I learned tonight that the Pirates losing twenty years is all the fault of the fans. Wow, so glad I checked in. Learn something new everyday.

  21. I listened to just about the whole game today.
    JMac was terrible. And I can’t help wonder if something isn’t wrong with Watson.

    But I’m not sure that looking at the box score tells the whole story. It tells a lot but not nearly enough. IT WAS AN EXHIBITION GAME…with mixed squads. Take a look at the names on the Pirate side of the box score. Lots of minor leaguers – and not just pitcher.

    It think it just had a weird vibe to it. You had Pirate pitchers pitching for Altoona and facing guys on their own team. I kept thinking that it had to be very weird & uncomfortable for them. I mean if I am Grilli or Watson I am totally thinking about making sure a pitch doesn’t get away from me and cracks Cutch, Marte, Walker or Jones in the head.

    • Very true, TC. Wouldn’t that be something if one of those guys was plunked by a Grilli fastball and missed time. Almost like being injured in bunting drills.

      And Watson may not be ready physically. Maybe the DL is in the offing for him. Bryan Morris may be right handed, but he still had a better spring than Tony. One poor outing and most of the rest were good.

      • Lucky,
        I listened to one of Keith Law’s podcasts today. He and his guest were saying that they thought the left-handed specialist was over rated in baseball. One argument they had was that the lefty doesn’t face the tough lefty hitter enough.
        They thought teams would be better off with having another quality reliever no matter if he was right handed —and they thought more teams should have a quality long-reliever, someone who can eat up innings, not burn out the pen, and keep a team in the game.

        Law admitted that the majority of teams, if not all, don’t agree with him

        • I’ve always felt that way about a LOOGY in general.

        • I’m not being sarcastic… Why is it supposedly more difficult for left handers to hit lefties, but you don’t have many right handers benched because of tough righties ? It fits into the above argument, I’d guess.

        • Can’t say I totally disagree with him, since John Kruk is with ESPN now. Tough left hitters will hit a lefty specialist the same as they would a right hander.

          Who would our long man be now? I know, I know. Leroux.

          A.J. and Wandy and pray for a Tsunami.

          (I wouldn’t ever pray for a tsunami, but maybe just something to miss a few spots in the order. And tsunami kind of rhymes with Wandy).

  22. This is awesome. They haven’t even played a game yet & everybody is already at each others throats. It’s certainly more entertaining than this basketball game or The Ten Commandments.

  23. Away from the blog and come back to see all my friends squabbling. I love the smell of Pirate posts in the morning.

  24. Still with me Lucky ? This isn’t happening again, is it ?

  25. I don’t know if anyone is watching but geez, this is one sloppy game between Wichita St. and Ohio St… mix in the officiating, woof.

  26. Sweet bounce of the basket for Wichita St

  27. Baker confirming stereotype, white men can’t jump… gotta finish that!

  28. I’d LOVE some Pirate coverage.

    The season is starting tomorrow, afterall…

    • +1000

      No other city would the columnist purposely avoid the opening day.

      Guess if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all?

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