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Tuesday vacation thread

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On vacation all week. Next column is Sunday.

The floor, as ever, is yours …

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.

341 Comments

  1. Inevitable Pirates juggernaut on cruise control to likely playoff spot!

  2. 867-53o9

    Jenny gets the win!

    It’s now a race for the All Star selection.

    Snider got a hit. I know; I was skeptical about him. But he has a hit. So sit the O-fer guys; we have our right fielder.

    Marte: 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored

    Jones! A home run sighting!

    Bullpen has been close to extraordinary this season.

    But on the other hand.
    - Pirates had 12 SOs.
    - Fredo: 0-3 with 2 SOs, lowering his average to .080.

    But forget about that ugly stuff. Let’s have a sing along. Enjoy the win. Enjoy the party. And forget that we coulda had Buster.

    “867-53o9. 867-53o9.” (I don’t hear you singing, Thunder.)

  3. A win, yet Wandy gets hurt. I’ll take it, especially since Jones homered.

  4. Looks like Neal is staying home for this roudtrip due to a concussion. So much for being able to keep the lines together. Hopefully people wills tart coming back in time to get set for the playoffs.

    Just watched the interview with Sid as well, he does seem to be in good spirits and optimistic about coming back even though there’s no timetable. It seems like he wants to play and he’s just waiting for the doctors to OK it. Definitely encouraging. Wishing all the injured players well!

    • Amen! Seems we can’t get a break. Once the screws are “set” in Sid’s jaw, I’m betting he is on the ice.

    • I’ll be interested to see how the chemistry is between Kunitz, Malkin, and Iginla if they stick with that combination from practice yesterday considering how good Kunitz was on Geno’s line last year. I hope it’ll jump start Malkin.

  5. So we’ve heard for years the NBA conspiracy theories.

    Who knew it stretched to college basketball.

    Pick a guy for the HoF, he wins a national championship.

    Just for the human interest side, get his son a job, too.

    I want his lottery picks.

  6. Congrats to Justin Wilson on the nice performance holding things together in the middle of the game after Wandy goes down.
    .
    Yesterday ………..3 IP, 0 H, 2K, 0 BB ….35 pitches, 21 strikes
    .
    2nd nice performance for him. (0.00 ERA for the season in 4.1 innings)
    .
    :-)

  7. JAL’s Pineapple Princess Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h02oh5Ri4Y0

    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 Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Who Could Step Into the Rotation if Wandy Goes on the DL?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/first-pitch-who-could-step-into-the-rotation-if-wandy-goes-on-the-dl.html

    Pirates Win 5-3, Wandy Rodriguez Suffers Hamstring Tightness

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/pirates-win-5-3-wandy-rodriguez-suffers-hamstring-tightness.html

    Prospect Watch: Glasnow Has Strong Debut, Allie Homers Again

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/prospect-watch-glasnow-has-strong-debut-allie-homers-again.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates lose Wandy Rodriguez, but play well in 5-3 victory

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/9/4203876/pirates-lose-wandy-rodriguez-but-play-well-in-5-3-victory

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 7: Pirates 5 Diamondbacks 3

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-7-pirates-5-diamondbacks-3.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Buc Bats Clutch In 5-3 Win; Wandy Hurt

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/buc-bats-clutch-in-5-3-win-wandy-hurt.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Zoltan Returns, Wandy Rodriguez Exits: Pirates Drop Diamondbacks 5-3

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/09/zoltan-returns-wandy-rodriguez-exits-pirates-drop-diamondbacks-5-3/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Announce All You Can Tweet Seats

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/08/pittsburgh-pirates-announce-all-you-can-tweet-seats/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bucs lose Wandy, bring back Zoltan, and get a win

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/04/bucs-lose-wandy-bring-back-zoltan-and-get-a-win/
    Bucs lose Wandy, bring back Zoltan, and get a win

  8. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Look to Continue Success in Desert

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/08/pittsburgh-pirates-look-to-continue-success-in-desert

    12 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Bullpen one of few early bright spots

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/04/08/pittsburgh-pirates-bullpen-one-of-few-early-bright-spots/

    13 Contra Costa times Times

    McCutchen, Jones lead Pirates past Arizona 5-3

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/athletics/ci_22983678/mccutchen-jones-lead-pirates-past-arizona-5-3

    14 Meadville Tribune

    WALK TALK: Pirates once again make ‘bad’ look easy

    http://meadvilletribune.com/opinion/x2055661667/WALK-TALK-Pirates-once-again-make-bad-look-easy

    15 KDKA

    Colin Dunlap: Worry With Pirates Has Already Started

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/04/08/colin-dunlap-worry-with-pirates-has-already-started/

    16 Bleacher Report

    Breaking Down Pittsburgh Pirates’ Prospect Gerrit Cole’s 1st Start of 2013

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1597778-breaking-down-pittsburgh-pirates-prospect-gerrit-coles-1st-start-of-2013

    17 CBS Sports

    Arizona-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130409_PIT@ARI

    18 PBC Site

    Bullpen rises to occasion after Wandy’s abrupt exit

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_08_pitmlb_arimlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Bucs’ defensive gems should not be overlooked

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130408&content_id=44269066&notebook_id=44269120&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Prospects We Can’t Wait to Put Our Eyes on in 2013

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20132

    20 Fangraphs

    Explain a Strike

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/explain-a-strike/

  9. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    2013 Steelers Draft: Searching for a nose tackle

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/8/4196068/2013-steelers-draft-nose-defensive-tackle-casey-hampton-steve-mclendon-alameda-taamu

    2013 NFL Mock Draft: Tennessee Titans Select…

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/8/4192292/2013-nfl-mock-draft-tennessee-titans-select-jonathan-cooper

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers to Bring in Uconn CB Wilson for Visit

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/report-steelers-to-bring-in-connecticut-cb-blidi-wreh-wilson-tuesday-for-a-pre-draft-visit/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2: match report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/9974166/Manchester-United-1-Manchester-City-2-match-report.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Six of the best – La Masia graduates that got away

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/six-of-the-best-la-masia-graduates-that-got-away

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Playoffs are clinched but the games are just beginning

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/4/8/4196448/penguins-clinch-playoff-spot-2013

  10. Pirates win Pirates Win, Parade downtown at noon.

  11. In the Crosby video, I was bracing myself for a train wreck of a bruised and cut up face around his mouth, but honestly, other than what you see inside his mouth as what still appears to be some missing bottom teeth, he oddly kinda looks better than he did before the accident and unless you were told it happened, one would have never thought he had a puck hit him in the face like that.

    • Actually he favors the side that was hit just a wee bit. But it’s amazing how well he is speaking and how well his facial muscles all respond when he smiles lol

  12. “Nobody likes it when it goes on, it’s going to happen at different points of the season. I just tell them, you got to get a good pitch to hit, you got to see it, put a good swing on it. I don’t really want too much thinking going on at the plate.

    That quote from Clint is in the other paper.

    I slightly disagree with Clint. I would like to see a little more thinking at the plate.

    • I think that depends on the batter, TC. Like, take Pedro. I feel he overthinks things then he gets behind. Then it’s swing at anything time.

    • I also disagree, especially with Pedro. He needs more “see the ball, hit the ball”. Whatever his main problem is, it almost certainly originates In the head area.

      Stuart

      • Sorry, to be clear, I disagree with TC.

        BTW, lots of great hitters plied their trade without the benefit of the type and quality of education that one gets from an instating like Vanderbilt.

        Stuart

      • I think most of our hitters have a very poor approach for working a favorable count. And they don’t seem to understand what to look for/expect when they are ahead or behind in the count.

        Plus they stink in situations when the just need a fly ball to the outfield or grounder to the right side.

        Not enough thinking.

        • Good point on that. They need to think of the situation and forget the mechanics. If you overthink the mechanics every time, instinct and natural ability are left out. Then you have Pedro.

            • Pedro sits fastball and never sees one. He is at times suprised when he does get one that it locks him up or he wastes it….he will be ok. His mechanics are just fine, and as Hurdle would say, he was swinging “with bad intentions” last night.

              The last thing he needs is a day off – he is playing some D (minus one miscue) and the more angry the bull gets, the more locked in he will become….believe.

        • I agree with some aspects, TC. Just that they can and do overthink things and get themselves in trouble.
          A lot of this falls in the – are you ready for it – Poor training that we have in the farm teams. Seems our people in charge aren’t doing things right. Imagine that!

          • Some of it could be training and experience.

            But shouldn’t a player know that when a runner is on third base with less than 2 outs, all they need to do is lift a fly ball to the outfield?

            • Yes. Walker blew that at the end of the Thursday Cubs when he hit into the DP. Got a high outside fastball and rolled over it. Not to single him out. He’s hardly the lone problem right now.

            • you would think so, TC. Seems they forget everything they ever knew when they come here.

        • Mega like. I always say it comes down to pitchers counts vs. hitter’s counts. To me the goal is to hit a fastball. Don’t swing at no strike curveballs and if you see a fastball you like on the first pitch of the at bat, go for it (except in certain situations).

          We let too many fastball mistakes go by.

          • I dont think the batters know the pitchers well enough. There are hundreds of hours of footage on every pitcher in the majors. Last night they went up and were swinging at Cahill’s 2-seamer on the first pitch in the first inning. When he came backout for the second, he was throwing more 4-seam on the first pitch and even a first pitch change. Obviously they knew what he would throw first pitch and they teed off on it.

            Point is this was the first time this year the Pirates hitters looked like they were out-thinking their mound opponent. At this level you have to know, or have a really good guess, at what is about to be thrown to you. Very few batters can consistently make good contact only by reacting to the pitch type in flight.

            • I asked this last week. Do managers and coaches talk to players while they are in the on deck circle? Do they remind them of situations and offer suggestions on what to look for

              • I’ve never seen it. You’ll see players talking in the dugout, especially after a key home run, or when a pitcher seems to be in trouble, but otherwise the “communication” during the game seems to come via the 3rd base coach during the at bat,

    • Some seem to be patient just for the sake of doing so. Sometimes batters may just take one just to slow the inning down if the pitcher already has two outs on 7 pitches or something…I get that….but at least try to get a feel for the speed of the pitch or get used to how it looks coming out of the pitchers hand. See if you cant pick up change up grip through the delivery.

      And like mentioned before it seems like when they work the count they are surprised at what gets thrown. Every dugout has charts that tells you what each pitcher in baseball like to throw when he is ahead or behind, what you can likely see in no strike, one or two strike counts ect… Everyone in baseball knows when AJ has you at 2 strikes you can expect to see the slider more often than not.

      Sometimes the Pirates, especially Pedro, seem completely unprepared for what is coming.

    • I know what you mean, but would like more thinking in the on deck circle. Go up with a damn plan would be nice. And to really nitpick, a RATIONAL plan. Not, ‘let me take one down the middle and then chase’.

  13. Geez “institution” . Curse you iPAD spell check!

    Stuart

  14. Stetson Allie has impressive numbers on the year considering he spent two years or so attempting to be a pitcher.

    In 20 ABs he has a .250 BA, .375 OBP, 4 BB, and 2 homers.

    • Worst possible thing that could happen to him and the franchise.

      As a hitter, I haven’t seen him ranked in the Pirates top 50 prospects. The Pirates. The odds of him becoming a major league bat are astronomical.

      Conversely, he still has that 100 mph arm. That didn’t go anywhere. The chances he can ever learn to control it, even just as much as he did in high school, have to be much higher simply by default.

    • Sure is! Well stated article. Sad too tho :/

      • Good article but I don’t agree with him on Cole. I think you need to be successful at each level before advancing to the next. Guys like Strasburg and Harper are in another stratosphere and I don’t put Cole there.

        I also don’t like B.J. Upton.

  15. link #20 is a really good article on Umpiring balls/strikes.

    I do umpiring for little leagues. Let me just say the inside pitch is harder to pick up than you think.

    • Do you have a favorite parent insult? Some of the ones I’ve used over the years are:

      1. Hey blue! You’re missing a good game!
      2. Hey Stevie! Glad you could make it!
      3. Get off your knees ump! You’re blowing the game.

      Note to Lucky: I’m just joking. :-)

      • Parents get way more invested than the usual fan, and usually know far less. Last year i had a mom giving me a hard time from first because i didn’t call out a kid for not sliding when he stole second. he came in standing and was safe by a mile, but she thought he should have been out because he didn’t slide.

        What else can you do but laugh?

        • smh. What is wrong with these people? I coached girls’ softball for a few years when my girls played. I had mothers complaining about the other coach and I did things. I looked them in the eye, and said if they wanted to be here Saturday mornings at 8am and stay will we were done, and if they wanted to organize and take care of the fundraisers, then they could BE the coach and do anything they wanted to do.
          Shut them up right away :)

          • You mean you gave them a Size 9 Wide, figuratively speaking. :-)

            When I coached little league baseball, my favorite advice was from the parents who had been banned from coaching.

            • Figuratively speaking, yes. lol. Little League was even worse. My ex coached, and I worked in the kitchen and otherwise, and man! People (especially mothers) were so MEAN and ignorant. I told more than one of them what to do with it ;X

  16. This just in: the Pirates have classified Wandy’s injury as a “lower body injury”.

    Please do not refer to it as a hamstring injury. We don’t want the competition to find out.

    DK: +1,000,000,000,000

  17. Jeamar got the win yesterday. I think we all owe him an apology.

  18. McCutchen, marte, and six stiffs. That about sums up my impression after getting to watch teh first 5 innings yesterday.

    Hopefully Wandy shut it don before any mojor damage was done to that hammy. Otherwise the number of reliable starters in the rotation drops to 1. I wonder if Starky still thinks this is theuir best staff in years?

    • The rotation with a 3.08 ERA? Or the bullpen with a 2.05 ERA?

      Why in the world would he change his opinion?

      • HAHA – with you NMR – what is with everyone. Doughnut throat Mark Madden (sorry DK I know you respect him but he’s a total mouthpiece) had some wonderful insight yesterday afternoon on Pirates baseball. I realize the fact that he elicits any type of reaction means that he is good at what he does, but not when the reaction causes you to CHANGE THE STATION.

        Pitching looks decent…they have been hit hard a few times but nothing alarming. They have worked out of jams and haven’t relied completely on sparkling defense to aid them in that…please don’t consider an early season sweep at the hands of LA anything other than just that, an early season sweep at the hands of a powerful Dodgers lineup.

        Welcome Pirates bats. We have missed you.

        • Just wait for the first couple(inevitable) bad starts.

          Everybody will be jumping on them in order to validate the opinion they made before the season even began.

          The bullpen HAS to be worse without Hanny. The rotation HAS to be a mess with Sanchez and Locke. It has been said, thus it must be.

          • That’s it exactly. These are the same people that had Burnett down as a Yankees reject/retread last year.

            Sanchez may stick as the #5 and Karstens/Locke go long relief if Lariano can play…I still like Morton for a couple innings out of the pen as well as he works his way back from TJ – guys was unhittable for 2 innings through most of his starts in 2011.

  19. I would have awarded the win to JRay.

    • +1, except his pep talk to Pedro didn’t show any immediate results. ;-)

      • Now, don’t forget that tired, warn out annual reminder:

        “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”.

        Pedro will be OK around June. Have no fear.

        • That’s my favorite cliche Lucky!

        • Actually, compared to an NFL season, the Pirates have played a half and 11 minutes of the third quarter of the first game.

        • Pedro is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Either that or he’s just not that good.

          • I still think he believes his talent alone is enough. If he studied pitchers more his AB’s would be a lot better. I dont know the kid, so this is pure speculation, but he strikes me as the kind of player that was always just so good he never developed a solid work ethic/approach. Just IMO though…

            • I also have the impression he does not take well to advice. He seems to think he knows better. But that’s JMHO too.

              • My size 9 wides would go a long way towards fixing that ;)

              • Or he took too much advice in the past and just doesn’t listen anymore.

                Remember early last season he was trying everything everyone told him from stance to how he held his mouth in the batter’s box and none of it worked.

              • Wow, yeah, never once thought of Pedro as a guy who wasn’t willing to listen.

                Like Lucky said, just look at what a mess the team made of him between 2011 and early 2012.

                His swing looked NOTHING like the one he’d used in college and as a pro up to that point. Unless he personally decided to go against everything he knew and change himself, he certainly was listening to SOMEBODY.

              • The team made him a mess? Seems to me that is part of the question, not the answer, unless that is the answer you’re going for.

              • So you find it probable that he, himself, decided to completely change the swing that made him the top hitter in the draft. The one that he used to swat 16 homeruns against big league pitching. Out of the blue.

                Talk about fishing for an answer.

              • So you think it is probable, that out of the blue the team “decided to completely change the swing that made him the top hitter in the draft. The one that he used to swat 16 homeruns against big league pitching. Out of the blue.” ???

                I’d fire those guys,

              • I’ve been beating that drum for a year now.

              • I honestly don’t know enough to know whether he or they “completely changed his swing.” I’m just going with what you’re giving me.

                But every time I see that practice swing between pitches . . . Added to the rejection of the FO’s suggestion that he go to Winter Ball, it does give me a sense of the guy. Certainly could be wrong. But it’s not based on nothing.

              • And whats the deal with that darn hat of his!

                :)

              • I’ve never criticized his hat, so your “sly” suggestion that my admittedly only personal opinion is based on something other than what I’m seeing objectively is off base. But keep moving the goal posts.

              • Eeeaasy, AW.

                It was a joke, and not one directed at you.

              • Put it in a different sub-thread, then.

            • I’m going with not that good. I recall beat writers reporting that Pedro was consistently the first one to show up at the ballpark. I feel like if he didn’t have a solid work ethic, that would have been reported by now.

              He doesn’t seem to catch up to fastballs well or recognize curveballs out of the zone. Sometimes I don’t think all the work ethic in the world can correct issues like that, but maybe experience can. I still also think he’s standing too far away from the plate.

            • Yea…HR’s are all that matters. As long as anyone hits 30 HRs they are above reproach and free from any criticism, even if they strike out an absurd amount of the time and disappear for weeks at a time. Gotcha.

              Nobody said he sucks.

      • Yeah missed on Pedro, really had a good feeling with him after watching him in the cage. Can I get a point for the Snider call and warning people at the window about Walker?

    • Speaking of JRay, he needs to tell us what he’s wearing so when ROOT does their incessant crowd shots we can try to pick him out.

  20. Anyone catch the national championship game last night?

    Kind of interesting how the media will pick and choose what skeletons they want to bring up. Never once heard during the entire tournament anything about Petino and his affair and subsequent attempt to be black mailed.

    Now I’m in no way saying that it should have been brought up as I think its a disgusting topic but rather found it interesting how the media basically paints the picture for the audience by what they choose to talk about or not talk about.

    • I don’t blame them for not bringing it up, TJ, but they should not have shown his wife and talked about their 37th wedding anniversary. Gag!

      Actually, I get sick of them showing any family members. But it worked out for Katherine Webb-getting a reality show gig and all.

      • I agree John. It should not have been brought up; I just find it more disgusting how they pick and choose who they are going to paint as saints and who are going to be the villans.

  21. I think the PBC just released a statement that the Pirates lineup will now be referred to as batters; not hitters. Using the term hitter is misleading and could potentially cause confusion for those attending games expecting the team to hit the ball.

  22. Interesting game last night. Wasn’t happy seeing Wandy go down, thought he was pitching well and got out of a tight jam.

    -Most impressive pitcher last night- Justin Wilson
    -Most Impressive offensive player-Marte-I see him as Cutch in 2-3 years. Quite the tandom.

    -Least impressive display-Dbacks fans booing Wandy for his injury. Thought they were in Philly for a moment.

    BTW- Hello all

    • Still have too many names I guess….had to go through moderation….

    • Good to see you, Ryan. Playoffs was concerned you weren’t wagering. He needs people in the negative once in a while to balance it out.

      :)

    • Howdy, Ryan. Must be nice having the Bucs in your time zone for once!

      I didn’t make it up long enough to see Wilson. Wasn’t terribly impressed with Cahill. Thought he left a lot of balls over the plate in between not being able to hit the plate at all.

      Also couldn’t help but tune into Halladay’s start on the World Wide Leader. Man, that is scary. He wasn’t exactly lights out last year so its hard to say he just lost it over night. But it sure does feel like it.

      • Wilson can bring the heat….wow is all I have, but I can why he was shifted to the BP. Probably has the potential to be a very good reliver, hit the radar at at least 97 that I saw…consistantly at 95-96. Might have some control issues.

    • Long time, glad to see you back! I mentioned yesterday how much the DBack broadcast team was raving about Justin Wilson, he looked great last night.

      I am still impressed with Marte gaining a triple on a ball that wound up in LF, where the OF had an easy throw to third and with more urgency would have held Starling to a double. That play manufactured a run.

      Really surprised by the DBack fans last night when Wandy was nursing his leg, don’t often see that type of behavior from Arizona fans.

      • On that Marte triple, JRay, I just saw the hit and the replays obviously, but on one replay they showed the ball taking a weird, soft bounce off a screen on a door in left field and bouncing away from the left fielder. Either way, Marte’s hustle made the triple, but I’m curious if the problem was really a lack of hustle from the LF. (I am not that LF’s agent, just curious)

        • @ Arriba- I was sitting near where that play developed. I will tell you this the LF for the Dbacks also named Marte did not immediately charge after the ball, and picked up his pace when he gauged where Starling was.

          The bounce may have helped you probably got a better view and observation from it, however, I do know that the DBack fans were riding him pretty hard and all around me felt was responsible to a degree of that ending up a triple.

          Regardless, if Starling is not going full speed from the get go that has no chance of being a three bagger and we do not plate a run that inning.

    • Good to see you again.
      Will you be stopping by The Window again?

  23. In case I may have suggested otherwise, there’s no way I platoon Alvarez. Such as he is right now, I don’t see any logic taking him off the field for anyone else they could put at third.

    Asked about that today, the possibility of platooning Pedro, and Hurdle’s response was a very plain “No way”. I agree. Surprised someone would even ask Hurdle that question, really.

  24. In reference to # 5 on JAL’s list, who would you all go with if Wandy had to go on the DL? I’d say Irwin after his impressive start.

    I wouldn’t want to go with Cole as we would lose a year of service time and he doesn’t look quite ready yet.

  25. Yet another problem with Barajas last season.

    When you hit your 50s, your hearing starts to go and you can’t hear things shouted by the other manager.

    Such as, “If you get on, steal. The old guy throws like a girl.”

  26. Good moanin’ everyone — a rainy day on the prairie, supposed to rain all day and turn to 6-10 inches of snow tonight. Last night was the thunderstorm like the kind you don’t get on the coasts — constant lightning and thunder, cloudbursts, the wind was howling, the electricity flickered off a couple times making the CO monitor shriek and the dogs kept trying to burrow under the pillow. It was annoying, and with the extreme drought we’ve been in, a little more jarring than your typical and at the same time extremely welcome.

    Sort of the way I felt about the game last night, only five hits, lost a pitcher, a near disastrous relief appearance by the last man picked, way too many K’s, but somehow five runs on those five hits and we doubled our win total . . . I don’t know if the drought is broken by any means. The offense is obviously pressing. They may not be league leaders but they are capable of far more than what they’ve shown. I think that’s both what scares me about these guys and what gives me hope.

    The scary part is that when they’re trying too hard the bottom falls out. There are some guys who respond to pressure with outstanding performances, and some who can play lights out when they’re relaxed and having fun. SABR guys don’t accept that because they can’t prove it mathematically — but ask anyone who’s ever coached or played the game. You can’t prove it mathematically because you can’t put numbers on what’s a pressure situation. Hitting with a ten run lead can be a pressure situation if you’ve been in a slump, the managers on your back, and there are two guys on the bench who play your position and are hot. On the other hand, bringing the tying run in from third might not be a pressure situation when your club has a twelve game lead, the pitcher you’re hitting against is one you’ve dominated, and the runner on third is quicker than a cat and there’s a power hitter behind you.

    The source of hope of course is that the offense has been a lot better in the past using mostly these guys and some who weren’t as good. It’s one thing to be losing when your offense isn’t up to the league average, but quite another when it isn’t even producing half of what it usually does. Very frustrating, but not the sort of thing to lose all hope over.

    Yes, very frustrating.

    • I share your resentment about the weather. It’s currently only 70 degrees and sunny here in the burgh.

    • Glad you love your home state, JH. In the 80′s here the next 2 days.

    • You’ve got your narrative wrong, JH.

      “SABR guys” don’t say that pressure doesn’t impact perforemance. “SABR guys” say that that quality is variable and unpredictable. Basically, a player can appear “clutch” one year and somehow lose that ability the next.

      • Maybe I’ m picking a gnit, because I see your point, but I would say I was talking about how pressure affects performance, not when the pressure comes — and relating it to SABR’s denial of clutch. Clutch performance as it’s defined in the stands is often a lot different than what it is on the field. And what is a clutch situation for an individual player could be something as simple as having his Mom in the audience. So you can say a player can “appear ‘clutch’” one year and not the next — but you can equally say that a situation can be clutch in one game, but not in another. The most successful managers are not the ones who ride everyone hard, or those who pat everybody on the back — but those that know their players well enough to know how pressure affects their performance.

        • How can you criticize the sabremetric view of “clutch” when you can’t even define it yourself?

          I’m not a sabre guy, btw.

          • I don’t think anyone can define it.

            The best you can do is something like “pressure situation”

            And that can be different for any individual.

            And some individuals step up their game under pressure.

            And some stay on an even keel.

            And some play worse.

            Not only that, how an individual reacts to pressure can change from day to day, even from minute to minute.

            As for SABRmetrics I have enough of statistics to know that stats are results and not predictors and that correlations are relationships, but not necessarily cause and effect relationships.

            But my point was and still is that the Pirates offense seems to be in a mental funk, not a physical one.

    • Sounds like it’s wild out there on the prairie! Stay safe. And please don’t send that s*** (dirty four letter word) over here to Pennsylvania.

      • I have about as much control over the weather as sitting in my favorite chair affects the outcome of baseball games. It was 70 and sunny here yesterday.

        • Dayum! Everyone will be sick out there! It snows here…it’s all YOUR fault.. :P

          • I was a little groggy. Its supposed to rain on into tomorrow night before it snows. Not tonight.

            We’ll have a fire in the fireplace tonight though, there’s a damp chill in the air.

            Typically our weather at this time of year comes out of the southwest and leaves to the northeast, so you should probably miss what we get or catch the southern edge of it if it’s a big storm.

            I think your bad weather comes out of St. Louis.

  27. Just got some updates about Pens lines tonight.

    Offensive lines will be:

    Kunitz-Malkin-Iginla
    Morrow-Jokinen-Dupuis
    Cooke-Sutter-Kennedy
    Glass-Adams-Bennett

    Defensive pairs will be:

    Orpik-Eaton
    Niskanen-Murray
    Bortuzzo-Engelland

    Fleury in net.

    I’m ok with the offensive lines considering the injury circumstances. Still like to see Vitale centering that fourth line, but I’m not sure who I’d bench to put him in there. I’m also ok with Letang taking another game off to continue to heal. I’m really confused by the Despres scratch. Not sure what the reasoning is behind that, but I have given up trying to figure out HCDB’s handling of Despres. Just hasn’t made alot of sense all season.

    • From my untrained eye, Despres stood out struggling in the two games the Pens lost last week. Not that the rest of the team is excused, no one was good in the BUF or 1st NYR game. I don’t think he’s being punished…plus Bortuzzo hadn’t played in forever, even with his conditioning stint in Wilkes-Barre. I have a hunch we will continue to see a constant rotation of players on that bottom d-pair, except that Engelland will be the mainstay on that pair.

      Besides, the decisions Bylsma makes in the playoffs related to in-game and between-game adjustments will be much more important to this team than who’s in the lineup for most of these games for the remainder of the month.

    • Just for fun.

      Have Bylsma pick the four centers. Only the centers. In order. 1-2-3-4. (Numbers thoughfully provided for Thunder)

      Run a pick-up draft. Centers pick their own R wings. In order. Then L wings.

      Televise it.

      Against a Pirates game.

      Measure the ratings.

      Then Dejan will write a column about the ratings.

    • I like the look of the second line better than the first line.

      I’ll be watching.

      Miss Letang like crazy. :(

      • I found the second line a little funny simply by picturing Duper burning up ice only to turn around and wait for the other gents to catch up.

        I agree with you, though. Now that baseball season is off and running I find myself looking forward to hockey games more. Love this time of year!

      • I thought Letang was married, Jandy.

        • I dunno Drew, but he’s way too young for ol’ Mother Theresa. Heck, my kids are older than he is.
          But I seriously miss what he brings on the ice to the game. He’s not perfect but he is able ot diffuse a lot of threats with his speed. The only place I don’t like him is on the point on the PP.

    • I thought they’d keep the 3rd line together. Cooke-Sutter-Morrow. Get that line some chemistry for the playoffs. Instead, everythings mixed. Well whatever works I guess.

    • Move Bennett up with Cooke and Sutter, put TK on the tthird line.

  28. 12 years ago today was the first game at PNC park.

    • that long ago? Wow. Seriously. I’ve been to PNC a couple times. Love the place.

    • Ah, those were the days. Gee our old LaSalle ran great…and it had only been 10 straight seasons of losing.

      • Drunker..er..Miller Park also opened twelve years ago this week. It was supposed to pen in 2000 but workers were tragically killed building it so there was a delay.

        Always linked as the proverbial small market teams:

        In the 10 year history of both stadiums:

        Brewers have had 5 winning seasons, 2 playoff appearances and have come within one game of the National League Pennant. They have had two owners. They have had 2 GM’s with present GM taking over 9/02 and 6 managers. They have had one cheating ROY and MVP during that time span.

        Pirates: well, we all know.

      • I had to see it in print before I figured out what Giarola sal rang rate meant.

    • and right about now The Mayor was depositing a pitch into the right field stands.

      Love that guy.

      • + 1

        Now there was an exhibition game played vs the Mets, (I think) before the first Opening Day.

        We lost that one too….

      • I can’t remember if it was the first or second game of that series, but I remember Casey hitting one so hard that the only thing keeping it from hitting the river was one of those illuminated Pepsi bottles behind the right-center wall. Just an absolute bomb.

    • The first MLB game that counted. I was at the first MLB game at PNC Park on March 31, 2001, against the Mets.

      • Jimmy Anderson pitched that day.

      • I was there as well. I’ll never forget that feeling I got climbing the stairs from the home plate entrance and seeing that vast expanse of green for the first time. Finally, a real baseball stadium and not a football stadium posing as one. It’s a shame the performance on the field since then hasn’t brought many of those feelings back.

      • I ran into a guy I know that day & he had the best line of the day, “Are you sure we’re in Pittsburgh ?”

  29. NMR–
    From the thread above about Alvarez (not sure how much of this you covered with AW above…still celebrating the UL win last night).

    Scouts, personnel guys, GMs…all knew and talked openly about the giant hole in Alvarez’ swing before he was drafted and about how MLB and MiLB pitchers would exploit it. He had some success when he came up to the big league club, but he didn’t do much in that offseason as far as working out, came into ST 2011 without having done much work or not in ST shape…whatever that means. Hurdle and Long (or whomever the hitting coach was then) worked on his swing and there was a consistent sort of battle between the two sides…at least if one could read between the lines as to what was being said by Hurdle.

    It’s a process with Alvarez. Once he figures out the things that make him successful in the batter’s box, I think we’ll see him produce on a more consistent basis. Personally, I think he thinks he’s got all the answers for his swing… and he probably does. He just doesn’t put the right thought and the resulting action into the right situation. Which means he’s prone to making mistakes…which leads to doing a whole lot of nothing for extended periods of time followed by a whole lot of mashing for a few weeks.

    Hurdle has talked quite a bit about his young hitters having to learn how to make adjustments… that once you figure out a pitcher’s tendencies, that they will then make adjustments and pitch you differently and then you have to make another adjustment. That’s why so many folks talk about pitch recognition with Alvarez and the old “see ball, hit ball” axiom. But if he brings to mind

    • That and right now, watching Alvarez pulling off so badly, I would be telling him to look for nothing in…all he should be looking to do is cover the outer half right now and go that way. When he does get something in that he can handle, it will look like a beachball if he is only actually actively “thinking” about covering the outer half.

    • “giant hole in his swing”? Seriously?

      Go find me one article that talks about a “giant hole”. Players with “giant holes” aren’t ranked the best hitter in the draft.

      I don’t doubt that Pedro’s swing isn’t perfect, but whatever the team tried to do with him clearly didn’t work.

  30. This is very simple. With the off day Thursday, Wandy (or someone) won’t be needed until April 16th. If Wandy can’t go and needs to be disabled, you pitch Cole & be done with it. Of course we all know that will never happen but it’s what should happen.

  31. What does everyone think of Pedro at 3 and Cutch at 4? Perhaps with Marte on base, teams will be less likely to throw all that soft stuff at Pedro. Yes…I know that Cutch should ideally be on in from of Pedro and thus cut down on the softness, however there could also be a Jones or walker in front of Cutch and no one is coming home quick to hold either of those guys on…

    I know they want Pedro cleaning up…but it never hurts to create better hitting situations either.

    • Move Pedro down, not up.

    • I would certainly like Pedro at 3 than I do at 5.

      Hoever, If marte gets on and gets to second, with first open and one out most teams would pitch him pretty softly. The un-intentional “intentional” walk. I doubt they would outright give him 4 wide, but they wouldnt give him anything to hit either. Pedro would be seeing a lot of garbage and he would have to learn to lay off it. Something he hasn’t shown a great aptitude for, yet. Maybe that would be a good way of getting him to lay off the off speed low/away.

      Still worth a shot though.Can’t hurt.

  32. They shouldn’t have to at this level. Heck, I don’t even do that with my Junior boys. They should know all this info by now, especially at the MLB level.

  33. We need a Ruling.

    At least a Ranking.

    After reading some of the recent blog Superlatives and Terms of Endearment, we need the following sorted by Neal’s Intensity of Endearment Valuation scale.

    Listed in alphabetical order:

    A. (Falls in love)
    B. Magnificent
    C. Plus a Trillion, usually expressed numerically

    From least to most, ABC works for me, but I suspect most others will be BCA or BAC

    “A” is my least but remember how much EYE value love.

    This is important so chime in.

  34. Add D. Pukes.
    I’ll go for that one.

  35. Hi Ryan in Cali !

  36. No snark intended in this post, just looking for thoughts and info…

    Jered Weaver just broke his non-throwing arm and is said to be out for up to six weeks. My rough count puts Francisco Liriano about 16 weeks removed from breaking his non-throwing arm.

    Is there even a GUESS as to when he’ll be available? I find the lack of…anything…surrounding this situation as odd.

  37. Can anyone point me to the PLAYOFFS Window? Cant seem to find that thread lately.

  38. NMR:
    Keith Law was the primary voice about the hole in Alvarez’ swing. He said it in 2008 and has said it all along the way. I don’t have an insider account to send you a link from Law (espn), but below is another sample of chatter about him having a big hole in his swing.

    “After a horrific 2011 in which he batted .191 and whiffed 30.5 percent of the time he came to the plate, the 26-year-old closed some of the many holes in his swing, soaring to personal bests in homers (30), RBIs (85) and slugging percentage (.467).”

    • Congrats on Louisville.

      I do remember what you’re talking about. I think a lot of it had to do with that long swing (which still seems pretty long to me), but what do I know?

      • That’s it, AW… that he couldn’t turn on the inside pitch that there was a big, big hole in his swing because it was so long. The hole is the area you could pitch him and he’d just have a real problem getting a bat on it. It wasn’t hula hoop sized, but it was close. If you check any video of him at Vandy or in the minors (especially in ’08 and ’09) it is pretty clear to see.

        Thanks on the congrats, by the way. City is jacked up… had a great time watching and the walk home was fun. This city rallies around the Cards in every sport. A.D. Tom Jurich has done a terrific job elevating all of the sports programs.

    • I’ll let the video do the talking.

      2008 Pedro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlhTPNr-_DM

      Spring 2012 Pedro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7XB4y15C2c

      2012 Pedro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFkB1xc_iX8

      Notice how similar the last video of him mashing 30 dingers is to the first video of his college stroke(plus about 20 lbs). Then compare those to that awful swing he had in Spring Training last year. Hands and feet are everywhere.

      If that was the attempt at “fixing his many holes” then its more of an indictment of the coaching than of Pedro.

  39. Blue Jays fall to 2-5. Early season candidate for Collect-A-Guy Flop Of The Year.

    • For all the hype, they’re trotting out a mix of Arencibia, Rasmus, Bonifacio, Izturis, Derosa, Davis, and Lind in the 5-9 slots. Doesn’t exact scream “balanced attack”.

      Also doesn’t help that Dickey and Burrrly are getting roughed up early.

      And thats two relievers DFA’d with an eight man bullpen…and Brad Lincoln is still pitching in Buffalo.

  40. I didnt watch the game last night, and they won.
    The other time I didnt watch the game, they won too.

    Maybe I shouldnt watch any games???? ;)

    And I read Travis Snider dripped with power, and drove in 2 runs.

    I think the Mayans might have been right.

    • I think that was bacon grease dripping. But I could be wrong.

    • Actually, now that I think of it, Snider is the epitome of the “Blind Squirrel Theory”.
      I am just glad he finally did something, so Huntington looks not so awful for this trade.

      Hoka Hey!!! ;)

      • Haha, oh yeah, you’re just brimming with cheer over Huntington looking good!

        • ………… and you are brimming with something else that I wont say here.

          Actually, as a fan, I dont want Huntington, Hurdle, or any player to fail, quite the opposite.

          I just see a GM, manager, and many players that are not good at their jobs, not even the least little bit. I want a new GM, players, etc, but that decision ultimately will come from the very top, and I dont see that happening here.

          So, if you are inferring in any way that I am rooting for the Pirates, or any individual to fail, you are dead wrong, and just causing trouble with me, as you always do.

          • A bit defensive? Yikes.

            • No, I am just a bit tired of your old, trolling routine you play with me. Look at you 4:47 comment to me. You directly inferred I wasnt hoping for Huntington to look good in that Snider trade.

              I said nothing of the like.

              You and Roberto started crap with me last week, and I am calling you out for starting the trouble, and continuing it today.

              Just skip over my posts if you dont like them.
              You start trouble with me, I will respond in kind.
              You dont seem to get that message very well.

          • That isn’t what he said at all, Roberto. He said “many.” He didn’t say “everybody.”

            Geez

            • Arriba, these are the 2 people I commented on last week as not wanting new people posting here, especially if they dont like your opinion.

              Thanks for the backup.
              I do not understand why NMR and Roberto have to start crap with me, but I wont take it.
              They just dont seem to understand this.

              Quite sad.

            • I would concur with the “many”.

            • Thank you, Lucky.

              Nice to see at least some people have reading comprehension. :)

          • Here we go again………….

            Please point out where I said that I dont want Cutch, Walker, Burnett or Jones. You cant.

            I also stated that the GM and manager arent very good at their jobs. Huntington is a failure, Hurdle has had exactly one winning season. Get a grip.

            Being the Pirates have a 2-5 record, have a Single A offense, make many mental errors on even the fundamentals, yes, I want new players. We just have a GM that isnt good at acquiring said players.

            So again, nice attempt at causing trouble with me.
            Again, skip over my posts. Just like your buddy NMR, you give it, I give it back.

            • Wait, even though they scored 5 runs, they have been demoted from Double-A to single A?

              I wonder how long till you call them a college offense. Or a Div 3 college offense?

              By the way, you did say “I want a new GM, players, etc”

              No qualification there. Just new players. ;)

            • Let it go, Roberto. A fifth grade reader can see you’re full of bull on this line.

            • They went from AA to A, because they lost to Altoona.

              ZING !!!!!!!!

            • Read what he said said in context of what he said. Don’t take a sentence out and ignore the rest of what he said.

              Clear?

            • As your professor, I sentence you to remedial reading class. I am not equipped or trained to deal with paranoid “apologist” symptoms.

      • Look on the bright side. NMR today said he’d been “beating the drum” for a year that the FO should be fired. 11:48

        (I missed it, too)

        • Anything that will get us a competent GM, Pres, etc, is definitely a bright side!!

          But, will Nutting hire competent people?
          Or, is he still “investigating” Collapse 2? ;)

  41. Oh Yeah ? Well I call shenanigans.

  42. What will be the blogger dust up on the Pens thread.

    There is currently a two thread streak going.

  43. wow lots to comment on but no time to do it, when late to the game it’s hard to follow reply’s. well of to the new thread.

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