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Morning Java: Game 2 or double-take?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column puts forth some tinkering the Penguins could do for Game 2 tonight, but it doesn’t go too far in that regard. Your own suggestions welcome, as always.

A look at the rest of our coverage this morning …

>> The faceoff factor, by Rob Rossi

>> The importance of Game 2, and by Josh Yohe

>> Matt Cooke gets cleared, by Rossi

>> The third line is coming up empty, by Yohe

>> Complete playoff photo gallery, by our Chaz Palla and Chris Horner

>> More on the Bruins from our news partners at the Boston Herald

I’ll be with the Penguins all day, and I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 12:30 p.m.

And if you missed it last night, here are all four video segments of WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word,’ which included much discussion of the Eastern Conference final with myself, Yohe, Bill Phillips and Richie Walsh.

>> It’s beyond incredible that it took 12 years for the Pirates to hit a ball into the Allegheny. Congratulations to Garrett Jones, one of my favorite humans, on taking that page in the record book.

>> More on the Jason Grilli explosion: By striking out the side yesterday, he has now struck out 10 of the past 13 batters faced. For the season, he has struck out 41 of the 94 batters he’s faced, or 44 percent.

Almost half!

Here’s another one, using a different line of demarcation, before and after joining the Pirates two seasons ago:

Before Pirates in 11 years in minors: 4.41 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 1.98 K/BB

Before Pirates in 10 years in majors: 4.55 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.7 K/9 1.98 K/BB

Since joining Pirates on July of 2011: 2.41 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 12.9 K/9, 4.0 K/BB

This year alone just blows the mind: 1.05 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 7.8 K/BB

I’ll say it again: It just might be the greatest transformation in history for a reliever of 35-36 years of age.

>> The Mike Adams story will have legs, I’m guessing, well into the Steelers’ training camp. If he can’t go, Kelvin Beachum is probably right tackle, and it’s pretty clear through OTAs that Tomlin would like Beachum to also serve as backup center. Then again, there’s always Guy Whimper.

(And yes, I typed that entire item just to say ‘Guy Whimper.’ Not above that sort of thing.)

>> Enjoyed Joe Starkey’s Sunday column on the Steelers’ mystery speed merchant.

>> No matter how you feel about the world’s game, I’m confident you’ll enjoy the work of the announcers on these highlights from Saturday’s Riverhounds win …

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, recently, 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 country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. JD says:

    DK – I agree. Grilli has been incredible. Yesterday was a fabulous comeback. Let’s Go Bucs!

    DK: Just wait. Grilli will now K every batter he faces for the rest of June.

  2. Eric Bowser says:

    Talking about adjustments, shameless plug of my take on the Pens’ defensive breakdowns that need to be better in game two.

    I’d like to see Joe Vitale inserted into the lineup in game two, prefer to see him take Kennedy’s spot. I think Kennedy was pretty lousy in game one and was back to being Tyler Kennedy, the annoying shooter that takes the same shot from the same spot, time after time.

    Another is benching Niskanen for Despres… no one is talking about it, not sure why, but I think Niskanen is having a pretty lame playoffs and has turned the puck over way more than the 7 giveaways credited by the NHL stats.

    From a tacticial perspective, they can’t have another power play on the ice without a RH shooter… it was inexcusable by Bylsma and his assistants to have no RH shots during a PP. At what point will Bylsma realize he has a future hall of famer RH shooter on the team. Work him high for one-timers and get him into the slot.

  3. Ghost says:

    Well if you can type a whole paragraph just to drop that Whimper guy’s name, I’ll wonder aloud what became of Drew. Last we heard, his precious Florida was swirling into a Wizard of Oz-like nightmare. Margaret Hamilton was turning into the Wicked Witch of the West right outside his window.

    I found Drew.
    All that remains of him is this recording he left behind.

  4. jim says:

    Hate to say it but I’d like to see a blood test on Grilli.

  5. Ghost says:

    So Grilli has 41 K’s a third of the way in. Projects him to get 120K’s for year if he never actually gets hurt and is continued to be used this way?

    Looked it up and see that, for relievers, Dick Radatz of the Bosox had 181 K’s in ’64, and Brad Lidge had 157 for the Astros in ’04. Lidge got his 157 in 94.2 innings pitched (14.9 K/9). If my math is correct, Grilli has now pitched 26.2 innings. Of course, Lidge was 27 years old in ’04. In fact, Lidge and Grilli are only a month apart in age.

  6. Boise Bucco says:

    The ironic part is, while Grilli is definitely outplaying his contract, he might be ruining the market for closers for years to come. GM’s will be pointing to Jason Grilli every time an agent says that their player is important and deserves more money.

    DK: Agents love it when a 36-year-old becomes the greatest player in baseball at his position after 10 years of very little.

  7. Jack Laurence says:

    You don’t need to be a statistician to figure out where this Pirates team is headed in the standings, and it ain’t up. More than one-third of the season has been played and the results give a fair sampling of the team’s achievements so far and what to expect in the months ahead. Despite yesterday’s 11th inning victory, the full season future does not look bright for these Buccos.

    The best measure of how well equipped a team is to win for the rest of the season (ignore the standings at this stage) is the ratio of runs scored per game to the number of runs allowed per game. The Pirates have scored an average of 3.75 runs in 57 games, down from 4.00 a week ago. Pirate pitchers (and error-prone fielders) have allowed 3.37 runs per game, earned and unearned. The difference between the two averages is plus 0.38 runs per game for the team. Well, you might argue, that’s a good ratio to have in close games like the ones the Bucs have been winning lately. (The team is 11-7 in one-run games and 14-4 in two-run games, thanks to some clutch hitting and extraordinary pitching by the bullpen. The team is 4-1 in extra inning games.)

    The two teams the Pirates are in competition with for the division title have significantly better runs per game differentials. The Cardinals are plus 1.50 rpg and the Reds are plus 1.19. On average, the Cardinals score over one run per game more than the Pirates.

    Both the Cards and the Reds have strong pitching staffs, about equal to or better than the Pirates, so the big difference is in the hitting. The Pirates are 13th in the league in runs scored, ahead only of the Marlins and Nationals. They are 12th in batting average. Other factors come into play (OBP, RISP hits, etc.), but if the Bucs’ hitting does not improve significantly, their chances of making the playoffs are truly slim.

    DK: I’m sure others will take cracks at this, Jack, but first, welcome to the blog. Second, I think the Pirates’ defense has been very, very good, though I can’t say I’ve had time for extensive study.

  8. Jack Laurence says:

    You are awake much too early, Dejan. Over here (UK), the sun is out, the summer has started (finally), and the livin’ is easy. People are still talking about helping lost Americans to find their lost way in East London during the Olympics.

    The Pirates defense has indeed been very, very good, especially in the outfield. Cutch made his first error of the season just yesterday. Snider & Marte have been impressive with their astonishing catches and throws.

    Further to the runs per game idea, there are seven teams in the NL playing above .500 and all but one of them (SFO) have positive run differentials. The Giants’ ratio is -0.25. The team is only 3 games above .500, so that’s not really as much of an anomaly as it may appear. All gthe teams playing below .500 have negative run differentials.

    The team with the highest differential, +1.50 per game, has the best won-loss record in the league (StL). The team with the next best ratio, +1.19, has the second best record (Cincy). With its record of 13 wins above .500, you would expect the Pirates to have a higher runs-per-game ratio, but it is only +0.38, bottom of the list of teams with positive run ratios. The other team ratios, in order, are: Atlanta +0.94, Colorado +0.55, Arizona +0.52.

    This is why I expect the Pirates, if they continue to score runs at the same rate for the next four months, to fail to overtake the Cardinals and Reds. They could make the playoffs, though.

  9. Drew71 says:

    Not bad at all. And I’ll let you have The Last Word.

    (And yes, I typed that entire item just to say ‘The Last Word.’ Not above that sort of thing.)

  10. Drew71 says:

    I have some questions for Dejan.

    1. Who are your favorite non-humans?
    2. Does Guy Whimper exist, or is he a cartoon character from Popeye?
    3. Do you think that you and I need a different line of demarcation?
    4. How do we demarc Thunder?

    I’ll let you have The Last Word.

    (And yes, I typed that entire item just to annoy. Not above that sort of thing.)

  11. Chuck Snow says:

    You know sometimes it’s just fun to watch teams over achieve. I will enjoy this team regardless of the statistics that forsee certain doom by July. Yes we need to score more runs, yes starters need to go deeper into the game. But this team has heart and there isn’t a statistic for that.

  12. Drew71 says:

    Heart Statistics

    – The heart muscle pumps some 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of blood in a day, 100 million in a lifetime.

    – Hearts differ in size and shape even among people of the same sex, age, body build, height and weight.

    – The heart’s length averages about 4.3 inches; the breadth is 3.5 inches; the heart’s depth is 2.7 inches.

    – The human heart weighs 7-12 ounces. It is the size of two human fists held together.

    The idea that the heart is a pump circulating blood through the body was known to the Chinese more than 2,000 years ago.


    And proof, by the way, that baseball is more than 2,000 years old.

  13. Jandy says:

    To Dejan:


  14. Jandy says:

    Can we put YOU behind the bench for game 2?

  15. Jandy says:

    Haha! Ghost is on a roll! Priceless ;)

  16. Jandy says:

    Glad to see you are safe and full of yourself, Drew Dahling :)

  17. Jandy says:

    Others have said it. I think he should do one, just to shut people up.

  18. John Lease says:

    Grilli juicing?

    Highly unlikely. If he were, he’d have done it while sucking in the minors and majors for years.

    He’s learned how to pitch, and is only out there an inning at a time, and he is healthy.

    That’s my take.

  19. M_Town_Missile says:

    The Pirates have much more depth now than they’ve had in the last 20 years. The amount of work the pen has done doesn’t concern me all that much because there are guys at Indy that both *have* gotten the job done and *probably can* get the job done.

    They do need to keep up the defense, the hitting will come along. Remember how terrible this team was hitting early on last year? Everyone should just be enjoying the ride and stop over analyzing these complex metrics to justify their battered wife syndrome.

  20. Jandy says:

    Well said, Chuck

  21. Arriba Wilver says:

    You learned all this on XM?

  22. Jandy says:


  23. kr70 says:

    SPLASH….The Legend is back!! (as the Legend)

  24. Drew71 says:

    Channel 102

  25. Drew71 says:

    Or of something

  26. 21sthebest says:

    When is Steelers training camp?

  27. Drew71 says:

    I’ll find some statistics

  28. Jandy says:

    RIP Jean Stapleton…

  29. BillyBaduka says:

    RIP Jean

  30. NMR says:

    Complete and utter misunderstanding of how PED’s affect pitching performance.

  31. Jandy says:

    That’s why I would love for him to get tested…and shut people up.

    Now Ryan Braun, on the other hand…

  32. NMR says:

    “You don’t need to be a statistician to figure out where this Pirates team is headed in the standings…”, says the guys before launching into a statistic filled post.

  33. Patrick(ri) says:

    My first and last hockey comment: the papers and pundits up here are wary of the Penguins, but claimed from early on that it was a contest between speed and guile. Looks like they may be right,so far. I have no dog in this fight, just pimping my favorite Pittsburgh humans.

  34. Al says:

    Just a quick note to Mr. Malkin….please, no more back door blind passes like the one in Game 1. If you have a lane, any lane…..PLEASE SHOOT.

  35. NMR says:

    Has everbody who thinks Grilli is doing something otherwordly at his age forgotten about Fernando Rodney already? Just happened last year.

  36. Jandy says:

    Can’t score if you don’t shoot the puck.

  37. theplanisworking says:

    Or shoot the Hippo.

  38. Jandy says:

    Noooooo! No shooting the Hippos! G’Morning Hipposter :)

  39. theplanisworking says:

    Mornin Jandy……………… out the door…….. err Pond……. have a swimmingly swell day!

    GO PENSBUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oops, dyslexia kickin in.

    Glad Drew didnt get blown back to Kansas by the tornadowaterspoutthing yesterday.

    Now he can truly have the Final Word. ;)

  40. theplanisworking says:

    And here I just thought he was saying his Prayers, training real hard, taking his vitamins, and believing in Hulk Hogan, brother!!!! ;)

  41. 21sthebest says:

    Almost an hour and I’m still waiting.

  42. If you read Money Ball you learn that the closer is the most overrated position according to Brad Pitt (that was intentional & for humor). The assertion is made that any middle reliever can be turned into a closer and also that the closer stats are over inflated. I think that the previous closer and the current one prove that point dramatically.
    In the book Brad Pitt suggests that you trade you closer for maximum value. Now would be an excellent time to put Grilli on the block for a much needed SS or a real power bat. The last thing the Pirates should do is extend this dude’s contract.

  43. NMR says:

    The Pirates are 10th in the league in runs scored, by the way.

  44. Jandy says:

    have a good day, my friend :)

  45. Jandy says:

    not too shabby

  46. Jandy says:

    oh man, hope you weren’t holding your breath…you know, that turning blue thing…

  47. Nate83 says:

    The last two years they had a winning record with a run differential in the negatives. That is why most thought that the Pirates would eventually fall back to earth. If you keep outscoring your oppenant by .38 runs per games you are more then likely going to win more then you lose. If they keep that run differentual up you logically could expect them to go the rest of the year 5-10 games above .500. That would be 88-93 wins. That should get them in the playoffs. If they don’t finish ahead of the Cards and the Reds, who may end up with the best two records in the entire major leagues, this season would not be a disappointment.

    In relation to the Cards and Reds you are correct the numbers show they will start to fall behind those two if everything stays the same. Those two teams have ridiculous run differentials that are likely to regress a little. Teams are built diffferently. Colorado may win some games by 5,6,7 runs which makes their run differential look better but that still only counts for 1 win.

  48. NMR says:

    Pet peeve of mine lately. If you’re going to bend over backwards to come up with some statistical reasoning for an obvious outcome (that the Pirates will not go on to win 100+ games), at least make sure they’re factual.

  49. Jack Laurence says:

    Being a fan who keeps an eye on the stats is one thing; being a statistician is another. I am not a statistician. The runs per game and runs allowed per game ratio is something I just invented to try to figure out what’s happened so far this year and where the team might be going. Something simple and easy to understand.

    Frankly, I believe that many of the statistics we read and hear about – like consecutive games a hitter manages to get on base – are useless information that game annoucers use to fill up the air time.

    Of course the Pirates have heart. Big hearts. But so do the Cardinals and Reds. You can see it in their determination to win. You can see it, like that in Brandon Phillips the other day, in their anger.

    In his post-game interview yesterday, G. I. Jones said the reason he hit the ball so far (the first Pirate to hit one in the river) was that he was angry at himself for being thrown out earlier. Maybe that’s the key. Maybe these Buccos need to get angry from time to time.


  50. Jandy says:


  51. Jandy says:

    channeled fury…sounds good!

  52. Dom says:

    I know I successifully forgot about Fernando Rodney.

  53. Jandy says:

    Is that sustainable???

  54. NMR says:

    No, no you didn’t invent that. That would be Mr. Bill James.

  55. NMR says:

    But regardless, I agree with your assessment. That the Pirates will not be able to overtake the Reds and Cards.

  56. Nate83 says:

    I agree completely shoot the puck. Malkin and Kennedy were both guilty of trying to be too cute with the puck. Save the sportscenter highlights for the NBA and soccar goals.

  57. Jandy says:

    But we can still enjoy the ride :)

  58. Drew71 says:

    Just an hour more. Keep holding your breadth, 21.





  59. Drew71 says:

    Again with the humans.

    Did you have a Serbian Mind Meld?

  60. Bizrow says:

    So sounds like some roster moves are coming today for the PBC? Hughes supposedly coming and so is Reid.

    That was a darn tasty win yesterday.

    We need two W’s tonight

  61. NMR says:

    By all means.

    Just irks me as someone who has used advanced statistics in the past to simply suggest guys like Jeff Locke, Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, etc. could improve their performance only to be called an apologist, nerd, spawn of satan and now see every Joe in Pittsburgh with Baseball Reference bookmarked on their computer bend over backwards to finds ways of “proving” the Pirates are not good.

    Whew. I needed that. Carry on.

  62. Bizrow says:

    Thats what it sounds like, elbow discomfort

  63. Jack Laurence says:

    Before scoring five runs yeaterday, the Pirates were #13. You don’t count the Dodgers with two fewer games played. I was working with yesterday’s stats on Anyway, the Pirates rank in the league on runs scored was not a factor in the runs per game calculation.

  64. NMR says:

    24/7 had a funny tweet during the game. The dreaded right forearm tightness!

  65. Dom says:

    Who will replace him?

  66. Jack Laurence says:

    Never read Bill James. Didn’t know. To me, it was an original calculation.

  67. Jandy says:

    I’ll be greedy and second the two wins, Biz.

  68. Jandy says:


  69. Jandy says:

    How bout his depth?

  70. gregenstein says:

    This wouldn’t surprise me. Morris, Mazzaro, and likely Wilson are unavailable to pitch tonight. Hate to see it, but I bet Morris gets sent down just because he’s on an option. Gomez to the DL?

  71. Reid had been starting for Indy. No Super 2 to worry about with him.

  72. NMR says:

    Kudos to you, thats a smart way of thinking about it.

    James’ formula is called the Pythagorean Winning Percentage and as you suggested, is based on a ratio of runs scored over runs scored plus runs allowed. There’s a constant tacked on to simplify the long form, but I don’t really know what it does.

    The Pythag has the Pirates on pace to win 88 games. Juts as a frame of reference, it had the team on pace to win 91 about a week ago. This early in the season you’ll see big fluxuations like that.

    This formula assumes all runs are scored at random, which is also it’s biggest flaw. A team like the Pirates with a strong bullpen and good bench would be one that inevitably puts itself in position to win close games.

  73. gregenstein says:

    Because of the off days, they could go with 4 starters until June 13th and not have anyone pitch on “short rest”. My guess is they go with bullpen guys until that date.

  74. Zagurski could be in pinstripes soon if they still want him.

  75. 21sthebest says:

    I like this stat. The 5 teams in the NL that are currently in a playoff spot are the top 5 teams in least runs given up per game.

  76. NMR says:

    You have to think that Charlie Morton will almost certainly replace Gomez at this point.

  77. Milo Hamilton says:


    About Grilli, why don’t you just say it ?

  78. gregenstein says:

    Check that…June 15th against the Dodgers is the next time they’ll need a “5th starter” so to speak.

    That’s almost an entire DL stint. I’d go with the 4 you got since they’re all pitching pretty well.

  79. Dom says:

    His #s haven’t been that great in AAA. What about Andy Oliver? Does anyone know the date that we have till Cole can get promoted? I believe it was the middle of June but I might be thinking of July. Personally, I’d rather have Cole get a few more starts before he gets promoted to the Buccos rotation.

  80. gregenstein says:

    Unfortunately I think you are right. Morton’s a nice option to have around, but I don’t get why some seem to be clamoring for him. Especially with him just coming off Tommy John surgery.

  81. JohninOshkosh says:


  82. Patrick(ri) says:

    Hey, I just follow the leader – my mea culpa for not liking hockey.

  83. Kevin says:

    I may be delusional but I thought the penguins played pretty well in game 1. They just didn’t bury their chances… and they had many many opportunities to put pucks in gaping nets. Toward the end of the Ottawa series, our shooters were really on.. finding spots where Anderson didnt really have a chance. While Boston’s better at blocking shots and clearing rebounds (so far), Rask has left plenty of room to bury some pucks.

    We need to start gm2 off on the right foot, need to get that first goal in the first 5 minutes of the 1st. I think they should atleast to release some pressure. The penguins definitely were pressing from the 2nd period on. I think that’s why Boston got the open looks.

  84. gregenstein says:

    There’s no specific date that one is guaranteed to be clear of Super 2 status. I think it’s likely he spends the rest of June in AAA just because he hasn’t really dominated.

  85. Damon says:

    I’d love to have the still-frame picture on this video post of Jones’ HR as my desktop wallpaper….he looks like the natural….awesome

  86. NMR says:

    He’s rehabbing. His numbers should be taken no more seriously than if this were Spring Trainng, meaning hardly at all.

  87. Is it just me or does that picture at the beginning of the Justin Wilson interview look like Jason Bay with a shorter chin?

  88. gregenstein says:

    Maybe because he has no hard evidence…only a very large statistical anomaly. Also because it’s really not fair to make a direct accusation without said hard evidence.

  89. Jandy says:

    I agree…for the first two periods. Then the Pens got sloppy. Need to play with discipline. I’m thinking tonight’s overall should be a bit different.

  90. Damon says:

    Totally agree with you Kevin. I think the 8 game layoff was harder for the Pens offensive timing than it was for Boston’s more defensive system. An early goal would be wonderful.

    My biggest worry would be Vokoun finally having that average or below average game that he hasn’t had yet. That would be horrible timing.

  91. This just in. Grilli not juicing. He has enough of his own juices. Story at 11. (or 10 in CST)

  92. Jandy says:

    It’s just you ;)

  93. Couldn’t find the plate in his last outing.

  94. NMR says:

    All this talk of juice and not a single Jack Lalanne reference?

    You guys are better than this :)

  95. Andy Oliver, not Cole.

  96. Drew71 says:

    Took me 20 minutes to figure out the Pirates aren’t playing a doubleheader

  97. Jandy says:

    is that grape or cranberry????

  98. Dom says:

    That 2008 Pirates draft was not too shabby.

    It currently has four major leaguers including Pedro, Mercer, Grossman, and Justin Wilson. Plus one more if you include Tanner Scheppes.

    There is also Chase J D’Arnaud and Matt Hague who might be decent bench players in the future.

  99. Jandy says:


  100. Drew71 says:

    Speaking of chins, how many does Zags have?

  101. Grossman sent down over the weekend, but his future is bright.

  102. He lost a couple the other night throwing 110 pitches in 2 innings or whatever it was.

  103. NMR says:

    Not sure about the “clamoring” remark, but 94 mph sinkers don’t grow on trees.

    You see what Jeff Locke is doing with high groundball rates and this infield defense. Now picture him rihgt handed with a better fastball and better curveball.

  104. Bizrow says:

    Been thinking the same thing about both of them, but if Gomar is put on the DL, you’d only need to make of the above moves for now. Supposedly Hughes’ agend was quoted as saying Jared had been called up

  105. Jack Laurence says:

    I was not suggesting that this Pirates team is “not good.” It is good, very good. It’s just not as good as the Cardinals and Reds, at this stage. As we all know, there are some young players on the team who have not been thoroughly tested in the bigs. How well players like Wilson, Presley, Mercer, Marte and Locke respond to the pressures of the summer may determine how well the team does overall. No one I’ve seen on here seems to be suggesting the Bucs are not good.

  106. Bizrow says:

    Reid is not on the 40 man roster though.

    Saw Stetson went deep again last night, yawn….

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t have any stat to back it up, but I think, like last year, the Pirates offense will be better than it has been (and score more runs per game) for probably at least half of the remaining season.

  108. Lad9 says:

    I really value all of the medical information on this channel.

  109. Sisyphus says:

    I think that their hitting is likely to improve. Don’t know if it will improve enough, but I think they’ll wind up in the top half of the league in runs scored. I’d be shocked if they won the division, but a wild card birth is very possible at this point. Still a long way to go, though.

  110. JohninOshkosh says:

    I wouldn’t expect, nor would I approve of, Dejan to make an overt accusation. Only “journalists” this side of TMZ or the Ottawa Sun would tread those waters.

    I do find it interesting, though, that Dejan chose to field a PED question about Grilli during the chat, a place in which Dejan holds complete editorial proprietorship. Clearly, he wanted his readers to understand his position about such accusations by journalists.

    Today’s entry is interesting in that he highlights the striking statistical anomaly while noting the significance of Grilli’s age. (Bartolo Colon, anyone ?)

    I think if I were a juror I would understand the moral force of his posts. They are begging us to consider the possibility without necessarily assigning guilt.

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    Clint had a bit of an interesting comment after the game when asked why Jeanmar didn’t come back out for the second. He did mention the forearm tightness, but then went on to say something like, if a guy tells you “his elbow” is not good to go you can’t put him out there.

  112. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for saying this. Everyone assumes you should win only 50% of your 1 run games. I do believe it not sustainable to win 70-80% of those games but there is no reason a team set up with a great bullpen, good bench and great defense can’t win 60-65% of these games. Teams like the Giants, Pirates and Orioles are set up to win games like this.

    I also feel like the way Marte, Cutch and Snider cover ground in the outfield should not go unnoticed. They are taking away a lot of doubles. Stuff like that all adds up to winning the close games more consistantly and it does not come and go as offense usually does.

  113. Sisyphus says:

    To borrow a quote from John Kruk, he’s not an athlete, he’s a ballplayer.

  114. NMR says:

    @Jack – Honest mistake. Forgot a word. Meant to say “not THIS good”. I dind’t mean to make your argument more than it was.

    I did find it funny, though, how you could go from saying that the future does not look bright in your first paragraph to suggesting they could make the playoffs in your last.

    Just another ho hum playoff birth, eh? :)

  115. Nate83 says:

    Absolutely. The way Morton was pitching before the injury was impressive. Tremendous movement on all of pitches. Ridiculous ground ball rate and very efficiant. Really is a better right hand version of Locke. Locke may have a better mental make up but when Morton is right his stuff is as good as anyone of this staff.

    Dare I say if Cole pieces together a string of 3-4 good starts and Locke continues how he is pitching we have a problem. A really good one but still a problem.

  116. Kevin says:

    growth hormone is considered a PED right? I recommend growth hormone to everyone by the way. Helps you keep muscle mass and recover quicker from injury. Doesn’t at all have the effect of blowing up your head and neck size. You would have to admit that Grilli looks fresh and fantastic everytime out there so far.

  117. Jim S. says:

    They have procedures in place.

  118. Truer words were never spoken about both of them.

  119. Drew71 says:

    There is someone on my work team who is from Boston. VERY Boston.

    Think the Hopper.

    I am going to walk up to her desk and drop a box on the floor.

    I’ve taped Penguins logos on all sides of the box.

    Will say: “start packing” and walk away.

  120. Jim S. says:

    The Reds play in a park that allows a ton of runs. Their pitching staff is better than it appears, and their offense is worse than it appears. This is the case for Cincinnati every year. PNC is an extreme pitchers park, so the opposite effect. Run differential per game is a great determinant of how good a team truly is. The Bucs are a good, but not a great team. I don’t know of anyone saying they are a great team. Cincinnati and St. Louis may both be better.

  121. The problem with Morton’s outing yesterday for Indy wasn’t anything but control. He threw 86 pitches in 4.2 innings, only 49 strikes. He walked 4 and gave up a HR.

    Like NMR said, it’s still Spring Training for him.

  122. Thundercrack says:

    If the Pirates sent down a youngster who had just hit .198 and struck out 30% of the time, would we think his future is bright?


  123. Sarah says:

    Great point. Long layoff affecting the offense of the Pens more than the Bs signature physical D.

    I am still terrified about the sloppiness the Pens show in the D zone.
    Really they can be awful without the puck, positionally, awareness, everything.
    That has to get a lot better, starting tonight.

    Composure too. Without that, all else matters little.

  124. Jim S. says:

    RIP, Dingbat!

  125. Bizrow says:

    Sounded like he showed good plate discipline, yeah, the average stunk, but that could come, he’s 22 or 23?

    All the other guys Dom listed, were college players.

    IMO Grossman has a shot to be a decent player ;-)

  126. Dom says:

    The East Brady native’s prognosis at this time does look to be favorably, though.

  127. NMR says:

    After being fortunate enough to experience the train wreck that is Dusty Baker, I’m going to make a point of backing off my criticism of Clint Hurdle.

    Good lord, is there any worse manager in the National League?

    It’s is still unfathomable to me that he was either stubborn or dumb enough to pitch Broxton against Jones in that situation. Truly. I’m not sure you can overstate how stupid that was.

    Jones’ OPS against righties is TWO HUNDRED FIFTY NINE points higher than against lefties. Jones has a career OPS of .670 after the 6th inning? Why? Because any idiot knows to throw a lefty if the game is close.

    On top of that, he critcizes his starter Matt Latos for not being able to throw 100+ pitches and go deeper into games. Even went as far as saying he’s cost the team wins.

    Unbelievably incompetent.

  128. NMR says:

    Get ready to duck.

    I got my arse handed to me for suggesting this a couple weeks ago.

  129. Jim S. says:

    I put my rose-colored glasses on this morning, and even after a day and a half to digest the game from Saturday night, I still think the offensive skill and talent disparity between the Pens and Bruins was startling – in favor of the Pens! That does not mean the Pens will come back and win the series. It just means if offensive talent rules out, and I think it usually does, the Pens will still win this series. I recognize that Boston probably has the more reliable defense, but I didn’t see a problem with the Penguins getting quality opportunities. What I saw was a problem with them hitting the goalpost 73 times. Ok, just 4 times. But, that was 4 times we beat their goalie. He played well and made a lot of quality saves. But, he was beaten each time we hit the post. He may not be so fortunate the rest of the series, as we continue to shake off the rust and our shooting gets sharper. None of the goals were Vokoun’s fault. A fortunate deflection for Boston off Martin that would have scored on anyone, plus another deflection I believe for #2, and a bad defensive breakdown for #3.

  130. Thundercrack says:

    If Grossman was up with the Pirates and had those stats, my uneducated guess is that many people would be criticizing NH for another bad draft pick. :-)

    I also think he could be a decent player….4th OF type.

  131. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    This goes back to his comments last year that everybody was in a up roar about…he’s not just striking out the 7-8-9 guys, but the big names on the teams and the heart of the lineups, even more impressive.

  132. JohninOshkosh says:

    Agreed. Never has been able to handle pitching staffs. Mark Prior’s mangled arm as exhibit A. Only manager I can think of that has choked away a chance to win a championship with three different organizations.

    Disclaimer: can’t stand the guy.

  133. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    It helps them strike guys out, tighten that slider…….(complete sarcasm)

  134. Thundercrack says:

    Last night I went on the website of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Many of the people who posted there are not thrilled with Dusty.

    Even the GM took some grief.

  135. NMR says:

    It’s friggin June 3rd!!!

    Show me a reliever that DOESN’T look fresh.


  136. Jim S. says:

    This has been studied over time, and more often than not, weaker teams have a higher winning % in 1 & 2 run games than their overall winning %, AND stronger teams have a lower winning % in 1 & 2 run games than their overall winning %. It stands to reason that good teams win a higher % of their games by a wider margin simply because they are good teams. They don’t leave as many games to chance, which is essentially what happens in a 1 or 2 run game. Weaker teams, on the other hand, get blown out a lot and are not on the winning side of blowouts very often. So, when the game is close, their chance of winning increases.

    Having said all of that, there is no rule that says this all has to even out right now or even this season. Teams often have skewed records in close games over the course of a season. Baltimore’s 1-run game record last season is a great example of that. They continued to win them all year long. It could be that this will be a magical season for the Bucs, in which they continue to win close games at a very high rate. Maybe they will continue to come up with key hits at the right time, and maybe their bullpen will continue to come through as it has.

    I am just pointing out tendencies that rule out over a large sample size.

  137. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Agree. Compare lineups and the other 2 teams are just better.

    The pitching staffs? I don’t have any real complaints, I would like another starter added to satisfy, but we’ll see what happens now with Jeanmar hurt.

  138. Jim S. says:

    I agree with NMR that we likely will not keep up with St. Louis and Cincinnati – although stranger things have happened. And we can, conceivably, still make the playoffs in 3rd place in this division.

  139. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m not following you, NMR. How are you suggesting PED’s affect pitching performance?

  140. Damon says:

    They were getting better with that last series, so hopefully Bylsma can point to that to get them headed to a more sound game. Most of those interviewed admitted they made mistakes here and there and that they need to be better, so here’s hoping they listen.

    Oh, and if they lose their composure again – not learning from the Philly series debacle last year – they will be down 2-0 headed to Boston.

    Bylsma usually makes changes to the line ups after losses, so maybe Eaton, Niskanen and/or Kennedy need to come out to shake things up.

  141. NMR says:

    Ha, yeah, you’ll have a little grief coming when you double down on $37m worth of Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Ludwick.

  142. tdb1977 says:

    I guess if you aren’t cheating, you cant be this good. *eye roll*

  143. Bizrow says:

    I gotcha, that is quite possible ;-)

  144. Bizrow says:

    Good comments on Dusty, he could be an ace in our hole come later in the season.

    Lets hope he doesn’t get fired before he blows the club/pitching staff up

  145. Jim S. says:

    He is signed through 2014. I doubt they would extend a 36 yr old at this point.

    I don’t disagree that people put a greater emphasis on closing games than what it deserves. No doubt about that. But, Grilli is also pitching better than anyone in their pen. Even with his performance, they would still not get a solid power hitter or a good SS for a 36 yr old guy that will only pitch 75 innings. So, I think that is a moot argument. But, just because closing is overrated does not take away from the amazing job Grilli is doing. They are not looking to trade him right now, nor should they, unless some team loses its mind and offers them what you are suggesting, Hank.

  146. Jim S. says:

    He has a regression that is suddenly starting to act up.

  147. CFJohnsn says:

    @Jack Laurence,

    I’m not going to try to completely dismiss your theory outright because there is merit there. One thing that I would like to see if you considered though is the home ball park factor?

    Yes, the Reds are scoring a lot more than the Pirates, but they are doing so mostly at home where the ball flies out like a butterfly on a warm summer day.

    Great America Park has the third highest HR rate in MLB. The Reds’ team OPS is almost 100 points higher at home than on the road so far this season. They’ve played three less games at home than on the road so far this season yet have ten more HRs.

    The Pirates. on the other hand, play in the stingiest stadium in all of MLB with regards to HRs. They are just the opposite of the Reds in that they have seven more HRs hit on the road than at home in seven less games played.

    While your theory is fine for making a cursory call, without taking into consideration ancillary factors, it really isn’t going to be that useful of a prediction tool.

    It’s a lot easier to score a lot of runs when you are able to hit three run home runs at a crazy pace than it is when you have to scratch for runs because of the park you are playing in.

    Also, I’m not saying that you are wrong or that the Reds and Cards (who’s stadium is the 10 easiest to hit HRs and score in) aren’t good teams. You may very well be and they certainly are. But to take a single (or in this case, a pair) of statistics and say that the outcome is inevitable because of them is not really wise in my opinion.

  148. Arriba Wilver says:

    Well, at least you won’t get asked about how your birthdays are. :-)

  149. Kevin says:

    I know Dejan’s on total lockdown mode of even discussing the possibility of Fleury but I miss him. I especially miss his next game after a loss when he goes into super goalie mode and shuts down the other team. But it is what it is and we’ll stick with Vokoun to any bitter end at this point.

  150. Jim S. says:

    Reid’s an interesting guy. Has kicked around for awhile, but never really got a legit shot even though he has probabel deserved it in other organizations. Another extreme GB pitcher. Maybe he will seize the opportunity he has been waiting for. He is also pretty well stretched out for multiple innings.

  151. Jim S. says:

    I agree with Gregenstein. Cole is not commanding his pitches, and therefore not dominating as well as he should for his talent.

  152. Amen. Check his pix now with his college ones. Not much difference other than hair.

    Check known cheaters, Bonds, A-Rod. Size matters.

  153. NMR says:

    Reds starters are off the charts. Cards seem to be above average, despite youth.

    I personally don’t believe the Pirates have less depth, 1-8, in their lineup. What I do believe they lack are the studs that Cinci and St Louis have to make up for what the other lack.

    Reds have the best hitter in the NL, plus Choo, Bruce, and Phillips.

    Cards have Yadi, Beltran, and Holliday.

  154. Jim S. says:

    I am as intrigued by the potential of Morton as anyone, and I really want it to work for him this time. But, let’s all be honest. He has never consistently put up great numbers – minors or majors. I said consistently. He sure looks nasty at times, but there has always been something missing. I hope he has it figured out now, because we really need him badly.

  155. Damon says:

    I think if the Pens lose game 2, no matter how Vokoun plays, you’ll see Fleury in game 3.

  156. danch70 says:

    I agree that the offensive talent looks to be in favor of the Pens. I agree that the Pens system looks fine – they controlled much of the play all throughout game 1. I agree, that keeping Vokoun in is the best option (do I even need to say that?)

    A few tweaks is all the Pens need to do. I still like Igninla and Martin on the point of the PP, but it doesn’t seem that will happen. Let’s give Vitale a spot somewhere. Let’s put a match under Sutter’s hiney.

    Most important, though, is attitude. Boston will give them a PLAYOFF series. Islanders had no goalie and Ottawa just gave them too much space. Playing against boston, however, will be like playing rubbing sandpaper on a flesh wound. They will finish their checks, they will put sticks in passing lanes, they will block shots, they will crash the net, they will be in you face up and down the ice for 60 minutes. The will back check, forecheck, side check, and check down.

    Goals won’t be pretty they’ll be fought for. real estate won’t be for sale.

    Will the Pens LOVE that? That is my question. Will they LOVE playoff hockey? Or, will they throw a fit because they won’t be able to “get to their game.”

    You have to love it in order to win it. Morrow loves it – but man he looks like he is skating in quicksand. Iginla loves it. Murray and Orpik love it. Cooke feasts on it. Sutter looks uninterested. Letang, Malkin and Crosby look frustrated by it.

    Everyone has to buy in, especially the leaders. If they do, they win in 5, 6, maybe 7. If they don’t, they lose in 5. Next 2 games will tell. Hopefully, tonight, we’ll see the pens thrive in 60 minutes of sandpaper hockey.

  157. Kevin says:

    I agree totally and really hope we are sharp for tonight. Can’t afford another 4-post night.

  158. Jack Laurence says:

    NMR, with all due respect, please allow me to suggest that you are doing a bit of nit-picking this morning.

    For me to suggest that the full-season future “does not look bright,” as I did, can be interpreted a number of ways. What I was thinking was: “bright,” as in winning the NL Central.

    Eight teams make the playoffs; two get to the WS. To win a wild card place would, indeed, be an achievement for this Pirates team, given the lack of success in the past 20 years. But, the Bucs’ low run production rate so far does not seem to me to make it likely.

  159. Jim S. says:

    I read it was at least 80 feet over the fence … in a pitcher’s park.

  160. Arriba Wilver says:

    I also think it’s unlikely they can overtake the Reds and/or Cardinals. But agree with your points, CFJ. And there’s a reason they play the games. Any theory right now based on statistics or whatever is kind of like a tautology. If all three teams keep playing like they are for the rest of the season do you have to look at anything much beyond the standings to conclude it won’t happen that the Pirates will overtake the Reds and Cardinals?

    (No offense intended, Jack. I thought your posts were interesting, and welcome to the blog.)

  161. Naterosboro says:

    Sporting thoughts on a must-see-mostly-rainy Monday…

    * Watched the documentary “Knuckleball” last night. If you are a baseball fan, I suggest you check it out. It chronicles sort of the “history” of the knuckleball and tells the story of the most recent 2 [knuckleballers], Tim Wakefield & R.A. Dickey. Great stories from those guys but also Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough and others.

    * I agree with Kevin in that I didn’t think the Penguins played that badly in Game 1, and I think the final score was a little misleading. That said, Game 2 now becomes huge. You don’t want to have to go to Boston needing 2 wins.

    * This is why the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to obtain in professional sports (although, I’d argue the Barclay’s Premier League or Uefa Champions League are harder). You can play a pretty damn good game and still lose 3-0.

    * I’m alarmed by this recent trend of officiating that awards penalties based on injury. Guys can get injured on clean, hard hits. The NHL (and NFL) needs to send out a memo.

    * Sidney Crosby showed why a lot of fans around the league hate him at the end of the 2nd period in Game 1. He started that with Rask. Don’t get indignant when Tuukka pokes you back. Now, if he was trying to maybe get in Rask’s head for the 3rd period I can understand a little bit, but I think our Captain needs to be better than that.

    * Evgeni Malkin will be Man on Fire for the rest of this series. Hopefully the coaching staff will sit him down and let him know that it’s good to stick up for teammates, but not at the expense of him missing 1/4 of the final period in Game 1 of the ECF. I look for him to be MVP of this series, and to grab the game winner in Game 7 (it’s going 7….trust me) to send the Pens into the finals. Book it.

    * Shoutout to Vin Mazzaro, Bryan Morris, Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli & Justin Wilson for throwing up 10 shutout innings to end the game yesterday. Against a damn good Reds lineup (albeit w/o Phillips). Shark Tank? Damn right.

    * Is it really that incredible that it took a Pirates player 12 years to hit a HR into the Allegheny river [on a fly in a game], when only 1 previous player in all of MLB had done it (former Bucco Darlye Ward splashed down as a member of the Cubbies)? Still an awesome achievement for Garrett. And thanks to Jonathon Broxton. He serves ‘em up good.

    * Over the last 2 weeks, Starling Marte is 5-32 (.156; dropping his avg. to .287 for the season) with 6Ks. Slumpn.

    * Over the same stretch, Pedro Alvarez is 6-22 (.272; raising his season avg. to .199) with 3 HRs, 8 RBI & 10Ks. All or nothing.

    * Count me as one that does not think Jason Grilli is using performance enhancers. Maybe his numbers hint at that, but nothing about his physical appearance points to that. In this case, I’ve gotta use the eye test (statistics be damned!).

    * If Jeanmar Gomez has to miss a start, and we need a spot guy, I again nominate Justin Wilson (as I did earlier this year in place of J. Sanchez). That kid has certainly earned it. Now we need the team to show that if you perform, you are rewarded.



  162. Jim S. says:

    Jason Bay and his long chin.

  163. Jim S. says:

    The “Hopper” guy commercials just can’t be avoided on radio. I can’t take them anymore. I have often switched from one station to another, and it is on both. So annoying.

  164. Lad9 says:

    Same on Dusty. Do not understand how he has managed to get three MLB managerial jobs, especially with his track record on young pitchers. I honestly don’t think he is a real smart guy, and as exhibit A I would cite the comments on the Cueto – Garza non-incident last week. Or letting his 3 year old son be a batboy in the World Series and almost getting him stomped.

  165. Thundercrack says:

    Is it really that incredible that it took a Pirates player 12 years to hit a HR into the Allegheny river [on a fly in a game],

    I’m surprised it wasn’t Grilli. I mean, some think he’s juicing.

    For a spot starter, I don’t mess with Justin Wilson. Bring up someone from Indy.

  166. Jim S. says:

    I take this opportunity to once again point out that during a Cubs game at Wrigley several years back, he actually had a rib dinner in the styrofoam box delivered to him and ate it in the dugout, leaning up against the fence. Has nothing to do with his managerial skills, of course. I just found it astounding and very amusing. Ok, now I return you to your regularly scheduled bashing of Johnny B Baker.

  167. Thundercrack says:

    Someone was on that site criticizing his use of Broxton and Chapman—saying that he was just going ‘by the book’.

    And that someone was not me.

  168. Kevin says:

    Offensive talent means nothing if you can’t bury your chances. You then become a very good team that cant score and plays mediocre defense. And that’s not a winning combination.

  169. NMR says:

    I deserved that, Jack. I apologize for the picking of nits.

    I was being honest about your intuitive run differential theory, well done. Hope you got something out of the Pythag background info.

    Post more often, and tell me to shut it when necessary. :)

  170. Interesting word, AW. Tautology. Had to look that up.

    Would that be like saying “tooth dentist” (as opposed to a foot dentist or eye dentist) or “green peas” (as opposed to red or blue ones)? They say both here in KY.

    Very astute of you. First time I’ve heard it.

  171. Jandy says:

    Oh man, only Drew ;)

  172. Thundercrack says:

    Every time we play the Reds Bob Walk and John Wehner do a great job of pointing out the weak spots of the Reds. Especially bonehead plays.

    Brandon Phillips is a favorite target – and rightly so.

    And I thought yesterday Walk did a good job pointing out Votto. He seemed to be sleepwalking on defense at times.

  173. Jim S. says:

    Totally agree on Great American Ballpark vs. PNC, and made that point myself earlier.

  174. Jim S. says:

    True, Kevin. Regardless of how I think the Pens should have won Game 1, the fact is they didn’t. Boston now has the advantage, and talent means nothing if we don’t capitalize on that advantage. Tonight is everything right now.

  175. Jim S. says:


    I didn’t know about this Knuckleball documentary. Where can I access it? My son loves that stuff.

    On the Jones “wet on a fly” blast, I think the reason it does not happen often is because there is a pretty narrow section of the field where you can do it. If you go too close to the RF line, you risk hitting it foul. If you go too far to RC, you have to hit it a lot farther. They said yesterday, My Other Brother Darryle Ward’s shot was 479 and GIJ’s shot was 463.

    Agree that Malkin is key tonight. I like PO’d Geno.

  176. Bizrow says:

    Humbly nominate the above thoughts on Grilli as Post Du Jour.

  177. Sarah says:

    I guess….but really I think we have to see a serious meltdown by TV or an injury before MAF is back.
    The risks are too great.

    MAF at his best may hold the Bs to one goal last game….maybe a post goes in and we get an OT.

    Or…MAF in current mode, it could be 8-0.

    Much safer to have Steady Eddie Vokoun. Won’t steal the game, won’t lose it either.

    But I stand by my original thought that TV at his best cannot win the Pens a Cup, unless the D starts playing like the NJDevils, which they won’t.

    Or the O score 4 a game….which is unlikely, but possible.

    Basically I think they’re gambling that solid but not elite goaltending is all they need. Leave the rest to the O.

    That style hasn’t worked in awhile….but maybe the pens O is actually good enough to pull it off. I guess we’ll see!

  178. Kevin says:

    Thanks for sharing that. I didn’t get to watch the game yesterday. Was working on my farm. Very beautiful hit. And ya, he was definitely due for one of those.

  179. Naterosboro says:


    I hear you on bringing someone up, but I also don’t think it would have a profound effect on Justin. He’s been a starter his whole career until this season.

    I just look at it as a reward. “You’ve done a damn good job for us so far this year Justin”…that sort of thing.

  180. NMR says:

    Jim, I believe it is a bit misleading to lump the entirety of Charlie Morton’s career together.

    I think just about everyone would agree that the major mechanical and pitch selection change of 2011 made him a completely different pitcher.

    Now the injury of 2012 certainly makes it difficult to know how, wait for it, sustainable that success may have been. But I have about as much use for analyzing Charlie Morton pre-2011 as I do analyzing Jason Grilli as a starter.

  181. Sisyphus says:

    If you’re going to judge steroid users based on physical appearance, you’re going to be wrong a heckuva lot more often than you’re right. Does Ryan Braun have the physical appearance of a steroid user? A whole slew of the guys busted for using are minor league shortstops who struggle to hit the ball out of the infield. A dramatic change in performance is an unreliable indicator. Physical appearance is even worse.

  182. Damon says:

    I just looked at the MLB schedule on ESPN, and it shows Morton as the scheduled starter on Saturday….

  183. Jim S. says:

    When Grilli does not pitch as well next season – and this is inevitable because no one can be this sharp and dominating every single outing for 2 years – I am predicting it will be said that it only happened because stopped taking PEDa as he was afraid he was going to get caught.

  184. Naterosboro says:

    I found it on NetFlix, but here’s a link to the IMDB page where you can see a trailer, and purchase at Amazon. You can also probably download it if you do a google search (but that’s illegal, and I can’t adovcate it ;-) ).

  185. JohninOshkosh says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard that story. Thanks, Jim.

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re right about the definition, Lucky. But I was using it more from a “logic” definition (which is where I learned it) that a statement is “unconditionally true by virtue of its form alone.”

    And these statistical theories are all assuming everybody plays the last 2/3 of the season the way they played the first 1/3. If that’s true, then most likely all three teams will end up in the same place they are now, without getting into much more detail.

    That they all three will “sustain” what they’ve done so far is probably the least likely outcome, for better or worse, based on my experience as a baseball fan for 40+ years. (And as a human). :-)

  187. NMR says:

    Nor was it me, but it was absolute truth.

    That is how insanely stupid bullpen management has become. Not only do we have Proven Closers, but now we have Proven Setup Men. Three years from now someone will be b*tching about the Pirates lacking a Proven 6th Inning Reliever.

    I submit bullpen management as Case Study #1 of how LITTLE advanced metrics have actually changed the game of baseball.

  188. Jim S. says:

    Just saying, NMR, that Morton gets a whole lot more credit than most pitchers with career 5.04 ERAs. I believe he is in that range. We have seen him string together several dominating starts for the Bucs, and he had a solid full season for us. But, I just think he has been far from reliable, overall, and a lot of fans might be pinning more hopes in him than is deserved.

  189. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:


  190. Naterosboro says:

    Barry Lamar Bonds

    Alex Rodriguez

    Roger Clemens

    Mark McGwire

    Sammy Sosa

    Manny Ramirez

    But I do understand your point. I guess it all depends on what that person is using.

    Count me as 1 that thinks then that Jason isn’t using HGH (b/c of appearance).

  191. Jim S. says:

    +1 Ugly 3rd period.

  192. Kevin says:

    didn’t pedro 1-hop into the river like 2-3 weeks ago? Trying to remember but that struck me as being more right-center. I only remember it because Blass tried and failed to track the ball on the replay like 5+ times.

  193. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Brad Pitt wrote a book?? On baseball?

  194. 21sthebest says:

    I’d like to declare the Cardinals and Reds paper champions. I mean, why does everyone seem to be assuming, at least that’s what it appears to me, that this is the way both of them are going to roll the rest of the year? They are both very good, maybe even great, teams. At least right now. I guess I’m just a one day at a time guy.

  195. Jim S. says:

    Great post, Damon! You are right. He knew it was gone instantly, and just admired it … not in an arrogant way IMO … But, there just was nothing else to do but watch. Cutch seemed to get caught up in watching on the basepaths also. Sometimes you just know it is a HR.

  196. BillyBaduka says:

    Those were the days…

  197. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Oh and, he is signed through next season as well, not sure about an option, but I’m sure there’s one there.

    I’m not against a trade, especially when you 8th inning guy has experience with closing and is a lot cheaper, but what SS would Grilli fetch in return?

  198. Arriba Wilver says:

    I totally agree with your last post, Jim S. There just isn’t enough of a track record there, even without the TJ surgery, to rely on with any degree of confidence. And I like Charlie.

  199. Not great, either one.

    Games have to be played. Injuries happen. Guys falter. Farm systems falter. Many variables.

    Your observations are spot-on.

  200. Naterosboro says:

    Case #1: Vin Mazzaro

  201. JHadar says:

    Jack —

    First of all welcome. The following is an observation and not an argument.

    When the Pirates were down and many folks thought that they would never get good you used to hear the refrain “The only stat that matters is Wins!” quite a bit.

    Now that they’re good and a lot of folks are sort of expecting them to get bad there’s all sorts of interesting stats to prove that.

    I think it was Bart Giamatti that said “Baseball is designed to break your heart.

    Personally, I believe that in this game anything can happen. And it usually does.

  202. NMR says:

    Predominently through decreasing recovery time.

    NOT increased velocity and strikeouts or reduced walks.

  203. Naterosboro says:

    Who said you can’t eat & manage?


  204. Arriba Wilver says:

    He did.

  205. Dom says:

    Forgive me but I am still not a believers. In fact, I still think we’ll finish below .500.

    The hitting probably will not be better and it could decrease as the season lets on. Someone like Marte might not be as good as the first 1/3 of the season would have you assume. Then, the pitching has nowhere to go but down. Also, we really haven’t had much in terms of injuries. If someone like AJ or Cutch goes down we’re in trouble.

    That’s not a recipe for success.

  206. I like the human part.


  207. Kevin says:

    Well just saying.. people keep mentioning about no physical characteristics (head size, muscle tone, etc). There’s PEDs that do not have an overt physical change. And, as someone talking from experience, just wanted everyone to know that. Growth hormone is very much a maintenance drug that would make it more attractive to a pitcher. Not saying Grilli is or isn’t. Just pointing out, in general, that its not always “obvious” changes.

  208. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Maybe he’ll get called up then……needed that extra power.

  209. NMR says:

    I won’t speak for Hank, but my trade proposal ONLY went off the assumption that somebody out there was willing to overpay.

    I can’t tell you what SS Grilli would fetch, because I personally wouldn’t trade any of ‘em for one year of a closer.

    But as long as GM’s keep paying guys like Brandon League and Jonathon Broxton $7m+ a year, nothing would surprise me.

  210. Arriba Wilver says:

    I said that above, in a much more complicated/convoluted way, at 12:08. Wish I would have waited. :-)

  211. cmat0829 says:

    I cant stand Dusty Baker, but let’s be more specific. If you are criticizing him for not going to a LEFTHANDER in the 8th to pitch to Jones, you need to point out:

    1) They already used their bullpen lefty, Manny Parra in the 6th inning.
    2) It would require them to bring in Chapman for a 5-out save as he is the only other leftie.

    Fair game to criticize Dusty all you want, perhaps he shouldn’t have used Parra so early, maybe you think he should pitch Chapman so much his arm falls off in July :)….but facts be facts.

  212. Dom says:

    Great minds must think alike.

  213. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He sure doesn’t look like someone that can throw 98. What is he? 12?

  214. Arriba Wilver says:


  215. Jim S. says:

    I think the ballpark teams play in often dictates how they approach the structure of their team. Every team tries to have the best pitching staff they can, which is a given.

    As for position players, I think the Reds are looking for offensive production, first and foremost. Of course, they want guys who can also play strong defense, but that is not as important to them as offense. So, they went out and got Choo and plugged him into the most important defensive position in the OF. He gets on base at a .450 clip, and they live with what most observes describe as average to below average defense. They started the year with Ludwick in LF, which tells you the same thing about how they value that position as well. Those are just a couple of examples, but no one this side of Thommmm and Marty Brennaman is accusing Votto of being the next Keith Hernandez defensively. Brandon Phillips can mash, and he has a reputation of being a wizard with the glove. I have my doubts about that. At the very least, I think he embellishes plays in the field to make himself look better.

    Anyway, I think there is a concerted effort on the part of the Bucs to try to field a top notch defensive team and supplement it with a pitching staff that throws GBs and gets K’s. They often give up some offense (Barmes, anyone?) to ensure they catch the ball. That is also why Jordy has had a difficult time taking hold of SS in their minds.

    I don’t think either strategy is necessarily better. It is about who can execute it better in the long run.

  216. Jandy says:

    The only line up changes at the skate this morning:
    Morrow and TK changed places. Morrow now on third line.

  217. Drew71 says:

    Just did it.

    She didn’t understand. (She IS from Boston.)

    She looked at the box and asked, “what’s this for?”

    I said, “personal items”.

  218. pattonbb says:

    I agree that the “closer” is greatly overrated when it comes to payroll. But teams who believe they are in contention do not trade their closer. Ever.

    And my opinion…..there’s no way a 36 yr old Grilli, by himself, brings any impact bat in a trade. Maybe they could add a couple names and pull off one of those so-called “package deals”.

  219. Jim S. says:

    Thanks. Netflix, it is!

  220. Jim S. says:

    Yes, and Blass was funny on that.

  221. Jim S. says:

    Plus-age, Lucky (++++).

  222. cmat0829 says:

    Some Monday thoughts:

    I love that Clint Hurdle “tipped his cap” to the PIrates team coming off the field after an incredible W yesterday… to fall behind 4 runs in the 1st, to lose the starting pitcher, and to have to claw back against their nemesis Latos and to beat Broxton, that is an incredible effort. I don’t care if it is sustainable or what it means outside of those few hours yesteday…these men competed and they won. And that is damn good. Damn good.

    One thing you won’t see on any geek-o-zoid sites that folks love to peruse….how much CONFIDENCE breeds success. No doubt in my mind the entire bullpen is feeding off of Grilli/Melancon…they are throwing strikes and pitching with incredible confidence. The other impact is on the other team..they can’t be coming to the plate with a ton of confidence given how well the shark tank is performing. There have been myriad articles written about the psychology of the 9th inning vs. the 8th inning..and if anything the pressure is more on the hitters in the 9th …the 8th I feel is the hardest inning to get through, but that is my humble opinion.

    And yes, the Pirates will not make the playoffs and overtake the Reds/Cards unless they :

    Get MUCH better offensively, starting with hitting with RISPs.
    Get a 5th starter that can be consistently reliable
    Plug in some more bullpen depth to relieve workload
    Get veteran bullpen arms for the stretch run (to avoid relying on Wilson/Morris, etc. “first go-around”).

    I don’t need to stare at any stats page to tell me this. The eyes have it.

    And finally, ENOUGH of the Grilli is on ‘roids crap. Every player is subject already to MLB testing and there is no need for Grilli to do anything else to “clear his name”. Are folks clamoring for Oriole Chris Davis to be tested 3x a day? How about Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun’s close teammate? What about Domonic Brown of the Phils who is leading the NL in HRs and who most bloggers probably couldn’t pick out of a lineup? MLB, with its spotty history, deserves the ‘shadow over the game’ but Jason Grilli most certainly does not. STOP IT!

  223. Naterosboro says:

    It was very right center. And you’re also correct in Blass failed attempts. He ended up just circling the entire replay screen with the red pen haha!

  224. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was referring to 21’s comment.

    I think yours, Dom, while maybe ultimately correct, is a little too pessimistic in only considering what will get worse. I’m certainly not ready to proclaim that .500 is an absolute lock, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think Cutch and Walker will hit better, or that Marte might end up the season somewhere between what he’s done lately and the start of the season (he wasn’t going to continue to hit .600 in leading of the first inning). But we all are entitled to our opinions.

  225. Jason81 says:


  226. Sarah says:

    No Vitale to help w faceoffs?

  227. danch70 says:

    Morrow’s game is suited for this kind of series … I just hope that he can find a way to keep up with the play.

    TK has scored some big goals from us. One of the few contributors off the top two lines. But, I wouldn’t be upset if he sat for Vitale. We need the faceoffs, we need the grit.

  228. NMR says:

    What rule mandates Chapman pitch the 9th as well?

    You see just how far this ridiculous “Proven Closer” mindset has infiltrated baseball?

  229. JHadar says:

    Reposting from a sub-thread way up there that I didn’t check the time of:

    When the Pirates were down and many folks thought that they would never get good you used to hear the refrain “The only stat that matters is Wins!” quite a bit.

    Now that they’re good and a lot of folks are sort of expecting them to get bad there’s all sorts of interesting stats to prove that.

    I think it was Bart Giamatti that said “Baseball is designed to break your heart.”

    Personally, I believe that in this game anything can happen. And it usually does.

    Have I lost track of things or is our record so far this season against Cincinnati 4-2 with one of the losses being a statistically anomalous ten-hit shutout? We’re 3-2 against the Cardinals for that matter.

    It could change, I think we all get that. I’m still enjoying this season though.

  230. Nate83 says:

    I think you are talking about Grossman but Pedro has about those same stats.

  231. Jim S. says:

    Not saying that won’t happen, but ….

    * 35-22 (now) + 46-59 (rest of year) = 81-81. Seems very do-able to me.

    * The pitching should fall back a bit, but the hitting is just as likely to improve a bit. We have an awful batting avg. with RISP, and that should improve. Marte may be the only regular performing above offensive expectations right now. I don’t see how easy it is for some to say the pitching will definitely falter, but the hitting won’t improve.

    * We can’t see much about fielding in the box score, so very few people factor it at all into analysis. For those who do, it appears the Pirates turn more balls put into play into outs than just about every team in MLB. Maybe that is luck so far, but I tend to think they play good defense. Even if you don’t go by metrics, doesn’t the “eye test” tell you Cutch and Marte run down a lot of balls that Choo & Co. in Cincy don’t?

    * As of the 1/3 point of the season, 93% of all teams with the Bucs record at that point in MLB history finished .500 or better.

    * Key injuries to the Bucs could easily derail a promising season. We do not have a lot of MLB-ready stopgap position players in the minors.

    I’m not telling you I have the right answer and people that don’t see it my way are wrong. I’m just saying I like our chances to break the hex this season. But, that’s why they play the games. I’m enjoying the ride.

  232. Sarah says:

    Really good post.
    I fear they only Love It when It comes easily.

    It will come Hard v the Bs, and the Pens better embrace that.

    This is where I HOPE the Grizzled Vets Iggy, Morrow, Orpik get that message across to the room.

    Cos it didn’t happen in Game 1.

    And really that’s a main reason Shero brought some of these guys in.

  233. Jandy says:

    LMAO….ooohh boy….this could get REALLY good ;)

  234. Jandy says:

    Or you may be wearing the box on your head before too long …

  235. Jandy says:


  236. Sisyphus says:

    That’s a list of all suspended players through 2012. How many of them could you pick out of a lineup based on appearance? How many based on performance?

    Trying to identify users using anything short of a positive test result is a losing game.

  237. danch70 says:

    Thanks Sarah. Means a lot coming from you.

    Yes, that is my fear, too. This is why they’ve always underperformed in the playoffs.

    And, yes, this is why the vets were picked up. Let’s see if they can earn their money. And/or let’s see if the Penguins “core” will step up to the task – to the challenge. Will they take that next step in maturity and do what it takes to win?

  238. Thundercrack says:

    Here is my fear : Wilson goes 5 innings, 80 pitches.
    Then he is out for a few days and then struggles his next few relieve appearances.

    We’ll be yelling that they messed with the mojo of the bullpen

    OK, maybe I will

  239. Jandy says:


  240. Nate83 says:

    I believe they may have played it on MLB network as well. I know they had a reality show during the offseason that involved Wakefield and I think R.A. Dickey teaching “celebrities” and athletes from other sports how to throw a knuckleball. It seems like I saw during that show that they where showing a documentary at sometime but never actually saw it.

  241. Jandy says:

    Jack, NMR is a good guy. He sometimes is full of himself (much like Drew71) but he always mans up when he’s wrong or crosses a line. We hope he sticks around, and that you do too :)

  242. 21sthebest says:

    And I wish I would have first seen your comment at 12:08!

  243. Sarah says:

    Well Danch you’re spot on.
    This time of year it’s about the guys that Love the Battle.

    Even in my crappy men’s rec leagues, the difference in intensity for our silly 3 game playoffs is enormous. Teams I’d handle in reg season are suddenly running me through the net lol!!!

    But YES – you need guys that LOVE the scrap….and really the Bs are built more for The Scrap than our Birds.

    This where I HOPE our vets can step up and get the guys focused on getting down and dirty.
    Pretty Hockey doesn’t win this time of year.

  244. Drew71 says:

    Pirates are 35-22, playing .614 ball.

    Do I think that rate will continue? No.

    If they play .500 from this point through the end of the season, they take 53 of 105 for a total of 88 wins.

    If they play .450 from this point through the end of the season, they take 47 of 105 for a total of 82 wins.

    Is it possible that the Pirates will win more than 53 or less than 47? Of course it is.

    I happen to think that is the most likely range.

    Not because I want it to be. I just think they will end up somewhere in the 80s, probably out of the playoffs but above .500.

    But I don’t attach ANY of my ego to my prediction.

    In other words, I hope I’m wrong in the right direction.

    And in the meantime enjoying the ride.

  245. Bizrow says:

    + 1

    You just never know what lies ahead ;-)

  246. Jandy says:

    I’m enjoying it too, and I don’t intend to let statistics mess with that :)

  247. Nate83 says:

    I think it is safe to say the Cardinals will continue at a high level of play. They have more consistant proven hitters then the Pirates and their farm system is tremendous. They have starting pitching depth that is really impressive. I don’t think they will keep up a 2.5 ERA but their regression still will be tops in the league in my opinion. They probably won’t win the 110 games they are on pace to win but they could easily lead the majors in wins.

    I agree with the Reds. I don’t think after Cuato their pitchers are sure bets to continue what they have done so far this year. I’m not sure but I don’t think they have the same depth in the minors to handle injuries that the Cardinals do. They have just as many potential holes as the Pirates but I feel that on paper offensively they are better then the Pirates currently.

  248. theplanisworking says:

    I am enjoying it three ;)

    …………… but I dont like the fact that no one wants to talk about improving the deficiencies of the team. Its always “enjoy the ride”, and dont talk about anything else.

    Just a bit confusing for a fanbase to scold those who want to improve the team…………….

  249. cmat0829 says:

    no rule mandates anything, my post was that the premise of the criticism of Dusty is that he never should have let his 8th inning guy – his equivalent of our Melancon – face Jones because Jones cant hit LHPs as well. The same Jones that hadn’t hit a HR since May 10. And this is a game in June, not a playoff game or even a game in August/September.

    Dusty was going to pitch Chapman in the 9th, he hoped with a 2 run lead. So bringing him in to face Jones would’ve extended the outing.

    You are right.. he could’ve pitched Chapman to shut down Jones and then have Simon I guess pitch to Martin/Pedro/Mercer/Snider in the 9th…but seems to me Pedro is even worse vs. LHPs than Jones and Snider is a lefty as well.

    I think it is fine to second guess, and I love to hate Dusty, I guess I just am a stickler for a little deeper analysis.

  250. NMR says:

    Your point about 93% of teams finishing .500 or better is an interesting one relative to the Pirates, and also why I do believe this year will be different.

    IMO, the reason 93% of those teams finish .500 is two-fold.

    One, its unlikely that a team good enough to play .614 baseball over a third of the season can end up being bad enough to play .428 ball the rest of the way.

    The only way I see this happening, point two, is that a team is prone to losing streaks. The previous two Pirate teams didn’t limp to the finish line losing a couple, winning one, then losing a couple more. They crashed and burned with 5 to 10 game losing streaks.

    With a rotation of Burnett, Rodriguez, Liriano, Locke, and Cole/Morton/Karstens/Trade acquisition, a ton of base baseball has to happen in order for this team to go on an extended losing streak.

  251. Jim S. says:

    Terrific post all the way around, cmat!

  252. Jim S. says:

    Me, too! On the other hand, if I find some statistics that show we are even better than our record, I reserve the right to use them as often as possible to prove my points. Ha ha!

  253. Jack Laurence says:

    Be assured that no insults were intended. I am grateful to you for identifying Pythagorean Winning Percentage theory. After a quick look on Wikipedia, I see that variations on the original Bill James formula have turned out to be quite accurate in predicting how well a team will do over the course of a season. It stats with the ratio of runs scored to runs allowed. At this stage, the math is over my head, but I will keep studying. Thanks.

  254. JohninOshkosh says:

    Good post.

  255. Jack Laurence says:

    Thanks, Jandy. I will. If all goes well, come October, I will travel the 3,500 miles to Pittsburgh and buy you a drink and talk more baseball.

  256. CFJohnsn says:

    Pretty much sums up nicely what I was getting at.

    With the home parks being what they are, the front offices have built the teams to perform best in the stadium that they play the majority of their games.

    In the Pirates case, Jim does a good job of stating how they are more concerned with scoring just one run more than their opponent while in the Reds case, they want to bash you.

  257. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t see it the same, plan. I guess the “enjoy the ride” comments can be interpreted that way, but I see them more as a reaction to the “this is not sustainable” doom and gloom comments. Wanting to improve the team should always be on everyone’s mind.

  258. Jim S. says:

    I am enjoying the ride … and I want them to improve.

    * I want them to continue to look to improve an already great bullpen.

    * I want them to strengthen the bench by a lot. I think the position options on the bench are lacking, and players can be had as upgrades.

    * I am all for them improving other places as well, such as starting pitching. But, what I don’t want them to do is mess with whatever formula it is that has them playing good ball. I understand people that say go for it this year because nothing is promised in the future. But, I don’t want them to give away the best of their minor league talent for the chance to try and win once. Just a difference of opinion between me and folks on the other side there is all. I just don’t think it works out very often.

  259. Drew71 says:


    -1.602 19 × 10-19 C 1.602 19 × 10-19 C 0C
    Electron =
    Proton =
    Neutron =
    6.022 × 1023 atoms in one atomic mass unit
    e is the elementary charge: 1.602 19 × 10-19 C Potential Energy, velocity of electron: PE = eV = 1⁄2mv2
    = 9.11 × 10-31 kg = 1.67 × 10-27 kg = 1.67×10-27kg
    1V = 1J/C 1N/C = 1V/m 1J = 1 N·m = 1 C·V 18
    1 amp = 6.21 × 10 electrons/second = 1 Coulomb/second
    1 hp = 0.756 kW 1 N = 1 T·A·m 1 Pa = 1 N/m Power = Joules/second = I2R = IV [watts W]
    Quadratic Equation:
    − b ± b
    b2 − 4ac Kinetic Energy [J] KE = 1 mv2
    x =
    [NaturalLog: whene =x, lnx=b]
    2a 2
    m: 10-3 μ: 10-6 n: 10-9 p: 10-12 f: 10-15 a: 10-18
    Addition of Multiple Vectors:

    R= A+B+C rrrr
    Resultant=Sumofthevectors Rx =Ax +Bx +Cx x-component Ax =Acosθ
    Ry =Ay +By +Cy y-component Ay =Asinθ

    R = Rx2 + Ry2
    Magnitude (length) of R
    θ = tan R
    −1 R R
    tanθ = R
    y xx
    y R
    Angle of the resultant
    Positive direction:

    Multiplication of Vectors:
    Cross Product or Vector Product:
    i × j = k
    Dot Product or Scalar Product:
    i⋅j=0 i⋅i=1 a ⋅ b = ab cos θ
    j × i = −k i×i=0

  260. cmat0829 says:

    Put me firmly in the camp as ‘enjoying the ride’ and also ‘recognizing that gaps need to be filled for the Bucs to keep this going’. But also call me in the camp that disdains daily deluge of derived data…..

    I think metrics have their place, but eyes and ears are all you really need to have perspective… all of that said, these accomplishments should be acknowledged, if for a brief moment, and THEN these same accomplishments can be listed as unsustainable.

  261. NMR says:

    Wow, deeper analysis? Try not to pull any muscles patting yourself on the back.

    You’re still missing the forest through the trees.

    If you start Chapman in the 8th to face the Bucs most dangerous hitters, you still have Broxton to pitch the 9th.

    Pedro is NOT worse at hitting lefties than Jones, but he IS worse at hitting righties. All the more reason to have Chapman pitch the 8th and Broxton pitch the 9th.

  262. theplanisworking says:


    I am not talking about the “sustainable” stuff either. That is just white noise for people who are unhappy the Pirates are winning.

    What I am talking about is……….. there are some posters on here, that when you bring up acquiring a bat or two, they always say “I dont want to talk about that, just enjoy the ride”………………………… or, when talking about beanballs that the Reds throw, and we dont seem to retalaite, those same people say ” thats stuff is overrated, it doesnt matter, just enjoy the ride”………….

    You know, things that could help the Pirates sustain winning, a good mindset, etc. , yet people just want to “enjoy the ride”, and dont want to talk specific baseball topics that might help.

    I just view that as curious, thats all.

    After all, that great American scholar and coach, Mr. Herman Edwards famously said……. “You Play To Win The Game”!
    This isnt a part-time thing, its a full-time thing. Just “Enjoy the Ride” means you are complacent, and by the time you act, its too late.

    But, what do I know??? ;)

  263. Wrong vector, Victor.

    Way over my head and I taught school for 1 year. Shame the education standards in this state.

  264. theplanisworking says:


    I think that storm yesterday affected you a lot! ;)

  265. NMR says:


  266. Jim S. says:

    I just hope they finally move him up a level. Does he need to hit the ball 100 ft. over the fence to get that? We all know he strikes out a lot, and that may ultimately be the thing he can’t overcome. But, he is a man playing against boys at the moment. He needs more of a challenge now.

  267. Jandy says:

    More than you let on…

  268. Drew71 says:


    I was normal before the storm.

  269. Jandy says:


  270. JohninOshkosh says:

    I walked out of Van Vleck Hall in Madison with a solid “D” secured in calculus in my back pocket and never looked back.

    For all I know this is the theorem for a happy life…or the recipe for Big Macs.

  271. Arriba Wilver says:

    Somebody Please cancel Drew’s XM subscription.

  272. Jim S. says:

    Seems messy, but they give you those wet naps. Plus, he always has a supply of toothpicks at the ready.

  273. NMR says:

    You don’t know how this place works, Jim.

    If you use metrics to show that Clint Barmes is a great defensive shortstop or that Russell Martin is a good receiver or that the Pirates are projected to finish with 89 wins you’re an apologist Pirate blogger who lives in his mothers basement.

    If you use metrics to show the Pirates are #unsustainable, then you’re a realist.

  274. Like Travolta in that movie “Phenomenon”.

    Now, Drew can probably speak Portuguese.

  275. Jack Laurence says:

    CF Johnson,

    I was not suggesting that “the outcome (is) inevitable.” Just saying that it does not look hopeful for the Pirates to overtake the Cardinals and Reds this year.

    The runs scored/runs allowed ratio does not include a variable for the size of the ballparks for a good reason. A big park (like PNC) is as difficult to score runs in for the home team as well as the opposing team. And a small park (like Cincy’s) favors the visiting team hitters as much as the home team. So, teams like Cincy are likely to have a higher runs scored total AND runs allowed, while the Pirates are likely to have lower totals. I suspect it evens out over the course of a season, or somewhat over two months. It’s the ratio of one to the other that counts. The better the ratio, the better the team and the better its chances of doing well.

  276. Jim S. says:

    The higher leverage situation was the 8th. If his best lefty is Aroldis “Got a Fast Car” Chapman there, I go with him in the 8th and put someone else in for the 9th.

  277. Thundercrack says:

    He should start listening to Public Radio.

  278. Jandy says:


  279. Jim S. says:

    Good points.

  280. Jandy says:

    Normal. what’s that?

  281. Jim S. says:

    Good points. Chicago had their mettle tested, and they passed. This series will be the same way for the Pens, and they need to be up to it if they are really as good as their talent says they should.

  282. Jim S. says:

    I did catch an episode of that show with Dickey. Didn’t know about this documentary.

  283. Jim S. says:

    Yep. I believe the 93% stat was 79 of 84 teams ever.

  284. Bizrow says:

    Normal Drew??

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before

    Must have been one heck of a storm ;-)

  285. JHadar says:

    Yes indeed there are deficiencies. I’ve been looking for an upgrade at shortstop for years and they seem to downgrade year-by-year. I keep hoping Pedro will learn to hit consistently, and it gets more urgent every time he whaps one out (and then doesn’t for a while). No run support for AJ. But Liriano, Locke, and Gomez have been major surprises and you can just go on and on.

    It’s not like those deficiencies are never addressed here or that being aware of them should keep one from enjoying the run. I certainly wasn’t scolding anyone — just offering a point of view.

    But all in all doesn’t it matter what you’re comparing it to? The perfect team would have 25 all stars. We happen to be in a division that has three of the best four records in baseball and holding our own despite a couple of rough stretches.

    Three years ago I would have taken this start no questions asked about how it would end. Now we have to compare this year to last year and we see improvement, but room for more — and so we hope that year by year improvement is a trend — that the kids will come along and fit in and that sooner or later it will really be our turn.

  286. JohninOshkosh says:

    Fresh air with Terry Gross.

  287. Arriba Wilver says:

    Isn’t that kind of like saying the “enjoy the ride” comments are just “white noise” for people who are happy with the winning? My point is they don’t either one exist in a vacuum.
    Realistically speaking.

  288. Bizrow says:

    They are going to make the playoffs

    You heard it here first

    Of course that is coming from the owner of the worst betting record in Playoffs contest.

    Hidden vigorish, I figure I’m due

  289. Bizrow says:

    + 11111

  290. Drew71 says:

    quem disse que eu não poderia antes?

  291. NMR says:

    Biz noted earlier that Stetson Allie hit another home run yesterday.

    I was thinking about this notion that he needs to cut down on his K’s in order to move up a level, so I tried finding comparable players to him. This was not easy.

    Allie came into the year with 173 PAs in rookie ball where he put up a 12% walk rate and a 29% strikeout rate. This year he has dominated low-A ball by hitting .340/.418/.642 with a homerun ever 15 PAs, an 11% walk rate, and 27% strikeout rate.

    The closest comp I could think of, based on performance and hitter profile, had 534 PAs in rookie ball and with a 8% BB rate and 26% K rate the season before moving up to low-A. Once there he hit .258/.373/.521 with a HR every 20 PAs, a 14% BB rate and 26% K rate. He moved up to high-A despite NOT improving on the strikeouts and has gone on to hit .337/.431/.637, 17 PA/HR, 12% BB-rate, and STILL 26% K-rate.

    I’m doing this at this risk of it being taken out of context, so I’m adding the disclaimer that I do think there is a large differnce in pure talent between these two players. But the comparison prospect is Miguel Sano of the Twins. You might be familiar with him.

    Caused me to rethink my stance that Allie HAS to show strikeout improvement in order to succeed at the next level.

  292. theplanisworking says:

    No, not really, but I see your point.

    The enjoyment of any blog is the ability to discuss things. When one is repeatedly told you cant discuss something, it makes you wonder what is really behind that.

    I would love to discuss improving the team, but cant. To me, that is the opposite of what sports is about…………. improving and winning.

    If you arent going to improve, why bother? Just coast on thru, and enjoy the ride.

    But I will stop beating that horse now, as I am in the minority here. I guess I am just a Hippo of one. ;)

  293. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Jandy, but we are in the minority…… :)

  294. theplanisworking says:

    Man, if you ever see a Hippo speak in Portugese, RUN !!!!!!!!

  295. Bizrow says:

    Are those last two words, “deer antlers” in Portuguese?

  296. Naterosboro says:


  297. Jandy says:

    well done

  298. Drew71 says:

    I’d like to ask a SERIOUS question re sustainability.

    What does it mean?

    If the Ps play .500 ball from this point forward, end up with 88 wins, and sneak into the last wild card spot…is that sustaining? Over .500 and in the playoffs for the first time since Bush the Elder was president?

    Or not sustained because .500 ball is much different than the current .614 and one of MLB’s better records?

    Does the answer change if the win 88 but are the last team outside the playoffs?

    Same Qs if they play .475 from here on out and finish with 85 wins. Or .450 and 82 wins, well out of the playoffs but breaking the streak.

    Or is sustainability defined so narrowly as maintaining the .614 pace (a pace that changes with each game)?

    I suspect that there are a dozen different answers about to come. Point is, it is too vague a term.

    And at season’s end, if the Ps end up over .500 but under .614 (especially if out of the playoffs), there will be battles in here re whether they sustained or not. Driven by how happy each of us is with the team and its management.

  299. Jandy says:

    I’m too dizzy to run

  300. theplanisworking says:

    I certainly wasnt singling you out, J.

    I am looking at a bigger picture here.

    I always looked to improve the team when they won 57 measly games, and am staying true to that now. Thats all.

  301. theplanisworking says:

    I certainly wasnt singling you out, J.

    I am looking at a bigger picture here.

    I always looked to improve the team when they won 57 measly games, and am staying true to that now. Thats all.

  302. Jandy says:

    I don’t mind…not one bit ;)

  303. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    To me, the Reds are the best team in baseball, not just the central division.

    The addition of Choo was a great one.

  304. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    His fingers may get blistered..

  305. Jandy says:

    Sounds like a plan!

  306. theplanisworking says:

    Now see, NMR, this is what starts the crap storms.

    I am not a Polyanna, nor am I Eeyore.

    I am happy the Pirates are winning, but want them to improve the team.

    I dont like ovruse of stats, but understand some mof them can be beneficial.

    I like to think I am in the middle of all this stuff, but object to your statement.

    So where do I fit in here?

    I guess I just will go back to the Pond.
    It isnt easy , or nice being a Pirates fan.

  307. Ermine says:

    The Pirates should try to improve, in every way possible. That’s what every team should try to do. Is the pace that they are on unsustainable ? Probably. My question to those who seem to enjoy pointing this out, is this. Is the Cardinals 107 win pace sustainable? I’d guess it’s just as sustainable as the Pirates 99 win pace.

  308. NMR says:

    “Or is sustainability defined so narrowly as maintaining the .614 pace (a pace that changes with each game)?”

    This is as close to anything that I’ve actually seen any of the sustainability crew come out and say. Pertains to individual performance as well, re Grilli and Melancon.

    To which I humbly say, “NO SH*T!”. I’ll even spare you the scientific analysis I used to come up with that conclusion.

  309. Sarah says:

    Oh dear. RIP Edith.
    I still remember watching All in the Family Sat nights with my Mom when I was little…..she loved that show, and also Mary Tyler Moore, which I think might have come right after.

    Mom identified with both Edith and Mary I think, she wanted to be independent and worked as an RN. Early Women’s Lib!! I recall Ms. magazines lying around!

    Anyway, RIP Jean Stapleton…..

  310. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I truly don’t think people are expecting this success to continue throughout the course of the year. Teams will get to him, he’ll blow some saves.

    Let’s try to actually enjoy some sort of success for PNC Park from time to time.

    Not sure why EVERY single time something goes right, there has to be another underlying reason.

    How about this: The dude is really dialed in right now, pitching extremely well.

    I know, its an unheard of concept for any Pirate player to be “off the charts.”

  311. Naterosboro says:

    I suggested last week I wanted him to skip Bradenton and moved up to AA Altoona.

    It was not the most popular opinion (and I understand you’re suggesting nothing of the kind).

  312. Bizrow says:

    I read we have 17 come from behind wins.

    Thats pretty darn good and is an indication, IMO anyways, this this year they might be something special.

    They just don’t give up and throw the towel in.

    I don’t think we’ve seen that type of character in quite a while.

  313. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I agree. I don’t see this deal happening.

    Maybe we could trade him to Baltimore for Manny Machado?? ( I did want him in the draft)

  314. NMR says:

    I thought I made my post ridiculous enough that it wouldn’t be taken literally.

    Yes, I’ve seen all those things done on this very blog.

    No, they do not define two distinct types of people.

  315. Bizrow says:

    Who is this SaNO guy anyways?

  316. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Jim, honestly, what’s the hurry?

  317. NMR says:

    I still don’t think you understand AW.

    Who is telling you that you cannot discuss improving the team? That is crazy.

  318. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, I know you did it deliberately. (exaggerating).

    I just wish for the good old days, when you could actually talk about im proving the team without the fuss.

    But I will do what Hippos do best on hot days…….. just swim in the cool Pond.

    Easier that way. ;)

  319. JHadar says:

    But now you’re “doubling” me out.

    No harm. No foul.

  320. Naterosboro says:

    Absolutely (on the positive test remark).

    I guess that should be the MAIN point in this argument.

  321. theplanisworking says:

    NMR, no one is directly coming at me and saying not to discuss anything in the literal sense.

    What I am saying, is that there are certain posters, who I know said thins, but I wont name them, that when anyone brings up trading for players, they say ” I dont want to hear that stuff, just enjoy the ride”. They just comment repeatedly try to drown the talk out.

    And I do understand what AW is saying.

  322. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, that happened once before.

    When your computer is in the Pond, stuff like that will happen.

  323. theplanisworking says:

    The Honorary batboy?? ;)

  324. SeanAY says:

    Personally I don’t have the energy to talk trade deadline or holes yet. Last year, I seem to remember a lot of those things changing between June 1 and July 31…heck, even between July 31 and August 15. Until then, consider me en route to hell in a bucket (I’m sure one person will figure that one out).

    Right now, I’m more concerned about two things:

    – Am I watching the Pens tonight at the bar with the Ultimate Frisbee league, or at home?;

    – How am I going to survive Great American Taxi (featuring Carnegie’s own Vince Herman!) on Thursday followed by two nights of Greensky Bluegrass?

  325. Sisyphus says:

    It’s not the next level that I’m worried about, it’s AA. If he carries that strikeout rate all the way to Altoona, we’ll most likely never see him in Pittsburgh. Pitchers there will eat him up.

  326. Nate83 says:

    My opinion which counts for nothing is that one player or even 5 players being sustainable does not make the entire machine sustainable. We have a number of guys performing below what we expected. If you start looking at individual players and if they are sustainable you are missing the big picture. There are so many variables in baseball.

    My eyes tell me that almost the entire pitching staff pitches hard and has a ton of movement on their pitches. They have “hit and miss” stufff. That hasn’t been there in the past. That gets you out of a jambs.

    They have a really good defense with extremely good speed in the outfield as well as above average arms. That also saves runs. I think those things will stay the same and if they regress it won’t be dramatically.

    I also see that the hitting has been about what you would expect and maybe even below what you would expect for a few players. I don’t see this regressing. If anything I would think it could improve.

    I don’t need statistics to tell me that this team is more competitive then the previous two teams. I see it with my eyes. Have they had some good fortune go their way? Maybe they have performed like a team that should be 7 or 8 games above .500 instead of 13, but who wouldn’t take 7 or 8 games .500 at this point in the season. I’m going to enjoy the ride and not get down if they go 15-15 over a 30 game stretch because even the Cardinals will probably have a stretch like that at some point this season.

  327. If Kyle calls and asks my opinion, he can go to AA for my part.

    He’s toying with low-A pitching.

    I have no idea his prowess in the field, nor do I care at this point, with our current Garrett Jones and others who are better with the stick.

  328. 21sthebest says:

    I’m enjoying the ride and I’d like to improve the team. Problem is, I can’t improve the eam.

  329. 21sthebest says:

    “I dont like ovruse of stats”

    But isn’t that in the eye of the beholder?

  330. JRay3 says:

    Great post, but let’s not forget the Pirates may not have to catch the Reds or Cardinals to earn a postseason berth.

    Right now the Pirates are 5 games up in the WC race, considering the Giants rotation has some serious issues, the Nationals have placed Harper on DL and Strasburg is struggling with minor injuries and their bats have been pretty quiet along with a Rockies team I am not sold on, the Bucs may stay in the playoff hunt into September.

  331. Jandy says:


  332. JHadar says:

    Uh Drew —

    Those are formulas, not statistics ….

    Statistics are the results, not the calculations.

  333. JRay3 says:

    Don’t know if anybody posted this but a couple moves being made to the pitching staff:

    Jared Hughes and Ryan Reid joining team in Atlanta, corresponding moves not made yet but talk is of Gomez going to DL and possibly doing something with Zagurski.

  334. NMR says:

    Yeah, so I’ve heard.

    But is this assuming anything SPECIFIC about Allie? Also, doesn’t this assume that NO power hitters have ever become major leaguers with high K rates in the low minors?

    This seems completely false to me.

  335. JRay3 says:

    Reid at Indy – 34.2 IP 0.52 ERA, 0.84 WHIP 31 K’s, 9 BB’s…would be first stint in majors.

  336. Dom says:

    Impressive stats. It makes me rethink my prediction.

  337. Bizrow says:

    Things are changing regarding “acceptable” strike out rates.

    Seems like for lots of hitters nowadays, its swing for the fences.

    I think I read that K rates are much, much higher this season and have been climbing in the majors for a while

  338. Bizrow says:

    And he needs added to the 40 man, I believe

  339. Naterosboro says:


    That was my issue. Maybe leave him in A- to learn 1B (as it’s a completely new position for him). But don’t see the need to move him to A+ for an extended period.

    He’s 22.

    The clock is ticking.

  340. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Dead

    Do I win a trip to K-Zoo ?

  341. JRay3 says:

    Yes he does, speculation on John MacDonald, Zagurski and Gomez DL length.

    At any rate two needed arms to help the bullpen that saw three of its pitchers throw multiple innings.

    Nice to have this type of depth waiting in the wings.

  342. JohninOshkosh says:

    JAL would be proud.

  343. Naterosboro says:

    Please get Mike Zagurski off this team. I saw him pitch for the Phillies a few years ago. He was not very good then, and my opinion hasn’t much changed.

    Even if he had better command at Indianapolis.

  344. NMR says:


    you analyze me, tend to despise me
    laugh when I stumble and fall
    there may come a day when I’ll dance on your grave
    unable to dance I’ll still crawl

    I stuck around for Greensky latenight at DelFest, btw. I’ll be honest, I could’ve done without more bluegrass at 330 am.

  345. Tell that to the late Wilver Dornell Stargell.


  346. Bizrow says:

    Its all about “asset management” ;-)

    Weren’t the Yankees interested in Mr Z?

  347. NMR says:

    See, I absolutely DO see a reason to stop in A+ as that is where a lot of the more polished college arms start out. What’s the point of going straight to AA before getting a feel for advanced pitching?

    Plus age is absolutely, positively not an issue.

  348. pattonbb says:

    So, it’s not good enough that the pirates are winning, now we’re disappointed that they’re not winning by a large enough margin? You stat guys are a finicky bunch.

    I’m heading to the ugliest ballpark in America tonight to see Kris Medlen get his 7th loss. This Brave team is ripe for the picking. If those underachieving Nationals had any kind of bullpen, they would’ve taken at least 2 of 3 from Atl. Which coincidentally, is exactly what i think the Buccos will do to the Bravos this series.

    I’ll be the guy on the 3B side holding the “Bream was out” sign.

  349. Nate83 says:

    Impossible to believe they have this much depth waiting in the wings. Almost insane how many of these pitchers figured it out or worked out after trades (most of which where under the radar trades at the time).

  350. Bizrow says:

    There was a recent writeup on Dave Kingman too

    No defense, no BA, no walks, longball or nuttin

  351. It’s far from the majors, but I went to a low-A game last week and the strikeouts and the stolen bases kept your head swimming. Fun to watch, but Lord.

    One team stole 7 of 8 bases. I wanted to go and console that catcher. (It wasn’t Barabbas) He was getting more gun shy by the second.

    And people waving at balls out of the strike zone and taking called third strikes was unreal.

    Seems to be a growing trend throughout the game on all levels. Pitchers not holding runners on. Catchers throwing it all over, light-years late. Poor plate discipline.

    I know they are in the minors to develop, but you would think they’d have some concept of the game. They weren’t signed from an Indian
    reality show.

  352. JRay3 says:

    Awesome, enjoy the game and bring us all the ‘W’. Just got my tickets in mail to the Angels-Pirates series June 21-23 and can’t wait to see the Buccos dismantle that overpaid squad.

  353. Bizrow says:

    + 1

    Bring home a win

  354. NMR says:

    This is where I was headed with my point. Well done.

    If the kid can show that he can advance through the minors with a high, yet NOT increasing, k-rate then at what point is that just his hitting profile and not imminent doom?

  355. JohninOshkosh says:

    Love it. Have fun.

    Also hold up a sign that says, “Sustainability”

  356. JRay3 says:

    Pirates corresponding moves:

    Alex Presley optioned to Indy

    Jeanmar Gomez placed on 15 day DL

    Phil Irwin reinstated from AAA DL, recalled and placed on 60 day DL, opening spot on 40 man roster.

    Bummer on Presley, liked what he gave the past couple of days.

  357. Naterosboro says:

    And they can have him.

    This is what makes my brain go bonkers. You watch him pitch, yet nothing about that shows he can be a major league arm, yet somehow he’s racked up 71 innings in the bigs over parts of 4-5 seasons.

    The only way I’d put him in a major league game is if my entire bullpen (and rest of my organizational (that’s right, I’m talking top to bottom, extended spring training all the way up to AAA) arms) comes down with a case of flesh eating bacteria mid-game, and has to go to the hospital for treatment. Somehow, Zagurski is unaffected (maybe he ate the bacteria instead?!) and is the only arm left.

    That is the only plausible scenario I see for Mike Zagurski ever getting into a major league game.

    But I’m also not a major league coach or executive.

    So what do I know.

  358. JohninOshkosh says:

    Curious-what makes it so ugly ?

  359. Bizrow says:

    Pretty creative, the 60 day is getting crowded. Next move would be when Morton gets activated, wonder if they would put McPherson on that list, its been a while for him too

    Thanks for the update

  360. Naterosboro says:

    Age is an issue (for me)!

    I want these players in Pittsburgh.

    If that means rushing a few along the way, then so be it. Plus, if the kid is a legit player, then he’ll perform and get up there as fast as possible.

    Allie in Pittsburgh at 24 or 25 is quite different than 26 or 27, IMO.

  361. Bizrow says:

    I’ve read that too, was built for the Olympics and then retrofitted for baseball, or something like that

  362. Bizrow says:

    Like they say, teach your kids to be lefthanded?

  363. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Got a dentist appt. in a few minutes. Lucky me…Need one of you fine lunatics to re-post this for me in today’s game thread. THANKS!!!


    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    Line #1
    Total RUNS SCORED by the Pirates in Innings 1-4 in tonight’s game
    Line is 2.5

    Line #2
    Total EXTRA BASES HITS by Pirates hitters in tonight’s game
    Line is 2.5

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  364. SeanAY says:

    It means…and everyone say it with me…

    “At least I’m ENJOYING THE RIDE!”

  365. Sisyphus says:

    Guys who have very high strikeout rates usually fail in the high minors because they are unable to put up decent batting averages. This is not a universal law, though. There are exceptions. For example, hitters with very high strikeout rates combined with very high walk rates can succeed in spite of poor batting averages. Allie does have two things in his favor. While he doesn’t have a high walk rate, it’s not a poor one. Most guys who flop at AA combine lots of strikeouts with very few walks. Brad Eldred is a guy like that. He made it all the way to the majors, but flopped there. The other is that he is hitting for a very high average.

    Any time you’re trying to predict future performance you’re not dealing in absolutes, you’re dealing in probabilities. There are exceptions to any rule. Allie may continue to strike out at a high rate and succeed in spite of that fact. I don’t know for sure how things will turn out. I just know which way to bet.

  366. JHadar says:

    Phil Irwin reinstated from AAA DL, recalled and placed on 60 day DL, opening spot on 40 man roster.

    Sounds like a lawyer wrote the rules and another one interpreted them.

  367. SeanAY says:

    Never made it down to DelFest, but I have a few folks from back in the ‘Burgh that made the trip religiously for a few years. Even if you really love bluegrass (which I do), hearing it all day and then going to the late night set certainly does approach excess.

    For the record, the first time I saw Greensky was late night at Summer Camp in ’11. Holy cow. Saw them open the Bell’s Beer Garden the next week. Holier cow.

  368. Nate83 says:

    I don’t know why but when I first read this I thought it said teach your kids to eat leftovers. I’m sure Zagurski does that as well. Not making fun because lord knows I’ve added 5 pounds every year since getting married.

  369. Thundercrack says:

    So does that mean Lagurski is still on the team?

    If so, that leaves us with just 4 outfielders….well not counting Inge

  370. Jandy says:

    Hipposter, tell those who are trying to drown you out, to suck your big Hippo toe AFTER you step in dog doo…then talk about whatever you darn well want! ;)

  371. NMR says:

    12% is NOT a high walk rate? False.

  372. Jim S. says:

    Absolutely, Nor Cal. I’m in that camp. I have pointed out that Grilli was a very highly touted prospect. Always had a great arm. He has had his moments of brilliance before he came to the Bucs, but this is beter than he has ever been for a sustained period. But, he has been good for going on 3 years for the Bucs now, and very good for most of 2012. I think he could never quite put it all together in his career pre-Bucs, and I’m not quite sure. Maybe he just never figured it all out, or maybe all of the injuries kept setting him back. He has had an odd assortment of leg and arm injuries. Whatever the reason, the minute they traded Hanny in the off-season, I was thinking that no “closer to be” in MLB history that I could recall seemed so ready to absolutely seize this opportunity. I know he won’t keep striking everyone out, but I think he will continue to be good as he was very good before this season.

  373. NMR says:

    And I’m pretty sure we’re all aware that high k-rates are not good, which is all you’re saying.

    What I believe is worth discussion is whether or not a player MUST reduce their strikeouts to an acceptable level before earning promotion.

  374. NMR says:

    I want to lose 15 lbs, but I know I have to hit the gym in order to do it.

    Even with getting half a year at high-A, Allie can still spend an entire season at AA and AAA while making it to the majors by 25.

    I just don’t understand the rush.

  375. Jim S. says:

    I think all the GMs have now figured out over the last year or two that closers are not as important as once thought. As has been pointed out by many here, if you are a good reliever that probably means you are good in the 7th, 8th, 9th – whenever. I’m not saying everyone can close right away, because some guys do need to grow into that role for some reason. But, changing closers in the middle of the season due to a trade is not the end of the world. I just don’t think GMs will give away a proven power hitter or a quality SS for Grilli at this point in time.

  376. NMR says:

    Ha, yeah, the little lady and I just took in Sunday’s festivities. One day was plenty.

    Greensky sure can bring it.

  377. Jim S. says:

    Up one level, Nor Cal? I’m not saying rush him to Pittsburgh. I’m saying I think he can rise a level, as he is dominating currently. Plus, he lost the 2 years.

  378. Jim S. says:

    I think he’s officially stretched out now.

  379. Jim S. says:

    Jossi needs to be involved in more faceoffs.

  380. Arriba Wilver says:

    Calm down, Nate, calm down . . . :-)

  381. gregenstein says:

    This is a very good point, even if I’m a little late here. The Tony LaRussa revolution of a “closer” has developed into “closer, setup, escape artist, ground ball guy, LOOGY, long man, chump*”. We’ve even moved away from LOOGY’s for the most part.

    * = The One Guy who is either Rule 5 or Fourty 5.

  382. Sisyphus says:

    It’s not all that high. By high walk rate I mean hitters who draw over 80 – 90 walks a season. Allie has a walk rate of 11%. The average big leaguer walks at a rate of 8.8%. Allie’s rate projects out of 66 walks in 600 ABs. That’s good, but not great, and remember, AA pitchers have much, MUCH better control than low A pitchers. And big league pitchers have much better control than AA pitchers. Allie is very promising, but I’d keep him at low A until that K rate falls down from its current 31.6% down under 28%, even if it takes a whole season in low A.

  383. pattonbb says:

    A couple things jump right out at you, first of all it is just a really boring and bland park. It’s like they were worried about making sure the giant Coke bottle, Chic-Fil-A Cows, and Delta signs were seen from the seats instead of the game. Although, truth be told, sight lines are decent. The stadium was built for the Olympics in the same era that other teams were building great ballparks (Camden Yards, PNC, Safeco). Atlanta missed with theirs. Plus there’s this huge sign that says something about “Charities” that drives people crazy. Oh wait….maybe that’s another park…..

    It’s a huge complex. Inside there’s a couple different museums, playgrounds, several restaurants, something they call a fan plaza, all kinds of stuff…..not baseball related.

    And last but not least, Atlanta has the worst sports fans in America, so it’s deserving that they have a stinkhole of a park. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with its “ugly’ description, I’m just ranting a little.

  384. cmat0829 says:

    ok, and i defnitely do NOT want to be a Dusty Baker defender ( I can’t stand him) but you are asking him to do something that 0 managers across MLB would do. Fair enough, but not fair to single out Dusty.

  385. Jim S. says:

    Palmeiro never ballooned up. Oh, that’s right. It was just a one time thing with him. Someone spiked his water bottle and the Mitchell Investigation caught him that one time.

    I love the “I only did it once” guys. Pettitte (Mr. T) was like that. “Only did it to rehab, and only for a short time. And only because someone I really trusted talked me into it. And I didn’t inhale. I’m really a great guy. And, I mis-remembered about Roger, and not because Roger threatened me.”

  386. Nate83 says:

    Just saying it’s like 20 years of bad luck and short end of trades has turned around all at once.

    Also why did you change your avatar. It use to be so easy to find your post and know which comments I disagreed with:)

  387. Naterosboro says:

    I guess where I’m coming from is that I want to see this kids best years spent in Pittsburgh.

    If you get to the majors at 26-27, you’re looking at your best years being behind you in about 2-3 (we’ll put that magical age at 30 years old; most players don’t get better after 30, unless you’re Jason Grilli).

    If you’re up and contributing by 23-24, then you’ve got more prime years in the MLB.

  388. JRay3 says:

    Yep, and it does, probably carrying the extra arm for couple days due to length pen had to carry.

    Will eventually have to make more moves when the new starter is announced to replace Gomez.

  389. Jim S. says:

    I hope the Bucs reward that faith, Dom.

  390. pattonbb says:

    I almost went with “At least our sub .200 underachiever has 11 HR and 30 rbi’s. How’s that Jason Heyward doing?”

  391. Sarah says:

    Well this may be from the Boston Herald but I thought it was pretty good

    On Faceoffs:
    Faceoffs: The Bruins, the NHL’s best team in the circle, had a good night Saturday, winning 32 draws and losing just 16. But Bylsma credited the dominance less to the pure skill of the B’s centers, and more to the hard work by their wingers.
    “A large portion of the wins that Boston that did get were not clean wins,” Bylsma said yesterday. “They were 50-50 pucks around the centermen that they got to first.

    Emotional discipline: Again, the Penguins are accustomed to setting the tone of play. That means attack. With most of their forwards, it’s like, “Backcheck? We don’t need to be bothered.”
    But when they found themselves in a very competitive and physical war — with the B’s winning their share of the battles, or more — the Penguins didn’t exactly respond like champs. They allowed themselves to be distracted.

    Interesting stuff.

    The thing that made me blink was Cooke’s remark re it being “an eye-opener for us”….
    Were the Pens surprised by anything Boston did?

    I hope they’re a lot more ready tonight!

  392. NMR says:

    You’re calculating K-rate off of ABs, not PAs.

    Allie’s actual K-rate is 27.5%

    And only 17 players in all of major league baseball had a walk rate higher than 11%. That is absolutely a high walk rate.

  393. Hope the Z-man is considered for the out-of-town train.

  394. cmat0829 says:

    Right now they are going with an extra pitcher to get through the next few days… they will recall a position player and send down Reid or whomever once they get back to normal. I just hope it isn’t Johnny Mac :(

  395. Jim S. says:

    The Plan:

    I hear and understand your frustration about people saying just enjoy the ride IF what they mean is I don’t care if we ever really get in the playoffs, so long as I don’t have to keep hearing about this 20, 21, 22 year losing streak story. In other words, if all they care about is the 82nd win then it also frustrates me. I want the streak over with as much as anyone, but there are big things to accomplish after that.

    But, I think most people are saying enjoy the ride regarding the probability of slipping in performance over the next few months as some of the metrics indicate they might. I think those people are saying metrics over the long haul do not mean all that much about tonight, tomorrow, etc. So, why talk about the Bucs falling apart when they are playing well? I think they are saying, “Relax, these are human beings playing an unpredictable game and we have no way of knowing the outcome. So, why forecast doom and gloom?” That’s my take about the enjoy the ride comments.

    But, that doesn’t put those people in either of the deadline deals camps necessarily. I could be wrong, but that’s how I view it.

  396. Danch70 says:

    him too.

  397. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’ll get used to it, Nate. Couldn’t keep a Boston avatar with the Pens playing the Bruins.

    “impossible to believe”

    “it’s insane”

    ‘Nuff said. :-)

    Funny thing is I suspect I think they can end up with a better record than you do.

  398. Jim S. says:


  399. Arriba Wilver says:

    Somebody said ESPN (I think) was saying Morton on Saturday. (Of course, we won’t know the moves until 4:00 Saturday).

  400. 21sthebest says:

    I’d like to race Zagurski.

  401. Jim S. says:

    I like the diversity of opinion here. I don’t assume I am right even close to all of the time. I learn a lot when people who disagree with me point out a different way of thinking.

    I respect the people who say “I’m tired of hearing about the metrics because they make my brain hurt and I never know which ones to trust and which ones not to trust.”

    I totally get when someone who has watched a heck of a lot more baseball than I have tells me something they know first hand that could not possibly be found on a spreadsheet – such as “I know Billy Maz was the best at turning a DP because I could barely see the ball arrive in his glove, be switched to his throwing hand and be gone to 1b because he did it faster than anyone ever.” Then, I hear Neil Walker say he was amazed at how much better he got at that exact skill when he was trained to do it by Maz. My dad taught me that.

    I admit that I have always been a numbers guy, but there are a lot of times I think there are so many ways to measure this game now that sometimes the measurements conflict with themselves. I’m ok with that, though. I think everyone approaches it differently, and there is value in what each person brings. A lot of times we are saying the same thing, but in different ways. The veteran observer says Ted Williams was the best hitter ever because his vision was so good that he never swung at balls. When he did swing, he was able to square it up better than anyone, ever. The younger fan might say the statistics say Joey Votto works pitchers better than anyone else because he sees the most pitches. Both people are probably describing similar skills about 2 different guys. As long as the 2 observers arrive at the same conclusion, it probably means they both know what they are talking about.

  402. blazer says:

    To Drew:

    I said you couldn’t speak it before!

  403. Jim S. says:

    I think he should go to High A soon. He is a unique case because he’s two years older at this level than his talent says he should be, even if his career PA’s say he is appropriately placed. When a guy hits the ball as hard as he does, I think it may mean he should try the next level up.

  404. Jim S. says:


  405. Nate83 says:

    OK on the count of 3 you give your number and I will give mine.

  406. Nate83 says:


  407. Jim S. says:

    Wasn’t Mike Zagurski in Monsters, Inc? I remember seeing those movies with my kids and the name sounds familiar.

  408. Jim S. says:

    I have Cubs-Bucs at Wrigley 7/6 & 7/7.

  409. Jim S. says:

    Or BJ Upton, for that matter.

  410. Jim S. says:

    I believe Atlanta may be worse than Chicago for highest % of “I’m not originally from here” people. Huge city.

  411. Jim S. says:

    Inge. Freakin’ hilarious, Thunder!

  412. Jim S. says:

    Couldn’t be ESPN. They are 24/7 NBA coverage right now. Oh, maybe on a site.

  413. Jim S. says:

    Yes. I’m begging them all to do that once in awhile. Why ask some kid fresh out of AAA to come in and face GIJ there, while your hired gun closer sits in a lawn chair in the BP? Then if the does get out of it, the hired gun gets to show up the next inning with a clean sheet? It is all about not wanting to upset the big guy by not letting him have his payday save stat.

  414. Sisyphus says:

    Yes, I’m calculating his K rate off of ABs.

    It’s a good walk rate, but it isn’t enough to offset poor batting average. Maybe it would be better if we went with OBP. He absolutely has to maintain an OBP north of .310 to have much of a chance at sticking once he makes the majors. That gets hard to do when your batting average falls under .230 or so, and the lower it falls, the harder it gets.

  415. Jim S. says:

    I think it is time for him to move up to High A. He’s done all he can with the relativeley low level of pitching where he is now, and we need to see if he can continue to hit bombs in High A, with the possible goal of starting next year at AA.

  416. Jim S. says:

    It used to be that statistically speaking, the age where the greatest % of players had career years was 27. That slid up a bit in the steroid era, but I’m assuming it will settle back down to 27 or 28 now.

  417. Jim S. says:

    I was laughing at different points of each paragraph, Lucky. I like clever posts, especially when the person still made a point as you did.

  418. Jim S. says:

    Here is why I keep thinking he should move up a notch to High A now. He not only is hitting tons of tape measure bombs, but he is also hitting .340. That tells me he is smoking the ball all over the place. He’s ready. I don’t know how well he did in the simulate Marine Drills, but he seems ready for the trials and tribulations of High A.

  419. NMR says:

    Why would you calculate off ABs when the standard k-rate statistic is done off PAs?

    By calculating off of AB’s, you’re punishing the player for taking walks. By that measure, his K-rate would IMPROVE by having WORSE plate discipline.

    Doesn’t make any sense.

  420. Jim S. says:

    Can I throw this in about Eldred and Allie? Eldred’s nickname was Big Country, right? I was thinking of a similar one for Allie when people started saying he had that kind of raw power. I believe he’s from the Cleveland area. I think Big Mistake works. Most HR hitters hit moon shots on mistakes. And, Cleveland is often called The Mistake on the Lake. Ergo …

    Ok, I know it won’t stick. Big Mistake would not come off well. But, he needs a nickname.

  421. Arriba Wilver says:

    You got me. I don’t have a number, but that is higher than what I would reasonably predict. I thought you were still down in the 80-85 range.

  422. BillyBaduka says:

    Good post

  423. MadTurk says:

    Agreed, I was sorry he was traded.

  424. Jack Laurence says:

    I recall Blass trying to circle where the ball hit the pavement and wobbling all over the screen. Not at all steady. Old Steve may have been the one who was juicing that night.

  425. BillyBaduka says:

    Thank you for sharing Sarah.

    MTM did follow it if I remember correctly. My dad was a big fan of All in the Family. My mom didnt like TV very much. This was one of the few shows she enjoyed.

  426. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks. Much appreciated.

  427. BillyBaduka says:

    I hope so too Sarah. And I hope they do it for 60 minutes regardless of the adversity they face, down a goal, Bruins grit, etc.

    Good read, thanks for sharing.

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