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Final: Pirates 2, Cubs 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (35-25) vs. Chicago Cubs (24-33)

Starters: LHP Francisco Liriano vs. LHP Travis Wood

Time: 2:20 p.m.

Site: Wrigley Field, Chicago

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Jordy Mercer, SS
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  5. Russell Martin, C
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  7. Neil Walker, 2B
  8. Travis Snider, RF
  9. Liriano, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Rob Biertempfel is on the beat.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Don’t think we’ve seen this lineup before?

  2. Juan D. will throw this morning. He thinks he can avoid the DL.

    • Yeah, Huntington was on the FAN today and said it was elbow inflammation and no ligament damage.

      You would think though that they would be careful on this one

    • I’m a little concerned that this is 2 instances of Wandy being shut down. He came back fairly quickly last time, and it looks like this might not be so bad. Still …

    • Wandy is tough… it is also very smart of him to come out of a game at first twinge (like he did with the leg injury earlier this year) vs. trying to ‘tough it out’ and making it worse. I trust him to know his body and what he should do. See Strasburg, Stephen and Harper, Bryce for what stupid machismo gets you.

  3. Travis Wood could bat 5th for us.

    • As of about 2 weeks ago, Cubs pitchers had driven in more runs than their #4 hitters. Don’t know if that is still holding true.

  4. 2 of 3, minimum, needed this weekend by the Bucs. Need to get back on the winning ways against a weaker team.

  5. The Bucs usually hit well in Wrigley… and let’s be clear…this is all on the offense now.. I don’t even want to hear another syllable uttered about bullpen arms falling off in July, the biggest concern (the top 5 biggest concerns) are OFFENSE. The bullpen crap is like a Jay Leno joke…cheap and easy and way past its prime.


    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 HOMERUNS hit by the Pirates in today’s game
    Line is 1.5

    Line #2
    Total RUNS SCORED by the Pirates this weekend against the Cubs
    Line is 15.5

    Line #3
    Total WINS by the Pirates this weekend against the Cubs
    Line is 2.5

    ***PLEASE NOTE — All 3 games must be official games in order for lines 2 & 3 to be valid. Any cancellation, suspension or postponement will void those lines.***

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  7. Is anyone paying attention to what Yasiel Puig has been doing for the Dodgers? Surely that can’t be sustainable. The guy has been on fire though. If LA ever gets healthy, the Snakes and Giants might get nervous in the west.

    Paul Martin was the only absent player from the Pens morning skate. He didn’t skate at Wednesday’s morning skate either, but still played Game 3.

    Judging by the lines, it appears that Tyler Kennedy and Mark Eaton are back in the lineup tonight. Here is the rest of the lines shook out…



    1st PP unit: Letang, Malkin, Crosby, Neal & Kunitz
    2nd PP unit: Niskanen, Iginla, Bennett, Dupuis & Morrow

    OK, back to baseball..

    • uhoh.. I hope paulie martin is ok. pretty sure he’s been our best (most solid) D so far. plus doesn’t he usually take up 25-30 mins per game?

    • Misskanen still in? Malkin still on point. If so, time to ignore blatantly obvious bad ideas. Still. Yet.

      Sorry, baseball thread.

    • Well I see now everyone left the “corrupted” hockey thread to post here.

      Would love to see Depres in the line-up tonight. Like the switch of Kennedy for Vitale as well.

  9. Gerrit Cole Tuesday at PNC?

    Rob B thinks there’s a chance.

  10. In honor of the Pirates’ first day game in Wrigley this year, and the 30th anniversary (late April) of Lee Elia’s rant about Cubs fans who come out to day games, I thought I would link it here. It’s the bleeped version, which means about half of it is bleeped, but you can find an unbleeped one if you’re interested.

    I’m guessing if Iassogna was umpiring back then he would have tossed him. :-)

  11. My hope is that we go the ENTIRE draft without picking up a single Short-Stop.
    I want to see Barmes here well into his 50′s.

  12. Dejan just tweeted DB goes to the top of the Rangers coaching candidates if he is canned. I hope he is not

    • Your goal is to win a Stanley Cup. Who exactly is out there gives you a better chance to do that than the guy you just fired ? You have to have a pretty good answer to that question before you can the guy you already have. I’m not saying that guy doesn’t exist, I just haven’t come up with the name yet.

      • 2 goals in 3 1/2 games, Rask stops 50 shots last game, thats not on DB, IMHO

      • Amen, Milo.

        One thousand times over.

      • Yup agree….

      • But if the guy you have isn’t getting it done, with a stacked lineup, what do you do?
        Dejan, hardly a DB hater, listed a lot of questions that need answered. I’m sure there are guys out there we aren’t even thinking about. (That’s pretty much the whole universe for me, but you get my drift).

        • Agree with everything but your first sentence.

          All sports are littered with examples of “stacked lineups” that in the end were not built to win. Really surprised this hasn’t been talked about much with the Pens.

          • I’m pretty much going with the “Shero will know what to do” answer. I just think the fact WE can’t come up with a name isn’t a bar to getting rid of Bylsma, although I get the sentiment. This is (will be?) 4 years in a row, and this one an epic one if things don’t turn some. Bylsma has to have SOME responsibility for 2 goals.

            • I disagree Wilver. If you’re going to fire a guy that has won a Cup for you it does need to be that obvious. But that’s me, I hate change.

              • No problem. To me (a casual, I like the Pens, hockey fan), it seems like he won the Cup by adding an offensive strategy to the team that was overly defense oriented, based on the personnel. I’m hardly a hater, but I am starting to get the complaints that he’s stubborn. And there are explanations every year, but it’s not like he’s brought them to the Conference Championship Round every year. And this year, like I said, is an epic fail (assuming things continue as they are). I just don’t think the Cup year immunizes him at this point.

              • “…the team that was overly defense oriented, based on the personnel.”

                This is the point I, as a casual fan as well, can’t wrap my head around.

                Seems like everyone is blaming Bylsma for being unable to make the current group of players something they’re not.

                I admittedly don’t know the answer, but it surprises me that nobody seems to be questioning whether or not the personell acquired were really the right mix in the first place.

            • Unfair or not, DB has to take responisiblity. You can fire the coach, you can’t fire the whole team. (I am a DB supporter)

              AW, I say we look within. Billy Guerin or Granato to name two.
              Alan Vignault is available too.

              • Lindy Ruff.

              • He’d be at the top of my list. I like Guy Boucher too, must be the scar.

              • Boucher would be SUCH a typical NHL move.

                NHL recycles more than Waste Management.

              • I am just saying I dont buy into this “we cant get rid of a coach, because we dont know if we can anyone better” logic. Sports history is dotted with examples of good coaches being let go, and better coaches coming in.

                Dont know if I would like Vignault, he underachieved with Vancouver…………… yes, yes I know he had great regular seasons (sound familiar?)

                But lets not put the Hippo in front of the cart here. ;)

    • That’s what the NY Post is saying. Hope it doesn’t happen.

    • I could not imagine DB in NY. On the other hand, if they want the exact opposite of Torts.

  13. This is amazing, 4 draft picks and not a one high school RHP.

    What has gotten into NH?

  14. The local high school here has 4-5 players looking for phone calls today. Awesome, awesome program and my son is getting ready to be a freshman.

    The only problem is we won’t be here for baseball season. The tough part of the job, make roots and then pull them up and start over.

    • Good luck to them all

      • The manager expects 2 to sign, others to move on to college. One has a full ride to Oregon State, which is one of the premier programs in the country right now too.

        Freakin’ flame thrower at 165lbs.

  15. 4th round pick Cody Dickson, Sam Houston State, LHP – Dickson had an up-and-down season at Sam Houston State, but improved his draft stock by pitching well toward the end of the season. Dickson is a tall, projectable lefty that throws his fastball mostly in the low 90s but could see an uptick of velocity with added weight. He has a very good three-pitch mix that includes a changeup that has the chance to be plus. He goes right after hitters and has a very good feel for pitching. The chance to get a projectable left-hander with the potential to have two above-average pitches will most likely be too much for many teams to pass up on in the early rounds.

  16. I’ll take the under for all 3 for 100 on each please!

  17. I pay no attention to the draft. Lucky will let me know when one of them gets here.

  18. Travis Wood can be tough. Need the wind to blow out during the top of the inning, and in during the bottom.

  19. Well, not sure if the PBC brought their sticks to Chicago today, 3 up, 3 down

  20. Liriano’s swing and miss looked better than Pedro’s.

  21. Lazy.

  22. How’s the wind blowing? I mean the actual wind, at Wrigley Field. :-)

  23. PBC 5th round pick Trae Arbet SS – This SoCal high school middle infielder was making a little bit of noise as the Draft approached. Arbet is a solid all-around player on both sides of the ball and has a good amount of athleticism working in his favor. He has pretty good bat speed with some gap-to-gap pop. An average runner, he’s a solid defender with decent actions, range and arm. Some feel he’s better suited for second, while some believe he has the goods to stick at shortstop. A team that believes the latter, and feels the athleticism will play at the next level, could take him in the first few rounds.

  24. So Marte makes an error and Soriano only gets to first, what does that tell you about AS?

  25. They have Reese McGuire’s coach on the phone. They made 2 outs during his 1st answer.

  26. Well it appears they forgot to pack the bats when they headed to Chicago. At some point this team has to break out right?

  27. Anyone see Rob B’s article about Cole maybe coming up? NH’s quote at the end is the kind of stupid wordplay that drives me crazy. ““We expect that the starter for Tuesday will come from within”.

    What kind of crap is that? Within what?

    • The system. Why play is hand right now?

      • Within the system? Oh, so he’s not going to trade for a starter. Makes perfect sense. What hand does he have to play?

        Not trying to be a smart aleck Ryan, I swear. Just tired of NH’s vague/dumb answers.

        • Eh, they all do it…..yes, he stated the obvious, nothing new there.

          Well, the hand would be a scouting one. As of now, the Giants are up in the air as to who they will face and the advance scouts can’t get the information on their opponent.

          Kinda like a football coach not letting anyone know until the “game time decision” on a hurt player.

          all part of it. Sorry it bothers you.

        • Yeah, be careful. It’s all hearts & flowers around here.

        • You’re just now tired of those or has it been a while? Because, if it’s the former, you’re late to the party.


        • I’ve been tired of NH’s vague, dumb answers for years. And I agree with patton. Only difference I assumed they wouldn’t tell us until they had to. Still what a vague, dumb answer. I don’t know if they all do it. But I assume the people who always say that they all do don’t know, either.

        • Then they shouldn’t ask dumb questions.

        • How do you feel about Bylsma’s? Or Tomlin’s?

          • Coaches are totally different. Apples and oranges. I’m talking about a GM. NH fails miserably if you want to compare his pressers or interviews to Shero and Colbert.

            Man, I am sounding like such an anti-Neal person today. I’m going to brag on him about something a little later just to balance it out.

    • The other paper is reporting the same thing, highly likely that Cole will debut

      Cole isn’t currently on the 40 man, is he? They are going to have to cut several guys in the near future

      Not that it wouldl be that hard, just sayin they are going to have to

  28. How much is Sawchick getting paid per John Hart reference? Jeebus.

  29. BTW, let’s not mention the thing that’s not supposed to be mentioned that’s going on in chicago right now with Liriano.

    too early?

  30. PBC 6th pick, Adam Frazier SS Mississippi State – In a Draft light on college shortstops, Frazier stands out despite his lack of elite tools. He was a member of the Collegiate National Team last summer, though he wasn’t the starting shortstop. Frazier, out of Mississippi State, has excellent plate discipline and uses a quick stroke to hit line drives to all fields. Listed at 5-foot-11, 174 pounds, Frazier has minimal power and is unlikely to ever develop much. He is a heady player and uses his instincts well on the basepaths and in the field. While he doesn’t wow observers with his glove, Frazier is a steady

    Two SS and still no high school RHP?

  31. That’s 82 pitches for Liriano. This will be his last inning.

  32. Good for Jordy on the double….bring him in!

  33. ahhh, an RBI…nice

  34. Bucs catch a break with Sanchez who should have been called out on strikes, Martin makes good of the chance to make sure Pirates get one.

  35. Is Gaby that slow that he didn’t score from 1st with 2 outs or was Martin’s ball hit that hard or a combination of the two?

    Can’t tell much from Gameday Mini.

  36. Does Liriano bat this inning?? See what happens in front of him.

    Get em on, get em over, get em in!

  37. Although he struggled with some control and made things more stressful on himself a solid six inning turned in by Liriano today, time to take advantage of Cubs pen.

  38. Does Liriano hit for himself, then get replaced?

  39. Hope he doesn’t wear out his starters pitching them so many innings.

  40. I stand corrected as Clint allows the SP to push deeper and is rewarded with seven solid innings of work from Liriano on 110 pitches of work. Only asking pen for six outs following off day big bonus.

  41. Pitch count update?

  42. Jordy with his 2nd double of the day

    • If he continues to hit with this offense struggling, have to plug him in more and play the bat. Disappointing to leave him out there with chances given to Cutch and Sanchez.

  43. And Neal got him for only $1 mil. (Sorry, couldn’t resist) :-P

  44. Are we seriously staring at another 1-0 ballgame? That would be five in last few weeks, something tells me Elias could be getting busy researching last time or frequency of that happening.

  45. The Pirates are fast morphing into the worst hitting team in baseball. It’s a good thing they did play Mercer today or it would really be bad,

  46. Just another day at the office an another hold for Melancon, nothing to see here.

  47. This umpire’s name is Jordan Baker. He’s really bad.

  48. OH NO! Wilson may finish the game today, but Grilli just HAD to warm up….idiot Hurdle.

  49. I know everbody wants the big inning, but this is baseball at its finest. 2-0 game, best closer on the mound, right now…….

    This is baseball.

  50. Behind seven shutout innings turned in by Liriano, another hold for Melancon and a league leading 23rd save from Grilli who remains perfect in attempts, the Pirates defeat the Cubs 2-0 and there was noooooooooo doubt about it.

    With the win the Pirates snap their three game skid and improve to 11 games above .500 at 36-25. The shutout victory is the tenth this year for the Bucs tops in the majors. The victory also moves the Bucs four games ahead of the Giants and Rockies for last playoff position. The Pirates resume to action tomorrow afternoon in the middle game of the set with AJ Burnett making the start.

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  51. Looks like Teke is now back from the draft. You did a great job Teke and thanks so much!

  52. Very important W today, boys and girls… staying away from long losing streaks is key… and the offense is doing all it can to have a long losing streak.. but the pitching won’t let it happen.

    A few points:

    1) Mercer is gonna get a lot of the starts at SS now… I said a week or so ago it is time for Mercer to get 2/3 of the starts and that may indeed happen. His defense has looked good and Barmes is just hopeless at the plate right now.

    2) Good for Clint to tax the starter vs. the bullpen today… though 110 pitches is really not all that taxing…Liriano certainly looks like the real deal to me, regardless of how much we have to pay him.

    3) Give Wood his due, he is a solid ML starter. But I pretty much threw everything that isn’t bolted down over how the Bucs hitters approached Villanueva. I don’t think he threw anything but 80MPH breaking pitches and the Pirates hitters did not adjust ONE IOTA. Neil Walker comes to mind… he was way too anxious in his atbat.. the Cubs were being incredibly STUPID to play the infield back and Neil had an obnoxiously horrible at bat…striking out. I also am livid that Pedro didnt go the other way in the 9th (though he did get a hit) with a huge shift on… with the offense struggling they need to take what the other team gives you …. no excuses.

    I know at some point the offense will click again…Cutch/Jones/Walker/Sanchez/Snider/Marte…these guys have the ability…it isn’t like we are sitting back and waiting for the likes of Overbay/McLouth/Brandon Moss to start hitting… um, yea.

  53. To my fellow “out of the area” Pirate fans, MLB announced it will be broadcasting Tuesday night’s game against the Giants. Some new kid from Indy might be starting, too.

  54. If you measure the 15 teams in the National League by the number of runs they have scored and the number of runs they have allowed, the Pirates have compiled some interesting stats. They have given up the fewest runs in the league = 209. That’s the result of some superb pitching and solid defense, especially in the outfield. (McCutchen, Marte and Snider are catching well-hit balls that might have fallen safely for other teams.)
    At the same time, the Bucs’ offense has scored only 222 runs, which is currently12th among NL teams. It gives the Pirates a runs-per-game ratio of plus 0.21, down from +0.40 two weeks ago. The result is a larger than usual number of close games, two-thirds of which they are winning. In games decided by two or one runs, the Pirates’ record is 26-13. (In one-run games it is 11-9.)
    A surprising stat to emerge yesterday is that the Bucs are 7-0 in games played after the team has had a day off. Maybe it’s a fluke, but it lends support to the manager’s strategy of giving his key players regular days off through the season.

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