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On location: Giants 10, Pirates 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (39-26) vs. San Francicso Giants (33-31)

Starters: RHP Charlie Morton vs. RHP Matt Cain

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Travis Snider, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Garrett Jones, 1B
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  7. Michael McKenry, C
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Morton, 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.

324 Comments

  1. YEAH, MERCER gets to start vs. a RHP!! And boo, Martin is out and he can’t be the positive influence on Charlie’s first start back…..

    • Not sure I understand the sense in starting a guy who you isn’t believed to be a major league quality shortstop on an extreme groundball pitchers first outing of the year.

      • Clint is giving Mercer a little more rope, a little at a time. That way, he doesn’t overwhelm the guy by labeling him the starter. The more he earns, the more he gets. If the thought is he will be our starter next year, Clint can’t be afraid to let him start just because there might be a lot of ground balls hit his way tonight.

  2. TWO LINE THURSDAY

    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.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!!

    Line #1
    Total INNINGS PITCHED by Charlie Morton in tonight’s game
    Line is 5.25

    Line #2
    Total HITS by Andrew McCutchen in tonight’s game
    Line is 1.5

    Please Note – This must be an official game in order for both line to be valid. Any postponement, cancellation, or suspension of tonight’s game will void both lines.

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  3. First time caller, long time listener…

    Russell Martin has the highest career batting average against Matt Cain of anyone on the active roster with at least 5 plate appearances against him.

    Check out who is catching tonight…

    I’ll hang up and listen to your answer, thanks.

  4. AJ will miss his next start with a right calf problem That leave Locke as the only pitcher in the rotation who was there when they broke camp.

    • Astonishing to think this team has rid itself of the Sanchez experiment, placed JMac on the DL only to continue to watch him struggle in his minor league rehab, see Wandy placed on the DL and now potentially AJ and have just been able to put next man up into the fray and not miss a beat.

      At some point this could end up catching up to them. All season the key has been avoiding big losing streaks (minus the 1-5 start), that is about to get seriously tested.

    • WHAT??! Starters coming apart at the seams…joints…whatever!

  5. RB reports A.J. is skipping his start Saturday and may be DL bound with a right calf injury.

    • Ross Ohlendorf is starting for the Nationals. Yes, that Ross Ohlendorf. Let’s keep hope alive for JMac, maybe he can come back and get it together.

      • What happened to all that pitching depth good teams like the Nats are supposed to have?

        • the best example of pitching dept is STL, though that comes with lack of track record at the ML level… Tigers rotation is very very good. But outside of that, can’t name another team that doesn’t have some weak links in the rotation, though I look forward to other bloggers educating me on this….

          The Jays, who have a GM that hasn’t proved a THING, were crowned champs after their big trade with the Fish, are starting Wang this week, their 13TH starting pitcher this year.

      • Oh, he can…for half a game. :(

    • Jameson Taillon for a spot start……..eh, why not

  6. If they DL Burnett, he would only have to miss one more start in addition to Saturday.

    • Locke will be the only opening week starter left who has not hit the DL. Burnett getting a 15 day breather, whether it’s DL or CL, doesn’t bother me…come back in 20 days or so a little refreshed for his next 17 or 18 starts.

  7. Here’s an answer to why McKenry is catching: RussMart has never caught Morton before. There’s a lot of value in the familiarity a pitcher has with a catcher. And with Morton taking the mound for the first time in a year, I’ll take McKenry in this role. Yeah, he stinks, but there’s logic behind the move.

    • How in the world did Cole and Locke survive without the familiarity of throwing to someone that has caught them before?

      Sheesh.

      • Sheesh my arse…. Martin caught him during Spring Training. And maybe they’re planning Martin to catch three straight v. the Dodgers. Just think a little bit before sheeshing.

        • Haha, yep, you’re right man. That makes up for McKenry being half the catcher Martin is.

          The Pirates are undoubtedly a better team tonight.

          • Sometimes NMR you act like, well, you’re just trying to start something. I didn’t mention whether or not the Pirates were a better team tonight. And that really can be said any night when a regular gets a day off. Catcher’s can’t catch every day, no matter how much you want a guy to do that. Yes, Martin is twice the catcher McKenry is, but there’s more to the decision than meets the eyes.

            • Haha, you know what, I do, and I don’t even know why with you. I like you, I really do. Just for whatever reason I get a kick out of when you go for the logic that nobody else thinks of and then defend it to the death.

              Part of me must just want to see how far you’ll go.

      • Martin caught both Cole and Locke in ST and not Morton as he didn’t really pitch in ST. And don’t discount Morton’s opinion as to whom he’d like to catch. There’s value in knowing the guy you’re throwing to is a guy you threw to last year and for a half year in 2011.

        • So tell me, is McKenry now Morton’s persdonal catcher? Or do you think Martin’s gonna catch bullpen sessions?

          Come on man.

          • No, and stop being such a literal translator of one game. NMR, he’s starting tonight and throwing to a catcher he’s known for 2+ years. It happens. I’m just offering you some reasons as to why it’s happening. If you don’t like the reasons, whatever… that’s what they are…some explanations for why a guy who stinks is playing over a guy who’s pretty good.

            I’m sure Martin will get a read on him and get some opportunities to catch him.

        • If Martin hasn’t caught him before, including spring training, it seems logical to me that his first start back should be with a guy that he knows and who knows him. Fort is a MLB catcher, right? I know he’s not Martin, but Martin can’t start every night. Morton may have requested this. I don’t see the big deal.

      • Spring training.

  8. Couple of record keeping tidbits on this Thursday.

    Pirates are 39-26, currently holding a 4.5 game lead of final WC spot, 0.5 GB of top WC spot, and 3.5 back in the Central.

    At this point a season ago Bucs were: 34-31 (five game lead on that pace)

    Pythagorean Record: 36-29 (playing three games ahead of that pace)

    Fangraphs Projected Final Record: 87-75 (has Bucs going 48-49 remainder of year, which also would be good enough for last playoff spot).

    Date last season team won its 39th game: June 27th.

    Now let’s get the sweep.

    • STOP TALKING ABOUT THE PLAYOFFS!! One game at a time, and that is TODAY! I’ll never project anything on a Pirates’ season again. I’m enjoying the NOW.

  9. Line #1: 100 over
    Line#2: 100 under
    Thank you:)

  10. Here’s the story. Can’t wait to hear how this happened. It smells non baseball related.

    http://triblive.com/sports/pirates/4177379-74/burnett-pirates-morton#axzz2VyA9tlvB

  11. Wouldn’t it be priceless if he hurt it somehow at the big sporting clays event on Monday ? I think I’m going with that one. Wanna start a rumor ?

  12. I’ll take the over for both at 100 on each.

  13. The Pirates have promoted OF Gregory Polanco to AA Altoona. Nice to see, as this kid was doing very well in Bradenton and is probably the Pirates best hitting and fielder prospect as well as a Top 50 prospect in all of baseball.

    Glad to see him inching that much closer to the big league club.

  14. So the Bucs have had 20 runs, and like 34 hits the past 2 games, after scoring 20 runs the previous 7 games or so. Man, I hope they save some of this recent explosion for later in the season.

    Burnett got hurt skeet shooting with C..C..Cooooonelly and the boys? Or is this another CL issue?

    And I cant wait to see Mike Zagurski sing Saturday night. ;)

  15. Okay now everyone review their options and practice for tomorrow.

    A. “That was $2 million very well spent ”

    B. “What a waste of $2 million.”

    C. “I don’t care. It’s not my money.”**

    ** For my former friend, Thundercrack.

  16. An hour and a half before 1st pitch & tonight’s starting pitcher still isn’t even on the 40 man roster.

  17. R. Ohlendorf pitched Wednesday night and got the win; 6 innings, 2 hits, 1 run (earned), 2 K’s and 2 BB’s

    Final score was 5-1

  18. Got a question, though I’m getting waaaaayyyy ahead of myself on this, but I was thinking about this during the shoot out last night.

    OK, Marte continues to hit the way he has, move him to #3 and Cutch to #4 in the lineup.

    AP (who hit a HR right after I said I’m not a fan) or Tabby in the leadoff spot?

    Just thinking of other options. I’m not a huge fan of my own idea, but its a possibility.

    • You not succeed as a salesman!

    • I don’t mind eventually moving Marte down in the order, not a huge fan of Cutch in the #4 spot.

      At some point would really like to see this club find a “true” lead off hitter, high on base guy, with the speed to boot. Plate discipline, ability to draw a walk, all of those characteristics.

      Marte has done admirably in the role but there are some variables to him that just don’t make him up top a perfect fit.

    • You are way ahead of yourself on this. LOL. Marte would have to really SUSTAIN this streak to grow into the 3 role, and puting him there would pretty much curtail his running game (you dont steal bases in front of 4/5 power guys)…. Plus Cutch is really built for the 3 spot.

      IF they were to acquire a leadoff guy (or AP/tabby do something they haven’t proven they can do, which is be an effective ML leadoff hitter), then I can see Marte in the 2 spot….

      this is a quandary the Pirates find themselves in, and there are no easy answers… Marte has great potential, probably isn’t a leadoff hitter, but he really has to hit there based on the lineup as it stands. Marte isn’t there yet in terms of being a plus player in either power or leadoff abilities…. but you can’t bench him….

      again, Bucs will go ‘all in’, but that scares me WAY MORE than the Bucs saying “we’ll add but do so carefully”….

  19. You will not. . . . .

  20. Another question I’ve been waiting to ask for the game thread. Though early, simple question, simple answer:

    Starling Castro
    or
    Giancarlo Stanton

    Ready, set, GO!!

  21. You wanted more – Starling Marte out with discomfort in his rib cage. Presley in.

  22. Marte removed from lineup with rib cage discomfort, Presley inserted into lineup.

    Is this a team mutiny? Dropping like flies.

  23. Per 24/7 – Contreras released, Burnett to DL, Morton activated.

  24. Burnett on 15 day DL. The hits just keep on coming.

    • Retroactive to June 9th. Eligible to come off on June 24th. Well definitely have no shot seeing him out in Anaheim….bummer.

  25. Marte scratched, rib cage discomfort Presley in

  26. If the injuries continue, will they become the Pittsburgh Indians?

  27. Some good news ?

    The Rockies lost.

  28. For total selfish reasons, they better not move Cole from his start on Sunday

    • Yes, for the same reasons.

    • Added bonus to an already great Cole vs Greinke match-up….TBS picked up the game to air Nationally for their Sunday afternoon game of the week. Dick Stockton and Dennis Eckersly will be on the call.

      Nice to see the Bucs getting some more National attention.

  29. Regarding Ross O and his start for the Nationals, apparently he has a new windup.
    It is much slower. And apparently is much better at getting the ball over the plate.

  30. And on to the 13th inning they go at Wrigley in the Reds-Cubs affair. If nothing else, nice to see the Reds bullpen innings add up a little.

  31. I mean, seriously:

    “Right-hander Charlie Morton will make his season debut Thursday night against the San Francisco Giants. However, less than three hours before the game was set to begin, the Pirates still were working through a way to get Morton on their 25- and 40-man rosters.” – Biertempfel

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    • Yeah. Freaking Biertempfel

    • Three cheers for incompetence!

    • Um, was 24/7 in the back room when the Bucs were white boarding this, or is it more likely: “…three hours before game time, the Pirates had not yet announced corresponding roster moves….”

      It might have been they wanted to make sure they told contreras before announcing (maybe they were trying to trade him instead of releasing him and waited until last minute to release him)…. and of course AJ threw a wrench into things as well… they’d have sent down a reliever vs. the DL spot, but all changed now.

  32. And if Charlie has to wait in the “wanding” line, perhaps Zagurski will have to start tonight.

  33. Didn’t AJ just get a new tattoo on his right calf? I thought I read he was getting something from Godzilla tattooed all around his lower right leg.

    Not trying to stir any pots, just asking a question.

  34. Welcome back Charlie. Let the walks & wild pitches begin.

  35. The Dravecky Award Update (bullpen usage through 6/12/13):

    Pirates: Grilli 28.2 innings
    Melancon 31.1 innings
    Watson 30.2 innings

    Reds: Chapman 29 innings
    Broxton 26.1 innings
    Hoover 26.2 innings

    Cards: Mujica 29.2 innings
    Rosenthal 33 innings

  36. Walk, HBP, single and the Giants jump on Morton about every way possible in first three batters.

    • Distract us. What’s going on in the reds game?

      • Cubs get out of jam in top of 14th, Broxton on to pitch for Reds in bottom half of inning only Chapman left in pen. Castro, Rizzo, Soriano due up.

        As I research that, Morton does a very nice job getting out of the inning striking out to LH batters (not where his splits have been good historically).

    • In every possible way except multiple or extra-base hits and scoring multiple runs. Sheesh.

      • Let’s see in the first three batters the Giants reached base by getting a walk, than being hit by a pitch, and than by getting a base hit. Three different ways amongst the first three men to step to the plate.

        No there was not an extra base hit, which still would have been a hit, not sure what category was missing….catcher’s interference?

  37. Good thing the Pirates have found their hitting stroke

  38. Crap. A 9.00 ERA.

  39. Good Evening, Lunatics or Loonsters!

  40. For the record, even with the PH HR last night……..I’m not an AP fan.

    Just sayin’ Hope I’m wrong.

    • He SHOULD be a slap hitter, use all fields, etc. but he’s nothing but a dead pull fastball hitter. Period. Sorry, he doesn’t have enough power to be that player.

  41. He ain’t nothing but a hound dog.

  42. The original lineup I saw had Marte starting. Anybody know what happened?

  43. Cubs win. Cubs win. Holy cow !

  44. I really missed this.

  45. Love the Fort, but I think its time for Tony Sanchez.

    • its tempting but Martin will catch 6 days a week, so doesnt make sense to call up Sanchez quite yet…. unless the CL is called upon….

    • Game quickly getting away from Bucs, six hits allowed, three hit batsmen, walk, just too many base runners.

  46. Cain seems relaxed knowing there’s no chance he’ll face James McDonald.

  47. The Fort’s still doing a Barajas imitation.

  48. As seems to be the case when they score big a couple games in a row – they used up all their alotted hits and runs for the series. Cain currently throwing a no-no against them.

  49. The announcers have no idea they gave them the run there.

    • They finally got it. That was a pathetic run down. If my Colt Leaguers did that they would be running.

    • Don’t know if I agree with that call, Alvarez seemed to have a legitimate gripe.

      Bigger concern is Morton unraveling, too many base runners and command leaving him again.

  50. How is Pedro being on the INFIELD GRASS and being run into by the runner who is supposed to be in the baseline interfering with the runner? Again the umps screw the pooch.

  51. At least we won the series, but they needed to take advantage of Cincy finally losing a game.

  52. That was the right call. Pedro was standing on the foul line without the ball when Crawford bumped into him. And it was brought about by a terrible rundown. McKenry botched it. Threw it to Pedro too soon. Anything bad that happened there they deserved.

    • And a real heads up play by Crawford looking for contact there.

      • Yeah it was. And Pedro was definitely in the base line, which is a no-no without the ball. My only question was did Pedro jump out in time and did Crawford go out of his way to initiate contact. However my son the former umpire tells me good call.

      • What game are you guys watching. Pedro was in the grass and jump into the baseline ONLY when Crawford was running at him while he was way in the grass – not the baseline.

    • Where exactly would you say the baserunner established the baseline to be?

      • Good question. Seemed like he ran way outside the baseline on the turn before. Just like that the umps give SF double their runs.

        • Yes. He established the baseline initially on the dugout side of the chalk line. It can’t change. The question is, did he jump more than three feet away from it when he went to the other side of the chalk line.

  53. The correct term for defensive interference is OBSTRUCTION. There is no ‘out of the baseline’ because the runner is not running around a tag. This is the real danger for the defensive team on a rundown. Alvarez should have been schooled on this in defensive drills.

  54. LOOK!! BLUES TRAVELER IS PITCHING !!!!!!!!! ;)

  55. Putting Zagurski in is like raising the white flag.

  56. Can Walker have a worst game

  57. A little league team is on the field in black & gold tonight.

  58. Pirates suck tonight. It’s not fair but I feel like they’re giving up when they put in zagurski.

  59. Clint Hurdle gave up. Bob Hasis is correct

  60. I’m the 1st to celebrate nostalgia with the Pirates. It’s all we have. But tonight feels too much like 2010.

  61. If he grows a cheesy porn ‘stash nd throws on a plaid sports coat, he’d be a dead ringer for John Candy as a police officer in The Blues Brothers. Orange Whip?
    Reply

  62. Meatballs by Z has really made this one look bad even though it was already that way before he got in there. Let him give up more runs pitching the rest of the game, then release him after the game.

  63. Put Steve Blass in to pitch. At least I will not have to listen to him

  64. Question….Will Zagurski. be a Pirate tomarrow?

  65. I will give Morton a pass on this outing. He had better pick it up as he is still mentally weak, and looks clueless in what he is trying to do pitch to pitch. He is the type where you tell him where he stands and what will happen if he doesn’t compete harder. Hopefully Hurdle has seen enough of this cap and will come down quickly on him. He let JMAC flounder and it cost this team and him with needed performances in July. Burnett, Locke, Wandy, Liriano, Cole are the five assuming both AF and Wandy return next week.

    • Let’s be honest here……Morton’s outing was a bit below average, like a C minus or a D plus. I agree with most everything else you said. The good news is at least he wasn’t a total mess like that freakin’ JMac.

  66. They say hitting is contagious. But what does that say for starling marte? Clearly we’re missing the spark.

  67. Mike Zagurski’s ERA is my shoe size.

    That is not a good number…….

  68. A pretty good outing by Morton, all told. Too bad we have Zagurski.

  69. I’m disappointed that Zagurski won’t be on the team much longer. He’s a walking punch line. High comedic value.

  70. Was out playing golf-what’d I miss?

  71. This mess is on Dejan.

    He announces a vacation and the Pirates thought he meant them.

  72. By the way. I hear Manitoba is beautiful this time of year.

    Temps above freezing. At least during the day.

    Well. Most days.

  73. When does training camp start in Latrobe?

  74. At least I’d rather see a three-error, three-hit game when we obviously are losing. No mistakes tomorrow!

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