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Morning Java: Traffic in front? Whose nutty idea was that?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will happen right here on the blog today at noon.

>> At 1:01 a.m., assuming you didn’t stay up, this happened …

Magnificent stuff. Fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Final history. Tremendous goaltending. And reason eleventy billion why the Stanley Cup playoffs are unmatched.

But beyond that, take another look at that video.

As the puck goes back to old friend Michal Rozsival at the right point, watch all three of the Hawks’ forwards — Dave Bolland, Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell — down the right boards. Watch what they do once Rozsival gets a clear look.

THEY. WENT. TO. THE. NET.

ALL. THREE.

What a concept.

If you’ve forgotten what that looked like, well, that’s OK. Tuukka Rask probably did, too.

Rozsival takes something off the shot to get it through traffic, the puck skips off Bolland, then off Shaw, and the Hawks’ forwards are rewarded.

Sooooooooooooo, on that note …

>> Ray Shero’s decision to keep Dan Bylsma is the subject of Joe Starkey’s Thursday column. As a result, I’ll keep my own thoughts to a minimum here.

Regardless of what you think of Bylsma as a coach — and I’ve been consistent in stating that I like him and, infinitely more important, that the Penguins had no interest in firing him — this is a team that could have benefited from some change. If that meant Bylsma would leave and get snapped up by some other team, so be it. The change alone to a more solid foundation would have been worth it, provided, of course, a good new hire resulted.

To wit: When I asked Shero yesterday if he could explain his coaches’ apparent stubbornness in never getting the Penguins’ forwards through to the Boston net — which isn’t remotely complicated schematically or otherwise — he came back with “good question” two or three times but never really seemed to come up with anything.

Here, watch for yourself. It starts at around the 40-minute mark.

All of this, to be candid, smacked of the front office being too comfortable with the status quo. And that should always make anyone observing that feel a little un-comfortable.

>> Here was Bylsma, on the heat he felt this week …

>> The Pirates give up eight runs and still win because it’s clearly been that kind of year to this stage. Also, Jason Grilli’s march to Cooperstown continues unabated.

>> The Steelers’ defensive icon is tackled by Alan Robinson on the middle day of minicamp.

>> Hope to have you on board for the chat. Remember, please, entries go on the chat form, not in the blog’s regular comments section.

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.

Comments

  1. Ghost says:

    If Grilli does make it to Cooperstown, his bust has to include Martin’s too, embraced in a headlock.

  2. Ghost says:

    Read Karen Price’s piece on Josh Bell and Stetson Allie. Sure whets a fan’s appetite daydreaming about those two bats together making it all the way to the middle of the Pirates’ lineup in a few years. Jason Grilli should be about age 39 by then.

    DK: And even better than he is now.

  3. Drew71 says:

    Satchel Paige

  4. Drew71 says:

    Cool night. Hockey on television (mute), Pirates on Internet, both games entertaining.

    Though the chances of me staying up until 1:00 are as high as Dejan inviting Thunder over for a coupla beers.

    Or maybe Rakia.

  5. danch70 says:

    The Penguins, like most sports franchises, have become very corporate. The management flaps their gums and says nothing. Makes the Rooney’s that more special.

  6. JoeyBats says:

    LOL…the odds of me staying up to 1AM …are the same as Manager Clint starting Jordy Mercer in back-to-back games at SS.

  7. Thundercrack says:

    What happened to today’s game thread – from last night?

  8. Drew71 says:

    I told you.

    Too much Rakia.

  9. RobS says:

    I’m unable to view or read much at the moment, but thanks to this blog (DK) and headlines I able to know what’s going on, so my comments are devoid of “all” the information. That said the only thing I need to know is what happened to the Pen’s this year, the last 4 years, and Ray Shero’s actions yesterday.

    I thought to myself yesterday after D.Byslma was retained/extended that the responsibility for next years outcome in the playoffs falls squarely on the shoulders of RS. He clearly condones DB’s approach/strategy in the playoffs, and so do the owners. I find this baffling to say least, if the ultimate goal is wining the cup.

    By implication the strategy is sound, but management believes the players simply failed to execute. The team most believed to be stacked and assembled to compete for the cup in the post season, which was completely shut down and embarrassed in the Boston series simply choked?

    So I guess the next hire will be a sports psychologist?

    I can understand believing that an opposing team was able to shut down a single a player or an entire line in a 7 game playoff series, but the entire team? Not only for a single game, but in 4 straight games, culminating in eliminating that team in a sweep?

    I just don’t get it. Is this the real world or did the Penguins, all of them including their super stars completely turn into ordinary hockey players with the flip of a switch. Is Rask that much better than assessed by our fearless leader (DK), and just played brilliantly? I guess maybe you could make that argument.

    Maybe the ultimate goal of winning the cup isn’t exactly what the season long mantra really is. Maybe filling the arena and qualifying for the playoffs is good enough. Based on yesterdays actions, and unless I hear a better explanation for what occurred in the Boston’s series is made, what am I supposed to walk away with.

    Hypothetically, if the Penguins meet the Bruins again, say next year or if you could do it just for fun next month (just so you have the exact same personnel), how would Ray Shero, Mario Lemiuex, and Dan Byslma propose we beat them?

    That’s the question I’m waiting to hear answered.

  10. Dadtackular says:

    Here is my back story as to why a guy from a small town in Illinois roots for Pittsburgh sports.

    Short story: brainwashing.

    Long story: My Grandpa grew up loving the Pirates.

    In the early 60’s my Grandpa would cut out pictures of Pirate players from a local newspaper and tape them to his kitchen wall. Every time I would visit my Grandpa, he would tell me who these players were and why he liked them. Then I would get quizzed about which player was which. (I was too young to read or write and I loved my Grandpa, so I memorized the clippings. Thus I became a brainwashed Pirate fan somewhere near the age of 4 years old.) These players’ clippings included the likes of Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bob Veale, Donn Clendenon, Danny Murtaugh, Manny Mota and Gene Alley. My Grandfather would tell me stories of other Pirates players from the eras of J. “Happy Jack” Chesbro to Harvey Haddix.

    I carried the torch of a Pittsburgh fan. In grade school I was given a subscription of “The Sporting News” and was able to follow more Pittsburgh Stories and Box Scores. We eventually got a small black and white TV and I began to watch for Steeler football information during football season. (Wasn’t Steeler football in the 70’s great?) During this time I would try to find out information about the Penguins. This information was hard to find with a small local newspaper, no cable TV, no ESPN, no computers, plus Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet.

    Growing up in Cardinal and Cub territory I could listen to the Pirates on the radio when their schedules meshed. (Jack Buck = Awesome!) After 10pm central time in the 70’s, I could occasionally pick up KDKA, (when there were no thunderstorms) and listen to the crackled sound of a.m. radio as the Pirates played on the west coast.

    Early memories of the Pirates include Roberto Clemente as my favorite player. I was 11 years old when my mom got me out of bed on New Year’s Day to give me the horrible news. A few early memories include Bob Moose’s wild pitch, Willie Stargell’s wind up at the plate and his many home runs, Steve Blass arm condition, Manny Sanguillen swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, and Richie “the gravedigger” Hebner.

    So you see, my “hunger” for Pittsburgh sporting news will forever be ingrained in me. I was able to satisfy this hunger when I found out about Dejan Kovacevic through a google search. I began feasting on his columns a few years ago. Thank you Dejan. This blog is like a smorgasbord of information. Thank you fellow blogsters. I get to live as a Pittsburgh fan vicariously through you!

  11. JAL says:

    JAL’s Shake, Rattle, and Roll Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Feq_Nt3nM

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

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

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

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

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

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

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

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

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013draft

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Important Lower Tiers in the Prospect Rankings

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/first-pitch-the-important-lower-tiers-in-the-prospect-rankings.html

    Prospect Watch: Cunningham Hits His 12th Homer; Bromberg Strikes Out 12

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/prospect-watch-cunningham-hits-his-12th-homer-bromberg-strikes-out-12.html

    Marte, Pirates Light Up Zito for Eight Runs in 12-8 Win

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/pirates-light-up-zito-for-eight-runs-in-12-8-win.html

    Pirates Notebook: 9 Best Perspectives on Cole’s Debut

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/pirates-notebook-9-best-perspectives-on-coles-debut.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates Mid-Season Top 20 Prospects, Minus Gerrit Cole

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/pittsburgh-pirates-mid-season-top-20-prospects-minus-gerrit-cole.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates’ offense goes nuts in 12-8 win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/12/4425278/pirates-offense-goes-nuts-in-12-8-win

    Hurdle: This is the ‘best team that we’ve had since I’ve been here’; Bochy suspended

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/12/4424462/hurdle-this-is-the-best-team-that-weve-had-since-ive-been-here-bochy

    8 City of Champions

    Gerrit Cole debut not perfect, but provides rare buzz-worthy Pirates moment

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/06/12/gerrit-cole-debut-not-perfect-but-provides-rare-buzz-worthy-pirates-moment/

    9 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Outlast Giants 12-8

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/06/bucs-outlast-giants-12-8.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Pirates Ray Searage Talks Gerrit Cole on 93.7 The Fan

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/11/pirates-ray-searage-talks-gerrit-cole-on-93-7-the-fan/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 12 Giants 8

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/06/pirates-12-giants-8/

  12. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Sporting News

    Gerrit Cole has impressive debut for Pittsburgh Pirates; earns win vs. San Francisco Giants

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2013-06-12/gerrit-cole-major-league-debut-pittsburgh-pirates-draft-pick-giants

    13 San Jose Mercury News

    San Francisco Giants lose to Pittsburgh Pirates 12-8

    http://www.mercurynews.com/giants/ci_23448230/san-francisco-giants-lose-pittsburgh-pirates-12-8

    14 Beaver County Times

    Pirates Insider: It’s a Marte Par-tay

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/pirates-insider-it-s-a-marte-par-tay/article_885c262f-e72b-5ae5-8473-dee86c1ed1bf.html

    15 Golden Gate Sports

    San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy, George Kontos Suspended for Throwing at Andrew McCutchen

    http://goldengatesports.com/2013/06/12/san-francisco-giants-bruce-bochy-suspended-for-throwing-at-andrew-mccutchen/

    16 CBS Sports

    San Francisco vs Pittsburgh

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130613_SF@PIT/giantspirates-preview

    17 Sweetspot

    Giants, Tigers need pitching upgrades

    http://goldengatesports.com/2013/06/12/san-francisco-giants-bruce-bochy-suspended-for-throwing-at-andrew-mccutchen/

    18 PBC Site

    Top of the order sets tone for Pirates in victory

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_06_12_sfnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Bucs understand Giants’ reaction to plunking

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130612&content_id=50451138&notebook_id=50452456&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What the Arbitrators Will Hear

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20897

    20 Fangraphs

    An Inning with Gerrit Cole’s Command

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/an-inning-with-gerrit-coles-command/

  13. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer taking opportunity seriously

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/6/12/4422372/steelers-depth-chart-running-backs-jonathan-dwyer

    Report hints at the idea of Steelers throwing deep more in 2013

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/6/12/4422324/steelers-offense-2013-deep-passing

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Coach Dick LeBeau Searching For Turnover Answers

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/06/steelers-coach-dick-lebeau-searching-for-turnover-answers/

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Wilfried Zaha reveals depth of England naivety after European Under-21 Championship failure

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/10117229/Wilfried-Zaha-reveals-depth-of-England-naivety-after-European-Under-21-Championship-failure.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 12th June, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-12th-june-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Ray Shero Press Conference: Dan Bylsma stays as Pens coach

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/6/12/4422996/ray-shero-press-conference-dan-bylsma-stays-as-pens-coach

  14. JAL says:

    Shake, Rattle, and Roll , Big Joe Turner 1954 Bill Haley had the bigger hit with a later version but this is the original recording and is highly rated

  15. Jandy says:

    +1 lol

  16. Jandy says:

    Don’t hold your breath, you’ll turn blue, my friend.

  17. Jandy says:

    You’re a true blue Lunatic, Dadtackular :)
    Welcome to the Asylum!

  18. Jandy says:

    I’d stay up all night if it were the Pens playing. And STILL go to work without sleep.
    That said, I’m happy the Hawks won.

  19. steelerdan70 says:

    Dadtackular, that is a great story.
    I too have lived all my life outside of Pittsburgh but have been a fan of the black n gold since I was 9. Growing up in WNY my dad has been a fan of the local teams since they came into existance.
    The first Super Bowl I watched with him was SB 13. I asked him who we should be rooting for since his Bills weren’t playing. His answer fueled my rooting interest for the rest of my life: “You can root for whoever you want, but let me give you some advice, nobody roots for the Cowboys in this house!”. To this day when we talk he tells me how much he enjoys watching the Steelers play; 1) because the Bills have been irrelevant for 13 years and 2) it reminds him of the old days of football. He’s also been a lifelong Cardinals fan and told me last year how happy he is too see the Pirates maybe turning it around (my 20 years of frustration probably has rubbed off on him, hence no “finally turning it around”).
    I too live vicariously through the ‘Burgh and Dejan.You don’t have to be from the nation to love the nation!

  20. Dom says:

    The Buccos of all teams, lit up Zito for eight runs. Zito is making $20 million this season. All the more reason MLB teams, especially small market ones, should never fork over big time money for one guy.

  21. gregenstein says:

    It is “brainwarshing” to be accurate.

  22. BillyBaduka says:

    The closest we will get to an answer is the performance in next years playoffs.

    Contrary to what some percieve, folks that think a change was needed won’t be rooting for a meltdown next spring. At least I won’t.

    I’d be happy to be wrong about Bylsma, whom I like.

    For those that think people calling for a change means they think “the Stanley Cup is a birthright”. That’s simply not true. Expectations are high, as Shero stated that’s a good thing. High expectations result in greater dissappointment and frustration. That’s what has been seen in the aftermath of the sweep.

    For me, it’s not “Stanley Cup or failure”. That is unrealistic. What I (and I think those calling for change) will see as a failure is any repeats of the playoff performances we have seen 3 of the last 4 years:

    Meltdowns, game 7 against Montreal, almost the entire Flyers series, game 2 of the Boston series.

    What I don’t want to see any more, particularly in the playoffs is this team look like its never played hockey together. Like 18 guys all trying thier own things. That’s what it looked like to me in game 2, in the Florida game that preceded the winning streak and too many other times in the last 4 years.

    It’s not that they lose, but how they lose that frustrates me and makes me think more discipline, patience and a new strategy is needed. The Pens look unstoppable when they are firing on all cylinders. They need to look like they can start the engine when things are not going thier way.

    I’m not sure why this happens. I’m not in the locker room, obviously. Might not know even if I was in there. From what I do see watching the games and interviews, it looks like that when thier game is not working (for whatever reason) this team cracks and starts getting involved in after whistle stuff that only benefits the other team. Crosby slashing Rask and baiting Chara after second period of game 1. Malkin fighting Bergeron. The entire Philly series. Crosby and Malkin need to stay away from that. Beat them on the ice, between the whistle. Let a teammate get in thier face. Crosby and Malkin need to skate away. That takes discipline.

    There can be changes without changing head coaches. I would like to see players benched for a few shifts in the regular season if they go into turnover mode, especially Sid, Malkin and Letang assuming all are with the Pens. A simple change like that could go a long way to increasing discipline and sending a message to the entire team.

    I’m rooting for this team already for next year. Shero has a lot of decisions on who to retain, let go and acquire. I’m rooting that this goes well for the Pens and for luck (like Dupuis agreeing to stay for less than Montresl rumored to be willing to offer).

    Enough rambling, I’ve got to get to work.

    Let’s go Pens.

  23. Jandy says:

    Count me in this camp :)
    Well said, Billy!

  24. gregenstein says:

    I won’t say never, but there were signs at the time Zito signed that monster deal that he wasn’t the same guy who won that Cy Young.

    I’ll put it this way…I’d never sign a who tops off at 90 and who had roughly a 4.00 ERA for the previous 3 years to a monster deal. He was basically a #3 starter statistically; they paid for a #1, and they got a #5.

  25. DJ says:

    Blackhawks in 3 OTs. Shot to net, two Hawks players in front of Rask (yes, two), deflections off both Hawks players, game winner.

    Seeing this, I was disappointed that Shero did not answer your question about adjustments, specifically getting Pens in front of Rask in light of 3 shots off rebounds in the Bruins series.

    Because Shero sounded/appeared uneasy with the question, I had the sense it had been internally discussed but he did not want to admit that was a major failing of this team. So he deftly side-stepped the question, mentioning something about wanting the players (presumably the new ones) giving feedback to the coaching staff about their experiences on other teams, blah blah.

    How about the coaching staff directing the players to go to the front of the net, Ray, and them doing so?

    It was not one of Ray’s finer moments.

    On MAF, I think it is clear that they have told him he needs to get the mental aspect aspect of goaltending in order. Less goofing around and more mental toughness, focus and concentration come game time, in this case, when it really counts in the playoffs. Without calling MAF out directly, Ray drew the contrast about Vokoun “being ready” when his opportunity arose. Message to MAF: “You weren’t, and we were incensed when you let in that floater — your first shot on net — in Game 2.”

    So it seems a sports psychologist in on MAF’s horizon. Half-kiddingly, I had suggested he might consider a hypnotist as well. Maybe he needs a mnemonic device that, every time he hears a certain word, he becomes Patrick Roy or Marty Brodeur. Maybe that word is “Vokooooun.”

  26. Tracy B. says:

    “‘Good question’ two or three times”….maybe Bylsma didn’t come up w/as many answers as it seemed.

  27. Jandy says:

    Instead of a sports psychologist, maybe a good GOALIE COACH might do the trick.
    That doesn’t seem to be helping, then go the mind route.
    Just do something. Don’t sit back on their laurels while nothing improves.

    Oh, and have the team watch that game winning goal from last night about 100 times straight.

  28. NMR says:

    This was admittedly the first I’ve seen Zito and Lincecum pitch this season, but man, they don’t look anything like starting pitchers for a contending major league baseball team.

  29. Rob says:

    Man would I love to have Bickell in black & gold. He seems to be on the ice creating havoc on a lot of big goals.

    Not sure how much it would’ve helped the cause, but did you notice Seidenberg returning to the corner to retrieve his glove while the puck was going in? Wow!

  30. Pucknutz says:

    What I don’t want to see any more, particularly in the playoffs is this team look like its never played hockey together. Like 18 guys all trying thier own things`

    Exactly !!

  31. Jack Laurence says:

    Pirates’ bats have come around nicely in the past five games, giving the team four wins and one loss. The team has scored a total of 29 runs in those five games and given up 16. Yet, the Bucs are 5-5 in their last ten games after losing the series to the Reds and being swept by the Braves earlier in the month. With the addition of Cole and Morton to the pitchng staff, more quality starts would seem apparent. And if the hitters continue to do well, a long string of victories may be beckoning.
    Looking at the season overall, the team batting average is only .240 (12th in the NL). But pitching and fielding have been outstanding. The Bucs have held opponents to a collective BA of .226, lowerst of any team in the Major Leagues. Pirate pitchers rank 3rd in the ML with a combined ERA of 3.29. The team is also first in the Majors with the fewest runs given up: 225 in 65 games. But the number of runs scored – 249 – ranks 10th in the NL and gives the team a low positive run differential of plus 0.37 per game. That has improved considerably in the past five games but is still down on what it was three weeks ago. Statistically, it looks as if the Pirates are on track to resume their winning ways from April and May. Unfortunately, the Cardinals and Reds might be doing the same.

  32. Dom says:

    I heard that the Pens and Meloche came to a mutual decision for him to become a scout. The Pens didn’t really make any changes at all.

  33. Patrick(RI) says:

    We share a similar Pirate background. I started out listening to 50,000 watt KDKA, after sundown, in Normal, Illinois (games pretty much coincided with “bedtime”). Started this after Pirates drafted my favorite local pitcher, Curt Raydon. Got hooked on a much younger Clemente, Friend, Law, Groat, et. al. A true addiction, once hooked . . .

  34. DJ says:

    I think Joe Starkey’s column today says it perfectly:

    “Contrary to what the Penguins might believe, nobody — not even the most delusional fan — expects them to win the Cup every year. Reasonable people don’t even expect them to consistently reach the Final. As Shero said, that isn’t realistic in this day and age.

    But you have to get further than halfway. You can’t keep losing to lesser teams. You can’t keep getting embarrassed.”

  35. Thundercrack says:

    I agree about Zito and Lincecum.

    And I know they have some injuries, but after watching their lineup the last two nights —they look like a bunch of singles hitters.

  36. 21sthebest says:

    So Dan Bylsma’s son listens to sports radio. I wonder if he reads blogs.

  37. hockeymonster says:

    Dejan, big-ups for the question you asked yesterday. Definitely the most revealing. I went ape poop when I heard Shero’s comment about why there weren’t in-game adjustments during game 2…”cuz things were working well in game 1″ is basically what shero said…unconscionable…as if by the 10 minute mark in game 2 we couldn’t have moved to a more controlled breakout instead of stretch passes or played a more disciplined 1-2-2.

    By the way anyone hear Quenneville’s pre-game talk with his team last night? He said “we’re sending 1 and playing the 1-2-2″ referring to playing the trap and being patient waiting for their chances. Here’s hoping Bylsma heard that!

  38. Sarah says:

    I think the scouting position is as much a charity hire as the coaching position.

    But I do hope they get a reputable G-coach for MAF since they appear set on him. (I still think they will explore moving him to see what they could get. Maybe not too publicaly. Bylsma’s statements Sunday were positively bizarre.)

    I’ll have to look into the WBS guy they are talking about. Apparently he did a good job w Theissen but that isn’t exactly a stunning resume.

    The real guru went to Colorado I think….

  39. NMR says:

    You’re right. I’m pretty sure Panda and Pagan are their only regulars out right now. Completely different lineup than the Bucs.

  40. Jandy says:

    Agreed. But it seems the Penguins’ brass finds it acceptable.
    They’re bringing in the money, after all.

  41. BillyBaduka says:

    Agreed

  42. radio wave says:

    Mlb announced that the 2014 season will open in Austrailia with Dbacks vs. Dodgers?

    Why??

  43. Bizrow says:

    Also the nickname for a Mr Smoky Burgess, if I remember correctly

  44. 21sthebest says:

    Lincecum’s average fastball velocity was 94 in 2008 and it was 90 last year and this year. I wonder if he has any theories as to why.

  45. Bizrow says:

    One word

    Budmeister

  46. Sarah says:

    Well said Billy.

    I guess I don’thave confidence that Bylsma, the ultimate stubborn nut, is going to change much of anything, certainly not in the accountability dept for the star players (see Letang and Geno).

    And I am no Madden fan but I thought he put it well yesterday also: Maybe it’s just as simple as they care more about filling the seats for regular season with a solid reg season coach, than they do about winning playoffs.

    I hope that isn’t true, but I have a nagging feeling it might be.

  47. Dom says:

    I asked why a country like Italy had a World Baseball Classic team when it consisted of Americans and someone said that Bud was trying to increase MLB’s market in other nations.

  48. wally says:

    Pens front office just blinked.

    I see a bad moon risin….

  49. Sarah says:

    It isn’t the first time their unwillingness to roll up their sleeves in front of the net has bitten them in the playoffs.
    VERY passive similar box vs MTL in 2010. Pens stayed on the perimeter and launched 80 long shots while Camillerri went the other way on breakaways and scored. We all came out of that one thinking Halak stole it. He didn’t.

    PAssive 1-3-1 v TB and more perimeter passing on the, um, 1 for 35 PP against aging relic Dwayne Roloson.

    Last year was mostly emotional meltdown, but this year we had everything, composure collapse, and yes, another Box we didn’t seem to want to crack.

    You either want to do the hard work, or you don’t. They don’t and if the coach is preaching that, he’s not getting through to them.

    But, like Starkey says, I guess that’s OK with everybody.

  50. Milo Hamilton says:

    Geno agrees to 8 years / $76 million extension.

  51. JAL says:

    Yes, Bob Prince’s name for him

  52. Dom says:

    Woo!!!

  53. Ed says:

    Just got a text on my phone from The Fan saying Malkin agrees to an 8-year, 76MM extension.

  54. Bizrow says:

    Thats cheap, isn’t it?

    Well, cheap, sports wise

  55. Jandy says:

    ouch

  56. Milo Hamilton says:

    Worried about Letang ?

  57. Dom says:

    That’s even more than what I make!

  58. Jim S. says:

    I knew there was a great backstory there, Dadtack. And, I was pretty sure it was going to involve a parent or grandparent’s obsession with the teams in our fair city. That’s why I asked. I’m glad you had so much respect for your Grandpa that you stayed with his choice of teams for you – especially living in diehard Cards and Cubs territory. My kids absolutely adore my dad, and I love that they have gotten to know him even w/o living in Pittsburgh near him. I don’t know whether you have kids or not, but if you do I hope you can pass on the tradition!

  59. Jim S. says:

    Exactly.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Very well said, Sarah. The Hawks and Bruins have both shown (for about the 1,000,000 time in NHL history) in this year’s playoffs that you don’t get the Cup unless you grind it out every single night. The team that wins, which I expect to be the Hawks, will have earned this Cup with grit and determination. I really didn’t feel like our guys, collectively, brought the will to do whatever was necessary every night in the post-season. Talent alone doesn’t get it done.

  61. Kevin says:

    Malkin 8 yr deal – 76mil total. 9.5mil. Thats not max right? kinda thought max was 10mil or so.

  62. Bizrow says:

    + 1

  63. JohnS says:

    thepensblog reporting Malkin 8 year $76m extension.

    No other details.

  64. Jim S. says:

    It is a tough hill in this division, to be sure Jack. But, even if we don’t catch those teams, we are still in a great position for the Wild Card. My fear is that as the 3 of us (Cards, Reds, Bucs) are beating each other’s brains out, some other Wild Card contender will fatten up on a couple of patsies in their division. But, as of now, things look good for all 3 NL Central teams.

  65. Kevin says:

    also, am I correct that this doesn’t count against this years cap but kicks in the year after? 2014.

  66. Jim S. says:

    Heard and dismissed, if history is to be believed, Monster.

  67. Jim S. says:

    Because Grilli needed some place to start being over-worked prior to the MLB season.

  68. DJ says:

    You won’t need to worry about Letang, Sarah. I think Ray’s phone is ringing off the hook so he should have more than a few offers to pick from.

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  70. Jim S. says:

    Looks tough for him now, Milo. The music stopped and Geno may have grabbed the last golden chair.

  71. Bizrow says:

    Yes, he is signed for next season, so deal starts in 2014-2015 season.

    Sid’s starts this fall though

  72. John Madden (NFL’s Monday Night Football) once said, “If you put up with it when you’re winning, you better be prepared to put up with it when you’re losing, too.”

    Such are Dan Bylsma’s shortcomings. Discipline, structure, and accountability have never been a part of Bylsma’s approach. We see this night in and night out when the Penguins fall behind: each player takes it upon himself to single-handedly carry the team to victory. There’s no sticking to a game plan, no patience, just 20 guys trying to be the hero. And, with arguably the most talented roster in the NHL, it works… in the regular season.

    In the post-season, it’s more of the same: loosely adhere to the plan until adversity strikes and then the wheels come off. Any cohesiveness is gone and you’re back to individuals relying on their exceptional talents. Except, this time, the teams are better prepared, better disciplined, and better focused at executing a game plan to nullify the Penguins skill advantage. That the Penguins win any playoff series’ at all again comes down to overwhelming their opponent with skill rather than adhering to any pre-defined strategy. If the Penguins find that they cannot forge a path through based on skill alone, the frustration boils over… often into embarrassment.

    The Penguins need to adopt an entirely different approach to winning hockey games. The “Divine Right” approach this group has adopted under Dan Bylsma just isn’t sustainable.

  73. Nate83 says:

    I was up at 1:00. I was sitting in my basement with the entire family (which were all sleeping) watching the game in between weather update break-ins, trying not to hear the tornado sirens going off outside. Thankfully there was something on TV interesting to watch and thankfully no tornado ever touched down in Toledo just high winds and a lot of rain.

  74. Milo Hamilton says:

    I love the yinzers that call talk shows & call him Malcom. Classic.

  75. Dom says:

    9.5 against the cap for eight years.

  76. Jim S. says:

    He signed that new contract around then, didn’t he 21? I’m sure there’s nothing further to see there.

    Whatever the case, Zito is so bad. If it weren’t the Bucs fattening up on him, and if he weren’t making more per year than all of us on this blog together, I almost would have felt bad that he had to go to the mound with that stuff. The ump tried to help him as much as he could with a few generous called strikes, but he had nothing.

  77. 21sthebest says:

    Rossenberger!

  78. Sarah says:

    “Gentlemen, you don’t HAVE enough talent to win on talent alone!

    Craig – SEND’EM!!!”

    :-D

  79. Dom says:

    He’s as good as gone.

  80. Sounds as bad as down here. “We’re loadin’ in the pickup and goin’ over to the Wallmark”.

  81. Sisyphus says:

    I would suggest that they propose beat them the same way they beat them three times in the regular season.

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    Goin’ dahn to the K-Marts.

  83. 21sthebest says:

    A couple of my favorite non words are asterik and supposebly.

  84. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m not so sure. I heard a cap “expert” with Pompeani Saturday saying there’s a good possibility the cap will go back up after next season. His bottom line is that they might be able to keep him.

  85. Jim S. says:

    Glad you stayed safe and dry, Nate. Weather was nasty in Chicago area also.

    I’m pretty sure this makes me an awful person, but … after the highly disappointing end to the Pens playoff season, I find it very hard to stomach the euphoria here over the Hawks right now. So many people who can’t name 5 players in the entire NHL not on the Hawks, yet insist they have “been a die-hard Hawks fan forever.” My HS-aged daughter went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game with some friends last night. In the middle of the first period, she tweeted that she was watching the game at BWW with her friends, but wished it were the Penguins playing instead. I think that means I raised her right.

    I have to give it up for the Hawks, though. Well coached, and loaded with talent. Speed to burn. They have a near perfect team right now.

  86. Jim S. says:

    Is it a Ty-ota pickup, Lucky?

  87. tpbco says:

    I have previously read that the offer could have been as high as $12MM/yr and $100MM total.

    So there is a “hometown discount”.

  88. Brandie says:

    This literally made me mist up and remember my first “crush”. Our dads were friends. I can remember sitting on the steps of his grandfather’s house, playing with Matchbox trucks and listening to Pirates games on KDKA during the summers. He was the only one of the older kids who did not treat me as a tag along. (He is 5 years older than I.) The love affair was born and involved me talking sports and watching Steelers games with my dad and talking football with both my dad and uncle in numerous 3 way phone conversations. (My uncle was Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force and passed away in 2002 due to pancreatic cancer. I miss him so much).

    Dadtackular,

    Thanks for sharing your story and evoking so many good memories for me.

  89. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah I bet the inning that he pitched in that tournament this year really knocked him out.

  90. Jandy says:

    I quit worrying. What happens, happens.

  91. bill says:

    I am new to the blog but a long time reader. I am compelled to share some thoughts after a “bad” day on Center Ave. Have at me with replies as I am a big believer that this team is built wrong from the owner down.

    1) Bylsma’s system is not geared for the play-offs and I no longer care a lick about the regular season. October through April next year will be an eternity as nothing will matter until the play-offs.
    2) I give credit to the players who rally around MAF next April. I would be a “cancer” in that locker room as I could not possibly have any faith in him. How do you not expect a “bad ” goal and how do you not sag when it happens?
    3) I would move Engelland to wing and make him a fourth line banger. We need 2/3 of those type come play-offs. He is not good enough on D in play-offs but could be a force on wing in a limited role. Look at the size of the Bruins 4th line.
    4) How do you pay $30 million to 4 players- MAF/JN/SC/EM and expect to compete in a league where you need 4 lines? You have to resign Malkin or Neal is useless. Neal goes to 15-18 goals without Malkin. But how do you give $5 million to MAF and risk the lose of Dupuis? 40 wins in the regular season…who cares? MAF has the same weaknesses in his game as when he was 18. He is a mental flake and possibly lazy. Tell me one of of his weaknesses that he has improved on? Other players bust hump to improve and I see nothing of that desire from him.
    5) Kunitz and Neal come off the power play and Malkin moves up front. We have never replaced a player like Malone who camps in front and it killed us in this play off season. God Bless Kunitz but he is too small. Neal is scared to death to go near a crease. And PLEASE stop the cross ice passes. Shoot the puck (on NET helps) and crash the crease.
    6) Trade Letang for a Dman with physicality and a banger winger who goes to the front and try to get some draft picks back.
    7) Stop the “show” and commit to a trap type system. I do not want to pay for a show or watch a show anymore. I want to pay and watch a TEAM play a system and wear down an opponent. I could care less about scoring titles. I get that after the lockout it looked like hockey was going to be a skating, flowing game again. Unfortunately that is long gone and skill once again can be negated by teams. To paraphrase a political saying… It is about the SYSTEM dummy. A system makes the “best” player in the world ordinary in hockey. They call little in the play-offs so please build a team for April not for January. Wake up Mario… your version of hockey is not played on this planet. It is “will” over “skill” and it always will be. Pittsburgh people LOVE defense and we pay to watch it because we know it brings us a better chance for success in April.
    8) Probably just me but did Niskonen show us why he was a throw in in the Neal deal? I thought he was exposed as very unreliable in his end and totally incapable of getting a shot on the net in these play-offs.
    9) Jay Feaster in Calgary should have been fired in march for holding on to Iginla for 2/3 years too long and then hired back in May for getting anything in return for him!! Does anyone think Iginla was really desperate for a “Cup”? I think he clearly showed why he has never won one. I will even give you the out of position issue but goodness… hit someone, forecheck, stir up a scrum…do something to contribute. He was a clear cut candidate for a healthy scratch. Morrow is clearly over the hill and I can see why SJ was more than happy to give us Murray but at least those 2 showed some passion. As a tip to fans in the future…go the other teams web site after a trade and you will see why that player was available. All 3 teams sites… the majority of their fans were happy to see the player go and amazed at what the teams got in return.
    10) Finally… Crosby is very superstitious but after a great series versus the Senators he takes the mask /shield off versus the Bruins? Subconsciously I think this affected his play? He played well but as they say in Bull Durham… never screw around with a streak. I know this is off the wall but think about it.

  92. Jandy says:

    ” she tweeted that she was watching the game at BWW with her friends, but wished it were the Penguins playing instead. I think that means I raised her right.”

    hats off to you, friend :)

  93. Jandy says:

    is that apposed ta be funny?

    lol

  94. tpbco says:

    Letang is the one guy I WOULD move, based on his potential impact on the cap (along with the return they could get). He has regressed not matured and no, I do NOT blame DB for that. How long has he been playing hockey now?

  95. JHadar says:

    Nice win by the Bucs last night. First time this season Alvarez has managed a hit and his average goes down anyway. Clint must have felt like he was back in Colorado with that rare air offense. A pseudo-save for Grilli. Cutch and Marte starting to hit of late, and Mercer not quite going away — adds more on offense than Barmes does on defense if you ask me, but I’ve beat that drum before. With Pedro’s acrobatics at third of late, makes it more tempting to keep drumming away though. A sweep would be nice now. It’s been a rough stretch, but we haven’t lost a lot of ground — the division’s a three way race, best in baseball here in the middle of June. Exciting, if I may say so.

    Somehow in letting myself carried away with it all, I forgot to check the attendance.

  96. Brandie says:

    Live in Central PA…We get “icining” for icing a cake, and “are you being have” for are you behaving!!!!. Sheesh!

  97. Jandy says:

    Bill, if you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum. :)

  98. 21sthebest says:

    No but that was!

  99. 21sthebest says:

    I’m apposed ta go to a pitnick this weekend.

  100. Brandie says:

    I got dispended from school.

  101. Brandie says:

    Mispronounciations!

  102. Jim S. says:

    Read today that Cole did not use his slider even 1x the other night. His slider is rated as a 70 on an 80 point scouting scale. Oh, to be him!

    I seriously think Inge is just playing for tattoo money at this point. I know it is tough to come off the bench cold, but he’s a vet. He needs to contribute in some way. If you couldn’t even hit Zito last night – not good.

    I’ve NEVER seen a RH batter get from home to 1b as fast as Marte did on that first inning routine grounder to 3b. He easily beat that throw B4 the error! He’s a blur.

    Cutch is getting locked in. When he starts to get a little lift, look out!

    Walker is starting to barrel it up from both sides the last week or so. That solidifies this lineup, big-time.

    If Barmes is not biting his nails right now, maybe he should be.

    Presley is becoming a competent 4th OF or platoon OF. It might not be here, but I think he is going to carve out a nice little career for the next bunch of years. Not as a starter, but a key reserve. I like guys who hang in there and fight through obstacles.

    Pedro is starting to be Day-Dro and Night-Dro this month. That is a good thing.

    Grilli is a pro, but I always wonder what any closer thinks when he sees that lead go from 3 to 4 right b4 he takes the mound.

    Is Melancon still on the 40 man? We have to get that guy some work.

    I didn’t know Vin Mazzaro from Ben Gazzara when the year started. But, he’s been very good.

    Morris has nasty sink.

    Go get ‘em tonight, Charlie! Keep the train rolling, Bucs!

  103. Jandy says:

    Huz come that happens? :P

  104. 21sthebest says:

    Lincecum in finishing up his second 2 year deal with the Giants. Total for all four years is $61M.

  105. Vette60 says:

    Great Story!

    Thanks for sharing with us…as a native of PGH now living in Richmond VA, this blog is truly a great way to stay on top of things and share our passions for all things PGH Sports!

    Take care and have a great day!

    Randy in RVA.

  106. Jandy says:

    Didn’t miss much on that last point ;)

  107. Cancel my perscription to the paper.

    I saw a chuper cobbler.

  108. Jim S. says:

    I guess the act of putting icing on a cake is icining, Brandie?

  109. Brandie says:

    Ignernt people. :-)

  110. Dotsome. An old square one.

  111. Jim S. says:

    Just under 20k, JHadar.

  112. Brandie says:

    I have also heard description in place of subscription.

  113. Jandy says:

    “Read today that Cole did not use his slider even 1x the other night. His slider is rated as a 70 on an 80 point scouting scale. Oh, to be him!”

    And I read that he wasn’t using it, but Martin coaxed it out of him….hmmmm….

  114. That’s in response to Jim’s Ty-otie Q way up there.

  115. Jim S. says:

    Hilarious, Jandy.

  116. Brandie says:

    Datsun, got it.

  117. Jim S. says:

    I think Dotsome became Nissss-on, Lucky.

  118. Brandie says:

    Cousint is another good one.

  119. Jandy says:

    Hugz!

  120. Not here, yet, Jim. Maybe in 10 years or so.

  121. Brandie says:

    Oh, and dust substituted for dusk.

  122. 21sthebest says:

    Joe Starkey pronounces a word on the radio incorrectly that drives me nuts.

    Inneresting.

  123. Bizrow says:

    + 1

  124. Jandy says:

    Oh and what JimS said, glad you are safe, nate

  125. Jim S. says:

    Lot’s of good points in there, Bill. Very frustrating end of the season. And a lot of raised eyebrows about what has transpired since.

    I try to remember that it could be worse, though. We could be Caps or Flyers fans! Little consolation, though, when we all know the talent that exists at Consol.

  126. Matt says:

    Here are Bylsma’s record since the Pens won the cup:
    avg 109 pts in regular season, 20-21 in playoffs, 2 1st round losses, one conference final

    here is ‘Best NHL Coach’ numbers since that time:
    avg 100 pts in regular season, 20-22 in playoffs, 1 1st round loss, no conference/cup final

    ‘Best NHL Coach’ is one of the most respected coaches in the league and no one would ever even think about firing him. The GM and Ownership of ‘Best NHL Coach’ team is also considered best in the league, no one says they’re ‘content with mediocrity’.

    The Red Wings are considered the model NHL Franchise by everyone, and ‘Best NHL Coach’ is Mike Babcock.

  127. Jandy says:

    *THIS* is just anudder reason why dis here blog be dabestest one ever…I be jus’ sayin…

  128. Jim S. says:

    I spent quite a bit of time in KY over the years with work, Lucky. Mostly Loa-vull! Easily one of the friendliest, most generous places I’ve visited. Good, good people in KY.

  129. Jandy says:

    And Spunky is #1!

  130. Brandie says:

    Those were good times. Right back atcha.

  131. Brandie says:

    That needs to be posted next to the Badger Bob quote in Console.

  132. Naje lives there, Jim.

    He’s a true Loa-vul fan.

  133. Brandie says:

    Should be Consol, though Console works too.

  134. Thanks, J-girl, he says, blushin’

  135. Jim S. says:

    Great story, Brandie. I can’t wait for later this summer when I take my family to Pittsburgh and my dad, my 11 yr old son and I will all go to see the Bucs together – annual ritual. My dad is getting up in age now, and we won’t have many of those chances left. My son was saying the other day how much he loves those times, and that some day in the future he and I will be bringing his son to Pirates games to carry on the tradition.

  136. Jim S. says:

    I was just in Richmond for my niece’s wedding, Randy. My brother’s family recently moved from Midlothian, VA to Connecticut. I like Richmond.

  137. Brandie says:

    Sports…bringing folks closer together since time began. Thanks, Jimster.

  138. Great column by Starkey this morning. He echoed a lot of my own sentiments… almost a bit too closely, might I add.

  139. Brandie says:

    To quote little Ralphie Wiggum from The Simpsons…”Me fail English? That’s unpossible”.

  140. MadTurk says:

    Yes a coach may help more for he lets in the soft goals and well as breaking down in the playoffs. One thing at a time. stop the soft ones and maybe that will improve his concentration.

  141. Naterosboro says:

    Sporting thoughts on a I’m-pretty-sure-it’s-actually-raining-cats-and-dogs Thursday…

    * I’ll start with the Geno extension. Nothing else needs to be said really other than that I like that this was wrapped up quick. Never like it when negotiations drag out. If the Pens are to win again, they’ll need Geno, and they’ll need him playing at his best.

    * I made my feelings known yesterday on the Dan Bylsma extension. I would’ve liked to see a new face behind the bench.

    * That said, I’m not sure I get some of the “outrage” (hyperbole) posted here towards Ray Shero and Penguins management. Some say they like the status quo. Some say they’ve gotten complacent. I think (which I agree with) they think they have a team that doesn’t need a coaching overhaul, that’s a few tweaks away from winning.

    * That said, we saw Michael Therrien fired 7 months after signing an extension. NHL coaching positions are not set in stone. Even if a contract says they are.

    * I posted last night on the Bruins/Blackhawks thread about trading James Neal. Yes, he’s a great regular season player and goal machine, but come playoffs, he shrinks. 9G in 25 career playoff games (if you take away the hattrick against Ottawa, that’s 6 in the other 24). He’s also been a guy that’s lost his head now in 2 straight playoffs (running around going nuts against the Flyers, and then this year against Boston). Not good enough.

    * Congratulations to Starling Marte on his first career 4-hit game.

    * Kudos goes to the [Pirate] offense last night. No pitcher on either team (not named Grilli, of course; he’s headed to the Hall) seemed to be able to get outs. Just looked like a lot of non-execution of pitches. Catchers were setting up, and the ball was staying fat in the middle of the plate. Our boys managed to put up 12 (with 18 hits). On a night when the pitching staff is struggling, that’s what you need to do.

    * The Pirates have 1 of the best home records in MLB, playing to a tune of 23-11 so far at PNC Park. Fortress.

    * Neal Huntington has work to do on this roster. His pitching decisons may be influenced by who is healthy at the time, but he needs to do work with this bench. Gaby and Jose (when back healthy) are fine. So is Jordy Mercer. But this team cannot keep a Josh Harrison or a Brandon Inge with that other spot(s). Simply not good enough.

    * Brandon Inge in RF last night was a travesty. I understand that it’s due to Jose Tabata being on the DL and Hurdle wanting to get a mostly RH lineup against the LHP Zito, but Zito had an ERA of 10+ away from SF and Lefthanded hitters were hitting about .380 off of him so far. Why Garrett Jones or Alex Presley didn’t start the game is beyond me. Luckily, it worked out.

    * Since Gerrit Cole was moved up to Pittsburgh (where he should remain unless he completely tanks), I think Jameson Taillon should move up to Indianapolis. He’s pitched pretty good so far in Altoona (plus the WBC experience) and think he’s ready for the challenge of AAA. Plus, this will get him 1 step closer to Pittsburgh. I think he would be a good candidate for a September callup this year, and [if the Pirates are in a playoff push] could help the team in either the rotation or the bullpen.

    * This Pirates team needs to go for that 5th wildcard spot. Realistically, it would be nice to see them just finish .500+, but, as we know, a winning season may not come around again for 20 years. Gotta go for the whole enchilada. Not that I think the Pirates would win a WS, but if they can get into the playoffs (PLAYOFFS?!) then anything is possible.

    HAVE A DRY AND SAFE DAY ALL! STAY OUTTA THE RAIN…YOU’LL GET WET! ;-)

  142. Jandy says:

    A coach or a head doctor and go a long way to overcoming problems, just ask Tomas Vokoun:
    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2013/05/pens-vokoun-has-overcome-plenty-to-get-to-this-point.html

  143. Jandy says:

    But FIRST someone in authority who CARES must first acknowledge the problem exists and take ACTION.

  144. Brian G says:

    Alvarez is still up about 25 points though from last month and his defense has been stellar of late. Cough…Cough..extension…cough..cough. Mercer needs regular playing time with Barmes coming in as a late inning defensive replacement. It’s June and based on these past two years it’s still to early to talk about staying above .500 or even talking playoffs but…Their rotation is getting deeper as the weather gets hotter, their hitters are moving closer to their career averages and the bullpen is still among the best in the league. One thing I saw recently in their play is a return of the baserunning errors. I hope that gets nipped in the bud before it becomes an issue.

  145. Jandy says:

    Good stuff, as usual, Nater….run between the raindrops :)

  146. Arriba Wilver says:

    I saw that, too, Jandy. I think from some guy with the initials DK. But what does he know, except about attendance. Jim might be mixing it up with the change up. I didn’t look at the speed of every pitch, but I believe I only saw one at 85, the rest in the 90′s.
    I also heard on the radio something like only 10 pitches weren’t fastballs.

  147. tpbco says:

    Please don’t confuse people with facts.

    It would suggest that Babcock should be fired because he isn’t smart enough to make “adjustments”…

    Snarky comment…for sure. I also believe that 98% of the people posting wouldn’t know an “adjustment” at the professional hockey level, if it bit them in the ass.

  148. Naterosboro says:

    That’s where I’m at Matt. This team got smoked in the Conference finals. THE CONFERENCE FINALS! They were 4 wins away from the Stanley cup finals. I don’t think MAJOR changes (which a coaching change is) are needed. That’s why I don’t understand some of the anger directed towards Pens management. As if they’ve lost the desire to win or have gone crazy (hyperbole) by extending Bylsma, which is far from the case.

    But, that said, I can’t also ignore 4 straight years of disappointing playoff exits. It’s easier to change 1 man than an entire roster.

    I would’ve liked a new coach, but I can live with HCDB for another season. IMO, Penguins management have earned the benefit of the doubt. They’ll get it from me, but, need to see another run here soon. Real soon.

  149. Jim S. says:

    Winning the WS last year has kept some of the heat off the front office for some bad signings.

  150. Jim S. says:

    Clever! Console Energy Center is more appropriate this year.

  151. NMR says:

    How hard is he kicking himself now for not signing long term?

    This would be his last year of team control, fourth through arbitration. Hard to feel bad for a guy who has already made $64m in his career, though.

  152. Jim S. says:

    I hope you know I was being sarcastic with my other response, 21. I’m sure when they contacted the Bucs about Grilli being the closer for Italy, he was not expecting them to be protecting a lot of leads.

  153. CeehowUR says:

    Your story is very appropriate with Father’s Day coming up. I know DK hates suggestions, but perhaps he could have a Father’s Day blog where we could all relate similar stories as a way of honoring them? Perhaps he has a good tale to tell.

  154. Jim S. says:

    A home town discount from a guy from Russia?

  155. Naterosboro says:

    bill

    I can agree with here is the Crosby taking off his shield. Not sure what he was thinking. Also, that Iginla looked like he was 40 in that Boston series.

    But…

    I’m not sure why you want to take this roster, and make it play in a way that won’t be conducive to them winning hockey games. I don’t want a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin trying to play defensive hockey.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t be good to teach more defensive responsibility to our forwards, and teach better puck management, but I don’t want this team playing a trap. I think you’re still feeling the sting of the Boston loss a little too much.

  156. PIT-AKR says:

    How ’bout a goalie whisperer? Or maybe they could get Patches O’Houlihan from “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”!

  157. Brandie says:

    Glad to know everything is okay.

  158. Iceman says:

    Your last statement is spot on. Adjustments don’t always mean full on system changes and refusing to adjust is not always the coaches fault (for example, a coach at the NHL level should not have to “coach” players to get to the front of the net. At the NHL level, this should be players instinct. When it doesn’t happen, I place more blame on the players and the “on-ice leaders” specifically. When you have one of your alternate captains who lived in front of the net in the regular season (Kunitz) avoiding the front of the net like it is infested in the playoffs, other players are going to follow in suit.)

  159. 21sthebest says:

    “This Pirates team needs to go for that 5th wildcard spot. ”

    I don’t know what the particular mindset is that Hurdle wants them to have, but I want the division over the single elimination game.

  160. Joni says:

    I watched the three overtimes last night. I was impressed (grudgingly) with both teams. Especially the Hawks. The forwards were everywhere, doing everything. I kept thinking, “So this is what it should look like”.

    All of the Hawks looked great; you could definitely tell they are team first, individual talents second. I’m sure that is the message the Hawks were given by Coach Quenneville all year long. It looked like the players communally internalized and actualized the team first, player second mentality. Let’s hope something similar happens with the Pens next year.

  161. tpbco says:

    Who?

    Please do not include retreads from the “good old boys club” nor “never been theres”.

    You do not make a change unless you can demonstrate how it WILL improve the situation…see Steelers, Pittsburgh or Redwings, Detriot for other organizations that understand this.

  162. Naterosboro says:

    21s

    For sure I’d love for them to win the division, but I can’t see this team (as currently constituted) outlasting either St. Louis or Cincinnati to 1st place.

    But, I think they could get 1 of the wildcard spots. That’s where my feelings are coming from there.

  163. 21sthebest says:

    Sorry Jim. Sarcastic detector was on a coffee break.

  164. JohninOshkosh says:

    I did not realize Pennsylvania, specifically Eastern Pennsylvania, had received so much rain in recent days. I guess if weather doesn’t affect New York City, then I do not hear about it here in the Fly Over States.

    What I have always loved about the US Open, probably one of my top three favorite sporting events, is how the dry greens and scorched bramble bush roughs reduce the world’s greatest golfers to look like me on my humble public course. The boys must be licking their lips thinking about those greens. The professionals just murder soft greens. There could be some low numbers put up considering the short distance of the course and the weather impacted playing conditions.

    I still remember the last time the national championship was held at Merion. David Graham hit every green in regulation on the Sunday finale. Incredible singular performance.

    Really looking forward to the US Open. I love the quirky wicker baskets. I’m going with Adam Scott to win but I always pull for Wisconsin native Steve Stricker and Iowa native Zack Johnson.

    Oh, and the USGA is going to release some ads promoting faster pace of play featuring Rodney Dangerfield’s famous admonition from Caddyshack. “While we’re young!”

  165. Naterosboro says:

    In terms of a new coach….

    I’d have been happy with anyone. I just wanted a new voice. I think things have kind of gotten stale under Bylsma.

    But again, I’m not upset they’re bringing him back. He’s a good coach. But when you have 2 of the best players in the world, and a roster built for winning it all, then you better do that (or come close). IMO, they came close (obviously you’re not going to win every year). So that’s why I’m fine with his extension.

    But another pre-Cup finals exit or 2….

  166. CeehowUR says:

    For those that would like to see a new coach, I’d assume you’d want someone that has won a Stanley Cup, since they’d know what it takes. Who’s qualifies in that list that is available?

    But I do agree that some type of changes need to be made. They made all of these deals to provide more of a physical balance for the playoff matchups they were anticipating, but that went away after the 1 1/2 games against Boston.

  167. Jim S. says:

    I like the Stillers better then the Pens.

  168. Thundercrack says:

    I know Brandon Inge did not look good last night and hasn’t looked good except for the first few weeks he got on the roster. ( I wonder how he hit 12 home runs last year)

    But, and I would have to look up the numbers, my guess is that he and his stats are typical for the 25th man on the roster. His value isn’t his batting but in that he can play a lot of different positions.

    Not every bench player is going to be a .275 hitter.

  169. Naterosboro says:

    At least for me, a Stanley Cup is not a requirement. Bylsma didn’t have 1 when he was hired mid-season.

  170. Naterosboro says:

    I hear you, but there has to be someone better out there who can play a lot of positions that isn’t 36 year old Brandon Inge.

  171. BrotherhoodoftheRedus says:

    Anyone read Ken Rosenthal’s column on MSN about how he is “worried about Puigs past and rage issue”? Pretty crappy read. He cites a speeding ticket in Chattanooga as supporting evidence of a potential problem. Be sure you go the speed limit Kenny…both driving and when pumping out new ideas for columns…this was a poor one.

  172. 21sthebest says:

    Lots of baseball to be played. I could see them winning the division.

  173. Jandy says:

    Arriba, then the way I see it is, if Cole hasn’t utilized ALL his pitches, then next outing should be even more interesting :)

  174. Agree with Jandy, Nate, good stuff, but let Taillon stay at AA until late in the season, like Cole did last season, pitch for Indy in the playoffs, then taste the ‘Burgh next June.

    He’s still only about 15, so he’s got a long career ahead of him. No need to rush.

  175. Jim S. says:

    I think the article I read today had Martin quoted as saying he threw about 14 curves, but Cole told him in warm-ups that he didn’t feel comfortable with his slider. So, they stayed away from it. It also said Cole didn’t use the slider his last start at Indy, either. And it is probably his best K pitch. Hurdle said he is allowed to use all of his pitches. “Nothing is up on the shelf” or something like that is what Clint said.

  176. Jandy says:

    what she said!

  177. NMR says:

    Wow.

    The worst team in baseball, the Miami Marlins, don’t have a single player on the active roster within 50 points of Brandon Inge’s OPS. Let that sink in.

    Not to mention that it is a complete myth that he adds value due to defensive flexibility. He’s a 3rd baseman that can catch grounders hit right at him at 2nd and flyballs in right field.

    Russell Martin could do the same.

  178. Jandy says:

    Hogwash!

  179. Jandy says:

    “Russell Martin could do the same.”

    I bet most of the guys on here could, too.

  180. Sarah says:

    I’m pretty sure 98% of us can tell when there is a Penguin near the net and when there isnt.

  181. Jandy says:

    Central PA here and I’m so sick of rain I could scream!

  182. Joni says:

    Awesome USGA ad! I’m off to add “Caddyshack” to my Netflix queue…

  183. Thundercrack says:

    Wasn’t Taillon scratched from he had a stiff neck?

    And I would feel a little better about Inge if I had more confidence that he could come off the bench and get a pinch-hit.

  184. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Sarah, I started a reply twice and twice I deleted it, as it was rude. Don’t want to sink to that level. So I’ll hush.

  185. Jim S. says:

    Nater:

    Great thoughts as always. Fortress is a great description of what we want PNC to be for the Bucs!

    Anyone that was on the “Starling’s fast start can’t be sustained” watch, I think that guy has big plans for his career and a few weeks of slumpage isn’t going to derail him. He has cut his strikeout rate from 27%+ last year to the 21% range this year. Not ideal for a leadoff guy yet, but trending in the right direction. And as best anyone can glean from the defensive metrics, I was reading that he is in the Top 10 of all NL outfielders so far this year in zone rating. I know it is a convoluted formula, but essentially it means the guy can go get a baseball! And his arm strikes fear in 3rd base coaches already.

    Right or wrong, I think they may hold off on the Taillon promotion for awhile simply because they think he might be expecting it immediately. I am not saying I agree, but our minor league director and GM seem to think there is something to be gained from telling a young kid, “Not so fast, my friend.” Give me 5 more solid starts, with improvement in these key areas, and you’ll move up a notch.” It seemed to work with Cole, eventually, out of spring training.

    Brooms are necessary tonight, I think.

  186. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    My kids have never lived in Pittsburgh and all 4 are Pirates fans, except when they want to get me reved up, especially this series against the Giants.

  187. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, 21. What is an FT? It shows he threw 1.

    Check it out, Jim. If I’m reading it right, it says 14 sliders, 2 change ups, out of 81 pitches.

  188. hockeymonster says:

    Agreed iceman. And overall I think we did have some traffic in front if not a ton…problem is our defense isn’t mobile and skilled enough to skate laterally and get shots thru. I’ve been making the case that our defense is ill built(most of you know why) and with Nick Leddy being the hawks 5th dman along with Seidenberg and Boychuk making 5.5M combined I believe it should be crystal clear that our mobility and depth on defense was drastically overstated. And when you consider the system bylsma ideally wants to employ its totally irrational for him to think that PM, nisky, Murray, engelland and even now orpik can be effective consistently when they’re required to skate and defend up and down the ice.

  189. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    They have been that way…….even in 2010 when they won their 1st WS. They won’t beat you offensively, their strong point has been pitching and defense.

    The pitching has lost their touch though. Watch out today for Matt Cain, see which Cain shows up. Even he’s struggled this year.

  190. Arriba Wilver says:

    Libary.

  191. hockeymonster says:

    Babcock is well known for his tactical abilities…comparing him to bylsma after babcock won in Anaheim and Detroit is pointless. I guarantee you that the pens don’t underachieve with babcock coaching.

  192. Sarah says:

    Not a requirement. I like Tippett. More defense oriented.

  193. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Timmy has said repeatedly about the contracts that he doesn’t want to sign long term because he doesn’t know where he will be or wants to be in 5-6 years down the road.

    Its actually kinda admirable to hear an athlete say something like that, but the SF folks kinda took that as a slap.

  194. Jandy says:

    haha I bet it was fun in your house the last two nights ;)

  195. Jandy says:

    it’s all in the “delivery” :)

  196. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Zito has been Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide.

    He is awesome at home, but the worst starting pitcher in the majors on the road. No idea why. The DK’s of the SF area keep asking the same question and not finding any answers.

  197. NMR says:

    Three hits off a guy who shouldn’t be on a major league roster and Marte is back off his few (as in FIVE) week slump?

    Boy I hope you’re right.

  198. Sarah says:

    Spot on. Nor do the Wings. They came within an OT of ousting the Hawks.

    As has been said, when did the WIngs last get embarrased in consecutive playoff years?

  199. Jandy says:

    and vanilla paper

  200. Jandy says:

    it’s all about accountability under Babcock

  201. Arriba Wilver says:

    Last night was a 4 for 4, but he’d been perking up some the last 2 weeks.

  202. Jandy says:

    Not to change the subject, but when Alvarez was batting, he just looked….calmer…more in control, than I’ve seen him so far this season. Just his facial expression.
    Am I nuts?

  203. Arriba Wilver says:

    It’s inneresting.

  204. Jandy says:

    I mean, he’s also been playing the ball well at third, so maybe his confidence is up. He just seemed more…stable…

  205. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think so, but I do think it started before last night. Clint said he never takes his hitting onto the field, but maybe he’s taking his fielding into the batter’s box. He’s been lights out in the field since Chicago.

  206. Jandy says:

    Oh another Rag Mag like the Ottawa Sun?

  207. NMR says:

    I was giving him credit for the last hit.

    But his .568 OPS over the two weeks prior to last night was actually lower than his .588 OPS for the two weeks prior to that.

  208. hockeymonster says:

    Spoken like a true goalie :)

  209. Jandy says:

    I missed a bit of the Pirates games with the Hockey playoffs, so I’m seeing more now…thanks for the reply AW :)

  210. Arriba Wilver says:

    We cross-posted. :-)

  211. Jandy says:

    Someone else cited that…going 4 for 4 and his OPS was lower…weird.

  212. Naterosboro says:

    From MLB’s twitter. Pretty awesome.

    “@MLB 2m

    We had an unforgettable moment in baseball last night: http://atmlb.com/150rZ1T #NicksFirstPitch”

  213. Jim S. says:

    ++++

  214. Thundercrack says:

    Never been a fan of Rosenthal

  215. Jim S. says:

    Pay back is a b*tch, ain’t it NorCal?

  216. NMR says:

    I generally think that the defensive metrics rank somewhere between magic and the BCS system, but even they agree that Pedro has been much better in the field this year.

  217. Jim S. says:

    5.07 ERA – very un-Cainlike.

  218. Jandy says:

    someone take my name in vain? ;)

  219. Sarah says:

    HAH! I guess.

    I think Starkey put it well…..they needed to turn up the spigot a little bit offense-wise after MT….now they need to back it off a little.

    But you’re right. I do see much from the perspective of the pipes.

    WHy I hate the breakout. It is physically difficult to do. Touch passes, speed to corners and NO fumbling the puck.

    I want SIMPLE, 10-foot-pass, get it outta the effin zone EVERY TIME breakouts. And if that doesn’t spring somebody on an 80-ft breakaway, I can live with that. In regular season, AND playoffs.

  220. Jim S. says:

    If he just lobs balls to the center of the plate and consistently misses his corners like he did last night, it is obvious why righties are crushing him and lefties are annihilating him, Nor Cal. His curve had no bite last night. I’m guessing that has been the way it has been all year. If he doesn’t have that out pitch for lefties, he has nothing against them. His batting average against is over .300. There has to be a fight at the bat rack when he pitches this year. Nice career, though.

  221. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, NMR, I wasn’t trying to dispute what you were saying about last night, but I saw where it could come off that way.

    I wasn’t doing a statistical analysis of the last 2 weeks, though, mainly batting average. I’m not sure OPS, which is good over a longer period, is the best statistic to judge whether someone is getting out of a slump, which to me is they aren’t hitting/getting on base, especially for a leadoff hitter. But what I looked at did include last night’s stats, plus just what I had been seeing, which is very unscientific.

  222. Joni says:

    +1
    Just don’t take the goalie whisperer to Vegas!

  223. hockeymonster says:

    Ya bylsma’s lack of flexibility has always been mind boggling to me…if getting the puck into the Ozone is your goal what difference does it make if you use stretch passes where you can chip to speed or if you bring the forwards back to skate up ice with the dmen in a controlled breakout ala Detroit and Chicago? If one isn’t there you use the other which is what they did in game 3 and 4 I thought. I really think after all the recent playoff exits shero would be justified to replace bylsma solely for games 1 and especially game 2. But maybe shero feels copable for bringing in morrow and iginla and bringing down team speed so he went to bat for his guy…

  224. Jim S. says:

    Never.

  225. Jandy says:

    That’s it! A goalie whisperer! :)

    PIT-AKR, if you list your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.

  226. hockeymonster says:

    And don’t get me started on our 2 man forecheck…

  227. NMR says:

    Nah, all you said was completely fair.

    And I’ll take your eye over OPS any day, trust me. That was a bad stat to use.

  228. 21sthebest says:

    :-)

    Arriba, an FT is a two seam fastball.

  229. NMR says:

    YO SOY CUBANOS!

  230. Joni says:

    Someone should have shouted, “Donny, you’re out of your element!” a couple of times. :)

  231. tpbco says:

    Every year since 2008, by the Pittsburgh definition.

  232. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Extensions for Bylsma and Co… Might as well re-sign Tyler Kennedy, too since we’re ignoring the blatantly obvious from the top on down. Misskanen will win the Norris next year.

    Maybe the Pens should consider USGA’s Dangerfield ad- fans and players aren’t getting any younger either.

    And regarding the idea that more defensive-minded coaches would curtail Sid and Geno’s scoring: Crosby won the Art Ross and Hart in 06-07 under Therrien and Malkin won the Art Ross during a season when he played 71% of those games under Therrien. Not seeing how a new coach would ruin anything other than an established pattern/habit/proven tendency to completely flop in the playoffs.

    Right now I don’t know if I’m more upset about Bylsma or Shero refusing to adjust.

  233. Jandy says:

    how the heck do the sabrematicians get FT for 2 seam fastball? smh

  234. Jim S. says:

    Interesting. I might be one of the few Letang supporters left. I just think he needs more direction right now from the coaching staff. I don’t want to see a talent like that just go away. I remember when we got Paul Coffey, and he was a game changer quite often.

  235. Jandy says:

    see what I mean Sarah? smh

  236. Jim S. says:

    I think they should put Malcolm in the middle!

  237. 21sthebest says:

    DeepLocal is a Pittsburgh company.

  238. tpbco says:

    First, my comment wasn’t direct to you,(hence the 98% reference) but to the parrots who just keep repeating the same sound bites because they “sound good and they’re mad”.

    But tell me, do you actually think that NOT having some one in front of the net was the game plan. That it didn’t occur to ANY of the coaches? Inspite of the fact that they actually did do it during the regular season? I think you are more credible than that.

    At some point, ESPECIALLY at the pro level, it’s on the players. THAT’S where the majority of the blame (if you want to call it that) lies.

    The alternative is that you think RS and Mario are clueless, stupid or have a different agenda than winning a championship.

    Based on the evidence in hand, I would reject that position.

  239. JHadar says:

    Actually I think could do better than Inge, but I like him as a catcher.

    BTW does Inge rhyme with hinge or wing?

  240. JaxBuc says:

    Thank you for that well-written, heartfelt backstory. Sounds like you had a Grandpatackular role model.

  241. Jim S. says:

    Arriba,

    There are definitely conflicting reports. I got my info. from the Trib Pirates Notes article today. Direct quotes from Martin.

    But, the point I was originally making was summed up by Jandy. If he still has plus pitches he hasn’t used yet, I think we have not seen close to the best of Cole – and that may not come for some time. Yet, he still held the WC Giants in check.

    Also, if he still has plus pitches he has not used yet, that tells me this guy’s confidence and pitching intellect may be through the roof. I don’t know how I would have the guts NOT to throw a pitch the scouts are saying rates as a 70 out of a possible 80. Amazing potential! Hope he realizes it.

  242. theplanisworking says:

    Bill, if you break up your post into paragraphs, we will love you. ;)

  243. Jim S. says:

    Libary is near Clairton, isn’t it?

  244. Jandy says:

    Paragraphs are Thunder’s friend…and ours too :)
    hey Hipposter, how the heck are ya???

  245. 21sthebest says:

    Jandy,

    This isn’t sabermetrics.

  246. Jim S. says:

    Great post, NMR. In fact, I believe Russell Martin proved he could catch a flyball right to him last week.

    I still say Roberto is rolling over in the grave and may take his wall back if we don’t start putting guys in RF that have no experience there until we give them experience there.

  247. Jim S. says:

    binge.

  248. Jandy says:

    21, ok but obviously you got my point…weird abbreviation for it…but whatever works…and thanks for including me, I’m trying to pay attention and learn from you guys…it’s working :)

  249. Jim S. says:

    Taillon was still ringing door bells and running in his neighborhood just last month, I think, Lucky.

  250. Jandy says:

    perfect!

  251. Scott says:

    I agree with many of your points. I’ve been calling for #5 for years, but it’s simply never going to happen. Don’t hold your breath. I do hope that Malkin never plays the point on the power play again for the rest of his life.

    Iginla was terrible, and Morrow wasn’t much better. Huge black eye to the Pens’ scouting department in both cases.

    As for #7, you’re going way overboard with that one. Neither the Hawks nor the Bruins play a trap. You don’t need to trap, you just need to be responsible defensively. Trapping would completely blunt the strengths the Penguins have in terms of speed and skill. Imagine the Islanders suddenly switching to a trap – people would think their coaching staff is insane.

    Your suggestion that Pens fans would embrace a defensive system is way off the mark. This ain’t football. Pens fans don’t want boring hockey. We’re conditioned to want offense. Personally, cheering for Sid and/or Geno to win the scoring title is one of the only things that keeps me interested during the tedious regular season. It’s the only reason to stay up past midnight to watch a mid-December game at Vancouver. Again – having a high scoring team doesn’t mean that you can’t also play defense. That combination sure worked out fine in 2009.

  252. Jandy says:

    I saw a lot of confidence in Cole, not the cocky kind, but the kind that says “I know what I am doing”

  253. JaxBuc says:

    Hinge

  254. Jim S. says:

    .357 OBP. I think we have to take the whole year together, NMR. Maybe I’m alone on this, but there is something special about this kid to me. I also think he brings a ton of value on defense. He has rough areas still to be smoothed out, but over 65 games was anyone expecting more than he has provided?

  255. Jandy says:

    Oh, this is priceless, had to share:
    Dejan Kovacevic:
    My favorite exit talk with any of the Penguins the other day was with Despres. Unfortunately, really haven’t had a chance to write about it, so I’ll share here: When I asked Despres pointedly how he felt about the coaching staff scratching him earlier this season against “physical teams” such as the Flyers, he responded with an unprintable epithet.

    Good for him. That’s how he should have felt. It was unnecessarily — and publicly — demeaning to treat a top young talent that way.

  256. Jim S. says:

    I think that is a good observation, Jandy. He looks confident with his mannerisms. And he is hitting better. A lot less swings and misses lately.

  257. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    It has….love it. Wifey not too thrilled….

  258. Jandy says:

    :) thanks, friend.

  259. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Exactly….

    DK: Ryan, come on, man … gravatars.com … You can do it!

  260. NMR says:

    Crazy as this might sound, I think Pedro Alvarez hits damn close to 40 home runs by years end, if not more.

    Back sometime around the beginning of May when the yearly “what do you do with Pedro” brigade made their rounds, I noted that the biggest change between this year and last was that he was hitting over twice as many ground balls as fly balls. Last year that ratio was 1.36.

    As of today, he has evened that ratio to 1.08. Why is this relevant? Because Pedro Alvarez is hitting an incredible 29% of his fly balls over the fence, 4% more than last year. That number ties last years league leader, Adam Dunn, who ended up with 41 home runs. While Dunn hit about 6% more fly balls than Pedro has up this point, Pedro also is putting 10% more balls in play.

    Even after his slow start, with 14 homeruns in 214 attempts, Pedro is on pace for exactly 40 homeruns over a typical 600 PA season. Considering he’s hitting more fly balls and more of them are clearing the fence, 40 might be conservative.

  261. Joni says:

    Yet another reason to like Despres!

  262. tpbco says:

    Sorry Jandy, with all due respect, I stand by that statement.

    How can you say that this year was an embarrasment when 3 of the 4 games, in the ECF, were by any definition good to great close hockey games that could have gone either way is not understandable.

    The TEN posts that where hit (and when they hit them)and the probably close to 2 dozen wiffs and shanks in good score position, by high quality scorers, were the story of the series…no matter what else did or didn’t happen.

    The flyer series, I might agree. The Tampa series…not in the least. Montreal, somewhere in between, mostly the flame out in game seven at home.

    Too generalize them all the same way, is just not the reality of the outcomes.

    Embarrasment is a pretty strong word and shouldn’t be used as easily as some seem to want to toss it around.

  263. Scott says:

    Extension for the guy hitting .215? Call me a skeptic, but I want to see more.

  264. Jim S. says:

    Gully washer in No. IL last night, and pretty consistent rain since March. I haven’t had to turn on the sprinklers yet. So, there is that.

  265. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I agree. He dominated late last year.

  266. BrotherhoodoftheRedus says:

    no he’s supposedly a respected mlb insider…i don’t know i what circles writing garbage like that

  267. Jim S. says:

    He’s the tiny bow tie guy on MLB Network and Fox Saturday night, right?

  268. tpbco says:

    I would hope for that kind of response and would encourage HIM to do something about it.

  269. NMR says:

    Ha, poor ole Roberto was still reeling from the Jose Tabata comparisons and now he has to watch this. What a shame. :)

    Honestly, I wasn’t even gonna complain about Inge. It is what it is. He’s Hurdle’s guy, and Hurdle’s gonna play him, facts be damned.

    But I’m just too damn stubborn to let ANY kind of justification other than that go. It’s a fault of mine. It’s annoying, I know.

  270. Scott says:

    One of the biggest reasons hockey coaches are fired is because their players stop listening to them. When they lose the locker room, they’re worthless. If you’re suggesting that Bylsma was imploring his players to crash the net, and they refused, well, you’ve just presented a great argument for why Dan Bylsma should have been fired.

    Either the coach had a horrible game plan, or his players ignored his direction. But either reality is an argument for firing the coach.

    Personally, I’m hoping Bylsma really did have a horrible game plan, because at least that’s something that can be changed. Hopefully Shero had a good, long talk with him and there will be some strategic adjustments next season – starting with playing the younger guys, which sounds like it’s already going to happen.

  271. Jandy says:

    tpbco, first of all, THANK YOU sincerely for a civil response. I do appreciate it.
    I honestly don’t want Bylsma fired, but when you have players that won’t play physical – crash the net for rebounds – and you’re telling them to, then they don’t hear you and you’re not doing your job. Someone needs to sit and play the guy who WILL do what is necessary to win.
    I realize that’s not an easy thing to do all the time.
    But when the “system” isn’t working, it needs fixed. You can’t fire the team, but you CAN fire the coach. Then bring in someone more demanding, and make it tougher for the players to just do what they want.
    I like Bylsma, I really do. I’ve been a Bylsma supporter up until this last flameout against the Bruins.
    The Pens should never have had so much trouble with the Isles. Were they cocky? Arrogant? I don’t know, but if not for a few lucky bounces, I have to wonder if we even win that series.
    Yes, that was embarrassing. Then to get swept by Boston? TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT. I also consider the loses to Tampa Bay and Philly embarrassing. eh…I dunno tpbco, I’m truly frustrated. I hope things change somewhat next season for this team. They are very much underachieving.

  272. Arriba Wilver says:

    Doesn’t sound crazy to me.

  273. NMR says:

    He’s been hit by 14 pitches already, Jim. Last years league leader was only hit 17 times all season. Take away 10 of those, which would still put him on pace for an above average number for the year, and his OBP drops to .317.

    I think Marte is a fantastic athelete and is absolutely a valuable player, all around, on this team. I just don’t see much more than an average major league hitter over the course of the season right now.

  274. Naterosboro says:

    So you think his avg. will drop to the .250-.260 range?

  275. Jandy says:

    Sheesh, the boss is on vacation again next week:

    I’m taking all of next week off, catching up on days owed from the Stanley Cup playoff run. I was going to take this week off, but Gerrit Cole’s debut and the Steelers’ minicamp prompted me to stick around a few extra days.

    Everything will return beginning Monday, June 24.

  276. Jandy says:

    ditto

  277. Jandy says:

    Amen tpbco!

  278. NMR says:

    No doubt a prudent approach, Scott.

    But the problem with that is as soon as Pedro shows more he prices himself wayyyyyy out of Pittsburgh.

    You extend him now and you can comfortably pencil 30 homeruns and 75 RBI into the books for the duration of the deal. Thats the floor.

    The upside is that at some point during his maturation he starts hitting in the first two months of the season the same way he hit in the last four of 2012 and you have yourself a guy in the .260/.340/.550 range with 40 homeruns and 100 RBI.

  279. tpbco says:

    No, it doesn’t. That assumes he will improve his consistency and avoid the prolonged slumps of the last two years. Do like the improvement in the field that I seen, with limited viewing opportunites.

  280. Jim S. says:

    I think most of these managers have a soft spot for some guy, and he becomes their 25th guy. It’s usually the managers that could not cut it as players, so they latch on to a guy like themselves as a player. It makes otherwise very rational and smart baseball men do some crazy things. Leyland has his Don Kelly. Clint is searching for his guy. I was thinking JHay was a prime candidate when he started playing about 5 positions and continued with a very low OBP/OPS. That is usually a sure sign of the soft spot guy – inability to hit with power or get on base at an acceptable rate. He appears to be trying out Inge for the position now, but it just isn’t working. I would take 2012 Inge, but not this version.

  281. hockeymonster says:

    How many posts did boston hit? How many chances did they have where they wiffed or shanked?

    See this is the same problem shero is experiencing…he’s looking thru a prism that says the pens had room for improvement after game 1 and boston didnt. You make your own bounces in hockey…when you get swept and in the process get blown out 9-1 at home its not an accident. We hit the posts and whiffed cuz boston was in good position and didnt give us the extra inch we needed to line up a better shot or get a better angle. They were coached and prepared better than the pens and it showed in making fewer mistakes. Not to mention how the pens constantly lose their composure when they dont get what they want.

  282. Jandy says:

    Scott, wow, we’re pretty much on the same page…see my reply below here…

  283. Jim S. says:

    Credit where it is due. Pedro is definitely a guy who is easy to peg as being in a good or bad stretch. Those painful expressions when he is walking back to the dugout after a bad strikeout are so easy to see. And, as you said, he looks positive and confident right now. Very logical.

  284. Jandy says:

    gotta get some contracts done..be back later…

  285. Jandy says:

    Gotta get some work done…check in later :)

  286. Naterosboro says:

    My big issue is that we’ve seen instances where Gaby will play against a RHP where he has good splits, but Zito comes in last night with LHH batting close to .400 against him, and that information isn’t given 1 thought, as they insert a “utility infielder” in RF b/c he’s a RHH.

    Selective memories I guess.

    Or Neal hid the advance scouting report from Clint.

  287. NMR says:

    No, but hitting ability isn’t solely judged by average.

    I think he’ll end up around .270 but his OBP will only break .320 if the HBP continue. Considering he’s hitting for less power than even last year, somethings gotta change in order to call that a clearly above average hitter.

  288. Arriba Wilver says:

    Before last night, and without providing any background support, Smizik said Clint was losing confidence in Inge. Don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger, and it might have been more of a hopeful statement than a statement of fact.

  289. 21sthebest says:

    “I’m trying to pay attention and learn from you guys”

    Well…….good luck with that!

  290. Jim S. says:

    I’ve made the point before that I think he is consciously turning and letting some soft pitches hit him this year. I think he is doing that because he knows he has to get on base, and knows plate discipline is not his strongest attribute. So, he supplements his walks with HBP. He has had it drilled into his head that he is now a leadoff guy. That is a tough transition for a guy still trying to establish himself. They essentially told him, “Sorry, dude, but you need to be something you’ve never been before for the good of this team this year. No one else can lead off.” So, I think he took it to heart, and he is trying to get on base by any means possible. I think it shows what a solid guy he is, in addition to a great athlete.

    We all want him to do well, and we all recognize he has faults (plate discipline, etc). He is susceptible to that low and away curve from RHP. He needs to get better at taking that pitch, for sure. He also needs to learn to bunt for hits better, among other things to improve upon. But, let’s not lose sight of his stellar defense/throwing arm, his ridiculous speed which helps him beat out a lot of groundballs (case in point 1st inning last night), his developing power and XBH potential, and his solid OBP so far. He’s a work in progress, but I think he’ll be fine. He’s probably never going to be a SABR fav, though.

  291. tpbco says:

    My position on the Islander series was the chaos created by Sid returning between Game 1 (won 5-0 remember) and Game 2. IF you remember, when Mario was out for any length of time, everybody else stood around and watched him skate for a few games and that’s sorta what happend here, too.

    Trust me,I am as frustrated as anyone. Just like I was when Cowher “lost” all those AFC Championships at home and Jim Leyland lost to the Braves, etc….

    One of the things I appreciate more now is that the players gotta play.

    And I wonder how, if any, the series would have changed against Boston had Sid scored, instead of hitting the post – 20 seconds into Game 1, with all the stored momentum from the last two games against Ottawa. We’ll never know.

  292. Jim S. says:

    Nice story.

  293. You’re so right, Jim.

    :)

  294. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jim–I’m not disagreeing the guy’s a potential stud, believe me.

    21–I kinda figured that, but was surprised he only threw one, which “threw” me off. But it does help explain Clint’s post game comments, where he emphasized he had a 2 and 4 seamer, in making the point we’re all talking about, really, that there’s more there.

  295. Jim S. says:

    They have played 40% of the season now, and Pedro has 14, which puts him on a solid 35 pace. I can live with that, for sure. In fact, it would be awesome.

    But, can I still whine and moan when he goes into a 3-week funk, even if I know he’ll come out ok on the other side and start blasting HRs again? Don’t take that from me. It’s like caffeine. I’m pretty sure even Pedro would be ok with it, because he knows I love Good Pedro.

    Seriously, though, he’s very solid right now. And, as NMR pointed out, he does deposit the largest % of flyballs over the fence of anyone in MLB.

  296. Arriba Wilver says:

    If whining and moaning is outlawed, the blog might as well be shut down. :-)

  297. tpbco says:

    Hockeymonster, I agree that you usually make your own breaks (or not)…but to answer your question about posts…through game 3, when it still mattered, it was 10-2, by my recollection. Almost unprecented. Further, Sid’s 20 seconds into game 1, at home, COULD have changed the whole series. In game 3, both Sid and Geno, hit the post late in the 3rd. Boston hit one in overtime, but theoritcally…it should not have gotten there. When replayed, Rask was clearly beaten on virtually all the post shots. So now you’re talking about 1-2 inches, which, particularly given WHO was doing it still baffles me. Neal missing the net by 5 feet and some of the others, sure that was largely due to Boston’s positioning.

    And I still argue that the layoff between series strongly favored Boston, as IMO, it’s much easier for them to develop their defensive response to the Pens, especially given the continuity that they had as a team, with 18 players left from their Cup team AND the way their roster was constructed.

  298. Arriba Wilver says:

    Never trusted guys with bow ties . . . other than George Will.

  299. National Mart of Records,

    So let me get this straight: you are convinced the numbers tell you that Starling Marte’s hitting and On base % are unsustainable

    ——but the numbers tell you that Pedro’s ground ball/fly balls in the same time period as Marte’s makes Pedro sustainable in home runs.

    Do I have that right?

  300. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I had one once………..once……….a long time ago.

    Find it funny that there’s actually a website for it though.

  301. Sarah says:

    No, by the Phil Bourque definition.

  302. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Ha Ha, access denied!!

  303. Dadtackular says:

    +1

  304. hockeymonster says:

    I dont have an exactly count on posts hit by both teams either but my greater point was that after game 1 we had the mentality that the pens were the only ones who had room for improvement. I was guilty of this too…i had the pens winning in 6 cuz i thought we turned the corner regarding defense and playing the 1-2-2 trap more often much like chicago. But clearly the coaching failed in regards to preparation and adjustments in games 1 and 2 then by the time we got our act together for game 3 and 4 it was lights out at consol.

  305. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I know I’m not a scout, but what I saw were sliders. But minimal.

  306. NMR says:

    I took a lot of heat for it, but this is exactly what my criticism was before.

    I believe Hurdle was using statistics as a cover for playing whatever guys he felt like from time to time. Like I said before, I’m fine with that. He’s the manager.

    But don’t abuse the statistics. (Nerd alert)

  307. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I’m a lefty, so that’s a fat no-no on playing anywhere in the infield, besides 1B.

    but I can catch grounders and pop ups.

  308. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    But tell me you wouldn’t want Stanton in this lineup?!

    Mash him between Cutch and Pedro…..he’s struggling this year so far, but the dude can flat out play and smash a ball into the next orbit.

    Yes please!

  309. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Whats wrong wth that?

  310. Jandy says:

    well, if you’re a lefty, then you’re smarter…we’ll let you play 1st base :)

  311. NMR says:

    So he can will himself to turn into pitches because he’s being forced into being a leadoff hitter but he can’t will himself to stop swinging at anything within a foot of the strike zone?

    Odd.

    Regardless, he’s a SABR stud, not dud. The kind of sabremetric stats, WAR, says only 24 guys in all of baseball have been better than him this year. Far better than what his counting stats would lead one to believe.

  312. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Nate. I saw the numbers against lefties with Zito and I was pretty shocked by it. But I’m still not putting Jones, Snider, or Presley against him. Have you seen those guys swing against a LHP?

    I was glad to see Pedro in there and hit him well. Good sign

  313. Jim S. says:

    It was a terrible signing – even before the ink was dry.

  314. Jandy says:

    key word “supposedly”

  315. Jim S. says:

    I’ve stayed happily emoji and gravatar-free until now. I’m sure I’ll cave eventually.

  316. JD says:

    I hope he takes a twitter break too.

  317. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    No way gets an extension….ever from the Pirates. Scott Boras will run him out of town.

  318. NMR says:

    Um, yeah. This isn’t even hard, Groat.

    Starling Marte’s OBP has bouyed by the amount of times he’s been hit by pitches, 14 in 280 attempts which projects out to 32 over the course of the season. Only two players in the last decade have come within 5 HBP of that number. Just doesn’t happen. He’s also played four full months of major league baseball. Only one of which he has hit over .270. The only other month he’s hit over .250 was September, and you know what they say.

    Conversely, Pedro’s homerun rate is close to what he hit last year, close to what other hitters of similar ability have done in the past, and also in line with his actual skill – hitting the ball with power.

    Getting hit by pitches is not a skill.

  319. Jim S. says:

    I think Clint was trying to shake Inge out of his funk by sending him out against a guy Garret Cole could probably take deep. But, Inge didn’t take the bait. Only guy in the lineup not named Liriano who didn’t get a hit, I think.

  320. NMR says:

    I don’t consider whining and moaning saying something that is completely warranted, and besides, like Arriba said…

  321. Jim S. says:

    Ding, ding, ding! I think (Smize) as reported by Arriba may have hit on it. Maybe Zito was the Last Chance Saloon for Ingey. If you can’t hit him, it is time to go.

  322. Jim S. says:

    He hit about a 700 ft homer the other night, Nor Cal. It was demolished. He’s finally getting healthy. But, it would take Taillon, Glasnow & 3 other Top 10 prospects to pry him away from Miami. I’m only half kidding about that. They are shrewd with trades because they are constantly getting rid of good players. They run a hard bargain.

  323. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He always looks that way. You won’t see any type of emotions from that guy.

    Think Adam Laroche or Kevin Young

  324. Drew71 says:

    I bet he’s going to the beach.

  325. Jim S. says:

    Not a thing, Nor Cal. Young and talented is a very good thing. But, even if he stays at AA for awhile longer, he’s still on track to be in Pittsburgh in a year or so. And that is a great trajectory for someone so young. It seems to have worked with Cole.

  326. cmat0829 says:

    Only thing to look at for Pedro is what his stats were ONE YEAR AGO today and compare to his stats now… this is right about the time he got HOT and he ended up with 30HRs and 85RBIs … I can see that happening again, and have no doubts he’ll be at 35+ HRs at end of year…. and if he can do what Clint said (his quote was, to all his hitters…. “get the fastballs down, the slow pitches up, swing with intent and USE THE BIG PART OF THE PARK”, then we will be witnessing him progress to a whole ‘nother leve.

  327. NMR says:

    Florida is lovely at this time of the year.

  328. cmat0829 says:

    On the Pirates…..

    Rotation looks to be in a ‘pretty good place’ and improving — this is driven by Locke being ‘for real’, Liriano being healthy, and Cole being an improvement over who he is replacing. I LOVE Clint’s quote that “this isn’t a get up here and take 4 starts to get better situation”…another example of how the sense or urgency and approach has changed this year…. that leads to:

    I don’t think there is much more room for Clint’s ‘favorites’ to take up space…. Johnny Mac was jettisoned; Inge was in a witness protection program before last night, and Barmes will be facing the pine more and more… McKenry also isn’t getting much atbats… There is definitely room to improve our hand on the bench and I think it will happen this year… Fort is a wonderful guy but he better keep his throwing practice going and keep the good atbats up…..

  329. Jim S. says:

    Yes, I think when they bust him inside, he does what most guys choose not to do. He simply lets the ball hit him, and takes his base. I don’t think that is a particularly hard skill. But, it is very unselfish to take one for the team. Cutch could have easily allowed himself to be hit by the two pitches before the one that hit him on Tues. I’m not saying Cutch should have done that – only that he could have if he needed to. We don’t need that from Cutch right now.

    As for Marte willing himself to stop swinging at the low and away pitch, that is a recognition thing as well as an intellectual thing. He has to know which situations he is most likely to see that pitch, in order to be somewhat prepared for it. And, he needs to get better at reading that pitch. Pitchers he saw in the minors did not set him up as well for that, and he now needs to adjust to better pitching in the show.

    As for being a SABR stud, you are correct. I should have clarified that what I really meant is he will probably never an old school offensive SABR stud, NMR, unless his power and XBH #’s shoot up and he continues with the HBPs. When defensive metrics are added in, he is already very good. But, then again, that was the point I was really trying to make. He does a lot of things really well already, and I think people are getting hung up on the few things he doesn’t do well. Plus, he’s only 24 and still pretty inexperienced.

    Actually, maybe there is a Pedro lesson there as well. I need to learn to accept all of the good things Pedro does and stop complaining beause he’s not George Brett and Mike Schmidt rolled into one.

  330. Milo Hamilton says:

    Tell that to Ron Hunt.

  331. Jandy says:

    Oh no no, Ryan, when Pedro is slumping and in a funk I see it written all over his face. Last night he was calm and in control. I’m serious here, I see it.

  332. NMR says:

    I’m really not trying to be a wet blanket, Jim, but I think some people need to take Dejan’s column on Cole yesterday and apply it to Marte(adjusting for the obvious difference in talent). Marte as the next big thing just seems forced to me. I don’t hear much of that talk outside of Pittsburgh.

    Sure Marte has plenty of talent and is a darn good baseball player, but I think those few things people get hung up on are pretty freakin’ important in the scheme of things. He simply will not be the star people like you believe he will be unless those few things are at least improved.

    I just don’t see what makes him any different than, say, Carlos Gomez. And it took him six years to finally reach potential.

  333. Jandy says:

    well said Jim S

  334. Jim S. says:

    I like George Will & he’s a good baseball guy.

  335. Jandy says:

    Blue Bombers on the beach…priceless!

  336. Bizrow says:

    Its time they go “all in”

  337. JohninOshkosh says:

    Winnipeg Jets fantasy hockey camp.

  338. Jim S. says:

    I was thinking the same thing, Milo. 50, wasn’t it? Don Baylor took a HBP for the team as well.

  339. NMR says:

    Speaking of Locke, am I the only one who has noticed the floor rising even with the “non-believers”?

    This isn’t an I-was-right-you-were-wrong comment, but a sign that he might be legit.

    Coming into the season the theme was “Jeff Locke stinks”, after the first month it was “Jeff Locke is really as good as his FIP in the high 4′s”, now I see Dejan throw out Jeff Locke’s 3.61 ERA in the minors as a comparison.

    If we’re down to wondering if Jeff Locke is only as good as his 3.61 minor league ERA, we’re in a really, really good spot.

    DK: Requires quite the audacity to want to see more than a couple months of big-league success for a guy who wasn’t this good over a much longer period in the minors. Stinking naysayers.

  340. Jim S. says:

    Getting hit by pitches is not a skill.

    For some guys, it is NMR. It is a conscious decision by them. Ron Hunt and Don Baylor did it consciously for a long time.

    Marte is not lunging out of the way of these pitches and still getting clipped. It seems to me that very often he is leaning slightly into them, and strategically allowing himself to be hit in a safe spot. I don’t say he will do this his entire career. I just think he was told they need him to get on base, and since learning to take a walk is not an easy thing to do for a free swinger like him, he is taking a few free bases. As the season goes on, maybe pitchers will adjust and stop throwing inside on him. If that is the case, he might see more pitches out over the plate.

  341. Milo Hamilton says:

    Craig Biggio also. 285 times.

  342. Jim S. says:

    I never got the Jeff Locke stinks argument, particularly for a young lefty. Sometimes it takes a couple of years to figure this out. He doesn’t throw 99, so he doesn’t have the luxury of getting away with a ton of mistakes. That makes it a bit tougher to realize you can do it in MLB. I don’t think we can pencil him in as the #4/5 for the next 5 years quite yet, but he is doing quite well for himself. I was thinking 9-9, 4.00 ERA would be good enough when the year started. He’s beating my projection.

    DK: He sure is.

  343. cmat0829 says:

    Folks can’t have it both ways… you can’t pine for Maholm to come back or for the Bucs to pick up a pitcher like that for the stretch run and not trust Locke to keep pitching decently enough for the #5 spot in the rotation…. not saying you don’t need insurance but he isn’t coming out of that rotation as long as I’m in charge…which of course I am, from afar.

  344. NMR says:

    If we’re down to hoping that Starling Marte can will himself to getting hit at historic levels in order to sustain an above average OBP, I think that speaks for itself.

  345. NMR says:

    For an average of 15 per season.

  346. Milo Hamilton says:

    You were supposed to say “only” 15 per season.

  347. cmat0829 says:

    oh, on the ‘time to go all in’… I do think the Bucs need to be aggressive, but I’d be very very careful with any of the top 10 prospects…. a few points:

    1) There are 8 teams that at this point of the season, barring complete collapse, will have a hard time overtaking the Bucs (and if we do have complete collapse, 1 or 2 deadline pickups won’t make the complete difference anyway):

    Marlins (yuck but check back in 2 years)
    Mets (yuck and what a waste of a big market)
    Brewers (YES!YES!YES!…Gomez can keep patting his helmet in loss after loss)
    Cubs (they’ll compete but they’ll be a-selling at the deadline)
    Padres (good young talent but not this year)
    Dodgers (lots of talent but deep, deep hole)
    Rockies (playing over their heads, not enough pitching)
    Phillies (they’ll be a-selling)

    2) That leaves 7 teams battling for 5 playoff spots. Very, very likely the Braves, Cards and Dbacks take their divisions… that leaves 4 teams battling for 2 wild cards….

    Reds
    Pirates
    Giants
    Nationals

    Both Giants and Nats won last year and could get their injured players back and overtake the Bucs, but the Bucs are competitive with both squads regardless. Now, it’s still early, and if you want to make a case that the Phils/Dodgers/Rockies will rise and take a wild card, it won’t be wrong… just each day that passes makes it more unlikely. Dodgers can’t make any major moves, Phils are gettin’ old and are better off selling and Rockies don’t have enough pitching.

    I say all of the above to make 2 points:

    1) The PIrates should be aggressive to firm up their WC chances and go for the division

    2) It doesn’t have to be a ‘sell the future, now is the time’ type of move. The right piece can go a long way, someone like Soriano (yes Soriano).

    If I were GM, I’d only trade the top 10 for someone like Giancarlo Stanton, young sure thing slugger with upside and controllable years….

    My biggest fear is not that NH will go ‘all in’, it’s that we’ll go all in and get fleeced in the process… give up a Taillon for a piece like Hunter Pence a few years back…. good player, solid piece, but in my opinion it (1) wouldn’t make us better than the Reds/Cards and (2) would set us back considerably in 2014 and beyond. No thanks.

  348. NMR says:

    To be fair, Jeff Locke did outwardly appear to stink. He gave up a lot of homeruns and looked the part of a beaten man.

    I personally was on your side in thinking that pitchers of his type need more than six starts to determine their worth as big leaguers, but I didn’t fault anyone for thinking otherwise.

    The only people that I personally get a kick out of are the ones who mocked the sabre stats that said Locke might be a better pitcher than he showed last year and then latched onto the sabre stats that said Locke might not be as good as he’s shown this year. (disclaimer: I attribute the Jeff Locke/ Jerry Sands stinks meme to Milo who most certainly was not one of those people.)

  349. Milo Hamilton says:

    Barry Bonds OBP his first 1,000 AB’s was .330. It’s just soon to tell.

  350. NMR says:

    Do you even read what people write anymore, Dejan, or have you become that thin-skinned?

    Take a breather, man.

    DK: You want to talk about pitching or to get personal?

    I don’t really judge Locke by what he did late last season when he struggled. Wouldn’t be fair. But I do think there’s a significant body of work in the minors that precedes it. I wasn’t citing his ERA in the minors as if it’s some future bar. He might actually be worse than that, given that the ERA was compiled in the minors. I don’t know.

    Only saying there’s zero precedent for what he’s done these two months. Opponents adjust, and sometimes it takes only one flaw to undo it all. Mike Dunne, if you remember him, had an amazing story in that regard.

  351. cmat0829 says:

    It isn’t audacious but I guess the question is what do you do if you are the Pirates? The young man has earned his spot in the rotation and he is going to keep starting… so fine, he is performing over his head, but what’s the point? Is the debate whether to pick up a veteran starter and send Locke back to AAA…if not now, then when does he get the chance to prove himself in the bigs?

  352. Milo Hamilton says:

    I piped down after I saw him from 5 rows behind home plate this spring. TV doesn’t give you a good feel for how much the ball moves. And moves late.

  353. NMR says:

    Absolutely. I thought I’ve been pretty clear in stating that Marte COULD get better.

    I just don’t see any reason to believe that will happen THIS season.

  354. hockeymonster says:

    Umm…scott…every time you see 1 forechecker from boston and Chicago they’re playing the trap.

  355. Milo Hamilton says:

    That being said, Jerry Sands still stinks.

  356. NMR says:

    Indubitably.

    And just to be crystal clear, I added the disclaimer specifically to make sure you didn’t think I was taking a shot at you.

  357. Milo Hamilton says:

    Thanks, I saw that. I’ll take being in a different category of wrong on that one. :)

  358. Jim S. says:

    Then, maybe we’re arguing different things, NMR. I thought you were saying he definitely won’t sustain what he has done so far, and that he was a .270 Avg / .320 OBP guy with not much upside. So, I may have misjudged what you were saying. I just think he is proving he can be better than that, and that his defensive value is off the charts. Put both together and you have a really nice player. But, I don’t think he’s going to be another Cutch as an offensive player. Now, when Polanco arrives, we are going to have a nice mix of talent out there. Could be as good of a defensive OF as MLB has seen in a long time.

    In time, I think Marte will be a .275 – .290 avg., with 20 HR/60 total XBH-type #’s, 40 steals, and stellar defense. He’ll never draw 75 walks, but given everything else that makes him pretty darn good, right? If the Keith Law-type guys never grow to like him, so what? He could be a nearly complete player.

    Cutting his K rate down from 27% to 21% so far this year is a nice step in the right direction, wouldn’t you agree?

  359. Jandy says:

    This is why you guys are some of the best here on the blog.
    Not afraid to admit to being wrong.
    And putting up with an ol’ Non-Saint like me ;)

  360. Jandy says:

    He DID say he was on vacation next week, right? ;)

  361. cmat0829 says:

    Right, DK, no doubt Locke could end up failing himself out of baseball or he could stabilize as a serviceable starter, or maybe he puts together a Vogelsong-type of season (can’t think there was much track record for what Ryan did for the Giants a few years ago)… I can’t find fault in anyone who predicts anything in that spectrum (from a breakout year to colossal failure).. good news for all of us, we are going to find out.. unless anyone thinks that Locke should be replaced in the rotation before he pitches his way to the outcome…whatever it is.

    Not sure I feel strongly one way or the other in terms of prediction but the young man deserves to be in the rotation and to do whatever he will with the chance.

    DK: No one could rationally argue taking Locke out of the rotation right now.

  362. Jandy says:

    Locke has filled a spot in the rotation when he was needed and held his own. Give the kid a chance.

  363. NMR says:

    Dejan, you act like I threw the first grenade after you mocked my comment with your initial response. Seriously, put the shoe on my foot.

    I never claimed you said his minor league ERA was the future bar, I said it was simply a comparison to his current unheard of 2.whatever ERA. At the end of last season most would have been ecstatic for him to be within half a run of that. You can feel free to disagree, but I personally feel like its a good sign that the perception around him is changing.

    As far as him as a pitcher, I can find you probaly half a dozen instances in which I’ve mocked the “advanced metrics” talk this year simply because it should be terribly obvious that of course Jeff Locke isn’t really as good as his current Cy Young-worthy ERA. I’ll still be surprised if he finishes sub-4 on that scale.

    DK: That’s fair. I could just do without the personal line, especially when it couldn’t be further from the truth. I wake up every day with a smile I can’t even describe to you in doing this job.

  364. JRay3 says:

    Jeff Locke has given up ONE run or less in eight of his thirteen starts this year. He is a former organizational minor league pitcher of the year. He is a former second round draft pick of a team that is known for identifying pitching talent – the Atlanta Braves.

    Maybe just maybe after a couple of September call ups and a taste of this level he is becoming a better pitcher, with a better understanding of how to achieve outs consistently. He has only allowed 56 hits in 75.1 IP.

    His body of work warrants the chance to continue to prove himself. I agree with you @cmat he has earned his spot so why all the talk on him. I was one who thought he did enough in the minors to warrant a chance to stick, his performance dictates he does.

    Precedent, past numbers, future numbers aside, how about enjoying watching a young man grow before our eyes to the tune of a 5-1 2.39 ERA clip, and appreciating and applauding that feat. I know I am much more confident the team has a chance to win each time he steps onto the hill.

  365. Jim S. says:

    I hope no one is fighting you on that one, Milo.

  366. NMR says:

    There we go, Jim. That’s just about exactly what I was trying to say.

    Very valuable ballplayer, just not the .290/.350 guys he is at this moment for the rest of the season.

  367. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He’s juicing.

  368. cmat0829 says:

    Right, I have to chuckle at the level of emotion in these types of ‘arguments’ because there is one thing all can agree on: LOCKE deserves to pitch every 5 days. So the rest will take care of itself. Good news is the games will be on TV and they will keep stats. He will either be an all-Star or out of the rotation by July (though his arm won’t fall off) or something in between (Playoffs, maybe you can open the window on that wager, TRIPLE ODDs on AllStar, DOUBLE ODDS on Outof Rotation, EVENODDS on something in between.

    There shall be no finger wagging one way or the other. Thanks.

  369. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    He deserves to be there, as of now. Can he maintain? Different story but as of late, you better be getting CC Sabathia to pull his spot.

    Very solid. Surprised me.

  370. Milo Hamilton says:

    AJ Burnett won’t start this weekend & may be headed to the DL with a calf injury. When did that happen ?

  371. cmat0829 says:

    DK, I think you should pinch yourself that you inspire these crazed asylumites, who have myriad choices of media and hobbies, to take the time to have a 21st conversation, over a ‘virtual beer’ if you will.. .quite an accomplishment to inspire such passion…I only get bummed if the passion takes us to dark places, especially any personal attacks….. this is fun for me, a place to go to enjoy the ‘barber shop talk’…. thanks again for having a place for us to come to….and for all the bloggers who keep the facts, and opinions, flowing.

  372. JRay3 says:

    Wow, where did that come from, when it rains it pours…who is even the next man up?

  373. cmat0829 says:

    Milo, stop bringing bad news to us…. where’d you get this?

  374. JohninOshkosh says:

    Cole is here to stay then.

    This is sucky news.

  375. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I still disagree. The one thing he doesn’t do, is show his emotions. People hated that about AL also.

    I personally, do not.

  376. Jim S. says:

    When it is a Pirates pitcher, and I don’t think he is going to be a good major leaguer, I am thrilled when I am wrong. I didn’t think he would amount to much at this time last year. I warmed up to him a little after researching a bit. He was pretty good, though not dominant, in AAA. So, I was hoping for the 9-9. 4.00 range I cited earlier for this year. That would have been acceptable to me. I hope he keeps proving me wrong.

  377. Milo Hamilton says:

    That came from a Biertempfel & Brink. Locke will pitch Friday, TBA Saturday.

  378. NMR says:

    I’ll admit that returning the jab wasn’t necessary.

    I truly believe you in that last sentence, but I don’t think I’m the only one that has noticed you quick to jump all over comments you PERCEIVE to be something they aren’t. You’ve been conditioned into it by the lowest of the fan base, but its crossing over to your actual readers. We still love your work, man. Save the ammo.

  379. Jim S. says:

    Ouch! Someone from Indy.

  380. Milo Hamilton says:

    Maybe he did it acting like a jagoff towards his manager & pitching coach on Saturday.

  381. JRay3 says:

    Well that is about the worst news this team could receive, potentially losing your #1 and #2 pitcher to the DL.

    Will we see another rushed rehab with JMac? Does this put Gomez back into the mix? Just not a lot of options.

    Well this is certainly a bit of a downer.

  382. JRay3 says:

    Bucs have McKenry catching tonight with Morton pitching? Over/Under on how many stolen bases we see this evening? Could not imagine a worse battery in trying to hold runners at bay.

  383. cmat0829 says:

    Based on Indy rotation, Andy Oliver or Brandon Cumpton would be options… I don’t know anything about either of them…. or you could go with a piggyback type of start, go with Morris for 3 innings, etc. but that burns up the whole pen.

  384. NMR says:

    Great stuff, cmat. Save this on your computer somewhere. It’ll come in handy next month.

    If I could add, I think part of what will make an “all-in” move more difficult than in the past is the fact that it really could only come from two positions without cutting bait.

    Outfielder that can lead off or shortstop are the only obvious needs that an “all-in” move would fill (ignoring a true “ace” like David Price. Just can’t see the Pirates doing that.).

    Any other spot would only be an incremental improvement, not a big splash.

  385. cmat0829 says:

    dont like that (and pull the transcripts I don’t question Clint’s lineups)… would be great to see if Martin can stablize Cholley in his first start back

  386. JRay3 says:

    Yeah I am all in favor of getting the Fort his starts with a LHP on the mound. At least CH plays the bat tonight and gives Mercer another start at SS.

  387. Lad9 says:

    If it isn’t JMac then that pretty much leaves Andy Oliver, who’s walk rate is in the stratosphere, or Brandon Cumpton, who I have to admit is way under my radar. Or you try a starter by committee approach with Justin Wilson and company. None of these gives me a warm and fuzzy.

  388. Lad9 says:

    LOL. See below cmat. Scary that someone is thinking like me. Wow

  389. Naje says:

    I’ve got no problem with Burnett taking a 15 day breather at this time of year. OTOH, may be problematic to get three or four decent starts in his place during that stretch.

    But to get him a break for two-plus weeks right now…fine with that. Come back refreshed and a little healthier overall.

    That’s all contingent on this being a CL type calf injury than anything major, like Polamalu’s in recent years or Bettis’ in ’05.

  390. Milo Hamilton says:

    Oliver has at least some big league experience. Problem with him is he’s been walking guys since he showed up in Bradenton in February. 57 in 66 innings.

  391. Naje says:

    JRay – McKenry knows Morton and Martin hasn’t caught Morton other than some bullpen sessions. It’s comfort and familiarty… that does count for something.

    But watching McKenry catch and try to throw…that just counts for stolen bases by the opposition. Dude had totally lost his throwing mechanics back when Martin was out for a few days…

  392. cmat0829 says:

    I think JMAc pitched Tues, no? don’t think he could come back on 3days rest….

  393. Crematorium,

    I found your whole post educational, well thought, and informative.

    That is, until you proposed obtaining Soriano.

    That’s like saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you that Oscar nominated actor . . . . . Jerry Lewis!”

    When Bob Walk’s drive fails and they bring the DH to the National League, I’ll consider Soriano. NOT UNTIL!!

  394. Lad9 says:

    I think you are correct on JMac

  395. Jim S. says:

    Great post, cmat.

    I think you did a great job of handicapping the playoff jockeying. The Bucs really are in a good spot for the WC as of today, although the division title will be very difficult to wrestle away from StL & Cincy.

    In light of this unfortunate development with AJ, I sure hope we don’t need a front of the rotation starting pitcher.

    I am not sure right now what I think about a big splash position player. I definitely feel we need to bolster the bench. Guys like Inge (and JHay when he’s up) must be improved upon. Tabby helps when he comes back. But, he’ll probably just pull something else after that.

    I remember all the J Upton talk last year, and I hated the thought of him in a Pirates uni. I know he got off to the great start this year, but I have said all along that I still see the warning signs of bad things for Atlanta with him. He has only hit 1 HR in a long time, and it just seems every time he doesn’t like a call he storms off and abuses an inanimate object in the dugout. Introducing some other guy like that (this year’s J Upton, if you will) to this tight-knit team would not be good IMO. No big egos and no accepting other teams’ problem children, NH, please!

    I don’t think we are in such a bad spot anywhere else. Certainly RF could be improved upon, but I’d have to see who could be had and for what. With the emergence of Jordy, coupled with my assumption that a quality SS will not be available, I’d say we’re ok there. Not great, but ok.

    Other positions seem to be ok to me.

    I would not mess with the pen. If AJ & Wandy are minor issues, I’d hold pat on the SP as well.

    As a general rule, I really don’t like trading Top 10 prospects. It is just a personal philosophy for small market teams. I would only do it for a special player that we can have for a few years. I want this progress to go on for several years – not 1/2 shots at the playoffs and back to the drawing board. I think we jeopardize that if we trade future potential stars. I also don’t like messing with the chemistry of the roster too, too much. There is a reason why they are winning.

    And by all means, please say no, NH, to any possible acquisition of Soriano. I’m telling you, he is a disaster in the OF. And if we think Marte is a sucker for the RHP curve in the dirt, we ain’t seen nothing till we see Soriano waive at them day after day.

  396. Jim S. says:

    Yep. Great stuff, but control issues.

  397. Jim S. says:

    Too funny!

  398. NMR says:

    Ha, yeah, so thaaaats the AJ everyone was talking about two winters ago…

  399. Arriba Wilver says:

    That crossed my mind. Maybe he kicked something. But I’m not going to criticize him. He’s been a HUGE plus for this team. Doesn’t mean he’s perfect.

  400. Jim S. says:

    If this is a scheduled stay-cation on the CL, I think the timing is bad. I think this is a real injury. But, as you say, Naje, if ony for 15 days (proably 3 starts) this too shall pass.

  401. NMR says:

    Heck yeah, honestly. All these guys could take a 15 day trip to the CL in June for all I care.

  402. NMR says:

    If it is only a spot start or two, that Taillon kid did alright for himself in the WBC.

  403. Jim S. says:

    I think we’re jumping to conclusions a bit. But, he was pissed at Searage on Saturday. Or Clint through Searage.

  404. Arriba Wilver says:

    If I’m reading the charts right, SF is 18th in the majors in stolen bases. Pirates are 8th.

  405. Arriba Wilver says:

    No question.

  406. Arriba Wilver says:

    I remember Mike Dunne. That was a really weird story. At first, he seemed like he was the prize in the Tony Pena deal, not Van Slyke (although I liked Van Slyke even when he was a Cardinal and loved us getting him) . Then Dunne fell off the face of the earth.

  407. NMR says:

    We’re still talking about McKenry, right? :)

  408. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not to throw gas on the fire, but, yes, the personal stuff goes both ways, my friend. You have been reacting personally to stuff from posters that don’t mean it that way, and it’s almost totally baseball related. For whatever reason. Believe me, I’m not saying I could do better, I’m just making an observation.

  409. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hey, he’s got to play sometime. :-)

  410. Jim S. says:

    I’m witcha on that, Groat!

  411. Jim S. says:

    I have a hunch Fort might launch one tonight.

  412. Rene says:

    I agree strongly with the comments in this thread. I probably should have read them, before I left the reply a few moments ago on today’s chat string. Shero’s failure/refusal to distinguish between a good coach as opposed to the specific coaching that this team needs, is going to haunt this franchise. I will root for them to win as I have since 1967, but the regular season next year will mean nothing to me unless and until Bylsma shows that he has actually learned something and is actually applying the lessons he learns the hard way. I am not interested in another regular season that is just a tease. Teams play like they practice, and they play in the playoffs like they played in the regular season except that the opponent in the playoffs has the benefit of repetition to study your tactics. Those who don’t learn from history department: during the Lemieux years, the popular coaches ran a country club atmosphere and the team did not win. The team won championships with a coaching staff that demanded accountability and teamwork. Here we go again with another country club year. I am glad that everyone likes Bylsma, but that is beside the point. He is not employed merely to be well liked.

  413. DJ says:

    27 yrs old, UFA and making about $545k as I recall. 8 Goals, 5 Assists and 22%Shooting in playoffs. I’ve mentioned his name a number of times. Given that he made the Finals, unlikely he leaves Chicago unless someone really overpays.

  414. BillyBaduka says:

    Thank you Sarah, I’m honored.

  415. BillyBaduka says:

    Well said Rene.

    I agree completely. For me, this year I started viewing the regular season “with a grain of salt” waiting for the post season. I will have that this year as well.

    We are saying “we like Bylsma” in this thread to cut off the “Bylsma hater” argument at the pass. This argument has been going on all season. (And prior) but has increased the last few weeks.

  416. BillyBaduka says:

    Next year as well…

  417. BillyBaduka says:

    Yep

 
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