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Vacation thread: 6-17

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

On break all week. The full column/blog/etc. schedule resumes next Monday.

Here is last night’s ‘The Final Word’ that aired on WPXI-TV.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Thoughts from an insomniac Hippo:

    If it is truly The Final Word, why does the show air every week?

    If the Stanley Cup doesnt have the Pens in it, are they actually playing it?
    ( I havent watched one second).

    If the Pirates keep getting the injury bug, will they have to turn to members of this blog for players?

    If LeBron loses another final, can we include him in the greatest flops of all-time?

    This is the first time in a long time that we havent heard a peep about the Pirates draft signings, or the trade deadline.

    If I am CH, I bean multiple players tonight, just to say hello. You just know DB will do the same thing.

    If a Hippo dances, do people close to him suffer physical harm?? ;)

    Enjoy your morning!!

    • “If LeBron loses another final, can we include him in the greatest flops of all-time?”
      No. Larry Bird lost 2 NBA finals; Magic Johnson lost 4.

      Besides, it’s been proven it takes more than 1 great player to win a title. I’ve never seen a one man band win a title; they usually have a pretty good supporting cast. Even Jordan had Scottie Pippen hanging around for all those titles.

      • Thanks Greg.

        You bring up interesting players to compare.
        Yes, Bird lost 2 finals. He won 3.

        Yes magic lost 4 finals. He won 5.

        If LeBron loses this year, he will be 1-3.
        And, he hand-picked his teammates to get around the system.
        2 of his teammates are all-stars.

        But you are right, it maybe too soon to describe him as an all-time flop.

        • The stove is warm…

        • He may have handpicked his teammates in a way that Bird or Magic or Jordan never did, but I won’t fault him for colluding with other players. This happens all the time, but LeBron is the only one who made a world class @$$ out of himself by going through with that stupid ESPN special show.

          It’s not a lot different than Shaq going to LA just to play with Kobe and Mr. Zen in my opinion; it’s just a lot more public and a lot more annoying.

          Is Jason Kidd a massive flop for only getting to what, 2 finals?

          • Jason Kidd was a great player, be he wasnt annointed “the best ever”, or “King”.

            I just find it comical that the man who said the were going to win “not 5, not 6, not 7……” championships is becoming the “king of the regular season”.

            Funniest part? He can opt-out of that contract after next season.
            Shakin my Hippo head…………

            • I have no faith in the honesty of the NBA whatsoever. We joke about the NHL being a “garage” league for some of their bonehead decsions. But, the NBA orchestrates a lot of outcomes IMO. Some of the strange draft outcomes, etc. over the years have been more than a little suspicious.

              I just don’t see the NBA allowing LeBron to go down w/o a fight in this series. Officiating in NBA games is so brutally bad to begin with. I believe the Heat will game 6, and there won’t be a lot of calls going the way of the Spurs in game 7, either. This is far from over. The Heat are the more marketable team.

        • And those guys did not get to handpick their teams.

        • I’m shocked.. Someone on this blog, in this city cares about the NBA? Wow.

        • I could care less about the NBA finals, plan. But kudos on your response. Interesting to see the whole picture laid out.

  2. Hoka Hey everyone!
    Pirates win…Pirates win…..halfway there!!! XLI wins down …and XLI to go.
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    PS:Another good job by rookie, Mr. Cole….ALWAYS great to beat the HATED Dodgers. Please STAY HEALTHY, Gerrit…. :-)

  3. JAL’s Ole Buttermilk Sky Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Why is Gerrit Cole Throwing So Many Fastballs?

    Prospect Watch: Jameson Taillon Strong in His Return to the Mound

    Pirates Beat Dodgers 6-3 on Alvarez’s Homer, Cole’s Deja Vu

    Prospect Notebook: Huntington Explains the Polanco, Pimentel, and Kingham Promotions

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pedro Alvarez’s 3-run bomb keys 6-3 victory

    Huntington discusses James McDonald’s future


    Game 69: Pirates 6 Dodgers 3

    9 The Green Weenie

    Pedro’s Blast Propels Bucs To 6-3 Win

    10 Rumbunter

    Pirates Neal Huntington Show Notes: Gerrit Cole, Russell Martin, A.J. Burnett

    Pirates Jameson Taillon: When Will It Be His Time To Shine

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 6 Dodgers 3

    • Ole Buttermilk Sky Hoagy Carmichael 1946 Singer, songwriter, and actor, he wrote 4 of the most recorded songs, Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, The Nearness of You, and Heart and Soul.

  4. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Uniontown Herald Standard

    Rookie right-hander Cole wins again

    13 City of Champions

    Pedro Alvarez blast helps Pirates’ Gerrit Cole win second start

    14 LA Times

    Dodgers can’t turn it around against favorite patsy, fall 6-3,0,3686154.story

    Dodgers’ momentum stalls again with 6-3 loss to Pirates,0,7666411.story

    15 Rant Sports

    Latest Pittsburgh Pirates Injury Updates

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Reds

    17 Sweetspot

    Don’t expect Wil Myers to star right away

    18 PBC Site

    Alvarez’s three-run shot makes winner of Cole

    Notebook: Starting pitching depth paying off for Pirates


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    20 Fangraphs

    The Worst of the Best: The Week’s Wildest Swings

  5. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Nature vs Nurture: A father’s attempts at adding to the next generation of Steeler fans

    Ben’s ascension to Bradshaw status

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Report: No Contract Extension Talks for Ryan Clark Yet

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    World Cup 2014: Rio de Janeiro does it the Brazilian way

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 14th June, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Pascal Dupuis: A man in demand

  6. Important road trip coming up. With 4 games in Cincy, I think we just need to hold serve. They are a hot club, playing at home, and we are a bit nicked up. We need Liriano to get us off to a nice start tonight vs. Leake to set the tone for the series. I think he’ll come through. I’d be fine with a split of the series. Then, we have 3 at the Angels and 2 vs. the Mariners. Need to win 3 of 5 vs. those 2 mediocre teams, and it will be a nice 5-4 long road trip. Then, back home with a 46-32 record. Very achievable if they keep battling and keep getting good starting pitching most nights. I’d say we could do more, but it is the road and I don’t want to set the bar too high.

  7. JAL ~ thanks for the hockey link #25 on Pascal Dupuis. He’s one of my favorite Pens, and favorite all around hockey players ever. The man just doesn’t quit. I appreciate the links :)

  8. Went to the game yesterday. Other than the rain delay, it was a great day at the ball field. We had a group of like twenty of us their to celebrate Father’s Day, my nephew’s birthday, and my wife’s birthday. It was a great day and a fun game to watch. Loved getting to see Cole pitch. His fastball is impressive. Also, Presley is sure making a pretty good pitch to stay in the lineup. He is playing great defense. He is not only playing with great speed in the outfield, but he is getting a great break on balls, allowing himself to make good plays on the ball. On top of that, he is hitting well and his speed is welcome on the bases.

    One thing that bugged me about the game, was come the eighth inning, the crowd seemed to clear out. I don’t understand this. It was a close game and both teams were playing well. Why wouldn’t people want to stick around to see the end of a good game and see Melancon and Grilli, arguably the best 8-9 inning combo in baseball? I guess it could be because of the 1.5 hour delay, but still…

    • My only thought, Iceman, is that maybe some families had father’s day cookouts, etc. planned and the extra couple of hours between the rain delay and fairly slow game (Greinke is a human rain delay all by himself) might have started to cut into their plans. I never leave early, but I understand not everyone has the same thing in mind when they go to watch a ball game.

      What a great day for your whole group. Sounds like lots of fun. When the Bucs are playing well, and PNC is packed there can’t be any better atmosphere anywhere for a little baseball!

    • Gotta beat the traffic!

      • Well, there’s that, too. But I’m not a fan of criticizing people who come out for the games, especially yesterday with the delay and Father’s Day. Unless Groupon is involved.

        • Hey all,
          Quick question here. What is this groupon I keep reading about? I assume it’s some sort of discount coupon for the ticket, but what exactly is the deal. I feel like I missed something.

  9. Not trying to be difficult, but great defense? Two days in a row he failed to pick up grounders. Nitpicky? Maybe, but it’s part of the narrative. And his work on the bases hasn’t been stellar.

    On people leaving in the 8th? In addition to the delay, Father’s Day and people may have had plans for dinner, or to drive home for non-locals. And a lot may have come to see Cole. And finally—Groupon.

    • But glad you enjoyed your day, and thanks for the report from the ball field.

    • You nit-picker, you :P

    • Arriba:

      Presley did have a lapse on both Sat & Sun on singles in which he had to charge and come up throwing, right? No excuse for an OF not to catch a ball on the ground cleanly with the absolutely pristine conditions of all MLB fields. But, Presley has been impressive at the plate so far.

      • His homer yesterday changed how his day was viewed, at least in my view. ;-)

        • He also got the 1st inning going with a hit. And he had a couple hits Sat. I think he will never be more than a 4th OF/platoon guy, and I wish he could take more walks. But, overall, I can live with his production.

          I can’t live with not being able to charge the ball, scoop it up and have a chance at a player at the plate 2x in a row.

          • I wasn’t really trying to criticize him, just offset, factually, Ice’s one-sided description. I agree, though, his ceiling is 4th outfielder. And, to me, he will have to show he can do it over a period of time. He’s had these short bursts before.

    • +1. Presley blew a good chance to throw a guy out at the plate.

      And IMO, people have always started to leave around the 8th inning.

    • Fair point. I did forget about both of those failed grounder pick ups. I was mainly thinking of a couple of fly balls that he got great jumps on and made a couple of plays look much easier than they maybe were. I may also be biased toward Presley because my wife says he looks just like me so I think he should stay around :)

  10. I see JMac just shoveled some more dirt on himself yesterday.

    CH’s comments were interesting too.

    Wonder if they could get something for him in the trade market?

    • Neal’s too, in link 7. And that was before his less than stellar performance last night.

    • I don’t see how he’s worth anything in a trade, Biz. Everyone must know he has confidence issues on the mound by now. I think he’d be better served going to another organization and trying to right the ship at this point. He does have a good arm and pretty good stuff when he’s right.

    • PTBNL or the infamous “cash considerations”.

    • There are some really, really bad starting pitchers currently in the rotation of pseudo-contending teams (Rockies, Padres, Angels, Indians).

      BUT, I think the Pirates will HAVE to put him back into the rotation in order to have any chance of trading him since teams surely smell blood in the water. They could give up a player in a trade, or wait and see if the Pirates designate him for assignment and get him for free.

      • Honestly, though, NMR, as long as we can find a way to continue to cobble this rotation together for the rest of this year (and I know that is a big if at the moment), James MacD’s days as a Buc are numbered. There is just too much talent on the way for him to stick in the rotation, don’t you think?

        • Oh, absolutely.

          That was simply the only hypothetical I could think of that would result in James McDonald being traded, and I wouldn’t say there is more than a 10% chance of even that working.

          I don’t think it would be insanity to put him back into the rotation for a few starts while Wandy and AJ are out, but frankly, I think I’d still rather go with a groundball machine like Gomez or Cumpton.

          • I don’t think the club can afford to put JMac back in the rotation, nor stash him as a long reliever on the MLB roster.

            Looks like bye-bye JMac

            I’ll bet he gets claimed

            • I totally agree, Biz.

            • Yeah, I’ve been pretty strong in my belief that he would NOT be claimed, but I said that without actually doing any homework.

              I’ll say it again, there are way, way, waaayyyy worse starting pitchers currently holding rotation spots on decent teams than James McDonald.

              • I agree that his days as a Buc are probably numbered. But, he will most likely be claimed. If not, he will still get chances. He just needs to make the most of them. As I said before, James started out as a position player and was switched well after his minor league career started, I believe. I thought I read the Dodgers switched him. That is a tough transition. He has done remarkably well for that switch, and has made a very nice living for several years even if he never sticks on a MLB roster again.

                Who knows? Maybe he’ll re-emerge on another team as a reliever or even a starter. I seriously doubt it will be here, though.

              • Jmac actually started out as a pitcher before briefly switching to an outfielder after an arm injury and general ineffectiveness.

                After being even worse at that he went back to the mound.

              • No wonder he’s a head case!

              • “…I think I’d still rather go with a groundball machine like Gomez or Cumpton.”

                But insane? Come on, man.

                If thats insane, then there aren’t adjectives to describe Clint Hurdle starting Brandon Inge in right field.

              • Thanks for the info, NMR. I knew he had been an OF, but didn’t know he was originally groomed as a pitcher.

              • Someone will take a chance on JMac. The Bucs cannot contend with someone as erratic as JMac on the pitching staff.

                Bye bye JMac

          • I do think it would be insanity. Or at least Pirate thinking from 2008-2011, maybe 12. Might he shine for a couple games? Perhaps, but unlikely. What I find worst about the idea is that it be done so other teams might be interested in him. Ugh!

            • “… for a few starts while Wandy and AJ are out…”

              The Pirates 39th best prospect is currently their 5th starter.

              Hardly a stretch to believe Jmac could be an improvement on that.

              • Have you seen them each pitch lately?

                And on the few starts—What was the record again last year? 79-83?

              • I would not risk him starting. If Irwin gets healthy, I’d try him b4 James at this point. He was a hot mess, as Jandy would say, the last time he was seen ’round these parts. There is no trade value to speak of. There’s just James getting a shot somewhere else. I wish him well on that.

              • Start him again, and has another bad outing, no one will ever look at him.

              • The Bucs will just end up giving JMac away. I don’t think they could even get a marginal, marginal prospect for him.

              • There was a time not so long ago where he would have immediately been plugged back in to the rotation. Being able to say we can give him away (which I would be fine with) says volumes about how far the pitching depth has come.

  11. Best decision I made this year was continuing the DirecTV MLB Extra Innings pkg that I bought for the 2nd half of last season. Got the kids excited last year, bought the 2nd half, everything was going great, then boom – bottom fell out again!

    Decided to stick with it for this year because I just felt like this team was going to be pretty good. So far, I have been rewarded with great baseball most days. The kids watch the games with me and really look forward to them. If we are out at one of their activities, we record it and watch later. & I love that I get to watch the Pirates feed on ROOT most games. Shaping up to be a fun summer from that standpoint.

    • Fantastic, Jim. Absolutely love seeing baseball bringing father and son/daughter together, as it should.

      • Thanks, NMR. Baseball is definitely a big bond in my family. My wife was never much of a fan until the kids started playing. She grew up here watching the Cubs, and even though you might like the Cubs you always sort of expect disappointment – kind of like the Bucs funk for the last 20 years x 1,000,000. But, now she is totally into it. A very nice development.

  12. What time is it anyway ?

  13. Liaison has done pretty well. I would like to see him make it through seven strong, though. It would be the first time in a Pirates uni.

  14. I see some fairly significant developments on the minor league side have taken place.

    * Polanco was sent to AA and is off to a nice 5/12 start. They say, developmentally, High A to AA is the toughest transition because AA. So far, so good there. But, he could stumble awhile until he gets comfortable. I say he’s 2 years away from being a serious candidate for ROY in the NL.

    * Kingham also made that jump, and pitched very well in his first outing. Huntington had some really positive things to say concerning just about everything with Kingham. He throws hard and pounds the zone with strikes. Come to think of it, that seems to be the common theme within our organization now. He doesn’t get quite the notoriety of Cole & Taillon around MLB, but he could be a very strong addition in a couple of years.

    * Also, according to Huntington, Allie is due for a promotion to High A shortly. Sometimes, guys are ready to move up but it isn’t always so easy to just promote them. In order for them to get playing time, someone else has to move up, sit the bench, or be demoted. I am really excited to see what Allie can do against better pitching. Huntington specifically mentioned that he has hittting to RC with a lot of power. That tells me this kid has a pretty good idea what he is doing. He still needs to cut down on the whiffs, but going the opposite way with power is not something a free swinger w/o much experience can usually do. I found that very encouraging. He seems to be a fast learner. That is a good thing, as he has some catching up to do because of his time spent as a pitcher. Seems to have monster power.

    * Hanson, I believe, is a year younger than Polanco, and not as polished. He may be in line for a promotion fairly soon also. He has now been swinging the bat very well for over a month. He had a horrible start to the season defensively at SS, making about an error per game for the first 10 days. But, he has stabilized defensively and that has apparently made him more at ease at the plate as well. I sure hope he can stick at SS, long term, as he should have a ++ bat if he stays at that position.

    These are just a few of the recent developments with prospects, and there are many more great stories taking shape as well.

    I know not everyone likes to talk Bucs prospects, especially when the big club is doing so well, and I get that. But, I love the fact that so many young guys have high ceilings and are making their way up the organizaitonal ladder. I was one of the biggest skeptics of Huntington, Stark & Co. for a long time. I was tired of hearing how they had a plan, and that it was going to take awhile. And, I still need to see these guys actually make it to Pittsburgh and do well before I am totally sold. But, I like what is happening and it is getting hard to deny the organization is vastly improved.

    • I’m a little surprised Taillon hasn’t been promoted since Pimentel did.

      • I think it is just a matter of time, Dom. He had to sit out a start with the neck thing. And then he threw great yesterday, but they pulled him after 5 when he was still blowing about 96 on the gun. They just wanted to be sure he’s ok. But, he’s just 21. I think as long as he gets to Indy by the end of this season, and starts there next year and does well, you will see a similar timeline to that of Cole this year. He still has work to do, and I don’t want to presume anything. But, another 22 year old starter next season as a possibility? Actually, 2 more if you count Kingham as a possibility late in the year. Wow! It has been a long time since that sort of thing was possible.

        • I forgot he was that young. I was hoping he could be used in relief later in the season at the major league level if we were still in contention.

          • I actually think that will be what happens to Pimentel, coincidentally.

            Stolmy WILL be on the major league roster out of spring training next year. No doubt in my mind – well, let me take that back – IF Huntington is still managing this organization, Pimentel will be on the roster. No way he loses an arm like that to waivers since Stolmy will be out of options.

            That being the case, I don’t think the team, under Huntington, has ever broken camp with a pitcher who WAS NOT a September callup the previous season.

        • Check out JAL’s link #10b. Lot of good Tailon talk from the GM.

          I couldn’t agree more with the changeup discussion. Thats smart baseball.

          Think what Gerrit Cole would look like if he could dump that garbage breaking ball and use his change to keep hitters off balance?

    • Don’t need to apologize for sharing information, Jim S. This is good stuff :)
      I thank you!

    • Greg Polanco born 9/14/1991
      Alen Hanson born 10/22/1992
      Beat ‘Em Bucs !! ;-)

      • I think it will be interesting to see if Alen Hanson continues to play well in Bradenton w/o his mate Polonco. They’re best friends, and have been each other’s support (I think Polonco for Hansen moreso Hansen for Polonco) while here in the US. I believe they’ve played at every level together, and now they’re separated. Perhaps this has a negative (although he started 5/12) on Polonco as well.

        But, in my mind right now (and after seeing the Pelotero documentary), I don’t think it will have a huge affect. Both of these boys have had some sort of success in the minor leagues, and they are working hard to the ultimate goal of playing in the major leagues. I think this can motivate anyone past some feelings of loneliness. Plus, Hansen knows Polonco is right above him in Altoona. Play well, and he’ll be promoted right along side his buddy again.

        HAPPY DAYS FOR ALL! ;-)

        • Plus, Hansen knows Polonco is right above him in Altoona. Play well, and he’ll be promoted right along side his buddy again.

          I think you nailed it at the end for sure, Nater. At some point, friends have to be separated to prove they can each do it on their own. Fortunately, for them (and the Bucs), they should be reunited soon, and possibly for a long time! This is all good.

      • In other words, Hanson was born 8 days after Sid Bream crossed home plate. Ouch!

    • Jiminy Cricket…………

      I for one dont like the minors talk. When a player makes it to AAA, then I take interest. Way too many things can happen up until then. Hard to get excited about a 19-year old in Bradenton who proceeds to get injured.

      That being said, it is a positive thing that finally the Pirates have “prospects” being promoted, instead of “suspects”. However, I am still not going to Plan The Parade!!!

      And dont ever apologize for providing information.
      If DK and the rest of you can tolerate dancing Hippos here, well, anything is game. ;)

  15. Just read this article about the Calgary Flames. In the article it talks about Brendan Shanahan leaving his role with the NHL to become the Director of Hockey Operations with the Flames. Most interesting thing about that would be someone new stepping in to Shanahan’s position of Director of Player Safety. Maybe someone new could offer some sort of consistency in that position.

    The article I read can be found here:

  16. The Pirates record at 41-28 would have them in first place in 3 of the 6 MLB divisions.

    • Isn’t 5 of the 6 divisons? Third best record in the division and in the Majors (tied with Atlanta).

    • Brutal division, in spots 1-3.

    • And if his Aunt wore a cup, she’d be Groat’s Uncle.

      (Sorry, that can’t be repeated too many times). :-)

    • I was lamenting over the fact that the Pirates were playing some damn good baseball, and only sitting in 3rd place for their efforts.

      But then, I started to think of it differently. In the prior 2 seasons, we’ve see the Pirates play well (although not to the extent they’ve started this year) and get to 1st place. And then we saw our team fall from grace, as it was everyone chasing them.

      Now, they’re chasing the Reds and the Cardinals. They know that they have to continue to win if they want to stay in the race for the division. I know it kinda stinks, but perhaps this will keep this group motivated and knowing they haven’t “won” anything yet. Also, they don’t have the pressure of being in 1st (without having a winning season in 20 years).

      Just continue to play well and let the chips fall where they may.

      • Maybe being the “hunter” rather than the “hunted” will do the trick this year.

      • Great way to look at it, Nater…

      • Interesting perspective, Nate. Hadn’t thought of that. In other words, no time to think of whether Casey McGehee is in the clubhouse. :-)

        • Or Sean Burnett…or was it Nate McLouth they had the candle vigil for at the poker table?

          What ridiculousness!

      • There are two ways to look… UP at the Cards and Reds….which is where the team should be focused…but also DOWN at who is chasing us for the wildcard…. now, I know, again, the goal is winning the division not to get a wildcard but wildcard is the playoffs, so…..

        Bucs, today, at this moment, ARE in the #2 wildcard spot. In closest pursuit are the Giants/Rockies/Nationals. Teams that the Pirates can and will compete with, in my opinion. On the outside, but can get hot, are the Phillies and Dodgers. Don’t see it, but you never know. Toast are the Mets/Marlins/Brewers/Cubs/Padres. Buttered toast.

        Bucs are in a good spot for the playoffs, work to do to solidify on that, but much work to do to compete for the division…

  17. I went to the game yesterday, and in response to Iceman’s earlier comments, I have no problem with people leaving early.

    Usually I do.

    But yesterday’s game was supposed to start at 1:35. It started at 3. Greinke made that game draggggggg on. We got home at 7PM. Luckly we didn’t have any other plans for Father’s Day.
    So I could see why some people left early. But also, people may have been getting up to get in line to “Run the Bases” after the game. That line was long!

    A funny moment at the game:
    There were 4 latino LA Dodger fans sitting behind us. When they saw people leaving they yelled “Where are you going?! We’re the ones who are supposed to come in at the 3rd inning and leave at the 8th”

    • That’s hilarious. A sense of humor from out of town fans is always nice. That’s a long trek from LA if that is where they are from.

      • Yes, they were from LA. They are headed to NYC to see the Dodgers vs Yankees.

        • They may not be treated as politely there as in da Burgh! But, actually, I went to a Yankees game at the new stadium a couple of years ago and fans were very polite. They were playing the Royals, though, so no animosity and no opposing fans to speak of.

          • I went to Pirates v. Yankees at the old Yankee stadium, I believe in 2005. I had never been to YS, and wanted to go before they moved into the new park. So happens that some of my best friends are Yankee fans, so we got tickets in LF.

            Mark Redman started the game against Kevin Brown. Redman pitched pretty good that night, Jason Bay hit a HR.

            Jose Mesa aka Joe Table, came in for the save, only to have Gary Sheffield tie the game on a blown call (Bucs up 1 w/ 1st and 3rd, went for a DP, and, while it was close at 1B, Sheffield was out. I saw it from LF, and it was confirmed by the replay).

            Rivera retired the 3 Pirates hitters in the top of the 10th. Joe Table went out for the bottom, and gave up a walkoff to Jason Giambi, reigniting his season.

            Ahhh, stories from the ballpark.

            • I remember that game, Nater. Not only were they better than us, but they got the call to ensure we were not going to win. Did we end up getting swept that series? I seem to recall we did, but could be wrong.

              Think back at how horrible and inept we were as an organization then. There just was no hope in sight. Everyone here seemed to hang on, though. I think we’re ready to collect our rewards.

    • Let me clarify one part of my earlier post:

      I do not leave early. Hardly never ever.

      I usually have a problem with people that do leave early. But hey, if you want to pay the money you can come & go whenever you want.

  18. Regarding Alex Presley: I think his home run saved him yesterday.
    For some reason I think he is very prone to making the bone-head play in the field.

  19. Important series starting today in Cinncy. Not a make or break series though. Too early for that.

    Can’t wait to see what they can do against this team. The Reds are real tough. Should be a great series.

    Gotta like 2/3 from the Dodgers though.

  20. Quick hits since I’m “working” from home

    * Dupuis – expect him to be signed this week. I’m probably optimistic on speed of deal getting done.

    * Taillon – get that young man to AAA… Who doesn’t want to see Cole & Taillon in rotation by start of next season? I’m greedy, he could be here by September if I was pushing him along.

    * Hoping Hanson gets a push up to AA soon. This team has nothing at SS as I’m not sure Mercer is the answer, though he beats having to watch Barmes do his best Rafael Belliard at the plate.

    * Hope everyone gets a chance to go to Point State Park and look at our beautiful fountain. Took some pictures, here’s one for those of you out of town.

    • Jordy Mercer beats watching Barmes do his best Rafael Belliard at the plate!!!!!!! Hilarious. :-)

    • nice! Thanks for sharing the pic.

    • Thank you for the awesome pic.

    • Right there with you with Taillon. I suggested last week, when Cole made his debut, that Jameson be moved up to AAA. Sort of attach them. I was also of the mind that he could be a September call up.

      I’ve said numerous times that I really like what NH did in the minors in changing our philosophy on pitching, but that he wouldn’t be here to see the actual fruits of his labor.

      Maybe I was wrong (although I still think another GM, who has a better feel for acquiring ML players, is needed to put this franchise into actual “contender” mode).

    • I didnt see DK in the fountain?
      Camera playing tricks on us?

    • I’d expect Taillon be at AAA by the end of the season, maybe a september call up, but I doubt that.

      He’ll start next year in AAA, then probably get the call like Cole did this year.

      Mercer is definetly looking a lot better at the plate than Barmes, I like him in the #2 hole, but I do wonder that Barmes makes some of those defensive plays that Mercer can not.

    • Great points across the board. The faster the better in getting Duper re-inked.

      Jordy can hit, and I really want him to stick at SS because we don’t have much until the possibility of Hanson in 2-3 years. But, I do see where the naysayers have maybe a valid point about his defense. I think he is sure-handed and his throws have been pretty darn good. But, did anyone catch Puig’s hit yesterday in his 2nd at bat? The one where he stole 2nd and eventually scored. Anyway, he hit a very slow roller just to the left side of 2b and Jordy took forever to get to it. Now, there may have been mitigating circumstances that I didn’t see on TV that made him take so long. If so, someone please set me straight. But, his range looked … challenged on that play. Range is really important for a SS. As I watched, I was thinking Barmes would have easily gotten there because he is much quicker.

      But, Jordy had 2 key hits again. I can’t even recall the last time Barmes had 2 hits.

      • I agree on that ball also. However, he could’ve been where Mercer was playing. Even if he or Barmes got the hit, it might not have made a difference with Puig’s speed.

        What a ballplayer that guy is.

      • Still obviously too early to make this call, but if each player continues trending as they are currently directed, I think Mercer replaces Walker in 2015 as the teams second baseman.

  21. Happy Monday (that is an oxymoron to be sure)…..

    A few thoughts:

    1) Great to get a series win this weekend, that is 3 series in a row since the sweep in Atlanta; The Bucs were 29-18 prior to starting this tough stretch of games (at Mil/at Det/Det/Cincy/at Atl/at Chi/SF/LAD)…they are 41-28 this AM. That is 12-10 over the past 3 weeks.

    2) Watching Cole perform, I think anyone who thought that the Bucs were stashing him in AAA simply because of Super 2 considerations are just flat wrong. I’m super glad to see Cole in the ‘Burgh and he has superior stuff, but he still is learning/growing/adjusting. His first outing, his fastball was electric and he just overpowered folks…yesterday, his velocity was down somewhat and his control wasn’t stellar. He still will need to mix in breaking pitches and the changeup or hitters will make it tough for him…. I don’t want him going back to AAA, but Cole/Searage will have to manage a ‘work in progress’…I’m thinking this will be a good thing.

    3) JMAC… not sure I see him in a bullpen role (can you imagine Clint using him in any game that isn’t a blowout or an extended extra inning game after everyone else has been used?)…so he’d just be taking up a spot…. think about it, once AJ and Wandy return, the rotation is likely AJ/Wandy/Liriano/Locke/Cole… the bullpen is Grilli/Melancon/Wilson/Watson/Mazarro/Morris. That leaves ONE spot for either Morton or Gomez, I tend to prefer Gomez. Does Morton/Gomez have options?

    4) I agree that 5-4 is a reasonable expectation for this trip, but isn’t this alone a sign of huge progress for this organization? ROAD GAMES, WEST COAST, vs. AL TEAMS… that has usually been a very tough road for this organization…. not long ago, we’d be staring at 2-8 or worse….

    • #2–really? So, he’s up now because he’s fixed those things he was kept down for? You can always come up with a reason to keep someone down to work on more. I know the injury situation affected his “early” callup, but to conclude he wasn’t called up sooner had nothing to do with Super 2 considerations? Nothing? NOTHING? And I thought Frank was the only one who believed that.

      #4–might want to wait till the games are played to be counting it as a plus. Heck, maybe they even do better, but a little early to be drawing conclusions for the organization based on games that haven’t been played.

      • Everything alright this mornig, AW?

        “I agree that 5-4 is a reasonable expectation for this trip…”. Key word, EXPECTATION. His comment has nothing to do with the result, but with the perception that this team is in far better shape than previous years. And it was his opinion, as a fan. Simple as that.

        No idea why you felt the need to jump all over it. Very unlike you.

        • Actually, I had a wonderful weekend. I could be a little amped up, though, because I am involved in something at work where it pays to aggressively tear something apart. Adrenaline may be a factor.

          But I don’t think I would have gone after #4 without #2. I did see the expectation part. Just seemed the goal was to prop up the organization. Maybe that will end up being true, but it’s a little early in my view.

          • Personally, I think the Don Corleone avatar is at least partly responsible.

          • Ha, hey man, lay into him if it keeps the mojo up for work.

            But I think you’re looking for a fight if you’re interpretting #2 as pumping up the org. That is, after all, THEIR #1 overall pick cmat is suggesting legitimately was not ready for MLB competition.

            Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

            • Thanks. man. But the idea on #2 was that somehow there was proof that Super 2 wasn’t a factor–at all. Sorry, don’t buy it. Say it’s rational, say everyone does it, say I would do it to, but don’t expect me to believe the BS (meaning from the organization).

              Is he a completed product? Of course not. Does he have to be to be one of the top 5 pitchers to help this team win this year? I don’t think so. Remember Andrew was sent down after a stellar ST because he needed to work on his bunting? There’s a history here. Not saying they’re wrong in what they are doing within the system, but don’t tell me they aren’t doing it.

              • Very fair, my firend. No argument from the peanut gallery on that one.

              • Correct, Arriba. I think it just worked in their favor that he is not a completely finished product. He wasn’t coming up any sooner, regardless.

      • Just cuz DK is on vacation doesn’t mean we can’t talk about ‘parsing’ LOL

        AW: You concluded that my point #2 said that “Super 2 had NOTHING to do with Cole being kept in AAA until now”…do I have that right?

        I agree with your counterpoint and in fact my point was that Super2 wasn’t the ONLY reason he was in AAA… it did not make the other point that it had NOTHING to do with him being in AAA. The Bucs are like most MLB teams, even large market teams, in that they time prospects to Super 2 status, no news there. I was just pointing out that what the front office said at the time, that “Cole has things to work on in AAA to be ready for MLB” is not a false statement.

        • You have that right. “2) Watching Cole perform, I think anyone who thought that the Bucs were stashing him in AAA simply because of Super 2 considerations are just flat wrong.”

          But thanks for the clarification. (Speaking of parsing). It’s also true that Andrew wasn’t, and still isn’t, a great bunter. What are we talking about again?

      • And as to point 4, I have taken the pulse of the blog and I think the consensus expectation from us knowledgable fans is a road trip of 5-4 or something close to that. This same group would never have projected that 2 years ago. That is progress.

        I don’t profess to have seen the future and am not making any statement to that effect. But, exhibit A is the 12-10 record the Bucs have in the past 22 games, against tough competition, on the road and at home.

        • Far be it for me to question your view of the “pulse of the blog” of “knowledgeable fans.” I just don’t get how you can draw conclusions about the organization based on “knowledgeable fans” expectations.

          By the way, I do agree the team is better this year. And depending on how the season plays out, a re-evaluation of the front office may be in order at that time. Not there yet.

          • Thanks for the good conversation, that’s what this here blog is for… but if you interpreted any “front office” in my post, especially #4, rest assured there is nothing like that meant from my end. ON #4, I was just reading the expectations level of the bloggers, and that is another barometer of how far this team has come. And it has come far, collapses notwithstanding, from John Russell’s dreary 57-105 season in 2010.

            But most of my posts will not ever seek to ask for a front office evaluation, good or poor.

            • I’m having a little trouble in trying to distinguish the “organization” from what the front office has done since they’ve been here. But if that’s your position . . .

              • ok change organization to team, is that better?

              • Not really. How do you distinguish it? The team/organization is better, but I’m not making a judgment/evaluation of the FO? Still don’t get it.

                I hope DK isn’t reading this stuff, because it would drive him crazy (mine as well as yours).

    • I don’t believe either Charlie or Gomez have options left

    • #2- You question Cole’s control and I see something strange there with him as well, but he hasn’t issued a walk yet and his pitch counts have been low, even when he’s been removed from the game.

      His velocity was down a smidge, but that could’ve been because he was rather amped up for his first start. I will still not complain about 95-96 on the FB.

      I think once other teams get the book on him, they may get to him.

      • Couldn’t agree more.

        Cole has had excellent control, but no more than average command, in my opinion. I watch the catcher’s glove to judge command. The less movement, the better. Seeing Martin/McKenry constantly adjusting tells me that he wasn’t putting the ball where he wanted.

        • That’s the only way we can truly judge on whether a pitcher his hitting his target. He is not.

          Too me, something is off with his arm slot. I’m not about to tell a $8million prospect or professional coaches how to do their job, it just looks funny to me.

    • Good list, cmat.

      Regarding #2, I’ll admit that I’ve been underwhelmed with Gerrit Cole. Part of that is certainly due to expectations.

      I’ll believe this whole fastball “efficiency” meme when he actually shows he can throw a second major league quality pitch. He hasn’t.

      • Yeah, he has to start mixing in one or more of the slower pitches effectively. I’m ok with him throwing a high % of fastballs with his stuff, as I read an interesting article about how some of the most effective pitchers in MLB now throw a very high % of fastballs. But, the high fastball % needs to be accompanied by a plus change-up (my personal #1 choice), slider or curve. If he can’t get the secondary pitch over, as was the case yesterday, MLB hitters will learn quickly to discount the slow stuff and sit dead red. His next few starts will be very telling.

        • Standing up and clapping for that one, Jim.

          Changeup is my favorite off speed pitch, expecially for a fastball heavy approach. Cole would be unhittable.

          The at-bat which sticks out most for me yesterday was the one in which he was unable to finish of Tim Federowhatever in a two-strike count with a runner on third and less than two outs. Sorry, but THAT is what I want to see out of him. Otherwise, what seperates him from Jeff Locke?

          • I agree with NMR about how illustrative of Cole’s current development, or maybe just his current mindset, the Federowicz (sp?) AB was. That guy is a fill-in catcher who wiffs 1/3 of the time. You abandon pitch to contact there and go after that guy. As it was, he sawed off his bat and got a weak grounder but it scored the run. I said yesterday that I thought the infield had no business not being in there except for the “book” didn’t advocate it, but that’s another matter.

            Maybe he’s working hard on the secondary pitches in his side sessions between starts, and he will unveil them soon. I sure hope so. I am not complaining about him, so don’t get me wrong. I just see so much more, and if the consensus is he has at least 2 more plus pitches after the FB, let’s get to it already. Please throw the d*mn change-up vs Angels in your old stomping grounds next weekend, Cole!

            • Did not see much of the game. Did McKenry call for the change up and Cole just shook him off? Does Cole not trusdt his change up?

              • Hard to say, Brandie. After the first start, Martin alluded to Cole not feeling comfortable that night with the change-up. Just the fastball and either the slider or curve. There is still debate about which off speed pitch he has been throwing, but it is not his change-up. Cole said the same thing yesterday about his change-up, and how it is not quite where he wants it yet.

                So, I don’t know if he is just a perfectionist and doesn’t want to unveil new pitches before he is completely comfortable, or if he really is struggling with command of everyting but the FB. It is amazing, though, that he has effectively been able to say to two different major league teams, “Here comes my fastball, and it is going to catch a lot of the plate. See what you can do with it.” And he has managed to get through innings very efficiently and get 2 wins. That says a lot about just how good that FB already is.

              • Well, here’s another scenario. He IS honing his change-up. And when the other teams think they “have the book on him”, he’s gonna wow ‘em with it!

              • I believe you threw that out there last week, Jandy, and I think you may be on to something. There is a reason he is not throwing all these pitches.

              • Thanks, Jim S. you remembered! <3

              • I think Cole has been credited with three “Plus” pitches for a long time. He wasn’t shaking off, I think our PBC wants to see if the oppos can adjust to the fast ball first. He is supposed to have a sick slider and a double plus change. Just not being used yet, but they will be.

                2-0 says he hasn’t needed to use the other pitches yet.


    • His control may not have been stellar but so far, his BB/9 ain’t bad.

  22. Good day everyone. Thanks to all who post extra information on the Pirates farm system and how the prospects are doing. To think….actual prospects instead of the Sam’s Choice, Wal-Mart, Roll Back, Bargain Basement, sscratch and dent cast-offs. This gives me hope.

    • Begrudgingly I’ll tip my cap towards Huntington and his team of misfits for getting some pitching.

      Time for the hitters to start working their way up through the system as I have concerns about catcher, first base, shortstop, and right field.

      Can’t wait for day the Pirates don’t have to go Thrift Shopping.

      • True, Eric. So far, just a trickle to the big club from the minors. Cole was very far along by the time we got him. We need to see more of what I said COULD be coming to Pgh. Polanco should be your RF answer. Allie and/or Bell could be your 1b of the future, with the odd man out of the two possibly going in a trade to bring another key piece (SS, perhaps?). Or, Bell could stick in the OF. But, he’s a biggun. I guess we have nothing definite still with “Yips” Sanchez, although I still like him for some reason. Just a gut feeling there. And, they have several other catching candidates in the pipeline, in addition to just picking one at #14 in the first round.

  23. To further update you all…I did get the job. However, due to I’ll health on the part of the CEO of the company, probably will no it be able to start until August.

  24. Well, that bites. Hang in there, tho :) it will all work out.

  25. Josh Bell tweeted this out it says 13Hrs ago…

    Not sure if there is a concern here?…………..

    “Joshua Bell 13h
    McDonald’s stop! 14 mcdoubles 14 mcchickens #ThatShouldHoldMe”

    Personally I find it funny although, 28 MickeyDs sandwiches, Josh? I hope he was exaggerating….

  26. Plugging the blog’s own master of information, JAL, on a guest post he did for the RumBunter blog:

    Well done again, Joe!

  27. So Gerrit Cole is 2-0 going against 2 Cy Young winners who have a total of 3 Cy Youngs, he has a 3.75 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, hasn’t walked a batter, only a couple of balls have been hit hard, hasn’t given up a homerun, has been ahead in the count 70% of the time, and his fastball has averaged 96.0, but he throws too many fastballs not mixing his pitches up well enough, doesn’t strike out enough batters, and yesterday his velocity was down and his control wasn’t stellar. :-)

    • Could be a good problem to have…

    • Imagine how good he’ll be when he starts taking our unique expert advice, 21!

    • +1

      He has shown an ability to bunt.

    • Glad you’re happy that our #1 overall pick has one pitch and hasn’t made it out of the 6th inning.

      • Sorry you can’t read.

      • Anyways, what did he do in his first start?

        • 6.1 innings. I think he got you there, NMR.

          Put me in the camp that says I wish Cole would throw more of his repertoire because I think the other pitches are better than maybe he thinks right now. I especially want to see the change. But, you can also put me in the camp that says I’m really nitpicking about a 22 yr old guy with all of the potential in the world who has already won 2 games and seems to get out of most innings in about 10 pitches. That’s not so bad, either.

      • I have seen both of Cole’s starts. And I think he has kept his team in the game as good as any other Pirate starter has all season. And I have a little more confidence in him than I have with some veteran starters.

        I’m not worried that he only has one pitch (which I don’t believe he has.)

        Plus they haven’t figured how to hit it too well anyway.

        ( I thought Adrian Gonzalez may have had the best at bats against Cole)

        • Ask Buster Posey if he has one pitch. And his fastball moves.

          My whole point was that it has only been two starts and they could see that they were getting away with him using just the fastball so they stuck with it and also because he was working ahead. The rest will get rolled out soon enough.

          • If he has a game where the opponent doesn’t get as many “cheapies” as both the Dodgers and Giants got, he could easily go 9 and pitch a shutout. I thought he was headed there for awhile vs SF.

            Also, I said last week that it takes an awful lot of maturity for a 22 yr old with his arm to not worry about striking guys out.

            Still ready for a little more of the arsenal, though. Selfishly, I want to see double digit K’s.

            • To your first paragraph, he could’ve also had his defense let him down and give up the big inning like Morton.

              It’s not the double digit k’s I’m worried about, it’s getting them when it matters. Cole simply has not shown the secondary stuff to do that yet.

              I’m not complaining about him not using his arsenal, I’m worried it is not there.

              • I am confident there are other plus pitches. Too many scouts over too many years have said so for me not to believe it. But, at some point, he needs to start using them or I really doubt he can keep holding teams down.

        • He’s given up over a hit per inning, and before we give him a golf clap for them being mostly singles, only one other team in the league has hit for LESS power than both the Giants and Dodgers.

        • TC, you might be his good luck charm, need to take a weekend road trip to see his next start…. ;-)

  28. Not bad, almost 220 posts on a boring Monday and no one in charge…

  29. Best story in sports: Robert Kraft alleging Vladimir Putin stole his Super Bowl ring. You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Speaking of itchy, wandering fingers, isn’t ole Five Finger Discount starting for the Reds tonight?

  30. Oshkosh b’Gosh!

    Did you see the NBA Finals last night? Great game!! Go Spurs! Amazing 3-point shooting!

    Also really enjoyed the Overtime of Bruins-Hawks. Excellent!
    Who was that writer that said that Rask was a pedestrian Goalie? I’d take some of that pedestrian!

    • If Jandy is putting me in charge, let’s not let this NBA talk get out of hand.


    • I did see it and I loved it.

      Ho Hum. Possibly five titles in fourteen years. And you would be hard pressed to find any expert or writer mention the Spurs on a list of all time great dynasties. Precisely why I root for them.

      Especially sweet after Rose, Johnson and Wilbon all but handed the trophy to the Heat, and predicted a close out in Game 6 in Miami.

      It would shake things up in that league if Rivers decides to bolt Boston for the Clippers. I think the Clippers have tremendous talent-just need a decent coach to guide them.

      • Tim Duncan is, in my estimation, the best true power forward ever. You can set your watch to that guy, even in his advanced age. There’s a great core around him, no doubt, and Gregg Popovich is as good as they get on the bench, but Duncan is a machine.

        • Can he play short stop??

          Ours is broken

        • Agreed. One of my all time favorites to watch play. I am a partial season ticket holder for the Milwaukee Bucks, and I usually try to get the package that includes the Spurs. Tremendous organization.

  31. I have watched far more of both Stanley Cup Final games than 5 games of the NBA Finals combined. However I would be curious to see if the NBA games are not more watched in Pittsburgh than the Cup games. I know Pittsburgh was not in the top 5 markets for game 1. Clearly Chicago and Boston were 1 and 2.

  32. Nice lineup for Bucs tonight:

    Marte, Presley, Cutch, Jones, Martin, Alvarez, Walker, Mercer, Litriano

    Like CH giving Presley another start after three hit game, would like Alvarez moved to the #5 hole and Martin down a spot, Mercer making 5th start in last 6 games, I think Barmes has officially been put on notice.

    • Yea, I’m not a huge fan of AP at all, but can’t argue with 3 hits.

      The writing is on the wall for Barmes, for sure, but I think Clint will be around for the rest of the season. He’s a veteran, hard to hand over all rights to a young guy like Mercer. Veteran leadership is needed with this young team.

      • I’m not a huge fan of AP either, but when he is hot at the plate, you ride it…. multiple 0-4 games are a-coming but for now you take the good side of AP.

        Snider has cooled a lot, he needs to keep adjusting, he is battling and has his moments, but good call to go with AP now vs. Snider and see how long the good roll can go.

        • Agreed. Snider needs to regroup. His at-bats have been bad lately.

        • I see AP and TS as almost the same guy. Seem to have same stance and dead pull strategy.

          Weird how it seems AP has more power though.

          • Presley is kind of a conundrum. Looks small and very thin. Looks like a total slap hitter whose only chance to stay in the show will be defense and OBP. But, has lots of pop and swings at almost everything.

          • Thats a matter of who has tapped into their power more, IMO.

            Presley only once hit more long balls in the minors than he did last season in the majors. Snider on the other hand, well, you know the rest.

    • I agree with you on Barmes, his playing time has been reduced lately. Father Time has caught up to him. He absolutely looks sick at the plate. Like the Bucs spent some money at catcher this off season, they need to do the same at SS. Only this time, bring in someone better than a 33 year old starting the downside of his career.

      • I hear you, Gunner. But, those SS’s just don’t seem to be available much. Teams that have them lock them up usually, and that leaves Barmes and Cedeno types. Someone else just grabbed Ciriaco, I saw. We really need Jordy to get it done the rest of the year and be solidified for next year.

        • Jim S, in the case of Jordy needing to step it up and get it done, then Clint should still plug in Barmes at times to keep Jordy on his toes. But not after a game like yesterday, Jordy did well, so leave him in the line-up.

          • Agree on the lineup.. I was thinking it may be good to go speed 1-2 and try to get after it in Cincy…also good to see Mercer in there again.

            Clint is needed as a backup as well as insurance against Jordy getting injured… remember Jordy has never played regular time at the MLB level and it seems to me a lot of guys get injured the first time doing so… may have something to do with the workload and not wanting to sit a game with a minor tweak and making things worse…

          • I agree, Jandy. I have been advocating what Clint is doing so closely that it is starting to scare me just a little. I said a long time ago that the way to find about Jordy would be to give him 1/3 of the starts at SS at first, plus the occasional fill-in for Neil against a tough lefty, and if he does well continue to give him a little more rope with the idea of trying to get him up to 2/3 of the SS starts by year end. It appears they are heading in that direction. If Jordy suddenly slumps, then Barmes is there to take back over. We’ll see how it goes. Could still be that CH and I will both be wrong.

          • I like Mercer a lot. Many people on this board don’t remember but, #24, Dick Groat had adequate range and probably an average arm. I think Mercer is adequate at SS from what I have seen. I really hope he becomes the everyday SS one day. JM doesn’t have to be Jack Wilson, Ozzie Smith, or Gene Alley in the field.

    • Where is the lineup posted?

      I like the lineup too. It rewards recent performance. Somebody said once, “The players make the lineup.” In this case, that is true.

      • A picture of it is posted on the Pirates team twitter page. Have to agree this lineup is rewarding the hot bats. The way the Ballpark of America plays going to need some offense in this series.

        • Presly got some hits yesterday. But sometimes CH would play Jones and Gabby at the same time —no matter who is pitching.

  33. Luis Heredia joining the West Virginia Power tomorrow.

  34. Great stat I saw on twitter:

    The Pirates and Orioles are combined 81-58, the two LA teams are a combined 59-78…how are all those investments paying off for the 200 M payrolls of the Dodgers and Angels.

    Good pitching beats good hitting, have to really like what Kingham, Glasnow, Taillon, Heredia offer for the future.

    • It is getting hard to deny the talent that is pushing its way to Pittsburgh, JRay. Joely Rodriguez got promoted to Bradenton as well. 21 yr old lefty that throws 91-94 with sink.

      Even some hitters are appearing all throughout the system. It wasn’t that long ago that the hitting pipeline was all but dry.

      • As they rise through the system, we’ll have a better chance to determine if it really is “talent”

        • Agreed. As a friend of mine always says, “They are more suspect than prospect until they arrive in the show.”

          • Sometimes prospects get traded and either pan out or not somewhere else… so glad the Pirates finally have a prospect list that they can tout in trade talks… and perspective needed whenever we either trade for a prospect that is ‘suspect’ or trade away a prospect that becomes an all star.

      • Just four years ago here were some of the names in the top 30 Pirate prospects in the hitting pipeline:

        Gorkys Hernandez, Quincy Lattimore, Argenis Diaz, Jarek Cunningham, Robbie Grossman, Chase D’Arnaud, and Tony Sanchez.

        That prospect list also included Alvarez, Marte and Walker.

        But have to agree the bats especially at the AA and A levels have certainly improved that portion of the pipeline.

        • Remember when a lot of people actually thought Gorkys was a big loss when we got rid of him?

          This list exemplifies, I think, why a lot of us still need to see more tangible results in Pgh before we can say the system has truly turned a corner. NH acquired a lot of those guys.

    • I dont watch many AL games, but i happened to watch the Angels the other day…no idea what their injury situation is, but their #5 hitter was Howie Kendrick and it went downhill from there… Collaspo (sp?) is hitting below .200 I think and they had very very little power in the lineup.

      And Pujols looks like he’s about 40 years old, can hardly run….

      As to the Dodgers, I think they are in much better position thatn the Angels, but they have too many injuries at the moment… just not sure the Crawford/AGon/Beckett move was all it was cracked up to be when they made it… Boston won that deal BIG TIME….

      • Pujols is still Pujols when it comes to lighting up PBC pitching….

        • sure enough, we will be able to see what happens this weekend… but it is sad to see him become pretty much a “single or HR” DH. And they only have like about 8 more years to pay him after this… another example of the Cardinals being way smarter than most other teams, not just smarter than the Pirates.

          • I now wish the Cards would have been strapped with that Pujols contract, it would of handcuffed them for years with his declining production to boot.

            • Hard to argue with how smart the Cards are. Jettisoned Albert the Great at just the right time. Smartly did not re-sign Lohse, and ended up with an extra #1. Did not sign Holliday or Beltran too far into the future (both great contributors, but getting a bit old).

            • I don’t know, this is one of those situations where the good got lucky.

              It’s not like the Cards simply let him go. The offered him a 10 year contract worth $220m. Incredibly dumb.

              They got lucky that Pujols is a greedy b*astard and another team was dumber.

              • They knew what his demands were, and they made an offer they were pretty certain he would refuse. I don’t recall the Cards offering 10 yrs.

  35. Anyone else a bit surprised the PBC got their second rounder, Taylor, to sign about 300K under slot?

    • Not really, I think we are starting to see that happen a lot across MLB now… the new draft system, which has its drawbacks, should get players signing quicker and into the system faster…and that helps all parties….

    • Hopefully it means we are that much closer to signing and assigning to begin play #1 and 1A, Meadows and McGuire, really like the scouting reports on those two bats.

      • I hope McGuire is the real deal, JRay. I am still smarting over missing out on Wieters. Smarting even more that we ended up with Moskos.

    • I am, Biz.

      Scouting reports I’ve read are that he’s a tall, extremely young(only 17 years old) lefty who can already hit mid-90s, but lacks secondary picthes and is “raw”. Plus he was commited to Hawaii.

      That sounds like the kind of “projectible” high upset guy you have to pay overslot, not under.

      • Those are my thoughts too, NMR, when I first read his resume, I was thinking overslot for sure.

        Nice surprise, if the figures are accurate.

        • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Then, again, I do not believe Hawaii has a track record of readying pitchers for the pros. Maybe the D1 schools missed on this kid, and so he figures he’ll just start pitching professionally.

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