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Morning Java: An addendum on the case for Dwyer

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

I would ask how you all ever managed to get along without me, except that I looked at the numbers and this blog maintained roughly 60 percent of its usual traffic in the nine days I was putting up blank threads or game threads. Which only reinforces my long-held view that this is your place, not mine.

Anyway …

>> The Monday column, in a similar spirit of humility but also accountability, revisits some of my own column lowlights from the calendar year to date.

If you hate my stuff, this is the column for you.

>> The one example in the column I wish I’d had more room to expand was regarding Jonathan Dwyer. I’m not sure he’s the Steelers’ feature back in 2013, but I do see where should be at the head of any committee that’s put in place to start the season.

For one, I don’t want a second-round draft pick — Le’Veon Bell — handling the ball 25 times a game. That just begs for disaster.

For another, Dwyer’s numbers from 2012 weren’t bad at all.

If the worst thing you can say about Dwyer is the whole double-tap thing — where he lets the coaches know he needs a breather seemingly every other set of downs — then that’s something that seems eminently fixable.

Just ask the man himself …

“To be honest, man, I’m tired of defending myself,” Dwyer texted me over the weekend. “I just want to get on the field and let my play do the talking. When you see me in Latrobe, you’ll be smiling ear to ear. I know I’ll be in shape to be successful.”

>> The Final Word last night included much Pirates and Penguins talk. Rob Rossi and I were guests, and we both wore ties.

>> The Pirates are off today after a superlative SundayRob Biertempfel reports from Anaheim. A separate piece looks at the chance that Gerrit Cole could go back down.

I’ve got a live interview with Mark Melancon lined up for the radio show tomorrow, by the way.

And here, if you missed it, was outfield prospect Gregory Polanco being interviewed by our Karen Price just after his promotion last week to Altoona …

>> Rushel Shell back at Pitt? Wow, now that would be quite the (welcome) turn of events for Paul Chryst, who’s aiming to build the Panthers’ offense into a power-based one. No power back = no power offense. Jerry DiPaola reports.

>> The Cup could be lifted tonight in Boston — by the Blackhawks, of course — but there are some wild variables going into Game 6: If Jonathan Toews can’t go, that’s a big loss to Chicago. When he and Patrick Kane were separated, Tuukka Rask looked little different than he did against the Penguins.

I very much see a Game 7 in the making.

>> The Riverhounds have scored a bunch of goals of late — thanks largely to surprising 10-goal man Jose Angulo — and won a bunch of games of late — now 5-4-6 thanks to a 10-game unbeaten streak — after a pretty lousy start. Matt Grubba reports from Highmark Stadium.

Highlights from the 4-1 victory yesterday (over a winless opponent, should be noted) …

>> Nice to be back. Didn’t go anywhere. Spent a lot of time back on the rink, working to get in shape for what I hope is a grand July 9 comeback to dekhockey. Went to see an immensely disappointing ‘Man of Steel.’ Crushed my children in table hockey. Watched a lot of pucks.

You know you’ve got a pretty great job, though, when you’re actually counting down the days until you’re working again. Reached that point about, oh, Friday or so.

Thanks for taking care of the place.

I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m.

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. Lad9 says:

    Welcome back DK. You were definitely missed.

    Sources reporting that Rushel Shell will not be enrolling at UCLA and wants to come back to Pitt. Not official.

    DK: Thanks. Yeah, just added Jerry DiPaola’s report up there in links.

  2. theplanisworking says:

    Hey, DK……………. Welcome Back!

    Scary part about the # of posts is that since Friday night’s game, the posts have been WAY down. If you would have come back Friday, you would have seen prob. 80-85% of the number of posts. Lunatics may not fully describe what we are. :)

    Some of wondered if maybe you stayed in the Fountain for your entire vacation. I can just see the police hauling you away as you keep screaming…. “The Lights, the pretty, pretty Lights!!! ” ……

    Missed seeing the bold responses you do. Sorta like Little Brother watching us. ;)

    Sounds like you got to recharge the batteries. I am sure your wife and kids are glad you are returning to work. Well, maybe. Ok, nevermind.

    Oh, and as a fitting tribute to you returning, Groat called you “Nature Boy Dejan Kovacevic” (he of wrestling fame, the “Greatest Ever”). In honor of you, ……………….
    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!

    (You were missed).

    DK: Thanks, but I’m not talking about comments entered. Actual visits to the site, including from those who just read.

  3. Dave G says:

    Hi again, Dejan!

    Nice to see a direct link to your blog from the sports page of the Trib app, which I finally just downloaded. (A little plug for ya there!)

    Don’t know why I waited so long…

    DK: It’s an outstanding app. I’m sure I don’t do enough to push it.

    Thanks for the kind words about it. And yeah, the blog has its own thing on there.

  4. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m definitely part of the 60 % but I still maintain this is your blog and we are but grateful guests to your party.

    Absolutely agree “Man of Steel” was a major disappointment. The film had screenplay and casting issues. Not to mention editing, as I believe some trimming was in order. I sensed the intrusion of corporate suits into the filmmaking process. Commercial and marketing interests are important, but that doesn’t always align with the film’s storytelling and artistic objectives. Let’s just say I felt the director and screenwriter trying to justify the casting of costly stars in what ought to have been peripheral characters.

    A forgettable and sadly average summer popcorn film. Oh well, there is always “The Lone Ranger.”

  5. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    DK,

    Welcome back. The Window missed your friendly banter with us lunatics.

    DK: Thanks, Playoffs.

  6. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    And for those of you that frequent The Window.
    The standings have been updated.

    http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/2013/06/23/first-pitch-pirates-angels-3/#comment-193285

    66 total players so far this year.
    You all ROCK!!!

    P.S. – Whomever has the highest point total after game 81 will win a Pirates bumper sticker as well. GOOD LUCK!!

  7. Mizery says:

    Welcome back Dejan. I kept randomly coming back to the blog expecting an article from you only to realize you were on vacation. This was after I already knew you were on vacation. Maybe hoping you were so bored with your life outside of writing that you would throw something out there out of habit.

    DK: Yikes. Hope that never happens.

    Thanks, M.

  8. DJ says:

    On the Bucs and possible trades, would love to see Neal Huntington show the same type of restraint this year as last when everyone was clamoring to add Justin Upton.

    As has often been stated, the priciest commodity for a small market team to add is pitching, and that assumes a pitcher would prefer to pitch in a market such as this one. So we often have a one-way street where the Bucs might be interested but pitchers (even second-tier ones) often are not.

    That being the case, and forgetting for the moment about Gregory Polanco, why in the world would we be interested in trading Jameson Taillon for Giancarlo Stanton or some other equivalent trade bait player? The video above only reminds us all (as we first saw when he was drafted out of high school) that Jameson is mature beyond his years and, by all accounts, has been progressing beautifully so far in our system with an outstanding repertoire of pitches. He has a great head on his shoulders and is just the kind of building block that we need. He is Tom Seaver-esque to Cole’s bulldog Clemens-esque approach (minus the steroids).

    So if I were in Neal’s shoes, I would not give all of that up. Jameson will be here next year at the latest and we will control him for 6 years beyond, at a very minimum. He impresses me as the kind of kid who will be loyal to this club through thick and thin, and the way things are going it could be a lot of thick. He is the kind of pitcher you drop alongside Cole and have the makings of a tremendous 1-2 punch for many years to come. Stanton will conservatively be at $11-12 million in arbitration within 2 years, (some have said $15-20 million per). He will have a 3-year run in Pittsburgh and then be gone. And how are McCutchen and Alvarez going to react in those years with those salaries and what will be the team dynamics?

    So I would not even consider Stanton even up for Taillon. And to hear people throwing in Polanco and one of our other top prospects for Stanton as part of a 3-for-1 deal is just plain silly. Sounds like the Marlins’ social media staff or management is in high gear floating all kids of rumors they would like to see come to fruition. I think we all need to take a deep breath and consider the long-term objective: to consistently compete year in and year out, not just one year.

    Here’s hoping Neal keeps a level head and stays the course on this one, just like he did when Arizona wanted a king’s ransom for Upton.

    DK: Oh, no … please … not this stuff …

  9. DJ says:

    As a reminder, Justin Upton’s 2013 stats: 15 HR, 34 RBI and .240 Batting Avg.

  10. Mizery says:

    I wanted the pirates to be aggressive last year. I thought their starting pitching was mediocre and couldn’t contend and they needed to upgrade SS, catcher and RF. this year I still want to see a SS and a RF, but I am really impressed with the pitching. The Pirates are in a great spot because they have some pieces they can move without selling the farm. I’m not saying they can get the high profile players without giving up their top prospects, but I think they can upgrade the team with second and third tier players without selling the farm. I agree that Taillion and Polanco are too valuable right now to give up.

  11. Reading says:

    Rangers up 2-1 over Cards in the 7th.

  12. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I am hoarse, sunburned and battered from being at the game in Anaheim this afternoon, but it was worth it. Though some of us disagree massively on how the Pirates are run, the goal remains the same.

    A lot of Pittsburgh fans were there, and we took the place over in the 9th and 10th.

    All I can say is….Wow!

  13. diehard says:

    I would consider a trade for Stanton. Pedro, straight up. Pedro WILL cool off. (Who’s on 93.7 12AM-2AM on Sunday night/Monday morning now? He’s absolutely, 100% convinced that the current hot streak – which will go cold when he has to sit during the All Star Break, if not sooner – is proof that Pedro is now officially what we thought he’d be.)
    Pedro is Dave Kingman with a decent glove – and a higher strikeout rate.

  14. JRay3 says:

    It was a great weekend and an awesome day. Totally agree it was great hearing the Let’s Go Bucs chants late in the game…a lot of black and yellow out there at the Big A.

    Something special is in the air, you can easily see there is no quit in this team and there seems to be a different hero every night.

    The next 86 games are going to be a lot of fun.

  15. DJ says:

    Well, by your list, we have Catcher (isn’t it really great to actually have a major league catcher?) and SS covered for now, as long as Mercer keeps playing well. Keep in mind we got by just fine with Tim Foli and Jay Bell at SS in earlier years and they were not world-beaters, just very steady players. On RF, he’s coming . . . Polanco.

    With that, I think we agree there is no way we should be thinking about trading a potential ace pitcher in Taillon for Stanton, a high strike-out but admittedly good-if-he-connects hitter. And besides, we have one of those already in Alvarez. Come the playoffs — both this year (if we get there) and ensuing years — we will only be going as far as our pitching takes us, and I believe our chances only improve if we have Taillon in a Bucs uniform long-term.

  16. DJ says:

    Something to consider and certainly better than trading top-end pitching prospects, but I have no reason to believe the Marlins would even sniff at that.

  17. JRay3 says:

    Pedro has rare power, he can make any ballpark he plays in look small. Yes there will be cold streaks but as we have witnessed on this road trip he is equally as capable of carrying a team on his back.

    I am one who believes he still is going to improve his game and has not reached his ceiling.

    20 HR’s 51 RBI’s I believe tough to replace that type of production. I hope NH locks him up to man the corner for some time to come.

  18. Reading says:

    Come on Nathan! Two more outs!

  19. Reading says:

    Ballgame! Cards lose 2-1. One game out.

  20. JRay3 says:

    Don’t look now but the Bucs are one game from having the best record in baseball, wow.

    DK: It’s impressive. Surprised others would rather discuss pure fiction. Old habits and all, I guess.

  21. DJ says:

    I’m with you on Pedro, and the same can certainly be said about Stanton as well, when he’s healthy. And since we have greater prospect depth in the outfield than at third, trading Pedro would not seem to me to be in the cards for Huntington right now.

    DK: Is it possible that this could be the one place on the Internet with enough common sense to see that there has yet to be a single report from any corner of the universe connecting the Pirates and Marlins on this topic?

    I sure hope so.

  22. Reading says:

    Almost time to party like its 1979.

  23. Ghost says:

    Let me add my mea culpa to the palimpsest: Pedro Alvarez is not a rally killer. He has his streaks when he does, indeed, kill rallies. But then he has streaks like this exhilarating one he’s on now where he IS the rally. I think I’m going to take a pass for a while on defining Pedro. We all should. Pedro is still defining himself. But in the meantime, let’s end the talk of wheeling and dealing him for Stanton.

    My biggest gripe with the pre- 2013 Pirates’ FO was that they wouldn’t let young talent accrue, wouldn’t let the clubhouses gel as a team. For now, it would appear they’ve moved on from their club-busting phase. Talent will always pass through your team’s doors. The trick is to recognize and nurture winning talent when you got your hands on it. The last thing we need to do is to return to our old, speculative, pig-in-poke acquisitions.

    Alvarez, Cutch and the rest of the PBC offense is heating up here in June, just as I envisioned they would. And Pirate pitching is virtually atop the NL. So what if Travis Snider isn’t the next Dave Parker? Stats aside, the “eye test” tells me Snider is in and around most of the action when the Pirates are actually scrapping up some runs. This past weekend in Anaheim was no exception. I say: Neil,check all your phone messages for next month, but don’t be in big hurry to return them. If you look out your window and see the earth is still spinning, chances are you haven’t been offered a worthwhile trade and should politely decline.

  24. tdb1977 says:

    First thing I did once I got a task kicked off for work was check the score from STL last night and then I did a small happy dance. Hope I didnt wake neither the dog or the wife. The dog will go back to sleep while the wife would be awake for a bit and probably be angry that I woke her. Going to be hard to lose this grin on my face while the Bucs are 16 up on 500, 1 GB of the NL Central lead, and offensively came back to life this weekend. All is good today.

  25. JoeyBats says:

    Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! XLVI wins down, …and XXXVI to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    .
    PS:After watching the Buccos look like the Bad News Bears in the infield for part of the game…it was great to see them pull it out late and use the brooms to sweep away the Angels. Keep riding the HOT bat of Pedro, too! Fun to watch him in these streaks.

  26. Matt hoffman says:

    Now what do we do when Rodriguez, Gomez and Burnett come off the DL? That is something more baffling than thinking trade right now! (But thankfully in a good way)

  27. rob says:

    It amazes me how much play this “trade” has gotten because of one ESPN.com writer’s suggestion.

  28. Matt hoffman says:

    I left out Karstens, didn’t I? Pretty nice having depth problems?

  29. kr70 says:

    If Cole is sent down is there a business first message sent to the team? and the fans?

  30. Jim S. says:

    Dave Kingman was a miserable a** on every team he ever played for, and that is why he played for half the league. Plus, he didn’t know which hand to put his glove on. Pedro is a streaky hitter, and few of us would argue that. But, he is not Dave Kingman (thankfully).

  31. DJ says:

    I wasn’t suggesting it was even possible, only politely reacting to someone’s suggested alternative deal above to acquire Stanton. Personally, I wouldn’t make any move for Stanton unless it involved something well below our top-line prospects.

  32. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. I was driving home from a weekend out of town yesterday, and for the 3rd day in a row they were talking about it on MLB Network. I guess they have a lot of time to fill. No way Huntington trades Taillon, Polanco plus more for Stanton.

  33. Jim S. says:

    Well said. It looked like a blast in Anaheim for the Buccos fans that attended, JRay.

  34. Matt hoffman says:

    I don’t agree with sending Cole down (of course I’m not paying his salary, but look at the tickets he will sell). Locke and Liriano are both locks (Lockes). I am actually very impressed with Gomez (do we ever lose when he pitches)? I am not suggesting Cumptom stay in the rotation when these others return, but “wow”, has he been a nice surprise!

  35. JAL says:

    JAL’s Ghost Riders in the Sky Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHo6ug6yAmw

    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 Reason Gerrit Cole Could Be Optioned When Starters Return

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/first-pitch-the-reason-gerrit-cole-could-be-optioned-when-starters-return.html

    Pirates Beat Angels in 10-9 Thriller: What We Learned

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/pirates-beat-angels-in-10-9-thriller-what-we-learned.html

    Prospect Watch: Heredia Throws Five Shutout in Debut; Hanson Homers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/06/prospect-watch-heredia-throws-five-shutout-in-debut-hanson-homers.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Not your old man’s Pirates: Bucs come back for sweep

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/23/4457746/not-your-old-mans-pirates-bucs-come-back-for-sweep
    Wandy rehabs, Heredia debuts

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/6/23/4457904/wandy-rehabs-heredia-debuts

    8 WHYGAVS

    Game 76: Pirates 10 Angels 9

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/june-2013/game-76-pirates-10-angels-9.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    All’s Well That Ends Well; Battlin’ Bucs Sweep Halos 10-9

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/06/alls-well-that-ends-well-battlin-bucs.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Sweep Los Angeles Angels (Video)

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/06/23/pittsburgh-pirates-sweep-los-angeles-angels-video/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 10, Angels 9

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/06/pirates-10-angels-9/

  36. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 LA Times

    Pittsburgh Pirates batter Angels bullpen in 10-9 win

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-pirates-batter-angel-bullpen-in-10-6-win-20130623,0,4308563.story

    13 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates sweep Los Angeles Angels in wild finish

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/06/23/pittsburgh-pirates-sweep-angels/

    14 KDKA

    Hurdle The Best Leader Of A Team In Pittsburgh Right Now

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/06/23/hurdle-the-best-leader-of-a-team-in-pittsburgh-right-now/

    The Sports Blog

    Why the Pirates Should NOT Trade for Giancarlo Stanton

    http://thebuccoblog.sportsblog.com/post/87808/why_the_pirates_should_not.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates batter Angels’ bullpen for comeback victory

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/recap/MLB_20130623_PIT@LAA

    17 Halo Hangout

    Pittsburgh Pirates Sweep Angels After Bullpen Meltdown

    http://halohangout.com/2013/06/23/pirates-sweep-angels-bullpen-meltdown-2/

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs rally in ninth, win in extras to cap sweep

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_06_23_pitmlb_anamlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Cutch remains within reach of starting All-Star Game

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130623&content_id=51475142&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21016

    20 Fangraphs

    NL Central division update: June edition

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/nl-central-division-update-june-edition-2013/

  37. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    LaMarr Woodley most likely Steelers candidate to win Deacon Jones Award

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/6/23/4456644/steelers-deacon-jones-award-lamarr-woodley

    Steelers Dick LeBeau looks to improve on 16-2 mark against rookie quarterbacks in 2013

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2013/6/23/4456426/steelers-schedule-2013-dick-lebeau-record-rookie-quarterbacks

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Four Worst Case Scenarios Steelers Hope to Avoid in 2013

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/06/four-worst-case-scenarios-steelers-hope-to-avoid-in-2013/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    Look at Spain and stop moaning, Roy: English football looks lame if it has to plot fixtures to scramble past Montenegro

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2347020/England-use-domestic-fixture-list-help-World-Cup-qualifying–Martin-Samuel.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 21st June, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-21st-june-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Chicago Tribune

    Bettman’s clown college won’t punish Boychuk

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/rosenblog/chi-nhl-boychuk-toews-rosenbloom-20130623,0,2067340.column

  38. JAL says:

    Ghost Riders in the Sky Vaughn Monroe 1949 The song is a staple of country-western music with many versions. Written in 1948 Vaughn Monroe had one the first recording and big hit with it. Monroe was a popular singer in the 1940s and 1950s. He also appeared in some movies and television programs. After retiring from performing he was an executive with RCA. Monroe’s recording of Let It Snow was used in Die hard and Die hard 2

  39. theplanisworking says:

    Good job both of you bringing back a win.

    DK will have your checks in the mail…………………. ;)

  40. Jim S. says:

    Maybe, KR. But, I also think they feel (rightly or wrongly) that they might be getting into a similar situation with him that all other teams wrestle with, and that is what to do with a 22 yr old who has never thrown a lot of innings before who is suddenly appearing ready to start all season long for the big club? In the old days, the teams would say, “We have Tom Seaver here. Of course, we keep pitching him.”

    But, today teams don’t seem to like 22 year olds posting big innings #’s. I would never doubt there is an element of $$ to it as well. But, if he pitched 135 innings, or thereabouts, last year, and the normal progression rate is 10-15% more per season for young guys, that puts us in the 150-160 range. I believe Cole is currently in the 85-90 range this year, right? If you consider approximately 17 more starts over the final 86 games, that should be 100 more innings (at 6 innings per start). He’d be pushing 200 innings before the potential playoffs.

    Personally, I think this kid is built for it. He’s a horse. I would be somewhat careful of his workload, but let him get up to 175 or so with the Bucs in the regular season. They can do that by having him skip occasionally. There is a way to do this, assuming Wandy and AJ are healthy. Morton and Gomez give us the flexibility to not overwork anyone.

    I would not say money down the line doesn’t play into it at all. But, there are other things to consider as well, and not all of us are going to agree no matter how they end up with this call.

  41. Jandy says:

    like

  42. Jim S. says:

    Something to note here that I find kind of amusing on this day is that we have all known Jason Grilli could not continue to be Superman all season. The dreaded regression term was thrown around, and it certainly had merit. Some fans chose to assume disaster was headed our way. But, I also recall saying that there could be instances where he and Melancon faltered (regressed to the mean, in other words) but the team still won. I thought there would be days when they faltered but still held a sizeable lead. I also felt that as they faltered occasionally, the offense might be there to pick up the slack on some occasions. That was certainly the case yesterday, as Grilli was obviously flat. Some of the balls were hit fairly hard, and some were just well placed. In short, some of his good fortune wore off for a game, and he got knocked around. But, eventually both teams had to leave the field (the Bucs for the party at Travis’ shack in Seattle) and the Pirates had posted another W. The offense scored just enough extra runs in the 10th to assure victory.

    My point is that I never thought he or Melancon had suddenly turned into perfect pitchers. It was Grilli’s turn to be human yesterday. He allowed a HR earlier in the week also, and we lost that game eventually. Melancon has had one or two bad innings, and there will be more. These guys are human. But, there is so much more to this team. There is also so much more to this bullpen. Morris can close, and others can assume larger roles. There are also young arms waiting in Indy. And Grilli and Melancon are not overworked, nor are they on the verge of falling apart, IMO.

    I continue to say that the unseen quality of this team is their defense. It doesn’t show up in a box score when the LF runs down a ball that no other LF gets to, or when Cutch comes in for a sliding catch to save a single. It doesn’t show up when Martin does what he does to manage the pitching staff. It doesn’t show up that maybe, just maybe we are ahead of the curve in terms of positioning our defense AND in acquiring and teaching pitchers to throw ground balls. I could give more examples, but you get my point. This team does things that are often not flashy, and so they are easy to dismiss.

    I said 85-77 in spring, and I thought I was being optimistic at the time. Obviously, anything can happen. I realize this is still a flawed team, and that there are 86 games to go. But, would anyone now not take the “over” bet if someone set our over/under line at 85? This is fun.

  43. John Lease says:

    I think Cole should stay over Morton.

    I’ve seen enough of Charlie. As soon as I read how he was now ‘mature’, I knew the odds were good of a meltdown versus the Angels.

    Go with your best players, please. 36 more wins to go.

  44. JD says:

    JAL – cool tune. I’ve always liked the version by The Ourlaws. There was also a neat one that Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson did.

  45. JAL says:

    Meltdown? Walks were up but 5.2 innings 4 hits 3 ER 5 K is not a meltdown. Not a great outing but with a better defense his line would have been better.

  46. Bizrow says:

    Too many pitchers?

    What a wonderful quandry to be in.

    Any word on whats gonna happen to JMac?

    I think a decision is due tomorrow?

  47. theplanisworking says:

    JMac and Zagurski will have a traveling minstrel act.
    Or they may spend their time looking for sand crabs.
    Or cleaning Drew’s sons room.
    Or playing dek hockey against DK.
    Or cleaning my Pond.

    (I know Big Z is with the Yanks).

    I read somewhere neal is trying to trade him.
    They will either have to put him on 60-day DL (CL), or release him.

    Shame what happened to him.

  48. Jandy says:

    I agree heartily with all of this, Jim S. I actually had to go to the grocery store and left when there where 2 outs in the 9th inning. I figured we were due to lose one, and I wasn’t all that upset over it. 2 out of 3 from the Angels is fine. But man, hubby lit up my cell phone with texts (remember, he isn’t all that crazy about baseball lol) and I’m going thru the grocery store talking to myself and texting him back. Let’s just say people were laughing at me…but I didn’t care. What this team is doing is indeed sweet to watch. I’m enjoying the ride.

  49. Jandy says:

    Amen JAL. Sheesh, the errors the infield had killed him. How many of those runs were Unearned? Charlie did fine.

  50. Bizrow says:

    Don’t know if this link has been posted, pictures of Calgary’s hockey arena.

    What a mess

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/calgary-flames-arena-scotiabank-saddledome-flooded-damaged-underwater-062213

  51. Jandy says:

    Hipposter, my friend, no way we made THAT big of a mess of the pond. maybe we can get Dejan to help clean it up?

  52. theplanisworking says:

    JANDY!!!

    Mornin’ from Hippos Pond, Pa.

    I left in the 4th inning yesterday………….. I also thought 2 out of 3 aint bad (Apologies to Mr. Loaf). Came back around 8:30, saw they won. Watched highlights, who’d have thunk they would score 7 runs in the 9th and 10th innings?

    My nauture doesnt allow me to “enjoy the ride” That to me constitutes a bit of laziness……….. I want to see the team improve, so that the winning is indeed sustainable. I dont blame people for just enjoying the ride, especially after the past 20 years of dreck. I just want to see them continue winning into October, and that will require some upgrades.

    Just sayin’.

  53. Jandy says:

    Dang! What a mess and what a shame. Who’da thunk this would happen?

  54. theplanisworking says:

    No, Dejan has a Kenny Chesney-type mess to clean up on his own. ;)

    Never underestimate the power of a dirty Pond, Jandy.

  55. Jandy says:

    Hey Hipposter :)
    Oh I want them to improve as well. I’m just saying, I don’t expect them to be perfect and win every game. And this has been a very enjoyable season so far. Don’t know that they need a lot in the way of upgrades. Maybe a bat. Jordy seems to be working out nicely at SS.

  56. theplanisworking says:

    Yes. A Bat.However, neal has to be careful not to give away top talent for one. But that can wait another month. How are ya this morning?

  57. Jandy says:

    No way do we give up the top talent. No way.
    I’m Peachy this morning…not bad for a Monday lol.
    How are you my friend?

  58. Jandy says:

    LOl!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. theplanisworking says:

    Watching the first 3 innings yesterday was like watching the 2010 Pirates. I was literally cringing. To say Charlie had a meltdown is simply not true. The fielders had a meltdown, yes………………….. and Charlie was the victim of that. I like the fact he hung in there anyway…………. in previous seasons, the pitcher WOULD have had a meltdown.

  60. Jandy says:

    Charlie doggedly kept hangin in there. Gotta give him credit for that!

  61. theplanisworking says:

    Swimmingly fine. It is gonna be hot, I mean hot in southcentral Pa. the next week………… mid 90′s. I may have to swipe and Ice truck or two………..

  62. Jandy says:

    Same here…high heat and humidity. AC is our friend :)

  63. theplanisworking says:

    I thought Hippo was your friend?? ;)

  64. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, wasnt ol 2-niner from Medicine Hat??? That town is downstream from Calgary, and it is going to get walloped also.

  65. BFD says:

    Did anyone hear the NH show on the fan yesterday?
    He stated that Cole will head back to the minors once Wandy and Burnett get healthy…… “and it is not a financial move”….
    This teams management team continues to baffle me. That kid has created excitement, hits 100 and appears to be capable of living up to the hype we have heard about for what seems like an eternity and he is going to be sent back to the minors due to super 2 status???

    I’ve been saying for at least 5 years now, the odds say breaking the streak will happen one of these years….. this year is looking like it could be the year, but sending Cole packing back to the minors is bad business for the fans, record, breaking the streak, and for playoff hopes (albeit they may be slim)

  66. Jandy says:

    Ain’t I allowed more than one friend? ;)

  67. theplanisworking says:

    BFD……………

    this is why I have a hard time “just enjoying the ride”.

    With this fine management staff, anything is possible………. and I dont mean that as a compliment!!! So far, things look good, and I hope they continue, but I just have that feeling……………… (due to 20 years of foolishness)…………

  68. Jandy says:

    Nah…Phil was from Massachusetts

  69. theplanisworking says:

    You are Mom Teresa…………. you can have all the friends you want!

  70. Tim says:

    Still think Dwyer hits the hole way too slow. He’s fine if he gets beyond the line of scrimmage. What are Bylma’s playoff shortcomings? Who tells the team not to jam the net? It seems to me the Blackhawks jam FOUR players infron of Rask.

  71. theplanisworking says:

    Um, the blog is broken again.

    The above was a response to BFD’s 7:45AM post, and now it is down here all by itself.

    Technology…………………

  72. theplanisworking says:

    OK, since the blog is broken again, I will head out for the errands of the day.

    All have a great day…………… maybe later the blog will be fixed.

    Hippo Hey !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. TJ says:

    Hard to believe that Toews and Kane are going to possibly have one more cup than Crosby and Malkin. And they are doing it with a guy in goal that wasn’t a #1 overall pick. I have a hard time matching up lines for Boston or Chicago with the depth the Pens had; its still mind blowing to me.

  74. TJ says:

    The blog is broken = DK’s vacation is over

  75. War Horse says:

    Jim, you’re right on. I’ve maintained since the early season that one of the significant reasons that Pirate pitchers have given up the fewest hits (.227 BA) and runs (264) in the majors is the exceptional fielding by Cutch, Starling and Travis, taking hits and runs away from opposing batters.

    Last night, Snider’s attempt to make a diving catch of that sinking line drive in RF was his first misjudged play I’ve seen him make all year. (It started the big Angels’ rally in the 10th.) Overall, Snider has zero errors in 108 chances. Marte has three errors in 112 chances; McCutchen has two errors in 158 chances. Those three players make a huge difference to the scorelines.

    The truest measure of a team’s defensive work is the DER (Defensive Efficiency Ratio), which measures the percentage of outs recorded per opportunity. The Pirates lead the Major Leagues with a DER of .714. By comparison, St. Louis is 19th in the majors with a DER of .692.

    The Pirates are 2nd in the majors in total number of assists (884) and total number of chances.

    It is important to mention the outstanding job by Russell Martin behind the plate. He has given up only four passed balls in over 500 innings of work, no errors and an average approaching 50% in throwing out base-stealers (17 for 37).

    Giving up nine runs yesterday, though the team’s three errors meant only seven of them were earned, allowed the Pirates’ pitching (& fielding) staff’s ERA slip to 3.22, which is one one hundreth of a point behind St. Louis and Atlanta, who lead the Majors with 3.21.

    This may be “still a flawed team,” as you say, Jim, but I am seeing fewer and fewer of the flaws and more and more of the abilities, especially in defense.

  76. NMR says:

    Good stuff, Daq.

  77. chethejet says:

    Watch some of the Seattle vs A’s game on MLB network. Funny that Ollie Perez was pitching and looked good against Brandon Moss who has 14 homers this year. I have lost all faith in the radar guns……Perez threw a 94 mph fastball? Not in my universe.

  78. 21sthebest says:

    How many innings over last year’s total of 132 do you think Cole should go plan?

    And Neal didn’t say Cole will be sent down.

  79. radio wave says:

    DK: you see a game seven? The fans in Chicago thank you.

  80. gregenstein says:

    Polanco, at the very earliest, would be here next June. I’d say it’s more likely he arrives in 2015. How does that help the current team with the 2nd best record in baseball?

    I’m not advocating trading him or anyone else, but RF is clearly this team’s weak spot now that SS is relatively taken care of.

  81. Dadtackular says:

    Dejan,
    Welcome Back!! I enjoy reading your columns and blogs. I don’t care if your analysis is perfect. I look forward to your insights and the positions you take. This is a great place to get my “Pittsburgh Sports” fix! (running through my veins)

  82. gregenstein says:

    Great post.

  83. Jandy says:

    So, what universe did you move to? ;)

  84. gregenstein says:

    I have a hard time faulting Morton too much when the Angels scored on a bunch of infield singles and couple errors.

    Still, your point stands. Cole is clearly a major league starting pitcher.

  85. Bizrow says:

    Whats the rule of thumb, 20 more innings than the previous season?

  86. Enjoyable column. Nice to see someone actually admit they made a mistake or two.

    Now about that list of predictions……….

    :D

  87. kr70 says:

    I would really like to know how his teammates feel about it. But we’ll just get the company line.

  88. kr70 says:

    Also Finally did the avatar thing. 2 grizzlies eating a buffalo at yellowstone 2010.

  89. 21sthebest says:

    From what I can see Biz, teams are letting their rookies go anywhere from the same innings as the previous year to 10-15% above. I think.

  90. Bizrow says:

    Where does Gerrit stand at now?

  91. Dom says:

    Welcome back DK!

    This is the greatest blog in the world.

  92. kr70 says:

    Did anyone else notice the Let’s go Bucs chant at the Angel’s stadium yesterday? America’s teams come from Pittsburgh

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

    To DK’s comment as well. It’s kind of like Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds.

  94. Drew71 says:

    Testing Plan’s broken blog theory. Replying to Plan’s broken post.

    PS. If broken, note how well it worked during SOMEbody’s “vacation”.

  95. Drew71 says:

    Yep. Broken.

    At least we now know who to blame.

  96. Iceman says:

    I have to admit that these Buccos are fun to watch. Pedro is just crushing the ball right now and I have not seen anything like it from a Pirates player in my lifetime. Also, this pitching staff is looking phenomenal and I give credit to a few different things. Obviously, there is some natural talent there, but I think much credit has to be given in a couple other places. Ray Searage has done a great job coaching his pitchers, the veteran pitchers are providing leadership that is needed from your veterans, and Russel Martin is calling some great games. Hopefully the fun continues.

  97. 21sthebest says:

    86 innings. 132 last year. I’d say an absolute max of 17 starts left. If he goes an average of 5 innings per start, that’s 171 innings or 30% above 2012.

  98. NMR says:

    86 IP as of now, Biz.

    160 IP would be about a 20% increase over last season. This increased inning count would mean about 12 more 6 IP starts.

    Each rotation spothas about 17 more turns in the regular season.

  99. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  100. Jim S. says:

    Great story, Jandy. In the weeks ahead, there may be a lot more people out and about getting text updates telling them all the great things they are missing.

  101. Jim S. says:

    I agree with Jandy on that Plan. I do not want them to get complacent, and I don’t think they will. I do, however, want them to be mindful at the trading deadline that there is something good about this team that may just not be easy to see from the surface. So, I would be careful in making too many changes. A new bench guy to replace Inge? Of course. A righty who can play RF and hit LHP? Of course.

    But, as we found out with all the trades the Pens made, sometimes maybe the blockbuster trade you don’t make could be better. That’s just a hunch, though. I’m open to anything that makes them better. And I am way past the 82 thing. I’m thinking playoffs.

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    Karstens is effectively done for the year.

  103. Ray Searage for Prime Minister of Canada.

    (I’ve exhausted every office in this country he can be nominated for).

  104. Brandie says:

    DK,

    Great to see you back. I hope your vacation was good. I enjoyed the column. Good to know you are human like the rest of us. Looking forward to reading your assessments on our Buccos and Steelers as well as what the Pens need to do to win their dang Cup already.

    Go Riverhounds.

  105. Brandie says:

    Blog is definitely possessed.

  106. Bizrow says:

    So what do you do with him? Can he work out of the bullpen?

    And if they send him down, aren’t we wasting innings that we could use up here come September, or dare I say, October?

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    I did not know the same guy did Let it Snow.

  108. Jim S. says:

    Thanks for all those SABR stats, War Horse. You filled in some of the exact details I was alluding to. This team converts into outs the highest % of balls put in play by the opposition of any team in the majors (BABIP). That is usually not apparent to the naked eye. But, the truth is the pitching staff gets a good amount of K’s, they throw a high rate of groundballs (which limits extra base hits), and it would appear that they are doing a good of positioning players in the field to catch balls hit by the opposition.

    I love the old “eye test” as some call it. You can see Pedro is more nimble this year simply by watching the games. You can also see that he is making some really great diving plays. But, then when you have the metrics to back it up, it becomes clear that this team plays good defense.

    I say that knowing full well that we had a “comedy of errors” inning yesterday that nearly cost us the game. Nothing is perfect. This is still a hard game to master. But, I love that this team does not panic and they don’t consider themselves out of any game.

  109. Jim S. says:

    Yes, he did. It was not his best outing, but he battled through some serious adversity. He got almost through 6 innings. If he had melted down, he’d have been pulled in the 4th and we would have been down by more runs.

  110. Jim S. says:

    So sad.

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey! Where have you been ? We missed ya!

  112. Sorry to hear you missed Tony the Tiger, Jim.

    All the way to Battle Crick and no Tony. The way you mention the cereal smell in the air reminds me of going to Hershey.

    My 2 oldest (36 and 34) still remember our vacation to Hershey Park when they were little and the smell of chocolate in the air.

  113. Jim S. says:

    I heard it on TV, kr. Lots of Bucs chants, as a matter of fact.

  114. Bizrow says:

    Try this again, it posted several posts above this post

    So what do you do with him? Can he work out of the bullpen?

    And if they send him down, aren’t we wasting innings that we could use up here come September, or dare I say, October?

  115. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think sending Cole back down at this point is just plain meshugass.

  116. Jim S. says:

    Yes, Lucky, Hershey, PA is a great place.

    We did not get to do a cereal tour in Battle Creek, but on the way there from Chicago on Thursday afternoon, one of the dads arranged for the boys to take a tour of the Hoosier Wood Bat Co. It is a small company in Valparaiso, IN. They mostly suply high school teams around the country, but also have a lot of international clients and a few in MLB (Prince Fielder, for one). It was a fun thing for the boys to do.

  117. NMR says:

    @Biz

    This isn’t my preference, but I think the answer is in Detroit.

    Leyland still has veteran perpetual underachiever Rick Porcello (4.74 ERA, 3.66 FIP) as the 5th man in a stacked rotation while young starter Drew Smyly (3.79 ERA in ’12) pitches out of the bullpen. Smyly is dominating in that role (1.75 ERA) and still has managed to get 46 innings of work. Point being, two useful arms are being utilized at the big league level.

    I’m sure you can pick out which guy is Morton and which guy is Cole.

  118. 21sthebest says:

    Biz, I think you can send Cole down as we get closer to the All Star Break and give him one start in the minors of about 5 innings. With our days off, the All Star Break, etc, I think this keeps him stretched out and rested at the same time. Then when you bring him back after that 1 start in the minors, treat him as a 5th starter skipping his turn occasionally in the rotation. This way I think you can get him to the end of September/October with a reasonable increase in his innings over last year.

    I have a minor concern that in all 3 of his starts, he has been hit the third time through the batting order but I’m not too worried about that.

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    Last night one of the prominent topics on the two Local sports shows was whether Pedro should be an All Star. Funny, a week ago I don’t think anyone would have even considered the question, and if they had they would have been laughed at.

  120. PhillyPirate says:

    While I would love to see Cole remain in Pittsburgh, the smartest move is to send him down. Not because of the Super-2 situation but because of the overall depth of the rotation and planning ahead for injuries and missed time alter in the season.

    Cole has one thing that Gomez, JMac and Morton do not—- options. If they keep Cole in the rotation, they must either DFA another pitcher or move them to the bullpen. Once moved to the bullpen, it is unlikely that they would be stretched out enough to make a spot start or two if needed.

  121. Milo Hamilton says:

    For everyone that thinks that the potential of Cole being sent down isn’t all about dollars & cents, I guess moving him back a day in the rotation so he pitches twice on the upcoming homestand isn’t either.

  122. pattonbb says:

    great info JAL

  123. Bizrow says:

    Both good options, plus it would be nice to (hopefully) get him some playoff experience.

    You never know when it may come round again ;-)

  124. NMR says:

    @21

    That’s what happens to guys who only have one or two pitches. Also the reason you see guys with only two pitches end up as relievers.

  125. Milo Hamilton says:

    And since when has Charlie Morton become Don Drysdale and deserve a preordained spot in the rotation. The ONLY question at this point should be – which one of these two gives you the best chance to win the game today ? It’s pretty obvious.

  126. bradthedad says:

    Yeah, it seems like whole staffs are throwing between 93 and 98. Maybe the radar gun is on steroids.

  127. Bizrow says:

    And my 9:38 post is up above all of this again.

    Regarding the theory, “you can’t make this stuff up”, a followup to a discussion we had here last week

    http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/9411096/gift-counter-super-bowl-ring-flap-robert-kraft-new-england-patriots

  128. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know on the innings, 21. I have not heard NH or anyone say they needed to monitor the innings – a la the GM of the Nats last year. That would not be wise to start putting out there with a streak to break AND a playoff slot to attain.

    I’m just saying that teams have gotten so scientific (if that is the right word) these days with the arms of young pitchers. I don’t have access to their data, but they know how much $$ Garret is worth to them every season, as well as how much he will cost. It just would not surprise me if they start slow walking his innings a bit at some point, even if they don’t tell us that is what they are doing. Or, maybe I’m all wet here. One thing we have seen is he gets through innings quickly, which would save his arm some wear and tear. So, maybe that is more important than saving innings.

    I would think the goal would be to have Cole able to pitch in October. But, that can’t be accomplished if you never make it to October because your best arm is not throwing. As someone just wrote, it would be better to have his innings come for the Bucs than for Indy this year. It is a tough call. As I said earlier, I think he’s a horse who could probably give us 175 innings in the regular season, plus a few more starts in the post-season and be just fine through it all. As long as they are monitoring pitch counts and he keeps throwing efficiently, that sure seems reasonable to me.

    As for the Super 2 stuff, Huntington says that is not part of it. He says any demotion of Cole would be just because of his flexibility in options, and that he would come back up if/when necessary. We shall see.

  129. Hank Blackbeard says:

    DK spent some time in DC too. He even took in a Nats game. He posted pictures from his other twitter account @suckmeter.

  130. TJ says:

    I tried to take a break from the blog. After that total meltdown by the Pens I could see nothing positive coming from my mind to put in this blog; nor read the bridge jumping etc. So I went to rehab and I am 1:15 min clean of negative thoughts

  131. Jim S. says:

    But, he’s going to average more than 5 per start, right 21? He already averages 6, and he should only get better. I think you better add an inning per start to that projection.

  132. NMR says:

    “meshugass”

    I like it. I like it a lot.

  133. Two of my boys and I went through the Louisville Slugger factory and museum.

    Truly exceptional for a baseball fan. They had the Clemente exhibit up at the time. Enjoyable, to say the least.

  134. TJ says:

    Keep him in the majors as your long reliever or where ever you might need a guy to come in and throw a 100mph and a 91mph slider.

    To me Cole’s numbers in AAA looked either like they had him working on one particular pitch or he just was like a kid in high school that wasn’t interested because there was no challenge in it.

    There is no way you can face that club house as a manager or GM and say you got the best roster in the majors if you send Cole down. Gomez is no different than Cole as he struggles to get 5 innings; but who has more upside as a starter in the future? Keep him in the majors, find a way to use him.

  135. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  136. NMR says:

    I need to take this advice.

  137. 21sthebest says:

    He’s still throwing mostly fastballs but I thought he was throwing 3 pitches NMR.

  138. TJ says:

    Very good point Milo. All about bringing fans to the gate to see him hit 100mph.

  139. NMR says:

    Easy on the hyperbole.

    It’s not like Charlie hasn’t shown he deserves that spot.

  140. Jim S. says:

    Good point, NMR. I would say, though, that “that is what happens to guys who USE only one or two pitches” in the case of Cole. He HAS more pitches. I think we are already seeing him roll them out as he feels comfortable with their quality. I believe he knows how good his fastball has been, but that he knows it will be exposed unless he uses the other stuff. So, he is starting to do that little by little.

    One issue that he needs to overcome somehow – and a lot of people would say it is a good problem to have – is he throws everything so hard that there is not much of a change in speed between his high 90′s fastball, mid-90′s slider, and low to mid-90′s change-up. I have no earthly idea how a guy can throw a 95 mph change-up, but this freak of nature does it. He needs to find a way to take something off his secondary pitches. That may not be so easy to do, but I think he’ll figure it out as he gains experience.

  141. TJ says:

    JMac should not even be mentioned. Wonder if he can become a position player like Allie. Or was it Macdonald that was a position player turned pitcher?

  142. TJ says:

    I’m guessing he is standing some where in Seattle

  143. NMR says:

    Three EFFECTIVE pitches, 21.

    Changeup hasn’t been a factor at all.

  144. Milo Hamilton says:

    He hasn’t shown he deserves that spot.

  145. Milo Hamilton says:

    And I’ll monitor my own hyperbole, thanks.

  146. Brandie says:

    Have you provided Bizrow your location so he can add it to the Lunatics Roll Call?

  147. TJ says:

    Who can throw an effective changeup when your change up is roughly the speed of Kevin Correia’s fastball. Kidding!

  148. 21sthebest says:

    Jim S.,

    I used 5 per start to be conservative. That alone could result in an increase of 30% over last year and all I was trying to show is that I think we could end up getting to September and having an issue unless it’s addressed.

  149. TJ says:

    I say keep Cole up and fire Bylsma to make room for him

  150. Jandy says:

    Priceless!

  151. Jim S. says:

    I have been to the Louisville Slugger factory as well, Lucky. That is a great place. Whole other ball game from the small company we visited last week.

    I will say, though, that the owner was a real character. He was once a MLB scout for the Yankees, and he is so passionate about what he does. He absolutely hates the proliferation of metal bats that pervades youth baseball now, as you can imagine. He took the time to position every boy in front of a homeplate in his factory, and told them all what length and weight of bat he felt they should use. And he said, “Tell your parents to get you a wooden bat and throw away those recycled Mountain Dew cans you are swinging now.” Very entertaining.

  152. 21sthebest says:

    “I don’t know on the innings, 21. I have not heard NH or anyone say they needed to monitor the innings – a la the GM of the Nats last year. That would not be wise to start putting out there with a streak to break AND a playoff slot to attain.”

    I wasn’t suggesting they put that out there and I don’t expect them to talk about it, at least not for a while if at all.

  153. Jandy says:

    Ahhh Hershey, yes. had a blast at that park several times and visited the chocolate factory as well. Now I’m hungry for chocolate…good job, Spunky :P

  154. Jim S. says:

    Do you get a medallion at some point, TJ?

  155. JohninOshkosh says:

    Me too.

  156. NMR says:

    @Jim

    If he truly can’t throw his changeup under that speed, then he doesn’t have a changeup. That is like saying you throw a curveball that doesn’t curve.

    I, personally, believe Travis might be wrong in his blog. I think those were 2-seamers, not changeups. Regardless, he should easily be able to get the desired 8-12 mph change in speed with the correct grip, its just a matter of commanding it.

    I don’t doubt he’ll be able to get by at first with only his fastball and slider, but he’ll need Russell Martin to do it. Martin is smart enough to utilize Cole’s fastballs – 2 and 4 seem – as different pitches. This can effectively give him more to show hitters later in innings simply by adjusting sequencing.

  157. Jandy says:

    Like + many

  158. stuart66 says:

    Very nice ghost. Identifying the “keepers” isn’t always easy. I don’t even remember who we got for Jose Bautista.

    Stuart

  159. Jim S. says:

    That was JMac, TJ.

  160. Jandy says:

    And to think, Jim, I didn’t get a cell phone until about 4 years ago. I resisted as long as I could.
    Don’t want to miss too much…this Buccos team is special.

  161. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  162. NMR says:

    Well thats, like, your opinion, man.

    Lotta teams would be smiling with a 2.81 ERA. Charlie can’t catch all the balls on his own.

  163. Jandy says:

    seconded!

  164. We aim to please, J-girl. At least we weren’t talking about beer or Capn’ Morgan to get you droolin’.

  165. TJ says:

    @NMR

    You might be right; which might be why his numbers were less than stellar in AAA. Perhaps they had been trying to work that changeup. I think we often get caught up in a guys stats and say he’s just not playing well; but we don’t know what the SEALS have him working on that week. For all we know they want 70% of his pitches to be changeups.

  166. Brandie says:

    Time for all silliness to take a backseat there. Hope they can salvage something there.

  167. TJ says:

    Well then he’s screwed

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    Neither can the catcher in a lot of cases.

  169. 21sthebest says:

    I think the amount of work he gets is the primary issue. I’m not sure dollars and cents is even an issue becuase I don’t view it as material and also because it is something that can be easily controlled in other ways in the event he doesn’t avoid Super 2 status. Moving him back a day in the rotation makes perfect sense to me to help avoid overworking him.

  170. Jim S. says:

    Maybe the Super Bowl ring controversy is a clever diversion. Can’t talk about the real issues going on with the perpetual Super Bowl-winning Pats, if you are the owner.

  171. TJ says:

    They don’t give medallion’s. Just those so called tension balls to squeeze. Already broke 2.

  172. AJS says:

    I don’t know. This doesn’t really bother me. At some point he has got to throw something other than a fastball. He supposedly has a wicked slider that he hasn’t thrown mch of. Throwing 100 mph fastballs every pitch with little to no movement will eventually get you hit around some. Let him go back to Indy and develop a second out pitch and a third relatively reliable pitch and we’ll see him in the spring after burnette is gone.

  173. 21sthebest says:

    Did you watch Friday night? He threw some effective changeups although I’d like to see less velocity on it at times.

  174. Jim S. says:

    Ok, I got it 21. I wasn’t meanting to be critical at your observation. I think we are both looking at the same thing here. At some point, they are going to manage his innings to get him through Sept. plus the free baseball of Oct that is a distinct possibility.

  175. Jandy says:

    he is.

  176. Brandie says:

    Good morning, Jandy.

  177. Jim S. says:

    I’ve read 10-15% increase for the first couple of years with young guys (under 24, 1st year in bigs, etc.). Just a rule of thumb I’ve seen, Biz.

  178. Jandy says:

    So, Brandie, you think it’s Drew’s fault? lol
    How was the Hippie fest?

  179. Jim S. says:

    Good post. I also have that concern about how he cruises along, then suddenly gets knocked around a bit.

  180. TJ says:

    What I really love about the Pirates right now is that no one in the national media seems to give a crap. Second best record in baseball and no love. Even those that don’t live here are waiting for the annual march of the Lemmings. Its a shame that unless Bochy decides to be nice its going to be hard to imagine more than Grilli making the All-Star team. Melancon deserves it but MR’s just don’t go unless they are the only option. Locke deserves it but 6 wins might not be good enough despite ERA. Heck where would Liriano be right now if he hadn’t missed a handful of starts?

  181. AJS says:

    And as for playoff hopes, it isn’t like he is being sent packing to put a long reliever back into the rotation. Burnett, Wandy, and Locke make quite the top 3. Liriano has been good as well. Cole would become the 5th starter. Morton/Gomez/McDonald will fill that spot effectively. You could make the argument that he has earned that right and to continue on. But I don’t think sending him down gives the Bucs any worse chance of making the playoffs or ending the streak. Which is why you let him develop his pitches in a lower stres environment.

  182. pattonbb says:

    Greetings Lunatics. Just returned from spending 3 days high atop the Smokey Mtns with no cell phone or internet service. It was glorious.

    Welcome back DK. This might be our room, but it’s your house.

    I wanted to make a couple comments about the Buccos -

    If we’re worried about how many innings Gerrit Cole will have on his arm come September, then he better not waste one single pitch in AAA. He belongs with the big club. Skip a couple of his starts by all means, but he better not get sent down.

    Not worried at all about Grilli’s sustainability. Closers pitching in non-save situations tend to have bad outings. Looking at the boxscores from other games this weekend, I see 4 of the best closers in baseball all got rocked in similar situations. It happens.

  183. Bob Hasis says:

    R. Biertempfel’s column this morning about Cole being sent back is a pathetic story from a beat writer. I would have sent this directly to RB, but he never responds even in the rare event I would have complimented his work.

    He has the audacity to make a reference to a “slushy” statement from NH, “There is a business component to it, as far as keeping our depth”. Can you believe such a flimsy statement from a GM who devoutly professes he is all about winning NOW. Then he follows with a statement about Cole and Super Two Status, revealing his (NH’s) real mindset, another NH curveball.

    Cole needs to be a member of our starting rotation NOW, even at the expense of another established member. No one can deny that Cole is ready to serve the Pirates.

    He cannot take a back seat to Jmac or Morton now. And NH needs to forget about preservation of options for those two. It never bothered his earlier handling of Mercer and currently Presley.

    RB should know, if I want misleading, jaded, malarkey, I’ll buy the other paper. Or maybe he should work for the other paper. Quoting NH is about as reliable as quoting those in the national spotlight. It is meaningless.

  184. AJS says:

    So when a guy gives up 5 runs mostly due to 3 errors by his fielders who should be able to handle a ground ball it is a meltdown? I agree…by his infield, not by him.

  185. The Gunner says:

    Absolutely agree with you on this, John. It’ll come down to a business decision with the Nutting ownership. If they do send Cole down, maybe they’ll bring him back after the 10 days or so, and send Charles Morton back down, if necessary.

  186. TJ says:

    When does Searage start to be considered for a managers position? I mean the man has worked wonders. I’d be willing to let him see what he can do with the Pens power play.

    If Bruce Arians can land a head coaching job in the NFL; there is no reason Searage shouldn’t be considered with the miracles he has worked.

    Heck if there was a vote for a new pope I’d even throw his name for that.

  187. Jim S. says:

    Yes. All of the reports I have read from industry pro’s is that his change-up is also a developing plus pitch, as is his yet unveiled (I think) curve ball.

    He needs to throw a 70 MPH eephus pitch. That would be hilarious.

  188. Jim S. says:

    Kevin Correia wishes he still had a fastball with the velocity of Cole’s change-up. So funny, TJ. But, it is true.

  189. Milo Hamilton says:

    To get serious for a minute, that would be a real hard sell in that clubhouse. We’re closing in on the point in the season where this group looks for reasons to fold. Huntington needs to look back on last year’s Bedard/Correia disaster. I’m sure it’s entered his mind.

  190. Jim S. says:

    @ NMR 10:03

    You may have hit on something. Everyone seems to be talking about his fastball, as though he only uses one grip. But, I always read that he throws both a 2 and 4 seemer. So, it could be his 2-seemer that some are calling a change-up. It does seem almost unbelievable that he could be throwing a change-up at 95 mph.

  191. JAL says:

    I think Cole is going to be a great MLB pitcher if he stays healthy, but he not there yet. I case no one has looked Cole has three starts going 6.1, 5.2, and 6.1. with a 3.44 ERA. In ERA AJ is lower, Gomez is lower, Locke is lower, Liriano is lower,Morton is lower and Wandy is slightly higher, .

  192. Jandy says:

    Hi Brandie, hope this goes to some spot you can see it. This broken blog business is crap lol

  193. Sisyphus says:

    Who plays third?

  194. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m surprised, given the nature of our society, that there arn’t cell towers on the top of each of those mountains.

  195. NMR says:

    I actually agree with you, just being ornery.

    Morton still hasn’t solved his issues with lefties. All four hits yesterday by left handers. Four of his six walks and all five hit batsmen have been, wait for it, left handed.

    Bullpen duty should shield him from the splits and also give him a chance to work on a cutter in order to solve them.

  196. Sisyphus says:

    Maybe Dejan can clear this up for us, but I’m under the impression that sending him down now has absolutely no effect on his Super Two status.

  197. Milo Hamilton says:

    Another serious point. All of the defensive shifting that goes on now. A big component of that is the pitcher putting the ball in a particular spot, pitching to the shift. Charlie has absolutely no idea where the ball is going (2 seamer mostly) and renders the shifting moot. I think that plays a big part in his bad luck. I suggest that when he pitches they just play their infield straight up & hope for the best.

  198. SeanAY says:

    Is this your homework, Larry?

  199. Arriba Wilver says:

    Whether it was talked about or not, it definitely will be/is an issue. Just like Super 2.

  200. Arriba Wilver says:

    Totally agree about innings in AAA. Rather he get them in the majors,

  201. Brandie says:

    I think Drew broke the blog.

  202. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah, that’s why I’ve been talking about the innings because I definitely think it’s an issue. I don’t see Super 2 as much of an issue since the financial aspect can be easily controlled in many different ways at any time.

  203. Arriba Wilver says:

    So, if I get this right, reporters shouldn’t quote the principals of the team they are covering, but should make an editorial determination to not bother? And RB IS a beat reporter, not a columnist. Not that a columnist shouldn’t also use quotes. But a columnist can follow it up by saying he doesn’t buy it.

  204. Jandy says:

    LOL I am pathetic, aren’t I? ;)

  205. pattonbb says:

    There actually are several, but for whatever reason, our little area on the Nantahala River was dead as dead can be.

    Hated not listening to the games. Unfortunately, now my uncle, who is also the most superstitious person I know, tells me I’m not allowed to listen to any other games this year. “Respect the streak”…and all of that…

  206. Arriba Wilver says:

    +10

  207. Arriba Wilver says:

    +10 to NMR’s post about Cole’s 2 and 4 seamers at 10:03.

  208. Jandy says:

    LOL you guys are killing me

  209. Jandy says:

    Drew! It’s all YOUR fault!

  210. Brandie says:

    Great! Fantastic! Wonderful. Then I find my Pirates winning games. It’s the cherry on top of the Sundae.

  211. SeanAY says:

    I don’t know, I’m not having issue with replies. Maybe the blog has been fixed.

  212. pattonbb says:

    White Sox released Daniel Moskos from their AAA team.

  213. SeanAY says:

    And then my post appeared way up the thread.

    I spoke too soon.

  214. Bizrow says:

    Daniel Moskos has been released by the White Sox

    He is now available… ;-)

  215. Anyone have Bullington’s number in Japan? Maybe Moskos can hook up with him and they can have 2 former first-rounders on the roster of the Nigihashi Ham Fighters.

  216. Jim S. says:

    It is starting to look that way.

    I have a sneaking suspicion your husband is slowly starting to become more of a baseball fan. Enthusiasm is contageous.

  217. Jim S. says:

    The thing I meant to comment on the first time but forgot, War, is that I think Travis did not get to that ball last night because they were playing that “no doubles” defense that all teams seem to employ in late innings with the lead. I could be wrong, but on the replay he seemed to be coming from a long way to get to that ball. You are correct, though. Snider has done a very nice job in RF. He doesn’t have the speed of Marte or Cutch to get to that ball, but neither do any other MLB outfielders – or, at least not very many.

    I would have rather seen Travis pull up and allow the single there, but that is nitpicking. As long as we had the 4 run lead and one out at that point, it was probably a worthwhile gamble from his standpoint. In a closer game, he definitely needs to pull up, though.

  218. Bizrow says:

    ARod has medical clearance to begin a rehab assignment July 1.

    So, he might be able to get his suspension out of the way this season ;-)

  219. Thundercrack says:

    NMR,
    Not at all trying to start an argument here, but based on your comments about Cole the past week or so I can tell you aren’t impressed. Or not as much as some –or to the level of the hype.

    But are ready to relegate him to the bullpen?

  220. Thundercrack says:

    I was hoping that this could be the one place on the Internet with enough common sense to be fixed and working correctly.

  221. Kevin says:

    Couple notes… early bird burgh blog-heads said most already:

    1. I read DK’s column. I thought he was going to take credit for last night’s renaming the game blog after the top of the 10th as FINAL: W 10-6 (10 innings). Not that its a big deal because the pirates won anyway, just was curious that DK or whomever blog moderator almost put the kibosh on the pirates win yesterday.

    2. Grilli was bad yesterday… in fact, he downright sucked. My question is… why put Grilli out there in a non-save? Yes, when we took the lead, obviously you warm up Grilli for a save situation but when we got the 10th run, I thought for sure it would be Watson to go.

  222. The Gunner says:

    Yep, a real shame. He seemed like a pretty good guy. He’ll probably blossom somewhere else.

  223. steelercrazy says:

    If sending Gerrit Cole back to Indy for 10 days and missing only one MLB start gives the Pirates additional leverage to extend past their six years of control, I don’t see how even the most jaded Pirates fan could be against it. Cutch not being a Super 2 most certainly played into his giving up 2, possibly 3 (team option 2018) years of free agency when he signed his 6-year, $51.5 million contract in March 2012. If he’s arbitration eligible in 2012, it’s highly unlikely that he signs a contract bearing any resemblance to the one he signed, IMHO.

  224. Jandy says:

    “freak of nature” I like it! :)

  225. Arriba Wilver says:

    Whoa, getting released from AAA is pretty damning. Maybe there’s a position for Moskos in the Cubs organization. I hear they have a guy who thinks the world of him.

  226. Jim S. says:

    So true. No one can turn a season around as quickly as that guy. This is 2 years in a row, as a matter of fact.

  227. diehard says:

    I do acknowledge that – and I doubt they would even talk about it. I only went with this because of the rant the guy was on last night about Pedro was the best or second best 3B in the NL. And even that might be true – at least as long as all we talk about are his power numbers, because that’s all he has. I’m also not discounting his current streak – it’s impressive. Of course, I don’t know that he’s hit a home rune off a pitch 93+ yet. All 3 against the Angels came on pitches 83-86. I only recall one AB against a hard thrower, and he couldn’t catch up. Pedro still has massive holes in his swing (especially hard stuff and the low inside breaking pitch – coincidentally, the exact location – low and almost into the LH box – that Cutch seems to flail at as well).
    I also realize that IF we made this trade – which WE WON”T – we have no one to really play third except Brandon Inge.
    On the plus, and yes, anti-Kingman side, Pedro seems to blend well with the guys on this team unlike a few previous power guys we’ve had. Would we prefer an Adam Dunn comparison?
    Obviously, I’m not a big Pedro fan. I hope he keeps it up – I really do. I’m just not ready to buy it yet. Please Pedro, change my mind.

  228. Kevin says:

    *sigh* I posted above too… not enough talk about the blog counting its chickens last night and about the fact that Grilli almost blew that game.

  229. Arriba Wilver says:

    On #2—seriously, the blogger doesn’t think the best guy should be out there to close down that win because it wasn’t a save situation? Really? I like Clint more every day.

  230. NMR says:

    No idea why Grilli, or MM for that matter, were used yesterday.

    Pretty sure this marks the second time both were used with a four run lead this week, as well.

    THAT is how you wear out the back end of your pen.

  231. Haverford89 says:

    So has any NL player ever gotten his first ML hit as a DH?

  232. Jandy says:

    Blame that gaffe on Dejan, kevin. But in the end, we pulled out the win, so that is all that matters.

  233. Jim S. says:

    Very interesting point about the shifting and pitchers hitting spots, Milo. I agree with you that it is so key to have them work in tandem.

    Charlie has shown that his stuff is good enough, but only when he puts it where it needs to go. Can’t allow 5 walks in 5.2 innings. I do give him credit yesterday for gutting out a couple of extra innings when he could have folded.

    Also, when I played, I hated being in the field behind a pitcher that could not hit his spots. It was frustrating waiting out all the long at bats. That must have a negative effect on defense.

  234. Jandy says:

    Hi Haverford. Have you posted your hometown so Biz can add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum?

    As for your question, I was very happy for Tony yesterday :)

  235. Jandy says:

    silly you!

  236. Jandy says:

    chocolate sundae, of course ;)

  237. PhillyPirate says:

    DK – I have to disagree with your bullpen point on TribLive Radio.

    There have been several examples over the past few years of bullpens that are near the top of each league in both Innings Pitched and Performance (as based on overall bullpen WAR).

  238. Jandy says:

    You can always sing “I feel pretty, oh so pretty…”

  239. Jandy says:

    He sure is, just won’t admit it. I love hearing him yell at the television :)

  240. Jim S. says:

    Agree, 21. I think the innings issue is the elephant in the room as the season goes along. It might start feeling like the Strasburg discussion from last year. The Nats were excoriated, and their guy was coming off TJ surgery. Our guy is younger, but completely healthy.

    Msot fans don’t want to hear about that stuff even being considered, and I get that. It is a valid point for a fan to say “Do not yank our young stud right when we have a chance to get to post season beause you THINK there is a possibility he might be over-worked.”

    On the other hand, I think his innings have to be managed to some degree this year. That would have been easy had he not made the majors this year. They would just shut him down in that case. Now, it is not so easy. Even if you send him to Indy, you have to be expecting to bring him back up – and he will be pitching down there also. So, why not more important innings in Pittsburgh?

    It is a conundrum, wrapped inside of a riddle in my mind. I see both sides.

  241. Jandy says:

    Who says AJ is gone?

  242. Jason says:

    Here’s a thought. Maybe the Bucs are waiting to see what the contract situation is for next season for AJ and Wandy. If it looks like one or both aren’t resigning, keeping Morton in the mix as a starter would be wise. If they don’t look like they’re coming back, put Cole in the rotation and have Morton in the pen. Thoughts?

  243. Jim S. says:

    Great points, TJ. I would say, other than Grilli, the group of Locke, Liriano, Cutch, Pedro, Martin are still in the mix to get there. We have some time. In fact, I’d say if Bochy had to choose today, he’d probably take Pedro and possibly Locke.

  244. 21sthebest says:

    +10

  245. Naterosboro says:

    Just some thoughts on the Pirates recent sweep of the Angels…

    * FINALLY…a road sweep of an AL Team since interleague play began.

    * FINALLY…Neal Huntington looks to have taken a flier on a veteran [Liriano] that looks like they won’t have their worst season ever playing in Pittsburgh. I’m probably going to regret that statement as Liriano will go all James McDonald in the 2nd half.

    * FINALLY…Jordy Mercer is the starting SS for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s a credit to Mercer for hitting his way into this lineup. Also credit to Hurdle for putting his veteran’s feelings aside and doing what’s best for the team. Barmes isn’t a bad guy coming off the bench.

    * FINALLY…the offense has decided to use those big wooden things in their hands to put up some runs. Everyone got into the act late yesterday (I think except Jordy) with a great comeback win.

    * FINALLY…Grilli looked somewhat human yesterday. I disagree with some above though. I didn’t think the Angels hit him all that hard in the inning. He had 2 Ks in the inning (of Trumbo and Trout). He gave up a bloop hit to Kendrick (that he jammed him on) that should’ve been caught had Snider not been [inexplicably] playing near the RF wall. Callaspo and Aybar both had slap hits to the left side, and Shuck had a seeing-eye RBI single up the middle. I think the only ball hit well was by Brendan Harris on a mistake slider by Grilli. Basically, I have no concerns about the man. He’s still Grilled Cheese.

    * FINALLY…the Cardinals and Reds drop some games, leaving the Pirates 1.0 game behind the Cardinals (and 1.5 in front of the Reds).

    * And FINALLY…one thing I would’ve liked to see DK expound upon in his column today is the SEAL stuff. It looks like the Pirates are playing good baseball, up and down the organization. Perhaps they do practice baseball in the minors [in the Pirate organization].

    And finally FINALLY…

    HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL! BEAT ‘EM, BUCS! :-)

  246. Jim S. says:

    Surely, he was scooped up immediately.

  247. Jim S. says:

    I thought he retired.

    Or, maybe it was just that I had decided he may as well be retired.

    I guess he won’t get all of the money unless he at least pretends to still be a player.

  248. Kevin says:

    I may be just a dumb blogger and I certainly don’t have the data but I believe you save your closer for save situations. And frankly, you should not need to put your best guy out there with a 4-run lead. I’m not saying you put Zagurski out there… but Tony Watson is a steady guy, not seeing the reason why not to put in Tony or maybe it was just a gut decision by Hurdle.

  249. Arriba Wilver says:

    Have no problem with yesterday. And don’t forget, today is an off day.

  250. NMR says:

    @TC, re: 11:11 am

    “Or not as much as some –or to the level of the hype.”

    More this than the first sentence. It wouldn’t be fair to say I’m not impressed with a kid who is proficient at peppering the zone with upper-90s heat. But, yes, I expected more.

    If you took name and team away, simply listed the profile of a #1 overall pick ranked by some as the top right handed pitching prospect in all of baseball, with three years of PAC-10 ball and two years of minor league experience under his belt, I would absolutely expect at least cursory ability to use three pitches or above average command of two. I haven’t seen either from Cole.

    Compared to other top prospects who’ve hit the major league seen in the last few years – Matt Harvey, Chris Sale, Julio Teheran, Jose Fernandez, Strasburg – Cole appears to have much more work to do in order to be the true ace that he’s been billed as. I’m not ready to just accept that he’s got two more pitches in there until I see them.

    But no, I’m not anywhere close to relegating him to the bullpen, and never have said I was either.

  251. Naterosboro says:

    If he’s throwing his changeup at 95mph, then it’s not a very good changeup.

  252. Jim S. says:

    ++, Arriba. No game today. Grilli was the guy.

  253. Sisyphus says:

    “I’ve been saying for at least 5 years now, the odds say breaking the streak will happen one of these years”

    No you haven’t.

  254. Jim S. says:

    NMR:

    Grilli had not pitched Saturday. We have today off. I think it was ok to get him the work. If he had done his usual 1-2-3 in 10 pitches would we even bother to comment on it?

    Melancon and Grilli have been incredibly efficient all year. I don’t think their workload has been a problem so far.

  255. SteelAg70 says:

    I disagree. You put your best five starters out there, no matter what. Morton has had his chances with the Bucs.

  256. Thundercrack says:

    OK, NMR. Thanks for the reply.

    The reason I asked about Cole in the bullpen, you had said this at 9:40am

    “Also the reason you see guys with only two pitches end up as relievers.”

    But with the blog being so screwed up I probably missed something in the discussion/translation

  257. Jandy says:

    Hey Spunky, Dejan stole one of your favorite terms!
    From the column today:
    “On April 21, in expressing concern about the Pirates’ pitching depth, I shared the following bit of brilliance: “Jeff Locke has big-league smarts but still hasn’t shown the big-league stuff to match.”

    Now he just might be showing that stuff in the All-Star Game.

    Mercy, please.”

  258. Jim S. says:

    I think Wandy for next year is an option the Bucs can exercise. I could be wrong about that.

    AJ seems to be signaling that he wants to hang it up, and that if he continues on, the Bucs are the team he most wants to pitch for. Then, again, if the Bucs continue to get better, I think he would have a hard time not giving them another year. I could actually see him going year to year with the Bucs. Maybe I am just naive, but I don’t see him seeking a longer deal. He’s getting up there, but still has good years left.

  259. Sisyphus says:

    I think it has more to do with keeping his inning count down. He pitched 132 innings last year, and most teams try to limit the increase in innings for their young guys from season to season around 30 to 40. That means they want to limit him to 160-170 innings this year. He’s already at 86.

  260. Sisyphus says:

    I disagree. You also need to worry about who is going to start for you tomorrow, next week, next month, and in September. Taking the short term view is an excellent way to spend 20 years under .500, as we have already seen.

  261. Sisyphus says:

    If this group is already looking for reasons to fold, they’re going to fold, and they should break the team up.

  262. Jim S. says:

    Some gems in your “thoughts” section, as always Nater. You need to get a sponsor for that section, btw.

    FINALLY…Neal Huntington looks to have taken a flier on a veteran [Liriano] that looks like they won’t have their worst season ever playing in Pittsburgh. I’m probably going to regret that statement as Liriano will go all James McDonald in the 2nd half. I love this one the most – especially the part about FL going all James M in the 2nd half.

  263. NMR says:

    Begs the question, AW…what situation would you NOT have Grilli pitch?

    Simply not possible to close out every single game.

  264. Arriba Wilver says:

    He was throwing some pitch at 85.

  265. cmat0829 says:

    UMMM, let’s see, MELANCON was used in a TIE GAME in the Bottom of the 9th, against the tough part of the Angels lineup. Did you watch the game? As to Grilli, he was warming up when the game was ‘more’ in doubt…remember, even with 4-run lead the game was in doubt, so no issue whatsoever with using him.

    Grill and Melancon have been unreal. They have also not been used as heavily the past 2 weeks and we have THREE offdays coming up in the next 8 days… 5 games and THREE OFFDAYS.

    I love debating on the blog, but this one isn’t a debate… maybe ESPN First Take will take it and run with it, but I’m bored already.

  266. Jim S. says:

    Outside of NH’s office … demanding that he not be sent down unless he starts stinking up the joint.

  267. Bizrow says:

    I was going to post that its hard as heck making any sense out of comments here today due to the way they are being posted.

    Then I thought, nevermind, when is it ever easy to make sense out of posts here??

  268. Sisyphus says:

    It’s Wandy’s option. It changed because he was traded.

  269. Jim S. says:

    & I meant that in a good way.

  270. NMR says:

    I absolutely would have said something, Jim.

    The body isn’t going to remember an off day in June when it has acrued 70 IP through August. It’s a long, long season. From the beginning, I felt the overuse concerns were not warranted because not every win would be close and I trusted Hurdle would use Melancon/Grilli as all setup/closers are used on winning teams.

    If Hurdle continues to use them in these situations, the only chance of them NOT being overworked is if the team falters badly and rarely has a lead to protect.

  271. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just a question. IF Cole is throwing 2 seam and 4 seam fastballs, is that one or 2 pitches for the purposes of the discussion?

  272. Jandy says:

    BAHAHAHA Biz….good one ;)
    (Your post at 12:19)

  273. NMR says:

    You’re right, cmat. I shouldn’t have lumped MM and Grilli together for my overall point.

    If you’re so bored, perhaps you could also answer what possible situation you would NOT have Grilli “closing” out wins?

  274. Sisyphus says:

    Except the 93 mph change that he struck out Pujols with in the 1st inning of his last start.

    I think that a sometimes people think he threw a two seamer when it was actually a changeup, because his changeup is almost as hard as a typical two seamer.

  275. cmat0829 says:

    Lots of lively fodder on the always reliable blog this AM….

    First, DK, welcome back. Enjoyed the column and thanks for doing the hardest thing, that most columnists or media types never bother to do, admit when you’ve made mistakes and own up. Good on ya, DK. That said, you were really voicing your ‘doubts’ at the time, so in that sense it wasn’t a mistake… I guess to do so with such suredness or authority was more the mistake. i.e.: “it’s hard to not see Martin as a desparate signing, and hard to not think this is an overpay..but time will tell. Maybe Martin will be just the piece this team needs……” would have been totally fine and not a mistake, IMHO.

    My thoughts, maybe I will have to post a ‘mea culpa’ blog entry in a few months……

    1) COLE: Stay in rotation or ???

    LOTS of conviction on this… but I haven’t seen enough balanced perspective… I personally believe, just as NH stated, that “Cole has the best STUFF in the rotation right now”… I also believe that, if healthy, the top 4 in the rotation are AJ/Wandy/Liriano/Locke. I don’t think there is any question on that. So, it comes down to …. what is best way for the Pirates to use Morton and Cole after the next 10 days or so….options:

    A. Morton in rotation and Cole in AAA continuing to start
    B. Morton in rotation and Cole in bullpen in Cingrani role
    C. 6-man starting rotation, both Cole and Morton in rotation
    D. Cole in rotation and Morton to bullpen
    E. Cole in rotation and Morton waived and picked up by another team
    F. Trade Morton for offensive help, Cole in rotation

    I don’t think there are any other options. Remember, we also have Gomez who has earned a spot as long man in the bullpen, so there arguably aren’t any open slots in the pen for either Morton or Cole…… (Grilli, Melancon, Wilson, Watson, Morris, Mazarro, Gomez).

    My preference is either B or C, but that would require sending Morris to the minors OR require AJ and Wandy to do what they don’t want to do, take extra days between starts. I really think C is something that should be considered to save innings on Locke and Cole for later in the season… but I know few teams actually do the 6-man rotation thing…..

    I don’t really see why anyone can have such conviction that if Cole goes to minors, they want to torch Huntington’s house and run him out of town…. maybe you can do that for some other decisions, but not this one, that wouldn’t be fair in my opinion.
    C.

    2) Bullpen usage… fine if some want to talk about concern over innings for Melancon, but clear to me Clint has backed down his innings recently, so ‘message received’ on that front. Grilli’s innings match Mujica’s and Chapman’s, so not sure that part of the concern, however. As to being used in non-closer situations, calm down… as in yesterday, Grilli was warming up already, wasn’t used Saturday and offday today, and he had warmed up, so no issue there. Let’s not overreact to him having a subpar performance (remember, 1) he got the job done, right? and 2) he has redefined ‘par’ so high that he has earned total silence when he does peform below par, IMHO).

    Thanks.

  276. Well, he does read “all of our comments word for word”. Maybe he stole one.

    :D

    Truly, with my limited vocabulary, 15 years in KY and all of DK’s columnist skills, I’m sure that is the best word he could have used at that point.

    I think Johnny Tonto’s “meshugass” should be incorporated into DK’s arsenal, also.

  277. Jim S. says:

    @ Diehard 11:31:

    First off, I have no idea where this response will end up landing.

    Good response. I figured you really were making the point that you are not sold on Pedro, and that you knew trading him for Stanton would leave a gaping hole at 3b. I think we all have that issue with Pedro. How does a guy go from seemingly not being able to square it up off a batting tee to crushing everything in sight? He is a high risk/high reward guy, for sure. You can’t have many of them in your lineup. In fact, 1 seems to be the limit to me. I just hope Good Pedro stays for awhile this time.

    On your point about him not hitting a big fastball … I did not catch the final game in Cincy, but I know he bombed a double late off the tough lefty, Cingrani, who had made him look silly with high heat earlier in that series. Does anyone know what pitch Pedro hit for the double?

  278. 21sthebest says:

    “I think the innings issue is the elephant in the room ”

    No room for elephants here Jim. We have hippos. Boy do we have hippos.

  279. cmat0829 says:

    If Jim Leyland were managing the Bucs, no doubt in my mind, Cole would be used in then pen and Morton would start. If Morton faltered, then Cole gets into rotation.

    Cingrani has incredible stuff in Cincy, too, and Bronson Arroyo is keeping him out of the rotation. Two winning organizations and yet some want to tar and feather Huntington on this which is very tough call…he could go either way and be equally right or wrong.

  280. Jim S. says:

    ++.

  281. Jandy says:

    meshugass for sure! ;)

  282. Jim S. says:

    Good point, 21.

  283. Jim S. says:

    Too funny, Lucky!

    I would have said “Mercy” … but that line is yours.

  284. Jim S. says:

    Best move the Cubs ever made … in terms of helping the Pirates, Cards, Reds, Brewers.

  285. NMR says:

    Nah, that was misleading on my part, TC. Shouldn’t have stated it that way.

    I do believe it’s just about fact that most guys with only two pitches are relegated to bullpen duty, but do not believe – by any means – that Gerrit Cole will end up a big league reliever.

    Just using that reference to explain why I put such an emphasis on having a well rounded repertoire.

  286. cmat0829 says:

    One overlooked part of the game yesterday…Morton got into the 6th, when he could’ve crumbled after the 5-run inning; Reid did the job…and Welker was very impressive in the 8th. One thing I think we have to give the Pirates organization…they know how to find, develop and use pitchers. Cumpton was impressive in his 2 starts; and bullpen arm after bullpen arm is quality. Wilson is a future closer; Morris can be a setup guy at the least… Welker and Reid both throw strikes and very hard…

    The offensive side needs more focus, but as to pitching, from Searage on down, the Bucs are doing a great job.

  287. Jim S. says:

    Truthfully, Kevin, I think CH could have gone either way. Grilli had not pitched Sat & there is no game today.

  288. Vinny Giardina says:

    I’m thinking the business reference is more about options than Super 2.

  289. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hardly begs the question, NMR. How do you NOT put your best guy in yesterday, to close out that momentous come from behind game (according to no less than their biggest cheerleader, DK).

    And the off day? Irrelevant?

  290. Jim S. says:

    But, it was going to be 3 straight off days, NMR. Sat/Sun/Mon. I don’t think there is a right or wrong here. I personally felt it was the right call to have him pitch the last inning yesterday, given the off days. But, if he had put Watson in, I’d have been ok with that also. I think it was a gut call from CH, who sensed this was an odd game (I know I did).

    On Grilli’s work, he is at 37 games and 34.2 innings through 76 games. That puts him on a 79 games / 73 innings pace for the full year. Given how efficient he has been in most starts in terms of pitches thrown, is that such a bad pace? No way he will be at 70 innings through Aug at the current pace.

    Good pont to debate, I guess.

  291. Jim S. says:

    Ok, thanks for clarifying, Sys.

  292. Arriba Wilver says:

    “The body isn’t going to remember an off day in June when it has accrued 70 IP through August.”

    Any medical back up for that Bon mot?

  293. Jim S. says:

    I wonder the same thing, Arriba, about the 2 and 4 seem fastball. Seems like 2 different pitches to me, and the velocity is different for every pitcher that throws both.

  294. Jim S. says:

    Oops! Seam. I believe I have been mis-spelling that all day.

  295. NMR says:

    How do I not?

    Because I believe that it does not require the best closer in the game to get three outs while giving up less than four runs. And because nothing precludes me from using that pitcher if my first option gets in trouble.

    As I said to Jim, I don’t think the body is going to remember that off day in June after five months of heavy use. I’m all for playing in the moment, but at SOME point, I’m afraid the moment catches up to these decisions – if we’re lucky (meaning the Pirates are playing meaningful baseball in September).

  296. NMR says:

    How bout common sense?

  297. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    What’s great this morning?

    The Pirates have the 2nd best record in all of baseball.

    What sucks this morning?

    The #1 record in baseball sits in front of them.

    On the bright side of that suckiness; we’re only one game out!

    Let’s go Bucs! What a series against the high payrolled Angels.

    And a special shout-out to the Rangers for sweeping the redbirds!

  298. I spelled it wrong. It’s meshugaas. Foolishness. Insanity. Senselessness.

    All good descriptors of the occasional blog post.

    :P

  299. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Not a bad comparison.

  300. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Whoa, is it just me or is the blog acting like it used to?

  301. Arriba Wilver says:

    You think that’s common sense? Nolan Ryan, contrary to most of baseball, doesn’t believe in pitch counts. Which view is “common sense?”

  302. NMR says:

    Great post, Jim. You bring up a lot of good points.

    I know I’ve never read any research on reliever pitch count, just inning count. I don’t believe pitch count is necesarilly the best judge, since thats only a fraction of the overall pitches Grilli throws during a given appearance, but I certainly can’t say you’re wrong either.

    I’ll admit that part of me is factoring a 36 yo arm into play. That projected inning count would be higher than any top closer last year not named Fernando Rodney. The 36 yo closer who has struggled mightily this season.

  303. NMR says:

    Nolan Ryan was also blessed by God with one of the most gifted throwing arms in baseball history.

    Treating every arm like Nolan Ryan’s would be assuming that every man is created equally. If you believe that, then there isn’t much of a discussion to be had.

  304. Bob Hasis says:

    No Arriba, you are not usually right – simply contradictory.
    Rather than explain anything, I’ll offer you this; If a “columnist” or “beat writer” has to rely on quotes from NH, the story will be garbled – and weak.

    If you read that story, you would find the two points to which I referred where NH double talks himself.

    I used accurately the term beat writer which you seemingly missed.

    If a writer continually uses quotes from NH, the writer will that he too is saying very little. If two statements contradict, wouldn’t the writer want to seek a clarification before going to press with the almighty quotation marks.

  305. NMR says:

    Ha, I think I’m guilty of that misspelling as well.

  306. The Gunner says:

    Don Drysdale????????? Ha ha ha – you are showing your age, Milo. If Brother Morton becomes 50% of the pitcher Drysdale was, the Bucs will hit the jackpot.

    Morton has a long way to go to make a believer out of me. But I do have a lot more respect for him especially after they way he went after the Reds lead off guy last week.

  307. Arriba Wilver says:

    That isn’t what I said, or the point of what I said. And you know that, NMR. But if that’s the direction you want to take, you’re correct that there is no longer any point to this discussion between us.

  308. Kevin says:

    +1 well said, Jim.

  309. Bob Hasis says:

    BTW, did you bother to read my comment, or merely searched through it for something “technical” to which you could make an ill-informed negative response

    What about my opinion of Cole – or are you waiting for RB’s next submittal from NH, so you might say something of value

  310. diehard says:

    Steve Buechele. :-)

  311. Arriba Wilver says:

    I stand by my original comment, bob. Nothing , including the veiled insults, change it. Have a nice day,

  312. 21sthebest says:

    I read your comment twice and frankly I’m not sure what your point was other than to say that you don’t believe anything NH says. I don’t either. But I don’t think that means that reporters shouldn’t print his comments.

  313. Josh says:

    Taking my six year old daughter to her first Pirates games the next two days. Incredibly exited…just wish they were sending Cole out there on Wednesday.

  314. Bizrow says:

    Get us a win, Josh (post by Josh at 1:36)

  315. pattonbb says:

    Good for you! Hope you bring us a couple wins.

  316. Jim S. says:

    Whole new world with pitching, isn’t it Brad? The Pirates’ organization supposedly has a dozen guys who have thrown at least 98 in a game.

  317. Thundercrack says:

    I guess should have waited until the Angels scored one run, then brought Grilli in …because it would have then been a save situation.

    But then he would have opened up himself for criticism that you should bring your closer in to start an inning… you know know the argument –a closer doesn’t like to come into the game in the middle of an inning/mess.

    I saw no problem with what Clint did.

  318. cmat0829 says:

    Personally? If I were manager, I’d have brought Watson in as soon as the lead got to 4 runs… for two reasons… 1) no reason to risk a freak injury to Grilli and 2) you can always bring in Grilli if Watson got into trouble.

    That said, none of us knows what Grilli prefers to do there…he may have told Clint that if he warms up, he wants to go ahead and pitch…

    I think Grilli and Melancon are veteran enough to let Clint know if/when the usage is too much and I’m not sure any of our angst is really worth it at this point.

    I DO separate Grilli and Melancon because I don’t think Grilli is overused at all… Melancon was being overused and they have adjusted that.

  319. cmat0829 says:

    One other thought… I absolutely disagree vehemently with anyone who thinks that Grilli’s actual performance in the game had anything to do with it not being a save situation. Some closers have trouble with that, but I wouldn’t suspect Grilli would because he is ‘new’ to closing.

  320. Jim S. says:

    I vote that we spare the blog copywriter on this one, as he has been in the business a long, long time. You may have heard of his early work, in the Dewey vs. Truman election in the 40′s. In this case, I believe he just fell into the trap many of us have in believing that Grilli had given up his last runs of the season already.

  321. Jim S. says:

    I’ll admit that this is a tough one to judge, NMR. I actually agree with your larger point about not using him if we don’t have to. You don’t know a closer has pitched too many innings until … well, it becomes very apparent that he has pitched too many innings. Let’s hope we continue our recent trend of winning more games by wider margins, and, as you say, that we don’t need our closer to finish all of those types of games.

    CH has had somewhat of a magic touch this year with the bullpen. I hope that continues.

  322. cmat0829 says:

    Bob, at the risk of debating someone who doesn’t want a debate, really, just wants to spew his own opinion, I did not take NH’s comment about the “business component” to be referring to Super 2… my view on that was that since Cole has options, and Morton doesn’t, then sending Cole down can be a ‘business decision’ in that they don’t risk having someone claim Morton and losing him altogether. I think that is more plausible than thinking that NH is referring to ‘keeping our depth’ and referring to depth like 6 years from now with the Super2 year is upon us.

    Since you have such opinions, Bob, what should the Pirates do exactly? I got you down for “Keep Cole in the rotation” but what do you do with Morton? JMac isn’t even in the picture, so fret not about him taking up space instead of Cole.

    Do you think they should keep Morton in the bullpen? If so, then I guess you’d be ok with either Jeanmar Gomez being lost to another team or Morris or Mazarro being sent to AAA, despite performing so very well in the pen.

    Do you think they should try to send Morton to AAA? He will be claimed and lost to another team, most assuredly.

    I know you don’t have to think about the ripple effect of your opinions, but NH most certainly does.

  323. NMR says:

    Thanks for the reply, cmat.

    Well said.

  324. JHadar says:

    I read earlier this season that the reason Locke has become so suddenly effective is that he developed the 2-seam fastball. They are in my opinion two different pitches for no other reasons than they break differently consistently and they are thrown on purpose with a specific grip.

  325. Jim S. says:

    I agree with you on this, cmat. I think Grilli is one guy who relishes being the closer. He has waited forever for this role, and he attacks every outing as though he has something to prove to everyone who has ever doubted him. I reallly like that about him. He seems like the ultimate competitor to me, just judging by what I see.

  326. Sisyphus says:

    They showed him throwing the changup to Pujols in ultra-slow motion. It sure looked like a changeup grip to me. If he throws his change 93 mph with the movement I saw on that pitch you can call it anything you like. Nobody is going to hit it.

  327. Jim S. says:

    Great question! I have never heard of it occurring before.

  328. cmat0829 says:

    I will be leaving the oven that is Phoenix in late June (going to be 114, yes 114 on Thursday) for a business trip to Seattle… will get to see both Safeco games in person (does Safeco still exist as a company?)… looking forward to first Pirate road game in person since a game in AZ last year and a Paul Maholm pitched debacle in Texas a few years back. That was a tough one to watch.

  329. Jim S. says:

    ++. I read that about Locke as well, JHadar.

  330. NMR says:

    Taken from a post by Nater above:

    “…looks to have taken a flier on a veteran [Liriano] that looks like they won’t have their worst season ever playing in Pittsburgh. I’m probably going to regret that statement as Liriano will go all James McDonald in the 2nd half.”

    Would anyone be willing to entertain an extension for Liriano?

    If, and thats obviously big, Liriano continues pitching close to this level, he’ll be massively underpaid. Seems like a good opportunity to rework next years number and get his age 31 and 32 seasons in return.

  331. radio wave says:

    Not with that batting average.

  332. radio wave says:

    PG had a similar story yesterday. And siriusxm radio jumped on it, twittered their audio saying it would be a big mistake to send Cole down.

  333. Jim S. says:

    Very well said on the pitching, cmat. The whole year has illustrated the Bucs’ ability to find and develop guys who are well suited for the bullpen. Some used to say NH just had a knack for finding these guys at the major league level off the scrap heap. That may be true, but I think it has become an organizational strength as well. Just look at the mess in the Detroit bullpen right now. Great lineup, great starting pitching, yet struggling to find anyone to close games. The Pirates probably have 3 or 4 options better than anything in Detroit to use as a closer, and a couple more developing quickly in the minors.

    And, if the last 2 weeks has not proven that we are now doing something right with finding and developing starting pitching finally, I don’t what other proof there could be. Cole and Cumpton have filled in nicely when we lost Wandy and AJ, to say the least. And the cavalry is coming down the road in the form of Taillon, Glasnow, Kingham, Heredia, etc, as many of us have signaled for some time.

  334. NMR says:

    Should be a treat to watch King Felix deal.

  335. SeanAY says:

    So is this thing working yet or not?

  336. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Can’t. Keep. Up. With. Discussion.

    Cole, keep, but a BP spot wouldn’t hurt. If there is a hiccup or a injury from a starter he can replace them then. Spot start if needed.

    Keep his innings down, but hopefully above last years totals. He is the future workhorse of this rotation. Needs to throw about 200 innings a year.

  337. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  338. Arriba Wilver says:

    Funny you should mention that. It was kind of the crux of the conversation.

  339. AJS says:

    i guess the difference between our opinions right now is that I’m not sure Cole is the 5th best pitcher. I want to see what happens when a team faces him for a second time. Or what happens in his 5th or 6th start before I can make that assertion. And that is only because I haven’t seen him throw anything other than high heat. I’m pretty sure there our other options that will give you the same 3.44 ERA. It just won’t be as flashy to watch. For example jenmar Gomez at 3.07. And I know it is a small sample size with only three outings but Chuck is at 2.81. Just not sure what basis you are having him be one of the top 5 pitchers on this team. it isn’t an open and shut case.

    Cole could step in as a #5 right now and take his lumps along with his gems or he could go back to Indy, develop another pitch or two and come back next year as a #2 or #3.

  340. Hilarious.

    What musical is that from?

    Now, I can’t get it out of my head.

    :(

  341. Jim S. says:

    Nice, Josh! Good idea to get her started young. Actually, it is a good time for someone to become a Bucs fan. A couple of years from now, she can say, “Dad, thanks for introducing me to the Pirates. I really don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t root for a winnng team every year.”

  342. Jim S. says:

    Your business schedule appears to have set up quite nicely for you, cmat.

  343. Jim S. says:

    I have been thinking the same thing, NMR, but have not thought to post it. I wholeheartedly endorse that idea, so long as he continues for another 8-10 solid starts. That would be close to 20 starts, I believe. Since most of our young guns due on the scene over the next few years are RHP, we could very well use a compliment to Locke. I would choose Liriano over Wandy. Boy, how quickly things can happen for a guy like Locke.

    Can you imagine a 2015 rotation of:

    Cole
    Taillon
    Kingham
    Locke
    Liriano

    With Glasnow beating down the door for his shot?

    I don’t mean to discount AJ, but I assume he will have moved on after 2014.

  344. cmat0829 says:

    nah, gonna watch the pirates get about 5 runs off of the king to complete the sweep.

  345. Jim S. says:

    meant 2 and 4-seamer, of course.

  346. Jim S. says:

    He is a free agent is what I think AJS meant about Burnett, Jandy. He’s definitely a possibility for the Bucs again next year, but no guarantee. Other teams would want him. He lives in Maryland, I believe. I know he loves the Bucs, but he has also cited travel & family as a reason he might want to quit after this season. Baltimore has a good team and could use pitching help. So, if not the Bucs, they seem to me like a logical landing spot for AJ.

  347. Jim S. says:

    Charles Morton. I like that, Gunner. But, I’m not going to start calling him Ground Charles.

  348. Jim S. says:

    I am horrible at musicals. I was going to guess Sound of Music, Lucky. Just sounded like something Julie Andrews might sing. Not being particularly cultured when it comes to musicals, I decided to ask a lady in my office. The response I got was “Surely, you’re joking. It was West Side Story.” So, I’ll go with that.

  349. JHadar says:

    A few things –

    We need to get to +17 — things fell apart last year at +16.

    Keep Cole. Burnett, Locke, Cole, Liriano, and Wandy make a nice starting rotation. Morton and Gomez to the bullpen. Welker and Reed to Indy. Options taken care of. Trade pitching for bats at the deadline. Pitching is a seller’s market. If Cole is just consistent for the rest of the season he’s a very legit ROY candidate, and as someone pointed out earlier the fans are showing up to see 100 mph on the radar gun.

    Pedro can try clean-up again. Yes, he’s streaky, but the good streak is lasting longer this time.

    Try this batting order.

    McCutchen (Best OBP)
    Martin (Next Best OBP)
    Mercer (2nd Best SLG)
    Alvarez (Best SLG)
    <>
    Sanchez
    Marte
    Walker
    Jones

    Is Tony Sanchez up to be a DH or is he going to get to catch?

    36-50 = winning season end of streak.

    43-43 = 89-73 probable wild card shot

    We have a lot of games left with the Cards and Reds, but otherwise I think we’re through the toughest part of the schedule.

  350. Arriba Wilver says:

    West Side Story.

  351. Jim S. says:

    I haven’t thought through the options other than Wright. But, 19/51 is hard to just dismiss in this “mostly post-PED era.”

  352. Bob Hasis says:

    Cmat0829, thank you for the intellectual response.
    Also, without intending to debate, we have been told countless times by NH, we are planning to win NOW. I am saying, NOW IS NOW.

    He has structured a very, very good starting rotation, some of the success was achieved due to circumstances (performance and injury) beyond his control, yet he still put together a great rotation. This is a compliment I’m paying him.

    I would ask you the same question; are Morris, Mazzaro, Gomez and the seemingly fragile Morton more helpful to winning NOW than Cole?

    I like every one of those guys, but for three years we have been listening to the necessity to build a great starting rotation (a thought which I hold strongly to), and Cole represents that “in spades”.

    So let us not tinker with him. He is plugged into the rotation, and doing exactly what we wanted and needed, because of failures or circumstances of others. You know, “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!” When it looked broke Cole was summoned, and it isn’t broke now

    The ripple effect OF WE FANS, OF WINNING, is the only thing NH should be thinking about.

  353. I didn’t think it was either of those, but I went ahead and Googled it and she was right.

    Never watched that one in its entirety, but Sound of Music, yes.

  354. JHadar says:

    Clarification — The blog software took a comment out in the batting order above. It evidently thought that what went between the less than and greater than signs was an unreadable batch of html code. What I typed was: Last four by descending order of OPS.

  355. Jim S. says:

    Exactly what I touched on early this morning, Sys, when the talk show fodder seemed to be about NH and his Super 2 and option/roster flexibility comments. Talking about roster flexibility sounds convenient to me if you don’t want to bring up innings count. And I’m not even criticizing NH for that. Innings for young guys is a hot button issue. Almost anything he says will anger a ton of people.

  356. I meant Jim’s co-worker being she, not AW.

  357. Bob Hasis says:

    Sir, you attack everything I write. If you believe my “insults” were veiled, then you were wrong again.

    If you need to ask if 2-seamers and 4-seamers are two different pitches, as you did this morning, then I rest my case with you.

    Did you know that bob begins with a capital letter and becomes Bob?

  358. Arriba Wilver says:

    +1

  359. cmat0829 says:

    If you keep Morton and Gomez in the bullpen, beyond the redundancy that represents (both would be long men I’d believe?), you’d have to send down more than Reid and Welker…. the bullpen has 7 guys….

    Grilli
    Melancon
    Watson
    Wilson
    Morris
    Mazarro
    Gomez

    Morton would be #7. I guess you can send Mazarro back but you are weakening the bullpen.

  360. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sure. :-)

  361. Bob Hasis says:

    Why report unbelievable “stuff”? As a reporter he should be able to re-question or seek clarification.

  362. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought it was My Fair Lady until I googled it.

  363. That would have been my guess.

    Jandy knew, but she ain’t sayin’

    :D

  364. NMR says:

    Whew. That could be nasty, Jim.

    Liriano would be the elder statesman at the ripe age of 32.

    Regarding his extension, my first conversation would be with Ray Searage. Liriano’s career has been predictable in that when he walks less than 4 per 9 (’06, ’08, ’10, ’13) he’s lights out. When he walks more, not so much.

    If Searage truly believes that this change in delivery is repeatable and the reason behind his improved control, then I take the risk and offer an extension, preferably around $10m/yr. If Searage feels the control is another mirage, then no harm in waiting it out.

  365. NMR says:

    Weakening the bullpen by taking Morton over Mazarro?

  366. Arriba Wilver says:

    You have me there, bob. They weren’t veiled at all. My bad.

    By the way, my question about 2 seamers and 4 seamers was asking for clarification regarding what people were arguing regarding Cole only having 1 pitch. I can’t read minds, but I know your favorite person, Hurdle, said he had both. Sorry for asking for clarification. Ambiguity certainly leaves things more wide open for the people who’s goal is to criticize EVERYTHING.

  367. JHadar says:

    Brain cramp … we’ll be bringing back three pitchers instead of two.

    What a nice problem to have, though. I guess if I’m Neal I’m already on the phone asking who needs a pitcher and does anybody have a spare right fielder.

  368. Arriba Wilver says:

    You gotta admit, though, your 2 seamer/4 seamers insult was at least a little “veiled.” But never you mind, I got it.

  369. Bob Hasis says:

    cmat0829

    This is a very comprehensive story. Thanks!

    JMac was mentioned in his scenario, but I agree with you, he shouldn’t be a factor in any decision on Cole.

    Also mentioned was a figure 2.111 as it relates to 2.119. Somewhat convenient if Cole gets returned to Indy.

    There was no mention of remaining options for Morris or Mazzaro. It seems now that remaining options will play a substantial part in the decision on Cole, which is why I wonder why Mercer and Presley are or were treated like cannon fodder. Remaining options are VALUABLE.

  370. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Agreed. Esentially, Bob doesn’t like RB’s writing style.

    Cool….maybe RB is the Clint Barmes of reporters.

  371. bradthedad says:

    I have. Been lurking a long time.

  372. Jim S. says:

    I like your confidence. I hope it is well placed.

  373. Bob Hasis says:

    Ambiguity was kind of what I was referring to with my very first line today – that of RB using NH quotes, which now that you mention it ARE ambiguous.
    Clarification there would have been nice

  374. Jim S. says:

    I can’t disagree with a word of that. You are right that the whole key on Liriano is control. The stuff remains swing & miss nasty.

  375. Bob Hasis says:

    He might be a candidate.

    BTW who is Clint Barmes?

  376. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, brad’s been around a long time, just doesn’t post a lot.

  377. Jim S. says:

    I give Mazzaro credit for doing a good job up until now. But, I don’t have faith he will keep it up. Charlie is the better option, IMO.

  378. Jim S. says:

    The whole bottom of the blog became the Island of mis-fit toys.

  379. Arriba Wilver says:

    They are ambiguous. But you’re saying they shouldn’t even be repeated. Sorry, bob, a ridiculous argument on its face.

  380. Bob Hasis says:

    AW, you will have to come to understand, I speak my honest opinion, or the absolute truth. In these two situations, I have no need to hide behind a veil.

    Using the theory that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, it only seems that I’m insulting you.

    Merely responding in kind.

    It is not my nature to be repulsive or insulting – especially to fellow blog members.
    And I wish you too a great day

  381. Arriba Wilver says:

    Responding in kind? Methinks you are delusional, bob. But, Im not in the least surprised you don’t get it and you think you may actually be speaking the “absolute truth.”

    Here’s an earlier selection of your responding in kind:

    “AW, do you turn on the light en route to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or do you just grope along in the darkness, as with everything else you do?”

  382. War Horse says:

    Jim, when you consider that the team got Snider in a trade last year for someone (Brad Lincoln) I was sorry to see go, you have to tip your hat to the front office. Brad did a reasonably good job as a middle reliever for Toronto, but his ERA was too high and he was demoted to Buffalo earlier in June (the 8th).

    There were a lot of angry posts about taking Snider at the time, but, those who struggled for other teams in years past (A.J. Burnett, Russell Martin, Gabby Sanchez, even J-Mac), the move to Pittsburgh and its special environment (i.e. coaching staff, players, fans, small city environment) has rekindled their fires.

    I am beginning to like the idea of buying or trading for players who may not have been playing their best lately, but who blossom again in Pittsburgh.

    I have watched many Pirate teams over a lot of seasons, but I swear this one now looks the closest to those I remember of 1960, ’71 & ’79.

  383. theplanisworking says:

    Excellent news.

    Paul Chryst told Rushel Shell to pound salt!!!

    YES!!!!

  384. Brandie says:

    Interesting talk on the thread today. I ask interested to see who stays, who becomes middle to long relief in the bull pen, and eh goes among the perfect precise plethora of Pirate pitchers and pitching prospects.

    I understand the concerns of many here on the blog…that NH and the FO will do something or a few somethings to screw up what is going on here. I have those concerns as well, but I ask not sure anymore that I am just going to wait for the other shoe to drop and think there is doom and gloom around every corner. To do that misses the point that there is truly something different going in with this team.

    It appears to me from the good pitching to the mostly stellar defense to the timely hitting that winning has become everyone’s responsibility. The guts on the team are not just depending on Cutch or Pedro to be the ones to get it done anymore. Cole, Locke, Liriano, etc. are stepping up with Russell Martin providing excellent leadership and decision making capabilities behind home plate. It makes me excited to watch baseball again.

    Anyway, just thought I’d share some random thoughts.

  385. blazer says:

    Maybe too late to respond but probable reason Grille pitched in the no save situation was because he was warming up since the 8th inning. After the ninth he was the only one throwing there. The Pirate crowd down the first base line was very vocal and took over the game in the late innings and was fun to see. There was also a person that was waving a piece of cheese when Grille came on the field right by the bullpen gate in left field. Driving in to the stadium there was a lot of Pittsburgh fans everywhere. Overall the stadium was pretty nice and probably not a bad seat anywhere. I sat in the 400 section right on the rail on the third base side above the Angel dugout and it was perfect (except for the sun for the first 6 innings).

 
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