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Morning Java: Happy Fourth!

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Happy Fourth of July, Lunatics …

>> There will be no chat this week because of the holiday today. It’ll be back next Thursday.

>> One of those wild days to be Downtown, from the Pirates playing before a packed house at PNC Park to the Riverhounds playing before another packed house at Highmark Stadium — not suggesting they’re equivalent, of course, just noting that both are sold out — as well as all the usual concerts, fireworks, etc.

For the record: Today will mark the Pirates’ ninth crowd in a row of 30,000-plus, if you haven’t been tracking. For the entire six-game homestand, there will not have been more than 6,000 empty seats.

Here’s a look at the Pirates’ growing business.

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>> The Pirates get it done yet again. That’s comeback win No. 23. Bob Cohn reports.

These are the game highlights from MLB.com.

And Jeff Locke gets it done, too, albeit with some labor pains …

If you’ll recall, the Wednesday column recommended caution for the Pirates on the trade front, even in the area of right field. I’ve long been in the minority on this, maybe now more than ever, but I believe in Jose Tabata and was encouraged when Clint Hurdle told me yesterday Tabata will get a ton of playing time.

A bit of what Tabata had to say upon arriving …

Tabata singled through the left side in his first at-bat and went 1 for 4.

>> Spent most of the day at PNC working on a Sunday extra-length column I hope you’ll enjoy even half as much as what I’ve gotten from the interview process.

Before that, I stopped up at Consol for Dan Bylsma’s availability regarding the Penguins’ ongoing wave of re-signing players. Here’s a bit of his session …

After what you see there, I talked one-on-one with Bylsma at length about what the Penguins didn’t do against the Bruins that the Blackhawks evidently did. I’ll have some of that in the Friday notes column.

>> Also on a hockey note, Joe Starkey’s column bids farewell to Tyler Kennedy.

>> Be safe and smart tonight!

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. JaxBuc says:

    Happy Independence Day, fellow lunatics.

    Go like ’60.

  2. Drew71 says:

    Independence Day.

    Yeah.

    That’s what it’s called.

    Thanks for reminding us. Have a happy one.

  3. Lad9 says:

    Hope that my lunatic friends all have a great Independence Day. Happy Birthday to the greatest country in recorded history! Without the rights that we sometimes take for granted, we would never have the freedom to impart our wisdom and foolishness in a forum such as this. Many thanks to DK, the hardest working columnist on the planet, for giving us this place and keeping it special.

    DK: You’re welcome, Laddy, but I’m here only at Thundercrack’s mercy. Once he reaches a threshold of having 75 percent of all his comments being shots at me — he’s only at about 60 percent now — that’s the end of me! Poof!

    No, really, thanks. That’s very kind.

  4. Thundercrack says:

    I was at the game on Sunday and tonight. At the end of each game I couldn’t help thinking that they are the type of games that the Pirates usually lose.

    Not this year.

    DK: Been that way since the second week. Amazing. Just amazing.

  5. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I’m a little concerned about Grilli.
    Strikes me like he’s lost a tad bit off that fastball in the past couple weeks.
    Also….I hate seeing so many Philly fans in the crowd.
    What’s with that?!
    Bottom line ….A win is a win is a win.

    DK: Grilli was a steady 94 on the gun with his fastball. His slider wasn’t as sharp, but he also was facing two VERY tough left-handed hitters who saw that he was trying to go back door on him.

    Sometimes you tip your cap. I think Grilli’s fine.

  6. likeabugonarug says:

    No wonder they lost Tuesday night. You weren’t there!

    Kevin

  7. Deb says:

    Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association should be embarrassed. That they profess to be PROFESSIONALS, yet when voting on NHL first team all stars, can’t be bothered to learn who played right wing and who played left wing during the season. I am speaking about the Association members who’s votes put Ovechkin in first team as right wing, and second team as left wing. Never mind that Ovie’s shift to right wing had been one the most hyped stories to the season. I guess the Professional Hockey Writers who voted for Ovie at LEFT didn’t really read hockey stories or actually WATCH hockey last season. Makes the folks who voted look pretty stupid.

    DK: No, Deb, it makes the LEAGUE look stupid because it was the LEAGUE that blew it.

    Everyone knew Ovechkin moved to the right side. I knew it, too.

    Everyone also knew the previous year that James Neal was a right winger.

    But in both cases, the NHL instructed voters to assign the player to the position he was shown to be playing on NHL.com. In both these cases, that was LEFT wing. So, people — MYSELF included — placed him at LEFT wing.

    Does anyone REALLY think I don’t know what position either of these guys plays?

    Thought not.

    In Neal’s case, some last-minute adjustment was made by the PHWA, and Neal was named first-team all-star at RIGHT wing. Swell.

    But in Ovechkin’s case, no such adjustment was made, and the league instead decided to smear egg all over its own face by farcically listing him as a first-team all-star at RIGHT wing and a second-team all-star at LEFT wing.

    If it wasn’t the idiots running the NHL, you’d never believe it.

    Now, there WAS an email from the PHWA to its chapter chairs a few days before the voting instructing that Ovechkin should be considered a RIGHT wing, contradicting the NHL’s instructions. Had I seen that in time, I obviously would have moved Ovechkin to the position everyone knew he was playing. But I’d already sent my ballot to the accounting firm, and that was that. In fact, I haven’t to this day seen that email. I heard about it second-hand from our chapter chair.

    To no one’s surprise, all concerned are looking at changing this ridiculous process in time for next season’s balloting.

    THAT’S the story.

  8. Thundercrack says:

    Sorry Kevin. I can’t go to every game. :-)

  9. Ghost says:

    Jeff Locke only pitched in 34.1 innings last year, though he also was in 16.2 innings in 2011. Does he qualify for Rookie of the Year?

  10. Ghost says:

    Sometimes you Grill ‘em, sometimes you’re the Grilli.

  11. diehard says:

    I think it’s by a few days and for time served on the roster last year, Locke is not considered a rookie.

  12. Ghost says:

    Thanks, Diehard.
    I’ve been digging around and I “think” the rule is that a pitcher cannot have accumulated 45 days on a major league roster (and here’s the tricky part) “during the period of 25-player limit” (ie. only time on the roster before September 1 counts). Since Locke was on the 25-man for very little time in 2011 and 2012 cumulatively, I think he sails under the 45-day rule.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/about_mlb/rules_regulations.jsp

    But if somebody understands this definitively, do please set me straight.

  13. Ghost says:

    Okay, I found it. Right there in the rule I linked to. Locke is disqualified for having over 50 inning pitched total. He’s over the limit by ONE measly inning.

  14. Rick says:

    Anyone have a take on Andrew Lambo getting a shot with the big league club?
    Lambo was the #1 prospect in the LAD system in 2009. He has been hitting well for his last 400+ ABs (.298 26 HRs) between Altoona & Indy. He may have just needed a little time to put it all together…
    IMO I’d rather see the Pirates give Lambo a shot in RF/1B than bringing Harrison or Presley on board over and over again. I think we have figured out what those two bring to the table.
    http://www.drstrangeglove.com/2012/01/17/prospect-20-andrew-lambo/

  15. kr70 says:

    Inge, Barmas, and the Fort. Man do we need a pinch hitting upgrade.

  16. Jim S. says:

    Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope you all have a great time today with friends and familly celebrating this uniquely American holiday! No other experiment in human history has been nearly as successful as this one, and I am thankful for that.

    Last night was another exciting win for the Bucs, as they finally erased that ugly 1-game losing streak. A few things I saw last night while watching the game:

    * Looked like a sellout, but 33K+ isn’t quite there.

    * Night-dro showed up and continued his flare for the dramatic hit. Where GI Jones mis-timed his HR the night before, settling for a solo shot after failing with the bases loaded, Pedro launched a key 3-run bomb of a LHP – just what the dr. ordered. I have been saying that he will make the AS team if he doesn’t pull an 0′fer the rest of the week. His power stats dwarf other NL 3b.

    * Neil Walker’s defense has been excellent this year.

    * Locke found a way to get people out without his best stuff.

    * Cutch was Cutch. Back to .300. First triple of the year.

    * I don’t know what to make of Tabata. I think if not for the long contract, he’d already be playing for some other team. That said, I hope he seizes this opportunity to stay healthy, hit the ball hard, hustle and take over everyday RF. I seriously doubt it, however.

    Finally, if you have a chance and have not done so already, please read the terrific article by James Santelli of Pirates Prospects, who also happens to be an intern for your Pittsburgh Penguins. Sorry, I don’t have a link handy, but maybe someone else will. Anyway, his article is a fascinating look at how the Bucs employ their defensive positioning strategies, and how they credit them with much of their success so far this year.

    I have been saying all year that the unseen value of the Bucs this year (i.e. the thing that doesn’t show up in the box score) is their defense. 3 years ago, the Bucs were among the worst teams in MLB at converting balls in play into outs, at 67%. This season, that figure is up to 72% – tops in MLB. There is lots more to the article, but I found it a great read and it helped validate a lot of what I thought about this team this year.

  17. Rick says:

    An interesting (at least I found it interesting) tidbit from my Lambo research. There’s been lots of discussions on whether or not to trade prospects for talent. Would anyone in there right mind not pull the trigger for Santon if the players involved in the trade were Lambo, McDonald, DeJesus Jr. and Sanchez?
    Here is a partial list of a BaseballAmerica top 10 LA Dodgers prospects from 2009…
    #1 Andrew Lambo (OF)
    #2 James McDonald (RHP)
    #6 Ivan DeJesus Jr. (SS)
    full list… http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267509.html

    I’m not saying Taillon=McDonald, Palanco=Lambo, DeJesus=Hanson; but the organizational prospect rankings are crazy similar, although the overall prospect rankings are not (Lambo was #49 and McDonald #56).
    Just something I found interesting…

  18. Jim S. says:

    I like what Lambo has done lately, Rick. But, he took forever to get out of AA, and even though he has already immediately been raking at AAA I don’t know that we will see him before Sept. He is intriguing, though. Someone needs to get it done in RF, though, that’s for sure.

  19. Drew71 says:

    Is THAT all it takes?

    Well then.

    I had better get MY count up.

  20. Drew71 says:

    Leads me to ask: You want to mess with this?

    Infinitely more important, not the players.

    Inge doesn’t wanna go anywhere.

    He said so. Somebody asked him.

    So we just have to leave him where he is.

  21. JAL says:

    JAL’s Yankee Doodle Dandy Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R1jiVcIGcg

    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: Maybe the Pirates Pitching Staff Won’t Regress

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/first-pitch-maybe-the-pirates-pitching-staff-wont-regress.html

    Pirates’ Defensive Shifts: The Hidden Secret Behind Baseball’s Best Team

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/pirates-defensive-shifts-the-hidden-secret-behind-baseballs-best-team.html

    Prospect Watch: Heredia Shakes Off Tough First Inning For Another Strong Start

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/prospect-watch-heredia-shakes-off-tough-first-inning-for-another-strong-start.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pedro Alvarez lifts the Pirates to a 6-5 win. Bucs even the series..

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/3/4492486/pedro-alvarez-lifts-the-pirates-to-a-6-5-win-bucs-even-the-series

    Pregame: Hurdle discusses A.J., Tabata and sustainability of starting pitching

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/3/4491498/pregame-hurdle-discusses-a-j-tabata

    8 WHYGAVS

    Game 83: Pirates 6 Phillies 5

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2013/game-83-pirates-6-phillies-5.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Pedro’s Bomb Leads Bucs To 6-5 Win

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/07/pedros-bomb-leads-bucs-to-6-5-win.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Andrew Lambo: The Answer

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/03/andrew-lambo-the-answer/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 6 Phillies 5

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/07/pirates-6-phillies-5/

  22. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Philadelphia Inquirer

    Phillies pitchers cough up 6-5 loss to Pirates

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20130704_Phillies_pitchers_cough_up_6-5_loss_to_Pirates.html

    13 Bangor Daily News

    Portland’s Ryan Reid perseveres to earn job in Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen.

    http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/03/sports/portlands-ryan-reid-perseveres-to-earn-job-in-pittsburgh-pirates-bullpen/

    14 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Should Jose Tabata get a long look in right field?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/07/03/pittsburgh-pirates-should-jose-tabata-get-a-long-look-in-right-field/

    15 The Island Packet

    Storin: Pirates are baseball’s best surprise of season so far

    http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/07/04/2566571/storin-pirates-are-baseballs-best.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Phillies-Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130704_PHI@PIT

    17 Allied News

    EXTRA INNINGS: It’s ‘aboot’ time to ice the hockey

    http://alliednews.com/sports/x1614268336/EXTRA-INNINGS-Its-aboot-time-to-ice-the-hockey-talk

    18 PBC Site

    Alvarez powers Pirates, Locke past Phillies

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_03_phimlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Tabata comes off DL; Bucs option Cumpton

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130703&content_id=52577336&notebook_id=52577712&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    8 Things We Learned in the First Half

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21111

    20 Fangraphs

    Your Team’s New Trade Asset

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/your-teams-new-trade-asset/

  23. MadTurk says:

    Last night they showed him with contacts that made his eye’s look like a cats eye’s. Wonderng if he should try batting with them in?

  24. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Maurkice Pouncey with Aaron Hernandez night of alleged shooting in 2007

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2013/7/3/4491712/maurkice-pouncey-aaron-hernandez-shootings-2007

    The story of the legend, the draft pick and the underdog

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/3/4489518/the-story-of-the-legend-the-draft-pick-and-the-underdog

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Says it Feels Like He Has a Brand New Knee

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/07/steelers-ben-roethlisberger-new-knee-london-vikings-game/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    Go back to school! Every TV pundit needs to study for coaching badges, insists Neville (but would that stop Shearer and Co stating the obvious on Match of the Day?)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2354976/Gary-Neville-TV-football-pundits-study-coaching-badges-improve-broadcasting-skills.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 3 July, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-3rd-july-2013

  25. JoeyBats says:

    Hoka Hey everyone! Happy cracklin’ 4th of July to everyone….
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! LII wins down, …and XXX to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    PS: Great to see Cutch finally (HOPEFULLY) start to warm up …………………..

  26. Karen22 says:

    :)

    Let freedom ring! God Bless America…and God bless us, every one!

  27. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Even Thunder.

    (Man. Not even 8 AM and I must be drunk already)

  28. JD says:

    + 1776

  29. Drew71 says:

    We’re gonna have to do this all over again on February 15

  30. Jim S. says:

    JAL has linked the fantastic article from James Santelli of Pirates Prospects (also a Pens intern) that explains the Bucs defensive positioning strategies which appear to have much to do with their success this season. It is under #6 in the Pirates Prospects section.

    1) We have good defenders
    2) We align them better than any team in MLB, apparently
    3) We have pitchers that throw a ton of groundballs
    4) We have pitchers that allow the lowest amount of hard hit balls in MLB

    Ergo, we convert the highest % of balls in play against us into outs in MLB, at 72%. We were among the worst teams in MLB 3 short years ago, and now are leading the pack.

    Will it continue all year? We’ll see. But, so far so good.

  31. Jim S. says:

    Happy 4th of Juy, all! This is the most uniquely American of all of our holidays in this greatest experiment ever conceived by humans. I hope you all enjoy this wonderful holiday with friends and family, and reflect upon the sacrifices made 2+ centuries ago by brave men who risked everything to start the most amazing country in world history. I know I will.

    Thankfully, the Bucs ended that horrible 1-game losing streak last night. Glad that’s behind us. I don’t think I could have endured much more of the losing!

    * Note to Tabby: This opportunity has once again been placed on a silver platter for you. Please step up, hit, hustle and stay healthy. Otherwise, NH, please find us an upgrade.

    * Neil Walker’s defense is so very good now.

    * Jeff Locke is undeniably deserving of an AS slot.

    * Russell Martin’s defense has been huge, and now he is getting clutch hits.

    * Cutch was Cutch last night, and that is a very good sign.

    * Night-dro showed up big again last night. Unless he goes 0 for the rest of the week, I say he makes the AS squad. His power #’s dwarf all other NL 3b.

    * Grilli seems to know when he can safely “regress.” Picked his spot well again last night.

    Don’t stop now, boys!

  32. theplanisworking says:

    I believe this is the crux of the “pitch to contact” theory.
    Lots of groundballs, proper fielding, few errors result in outs.
    I think their “shifts” so far have been very good.

    Hopefully, they can keep it up.

  33. Jim S. says:

    Veteran leadership, apparently.

  34. Karen22 says:

    DITTO!!

  35. Jim S. says:

    Agree, Plan. It is pretty clear that they have been collecting ground ball pitchers for a reason.

    I don’t doubt that this team has had a great bit of good fortune this year, but there is a plan being executed as well. Doesn’t mean it will keep up at this rate, but I keep calling it the “unseen value” of the Bucs. To an outsider, who just looks at our roster and their stats, it is hard to see why this team is winning at this rate. But, we see more.

  36. theplanisworking says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my animal, and non-animal friends a Happy Fourth of July! May you be safe, enjoy the picnics, and remember the reason for this day………. freedom to pursue our happiness as we see fit. Also, remember the sacrifices by those who protect us to keep us free.

    Happy Fourth also to Dejan……. the man who makes this forum for us possible. It isn’t easy running a blog with all the different types of people here, and even though he claims not to have much to do with its success, he is too modest…………. there are other blogs in town, and they aren’t as popular, and knowledgeable as this one. THAT is why we keep coming back.

  37. Jim S. says:

    I forgot to mention this, but have meant to for awhile – thanks, JAL, for the valuable and generous service you provide with the daily links. I get so much out of them. You are a valuable contributor. Many thanks.

  38. Jim S. says:

    Clever, JD. Love it.

  39. Jim S. says:

    Huge agreement from me. Well said!

  40. theplanisworking says:

    If we give you unlimited groupons, will you do it? ;)

  41. Bdubb says:

    Good to see all the sellouts. The fans have showed up 3 years in a row now. They have shown Mr Coonley that if there is a good product on the field they will shell out that money. So as we go forward into the future I hope Mr Coonley remembers his comment about if they show we will pay.

    I hope Alvarez is an all star. I wonder if at least he gets a HR Derby nod

  42. 21sthebest says:

    Actually I think Huntington goes after power arms more than anything.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Baseball thoughts for the 4th (May The 4th Be With You) ;)

    Note to neal….. do NOT screw this up!! Make the proper moves, not the splashy ones. I know DK wouldnt do anything, but pitching depth, and a bat for RF/1B should be investigated. The team as constituted wont go far in the playoffs. Neal, earn your $$$.

    Note to Pedro……. you are such a wonderful talent to be looking like a complete fool at the plate. Sometimes you look like Triple Crown candidate, sometimes you look like a horrible T-ball player. The secret to your success lies in getting your head on straight, and being more consistent. The sky is the limit.

    Note to Ray Searage……… please dont ever leave.

    Note to the Bucs…….. quit leaving huge amounts of players on base. Hits/walks are nice, runs are better. :)

  44. theplanisworking says:

    Agreed. Speaking from experience, I dont know how he does it. But I am glad he does.

  45. theplanisworking says:

    Concerning All-Star Game nods for Bucs players…………..

    Right now, Grilli is the only “lock” for the game.
    Cutch is 7th in voting, and his selection will depend on how many outfielders Bochy takes to the game.
    Pedro may get an invite, but his BA works against him. He deserves to go based on his HR total alone.
    Locke may, or may not get a bid. Here, the dreaded “no respect” card may come into play………. being the Bucs have been awful the past 20 years.
    Melancon, although being lights out, wont go, because set-up men dont go. Quite sad.

    One encouraging sign is that Bochy has seen our team up close…… losing 3 of 4 to us. He also reached out to Hurdle to get his opinion as to who should be picked for the AS Game. Bochy may select Hurdle as a base coach for the game.

    Just one Hippos thoughts.

  46. Nice response, Tiny Ti . . . oops, Tiny Karen!

  47. 21sthebest says:

    Coaching staffs were selected last month and Hurdle wasnt selected.

  48. Chris says:

    Daydro has four straight shining opportunities ahead of him!!! Cole v. Cole today.

  49. JAL says:

    Thanks, good to know they are useful.

  50. Clemente’s the Best,

    You are correct. BMTIB traded away or released the “pitch-to-contact” pitchers like Paul Maholm and Tom Gorzelanny, while collecting tall, “downward plane,” velocity pitchers.

    Jeff Locke is an unexpected bonus with his style, being the last guy to make the staff this Spring. McPherson with his downward plane good fastball was preferred. Wandy was the BPAWSEWPPOC!
    {Best Pitcher Available Whom Someone Else Would Pay Part Of Contract}

  51. Great post.

    Searage for Secretary of State

  52. I’ve read it 4 times, and I don’t get it.

    I went away and then came back . . . . and I still don’t get it.

    Drewmeister, please help us who are uninformed. February 15??

    Come on, Drewcy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!

  53. cherokee23 says:

    Gonna be gone all day, but wanted to share some thoughts on Pedro….He’s always been streaky good or streaky bad. We all know that. However, his play recently has been for long enough now that I’m not sure we can call it streaky. Perhaps, hopefully, he is finding consistency! This is what I think we all thought he could be if the slumps weren’t so long and the good periods so short. He’s going on 4 or 5 weeks now of pretty consistent play at the plate, instead of the 1-2 week spurts we were seeing followed by 3-5 weeks of misery. His second full season, not a stretch to say he’s figuring things out!

  54. +1

    We have to note, too, he hasn’t changed his demeanor or his actions. He’s still the same seemingly humble person.

    I believe everyone liked him as a person before, but we were all frustrated by his inconsistency. Now, he’s that much easier to warm up to. Always seemed like a good kid.

  55. Nate83 says:

    If you believe the team should not make a splashy move and also believe they currently won’t go far in the playoffs those don’t go hand in hand. An upgrade to the bench or right field is a move to help them get in the playoffs not advance. A big move like a staff ace (cliff lee) or player the caliber of Stanton is what takes you deep in the playoffs if you believe they currently can’t. Moving Inge of the team or putting snider and tabata on the bench for slight upgrade in right is only going to effect this team by adding like .02 runs per game.

    I think their pitching is good enough for a deep playoff run. Arizona and San Francisco won it all with just pitching.

  56. Karen22 says:

    How did you know I’m little?? ;)

  57. I could tell by your voice.

  58. Nate83 says:

    It is very rare but Atlanta’s set up man made it last year. The year Melancon is having is rare so hopefully he gets recognized. I would thick the team with the best record in baseball shoul get 4 or 5 in. Maybe cutch, Alverez, Locke, grille and melancon. To bad Molina and posey are so good or Martin may have a chance.

  59. Arriba Wilver says:

    Serbia’s Independence Day. (I had to look it up)

  60. theplanisworking says:

    I do think they go hand in hand.

    Splashy move would result in overpayment, i.e. too many top prospects surrendered.
    Seeking pitching help, and adding a bat will help them advance. Doesnt have to be splashy at all. By removing Snider, Inge, et all form the lineup will make it addition by subtraction.

  61. Drew71 says:

    ~sigh~

    1804

    come ON

  62. Drew71 says:

    Ah. A man of letters.

    Cyrillic letters, maybe.

    Срећан Дан независности!

    DK: You are a Drew of boundless resources. Proud to say I can still read Cyrillic pretty much effortlessly.

  63. Nate83 says:

    It’s just my opinion but if the belief is they are not good enough for a deep playoff run (not my belief) adding Aoki or a player like him doesn’t change that. I’m not saying it doesn’t make them better it just doesn’t change the Vegas odds of the pirates winning it all. It might change the odds of them making the playoffs.

  64. pattonbb says:

    Happy 4th of July everyone. Hope y’all have a great day.

    I read that last night’s game was the 10th straight 1 run win at home for the Bucs. To me, 4 or 5 in a row could be a fluke. 10 in a row is a sustainable strategy. For all of the griping and groaning I do about Hurdle, he seems to understands what it takes to win these close games. He seems to understand his team.

    So if I have to through a couple weeks worth of games with that slug Tabata in RF (who misplayed at least 2 balls last night), I’ll do it without the name-calling and taunts. Clint knows a lot more about baseball than I do. He also knows a lot more about what it takes to win baseball games than I do.

    In Clint I Trust.

    52 and counting……

  65. Thank you, Wilver Dornel!

    How do you say, “Yo Mamma” in Serbian?!

  66. Thundercrack says:

    Apparently only my count counts

  67. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve heard speculation Cutch is likely to go based on the players input. And, as DK pointed out the other day, he is actually hitting pretty well, just not as much power. I think a lot of people here were spoiled by last May-July.

    Happy 4th!

  68. Scott says:

    No way Jeff Locke is an all star. He’s averaging 6 innings per start, which is just not enough, especially with the way this bullpen has been taxed. He has yet to go more than 7 IP in a game all season. It was immensely disappointing to see him once again fail to make it through the sixth inning last night. Locke has been very good, but not all-star caliber by any means.

    Until he can hit at least .250, Alvarez is not an all star either.

    We have to start being realistic about this all-star thing. There are other teams in the NL that have all-star-worthy players too. If it were up to Pirates fans, Cutch, Alvarez, Marte, Locke, Grilli and Melancon would all be there. That’s simply not going to happen. The team will probably only get two All-Stars: Cutch and Grilli.

  69. Thundercrack says:

    1) I believe that comment was uncalled for

    2) I believe you are counting wrong. Many of my comments are comments that disagree with yours. They are not shots.

  70. Arriba Wilver says:

    For that you’ll have to ask the boss. :-)

  71. I believe that percentage is way off.

    He’s thinking about the dearly departed, those we don’t speak of, who have been banned.

  72. chethejet says:

    Happy fourth. Melancon is a good bet to make the All Star team. Relief pitchers have a more prominent role in all star selections over the years. Used to be starters would pitch in relief, now not so much. Plus many clubs are hesitant to have starters pitch and mess up the rotation coming out of the game. Tababa has to step up the next couple of weeks before the trade deadline or he may be part of a trade. I think he is now playing for his future as a Pirate. In the words of Elvis, “it’s now or never”.

    PS. That song has an interesting story behind it

  73. Arriba Wilver says:

    What does “how this bullpen has been taxed” have to do with whether Locke is an all-star?

  74. Bizrow says:

    Ditto

  75. kr70 says:

    Inge looks good in a penguin uniform…..in a pirate’s uni, not so good

  76. Bizrow says:

    What an amazing season

    And so many legitimate candidates for the All Star Game

    Beat Em Bucs

    Go like 60

  77. kr70 says:

    82 wins does make a difference….there’s a t-shirt in there somewhere

  78. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not frustrated by this so called inconsistency. I never understood how if he were more consistent (run production more event spread out?), that would lead to more runs. For me, I’ve just wanted him to hit better – get his average up. His average has been improving and so has the run production. Just imagine if he gets his average up to even .260-.270 which I believe he will someday.

  79. Rick says:

    Gotta luv AJ’s tweet on Locke…paraphrasing
    #Locke is the All-Star (starter). If you don’t agree…STFD!!!

  80. Rick says:

    Plus his D has been much improved…at least that how I see it.

  81. theplanisworking says:

    OK, that makes sense.

  82. theplanisworking says:

    For our blog All-Stars, I would send you and JAL………… for the links and cities lists.

    I would stay in my Pond with deinks and snacks. :)

  83. Sisyphus says:

    He does, but one of the first things the Pirates do is team them the two seamer if don’t already throw one. You don’t see a lot of four seamers from Pirate pitchers. Huntingdon understands that the best pitcher to have is one who gets ground balls and strikeouts.

  84. Sisyphus says:

    The team as constituted has the best record in baseball, but you want us to believe that the best team in baseball can’t win in the playoffs.

  85. theplanisworking says:

    Difference between the best record in baseball, and the best team in baseball.

    Ask the OKC Thunder in the NBA how that worked out for them last season.
    Or any number of teams in MLB that have great regular seasons with the best record, and cant even make the World Series.

    And, if you would have read my post correctly, I did not say they couldnt win, I said they wouldnt go far. They may win a round, but wont make the WS, which would constitute going far.

  86. Fort says:

    Welcome ladies and congratulations!!! (I even know one of you personally Gretchen!!)

  87. Jim S. says:

    Locke’s ERA and HIP are among the league leaders.

    No other 3b is close to Pedro in run production. You are the unrealistic one, Scott.

 
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