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Morning Java: Can’t protect pitchers from rain

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Wednesday column from PNC Park wonders if the Pirates’ adversity might actually help.

Leave it to me to be the ray of sunshine in the equation!

Oh, and speaking of rays of sunshine, this game was delayed one hour, 42 minutes for a weather pattern that never hit PNC Park. It did affect the South Hills and other areas, but not Downtown.

At 7:05 p.m., when we should have seen the first pitch, these were the skies above …

That’s known in advanced meteorology as “sunshine.”

Say what you will about the merits of that, but I’ve always held the view that sporting events should start on time and not be delayed or postponed until there is actual cause. In baseball in particular, with the home team (peculiarly) in control of the first pitch, there never should be any consideration given to delaying or postponing any game for reasons beyond the safety of the participants and the patrons.

Let me put it another way: You can’t put off a game because you’re protecting Gerrit Cole.

Nothing in the rules permits that.

And if teams around baseball — not just Pittsburgh — continue to abuse their responsibility for when a game should begin, the folks in New York would do well to take heed.

>> The Pirates played a long one against the A’s. Rob Biertempfel reports.

Cole pitched better than his fate, and here’s some of what he had to say afterward …

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Oh, please, don’t come to me about the Pedro Alvarez snub from the Home Run Derby. It’s stupid, but it’s also nowhere near as significant as some — including employees of the Pirates — are drumming up. It’s a skills competition, a glorified game show, nothing more.

It’s a contending organization now. Try acting like it.

>> If you missed it, here’s yesterday’s TribLIVE Radio show podcast featuring special guest Aaron Donald, Pitt’s outstanding defensive tackle.

>> Ray Shero’s father, Fred, was elected posthumously to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Rob Rossi has it.

The rest of the class is exemplary — Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer — but I’ll continue to pound the drum that this Hall can’t continue to have the same embarrassing North American slant it’s shown forever. Not electing Sergei Makarov and/or Alexander Mogilny isn’t just a slap to Russia or to the European brand. It’s an insult to hockey fans everywhere.

>> I’ll visit with TribLIVE Radio at 1:30 p.m. to talk baseball.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

326 Comments

  1. Game delayed for a starting pitcher?
    I thought it was delayed for an auction.
    That’s all I heard about the entire game……

  2. Pirates defense is just spectacular this year. It’s sad how often we lose by just giving up a couple of runs. So many wasted pitching efforts.

    DK: It’s been just so good. Again last night, that double play Barmes and Mercer turned to end the fifth inning, Barmes going to his right — and in — was simply exceptional.

    • I’ll third this sentiment. Barmes has put to rest the claims (which were not unfounded at the time) that his defensive skills had waned. Yeah, I wish he had a more potent bat, but now that he’s a defensive role player at a very important position, I think he’s a good one and we’d do well to hold on to him.

  3. Grilli’s next save opportunity might be in the All Star Game . . . not to be negative or anything.

  4. Just three hits tonight. Ten runners stranded last night. Not enough from too many of our players. But I’m particularly beginning to come around to camp that has soured on Garrett Jones. Both of our first basemen have been black holes in the batting lineup. Like Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez, Jones hasn’t really given us much of anything all season long.

    There gets to be a point where good hitting starts feeding more good hitting. Pitch counts and pressure on pitchers and the defenses behind them start to bend. The opposite is true when pitchers are in a groove and sitting down batter after batter. The Pirates seem to be on the wrong side of a tipping point in that just Pedro having a good day here or Cutch having a good day there isn’t enough to get the team going. I’m willing to wait on Neil Walker and the slumping Russell Martin to pick it up a little. But first base, right field (unless Tabby saves the day and does so real soon) and the anemic bench — too many season-long black holes.

    • I really should have read the Wednesday column first. It’s just that after watching a recording of the game, I couldn’t resist first getting my thoughts off my chest. So I ended up making some of the same points DK already made, like the one about Jones.

      As for a dose of adversity now being a good thing — I agree. Basically, see Wednesday column.

    • Gaby Sanchez was acquired to be Garrett Jones platoon vs left handed pitching.

      How much better can you expect him to perform in that role than he has already?

      • I love Gabby. I’d love to see a few more hits instead of whiffs, but that is also true of some of the STARTERS! :)

      • What are his splits against lefties? A good platoon is made by having guys who hit .280 or better against the side they are supposed to play against. maybe I am letting the past few games cloud my Gabby judgment but I have very little confidence in him up there against anyone.

        • he’s around .300 against lefties.

          • Then maybe he is facing righties way too often. For instance Jones in right and Gabby at first against righties has not been that uncommon. gabby pinch hitting aginst righties also not uncommon when Snider has already been used.

            If his role is to be a right hander in a platoon then the guy should not be up there against righties pinch hitting. So that comes back to the bench. When faced with Inge, Barmes, Fort, and Gabby if Snider has been used, Gabby may be his best bet. barmes is valuable as a defensive role player, they aren’t upgrading atcatcher anytime soon. So if you want to keep Gabby in his role as a guy who bats only against lefties, then there is only one guy that can be shipped out that will make any difference…Inge.

  5. “It’s wholly possible that this little slide will be good thing.”

    So you’ll be positively giddy if they lose out to the All Star Game?

    I’m not very smart. I’ve been watching sports for decades and while I keep trying to see what the brain surgeons see, I just don’t get the concept of a good loss.

    Or three.

    Or four.

    • Me either, winning is the thing.

    • sports writing and meteorology……who knew?

    • I think the point is that the losses will make it crystal-clear to management that the team needs upgrading and will give them a kick in the tail to go out and do something, whereas if the team had kept winning for another week or two, management could have stood pat. Scenario A (a few losses in the short term in exchange for making a few trades and/or dumping unproductive veterans) is much better for the team in the long run. So yeah, this good loss concept makes sense.

  6. Could one of the reasons they held off the first pitch was because they were play the Oakland A’s? They didn’t want to play a doubleheader today and rescheduling the game for a later date may have been a challenge?

  7. For many of the past 20 years selecting a Pirate representative for the All-Star game has been….challenging.

    I wouldn’t call the fact that Pedro Alvarez – our savior and the guy we’ve seen strike out a ton – gets selected for the team and just so happens to be a prime candidate for the home run contest. Only a few players in all of baseball have more home runs than him.
    He gets snubbed and two players who have a lot less home runs than him (one who is an old friend of the captain of the the team) get selected ahead of him.

    In the grand scheme of things it may be insignificant, but it is something.

    ‘including employees of the Pirates’ = Pirate announcers.
    Sure they made a big deal about it. But they certainly shouldn’t ignore it.
    And have you heard any of the sports talk radio in town?

    • ‘It is incomprehensible that Pedro Alvarez, tied for second in the NL in home runs, is not involved with the Home Run Derby at the All-Star break.’
      ‘Worse, by most accounts, favoritism played the major role in Cuddyer’s selection. Shame on MLB!’

      —that from a retired columnist who now is a blogger

      • it *IS* ridiculous, TC. But I’m guessing the BEST thing the Pirates and fans CAN DO is IGNORE it, not lower ourselves to the same stinkin level.
        :D

        • I will likely be lowering myself to that same stinkin’ level Friday night at the ballpark when David Wright comes up to bat.

          I haven’t booed a player since Kevin Young took shots at the fans here years ago.

          • Throw a boo in there for me too, 21 ;)

          • 21 please make comments about his eyebrows – I am developing a problem with my fixation on his eyebrows – I just can’t stand his eyebrows – Is this still the asylum? Jacket and a snake bite please….I’ll be in the bathroom ripping out the plumbing.

        • I don’t think the reaction is a big deal. But if the reaction was one that was a quiet one, I think critics would have said that apathy has set in after 20 years and Pirate fans don’t care anymore. And that just isn’t the case.

    • It is a big deal…MLB has worked hard (or so it seems) to come back from some serious garbage. When you have a chance to showcase a natural bomb hitter, one that by all accounts does it with no help from the candy shop, and you let a captain eyebrows put his buddy on stage, simply because they are both getting old and he can….it’s an issue.

    • I have no problem with Wright taking Harper as apparently the fans voted him as the guy they most want to see in that competition. That’s fine. Its a show for the fans. Give them what they want. So he took Cargo and Harper. Great. But choosing Cuddyer because”He’s a good friend with 15 homers and a 27 game hitting streak” is bogus. Two of those things should be immaterial to the decision. The fact that Wright is the captain is nonsense as well. Just because it is in NY. Sheesh.

      All that said with Wright being the captain as a constant, the guy wo really got snubbed was Dominic Brown. He was one better than Pedro at the time the choices were made.

  8. Great Column, Dejan. While I am not in a state of panic, I am a little concerned, and that helped quite a bit. LETS GO BUCS!

    • A win or two would help me more.

    • maybe we could trade for this Moss guy.

      • Can’t. Bucs are falling like a stone. And you know what they say.

        A Falling Stone Gathers No Moss.

      • another one who came thru here and couldn’t cut it until he left / makes you question the BMTIB big time

          • I believe Gunner is referring to Moss, NMR

            • Thus my questioning.

              How long was the BMTIB supposed to carry Moss before they gave up on him?

              • Exactly what I thought when I read this……Let’s hang on to him 3 more years “just in case”

                If anything, it shows that there was something to him, but just didn’t click in Pittsburgh.

                Listening to the A’s broadcast last night (Ray Fossi, LOOK OUT ITS PETE ROSE) anyway, said that Moss gives his power production surge credit to Jeff Bannister. Bannister opened his stance up and really changed his approach.

                Pretty cool thing to hear.

              • Just playing devil’s advocate, that’s all. Moss had his share of chances here for sure. (Just like Tabata, Presley, Snider and probably more I have missed)

          • Without trying to get into the overall debate, I don’t think Gunner was questioning cutting him lose, but that he is one of the ones who for whatever reason they couldn’t develop here, but someone else did. I know, it happens, but that’s what I took his point as. (I will not mention the B word). :-)

            • Like…one of the ones who stunk here then went to another team and is a good player….like that B person….

              • If you’re referring to Bautista, he didn’t really stink here. Put up 16, 15, and 12 HR’s before being traded with a batting average that would make NW jealous at this point.

                The trade is what stunk, not the player. (though he did have his share of bonehead plays)

      • It really ticks me off when guys like moss who were so putrid while here come back and beat us night after night. LaRoche, Ludwick, now Moss. Seriously!

  9. JAL’s Lollipop Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-DuC0tE7V4

    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 Problem With the Pirates Offense

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/first-pitch-the-problem-with-the-pirates-offense.html

    Pirates Collect Only Three Hits to Lose Fourth-Straight Game

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/pirates-collect-only-three-hits-to-lose-fourth-straight-game.html

    Prospect Watch: Taking a Closer Look At Tyler Glasnow’s Impressive Numbers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/prospect-watch-taking-a-closer-look-at-tyler-glasnows-impressive-numbers.html

    Pirates Notebook: When Will the Bucs Play the Best 25?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/pirates-notebook-when-will-the-bucs-play-the-best-25.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates offense stymied, again. Bucs lose, 2-1, again

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/9/4509598/pirates-offense-stymied-again-bucs-lose-2-1-again

    8 WHYGAVS

    Game 89: A’s 2 Pirates 1

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2013/game-89-a-s-2-pirates-1.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Notes, Fanning the Trade Rumor Flames…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/07/notes-fanning-trade-rumor-flames.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Pedro Alvarez: Standing Ovation Tonight Pittsburgh?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/08/pedro-alvarez-standing-ovation-tonight-pittsburgh/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    A’s 2 Pirates 1

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/07/as-2-pirates-1-2/

    • Lollipop The Chordettes 1958. Hit number 2 and was their 2nd biggest hit. In 1954 Mr Sandman made it to number 1. This is clip appears to be from the Andy Williams Show.

  10. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 San Jose Mercury News

    Oakland A’s beat Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1

    http://www.mercurynews.com/athletics/ci_23630486/oakland-beat-pittsburgh-pirates-2-1

    13 The Atlantic

    How Smart Investing Made the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball’s Best Team

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/how-smart-investing-made-the-pittsburgh-pirates-baseballs-best-team/277609/

    14 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates RP Mark Melancon’s All-Star Snub No Surprise

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/07/09/pittsburgh-pirates-rp-mark-melancons-all-star-snub-no-surprise/

    15 The Week

    The longest losing streak in pro sports history should soon be over

    http://theweek.com/article/index/246608/the-longest-losing-streak-in-pro-sports-history-should-soon-be-over

    16 CBS Sports

    Athletics-Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130710_OAK@PIT

    17 The Pitt News

    Barnes Burner: Pittsburgh fans struggle at gauging player talent, value

    http://www.pittnews.com/index.php/sports/71623-barnes-burner-pittsburgh-fans-struggle-at-gauging-player-talent-value

    18 PBC Site

    Cole finds all homers not created equal vs. A’s

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_09_oakmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Walker on DL with possible oblique injury

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130709&content_id=53218230&notebook_id=53218780&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Bloomberg Sports

    The Rebirth of Nate McLouth

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/mlb/the-rebirth-of-nate-mclouth?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bloomberg%20Sports%20&utm_content=

    20 Fangraphs

    Jonathan Papelbon: Buyer Beware

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jonathan-papelbon-buyer-beware/

  11. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Jarvis Jones can’t wait for Pittsburgh’s game day atmosphere

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/9/4507032/jarvis-jones-pittsburgh-steelers-gameday-atmosphere-heinz-field

    Idea of not inviting players on academic suspension to NFL Combine is nothing but damage control

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/9/4506530/nfl-scouting-combine-supplemental-draft-academic-suspension

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Sporting News Thinks Le’Veon Bell & Jarvis Jones Could Win Rookie Of The Year Awards

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/07/sporting-news-leveon-bell-jarvis-jones-rookie-award/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    The face of the Premier League… Huge Bale picture used by NBC in New York advert

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2359033/Gareth-Bale-face-NBCs-Premier-League-advert-New-York.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    The Neymar problem

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/the-neymar-problem

  12. I suppose recall of better times fades when you lose a few, but cannot remember even one signature clutch moment by Gaby since he got here. I’m sure there is one, maybe two, but have just totally forgotten.

    Let’s hope Marte’s prediction is on the mark. Love the kid’s spunkiness.

    • Gaby has made many ridiculous snags at first when the throw was horribly off the mark to make the out. I know, I know…it seems like forever, eh?

      • You are correct, J-girl. But first is a position that requires someone with some pop and preferably a higher batting average than Gaby’s .233 average.

        His defense has never been in question.

        • Oh I agree, Spunky. Just sayin, I remember some of the plays he has made. I’d like to see his bat get more done.

        • Gaby Sanchez was acquired to be Garrett Jones platoon partner.

          He has been dominant in that role.

          The fact that he has a .233 BA speaks to Clint Hurdle’s ability to manage him in the right situations.

          • NMR: Ha! — I knew you would be here to “defend” him. Understand he’s about .290 against lefties but hardly see him as a masher.

            Intrigued by the suggestion Gaby has been mismanaged. How so?

            • If Garrett Jones started to get consistant at-bats against lefties, which everyone knows he simply cannot hit, would you not say he is being mismanaged?

              Gaby is Garrett Jones patoon partner. He cannot hit righties, as Jones cannot hit lefties.

              Same situation applies.

              • Exactly! Gaby’s line against LHP is .293/.406/.569 with 4 of his 7 HR’s against lefties.

                That’s why he was acquired. He should only pinch hit against LH relievers late in games and start against LHP. The reverse for Jones.

                Put these guys numbers together for a platoon in the right situation, this wouldn’t even be a topic of conversation.

              • More Stats on Gabby…as a starter against LHP, he’s .318/.410/.606 with 5 of his HR’s coming as the starter.

                What is that saying NMR likes to use again??

      • You’re absolutely right, Jandy. I was speaking solely of his offense.

        Even with McKenry you remember a couple homers.

        • DJ, you’re right. Our bats are hurting us big time right now. Sad.

          • Marte’s final quote to DK was interesting. The kid just loves playing ball. I could easily see him being our spark. Not overthinking anything and just attacking the ball instead of the modern-day approach of working for the deep counts.

            As Hurdle would say, just going up to the plate with “bad intentions.”

    • Sanchez was brought here to mash left handed pitchers. He is mashing left handed pitchers. Where’s the problem?

      • .330+ would be mashing.

        • His OPS is north of .900 against lefties. That is the very definition of mashing.

          • .975. Looks like NMR was correct about how he’s being used, but I think a lot of that has to do with the uncertain situation in right field, at least until Tabby got back. By that I mean he’d use Jones in right at times against righties in an attempt to get more production overall, and then Gaby at first. It was kind of pick your poison.

            • Lately, yes, I think you’re correct.

              But lets not forget our tediously redundant conversions from earlier in the year when Sanchez was getting starts against righties because he was 3-11 against them in the past.

              I said all along those decisions, while small, will eventually add up. Thats what you’re seeing in the aggregate numbers at the half way point.

            • But to your point, it would also help if Hurdle had a better hitter to call on off the bench, and that is certainly Huntington’s fault, not Clint’s.

      • The problem is that he strikes out or pops up too much with men on base in crucial situations.
        Watch the games…..

        • Ah, so all those other hits don’t mean anything at all. The four doubles and four homers in 58 at bats against lefties don’t matter. The 11 walks in 70 plate appearances against lefties don’t count. The .293 average, .406 OBP and .569 slugging against lefties aren’t helping at all. Maybe YOU should watch the games.

          Daq’s actual reasoning: Huntington traded for Sanchez. Nutting hired Huntington. Therefore Sanchez sucks. Q.E.D.

          • My reasoning is that I watch most of the games and I see Sanchez “whiff and pop up” almost every time there are runners on base.
            The Pirates can’t “afford” the luxury of a one-trick pony….Better known as a guy that is ONLY expected to hit LH’s when he starting.

            Here’s my suggestion….Spend a little less time patting the Nutting Regime on the back…And watch the games a little closer.
            As another blogger here recently stated….Front offices/Ownerships don’t need fan clubs.

            • Since you “watch the games” you must have noticed that the A’s platoon three positions.

              That stupid Billy Beane and his stable of one trick ponies.

            • Ah yes, the old “Pirates can’t afford argument” is dusted off yet again.

              The last Pirate team to make the playoffs had platoons or semi-platoons at four positions. The 1979 Pirates platooned at two positions. The 1971 Pirates did a lot of platooning at three positions. The 1960 Pirates platooned at two positions. I don’t hear anyone questioning their successes.

              You construct your team by trying to maximize production. Sometimes you get the best production by platooning. Sometimes you get it by platooning a LOT.

              I don’t love the Pirates ownership. I don’t care who owns the Pirates. You sure do, though.

              • I don’t recall saying platoons don’t work.
                I said Gaby Sanchez needs to do more than just hit LH pitching….example – PH

                Save me the lecture on ’71 and ’79.
                I witnessed it…..

  13. Anyone hear David Wright say he went with Michael Cuddyer over Pedro in the HR derby b/c he’s friends with him? Why the NL representative get to pick who’s in the HR derby in the first place? Can anyone think of a dumber rule? I don’t really care if Pedro is in it; it’s just the principal of the thing.

    • Says Wright: “I grew up with Michael. I think that he’s one of the more underrated players in the game. And obviously, the friendship had something to do with it. And his production had a lot to do with it.”

      • David Wright will catch some heat for it….but his massive eyebrows will shield him from it at the end of the day.

        I’m not saying that doing something once in a lifetime with a childhood friend, in a venue so unlikely, that the odds would have probably been better to hit the powerball when these two were doing one up or two down to fat kid down the street, is the problem here….it’s amazing that both of these guys ended up here in this scenario in the first place. In the end Cuddyer will likely never get a shot at this again. If Pedro’s career continues at the pace it’s on, he should have as many derby appearances as pappi’s before it’s all over.

        It’s just David Wrights eybrows and the fact that he is a Met that makes it sting. I forgot that I hated the Mets with the last 20 years of hating the Brewers and front office types.

        DARRYL DARRYL DARRYL – Mets Suck! Thanks for the reminder eyebrows.

      • Wright is being disingenuous….if “production had a lot to do with it”, it’s Pedro in a landslide, especially when you factor in the “show/entertainment” aspect of the HR derby, and how far Pedro can hit a batting practice ball.

        As for the rain delay, I may be naive, but I’m not seeing the connection with protecting Cole. There was a pretty significant storm system in pretty close proximity. If game had started and been delayed after 1 or 2 innings, the complaint would have been why start when you saw rain on way and lose your starter like happened to Morton last week. Could they have started sooner than 90 minutes later? Fair question, but I have no problem with the delay!

        • If Jeanmar Gomez was the scheduled starter would the game started on time last night?

          • I don’t see any difference. How is that protecting cole? Were they hoping the game was cancelled? He still came out and pitched. I’m not seeing it! DK has actually praised the ballclub in the past for early announcements of delays & cancellations

        • You have no problem with a sunshine delay? Really?

          The connection with protecting Cole was obvious… they didn’t want him to start the game on time and have him pitch one inning, then have a two-hour rain delay, and then have to either throw Cole back out there after a huge delay or take him out after pitching just one inning.

          • I run my own roofing business. I make decisions every morning based on the weather radar, where it’s trending, and the forecast. Sometimes I make a good call and sometimes I make a bad call. I think it’s that simple!

          • Cole would not have come back after an in-game delay….as far as a connection goes, or a conspiracy theory, i think it’s more related to the bullpen as TC & I stated above…..Like with Morton last week

    • Does anyone still watch the HR derby?

  14. Enjoyable column.

    Very positive spin for a hockey and soccer dad.

    Loved this about the pinch hitting .148, 1, 11:

    “That’s not just upgradable. That’s unconscionable”

    So a little spark from the bench isn’t a bad thing to ask for?

  15. The sky is falling. Time for an “invisible” rain delay.

  16. These are tough losses to swallow. You just don’t know how long the pitching will continue to be this outstanding. To continue to lose when the pitching staff only gives up 2 or 3 wins is frustrating. I have always believed that the hitting would eventually come around and improve to the point that they could score 3 or 4 runs a game but they are now 89 games in.

    I also have been on board with not making any major moves and only improving the bench but I am starting to second guess that strategy. If the offense doesn’t start producing in the 2 weeks after the all star break a big bat even if it’s just instant offense like Soriano may be needed. I still think they should avoid the Stanton type trades.

    • Well I hope they are not thinking about Soriano, or giving away the store on prospects. Would be nice to find a Brian Giles type move, but probably wishful thinking.

    • Nate

      The Bucs really need to make a move to get a bat in here. It is a damn shame to squander another good pitching performance like they did last night. Let’s hope for a different outcome tonight.

  17. Not that I am any good at predicting anything with Magic 8 or Meatballs, but it looks like the Pirates shot themselves in the collective foot with what will be known as The Invisible Rain Delay Of 2013.

    Where were you during The Invisible Rain Delay Of 2013?

  18. Hope everyone is safe out there. What a nasty morning. The “T” is flooded and has been shut down. The Fort Pitt Tunnels have reopened for the time being.

    • Hope Pittsburgh does not wash away. Hope you are well, Milo.

    • Indiana has a flood watch- we don’t even have a river and our nearest stream that’s more than 3 feet wide is 3 miles outside of town! This summer weather has been straight garbage.

    • Went home at lunch to check on the house. Have a wet basement again. Have some water in the garage. Rain gauge is actually higher then it was 2 weeks ago when 2.4 inches of rain feel in a 24 hour period, and that was after I took my morning reading of .89 inches. Chartiers Creek is very high. It was about 7 to 9 feet from the bridge deck I travel over each time I go or leave the house. A debris dam is developing at one of the bridge pillars. Another another round or two is coming in this afternoon and evening. Its going to be interesting later today to say the less if anything else comes along.

      Now back to our daily sports blog.

  19. While the Barmas-started DP was exceptional, the Buc defense again contributed mightily to the loss. On the double that preceded Moss’s HR, it looked like Marte could easily throw out the A attempting to reach second, but made an off-line throw, allowing the runner to reach safely. Could see a negative reaction on Cole’s face(he obviously thought a better throw could have been made), and it may have thrown off his concentration for a second. First pitch, he throws that 85 MPH lollipop to Moss and, BANG! Game over. The defense also was a factor in bungling that game in Chicago on Sunday (Jones’s error and Martin’s throw). Did you see the A’s make a single misplay in closing out either of the 2 games so far? No, they didn’t. Good teams don’t do that, but the Bucs have started to do so all too often lately.

    Having said all that, when watching the interminable cut-ins from the auction, it is clear that Jones may be too distracted at home to be an effective player.

  20. After thinking (read: stewing) over the last two nights’ games, I have concluded that perhaps the most aggravating thing about these losses is that the A’s have beaten the Bucs at their own game….strong starting pitching, enough offense to squeeze out a lead thru 7 innings, and slam the door with the “Lights Out” bullpen. As I posted on another thread, I hope DK’s column rings true, but until the Pirates raise the 82nd Jolly Roger, I’ll remain skeptical. This franchise has had futility and failure infused into their DNA over the past 20 years. That’s hard to overcome, both for the organ-I-zation, and its fans.

  21. Did anyone else notice that (I’m assuming) Hurdle had the infield shifted for that guy that hit the double before Moss’s home run? They showed his spray chart (or whatever the technical term is for hits by field) and the guy had more hits to left than center or right. His hit would have been a tough out, but Pedro has made that play many times before. Why the deuce would he shift the infield for a guy that spreads his hits incredibly evenly?

    Oh well. At least Tyler Kennedy is gone.

    • yeah but so is Cookie :(

    • Yes, saw that as well. Virtually identical number of hits to left, center and right. Maybe we thought our metrics within the metrics were better than a simple spray chart.

      On the Moss homer, it’s a funny thing but could it possibly be said that Cole needs to come up with a change-up slower than 87 mph? In most situations, a change 10-12 mph slower than your fastball would be ideal. The problem is 87 mph sits about perfect for hitters who clobber soft toss pitchers.

      • DJ, I unfortunately do not get to see most of the games living in Western Ohio. I was wondering if the change up still has good movement at 87 mph. Not specifically the Moss pitch but in general does his change up move a lot.

        • I haven’t seen his change enough to judge yet, Nate. The only “movement” I saw on the Moss homer was over the wall. It stayed pretty much center cut.

          I realize it’s the mph differential which is the key to an effective change, but with Cole, when he’s pouring 98-99 mph heaters, there are very few players who can square one of those up anyway. On the other hand, at 87 mph, everyone’s in the equation. Small thing, but was wondering if Cole might need a 15 mph differential for his change, like low to mid 80′s.

          He’s a smart kid so he’ll figure out what’s best. I love watching him.

        • I’ve seen Cole twice, not from scouts seats, but pretty darn close.

          His two-seamer is the better pitch 99% of the time due to movement and command.

          The only time I saw plus changeups were in the 1st and 3rd innings against Philly on the 4th.

  22. This is obviously Travis Sawchik’s fault. He starts covering the Pirates for the trib after 20 years of losing and the team goes 51-30. He then goes on a two week European vacation starting last Monday and the team goes 2-7. Somebody get that guy back in the USA and hand him a pen and paper (oops showing my age – laptop).

  23. *****ATTENTION*****
    Just a friendly reminder, especially to new posters:
    We here on this blog are proud to call ourselves Dejan’s Lunantics’ Asylum.
    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of the ever-growing inmates.
    Don’t be shy, we want to talk, debate, and chat with you!

  24. K gotta go do some WORK *gasp*
    Catch you all later. Stay safe and dry!

  25. It must have been warm in the Trib media production room. I see Dejan stripped himself of the Zack Morris jacket for the radio show. And the penalty kicks.

  26. I read somewhere else that Hurdle when asked about getting a big bat kind of said the price is just to high. He mentioned having the oppertunity to get Pence and Victorino the last two year but not pulling the trigger. He then said you are all happy with your current left fielder correct. Hinting that Marte would have been part of those trades.

    That tells me this team still does not think they are in all in mode. I agree with that. Although they are very good I don’t think one piece would make the difference and it wouldn’t be worth throwing away years of building up the farm system. Especially offensively there just isn’t enough pieces to be trading away Polanco, Bell, Sanchez and Hanson. The pitching depth is great but it seems like teams like the Cardinals and Devil Rays never trade pitching prospects. The Devil Rays may trade proven pitchers but not the pipeline.

    • Here we go again.

      This is not the year. people are too expensive. Deep with pitchingbut who would ever give that up? Shallow with hitting prospects. Not enough in the system. One piece won’t make a difference.

      It is the same stuff every year. So when is the year? And if one piece isn’t enough then why do they keep bringingback the same 8 guys? Last year they traded for some bench depth that has proved to be anything but deep. So now we are supposed to sit and watch while they do the same thing again even though the same guys are still underperforming?

      Last year they needed a catcher, a shortstop, a pitcher, and either a corner infielder or a first baseman.

      They got the catecher. Mercer is fitting i nicely at short right now. They got Wandy who is now hurt so you may want an arm which we will see how Morton plays in his first couple of post break starts and see if a move is necessary. The even got a corner outfielder AND a first baseman.

      Unfortunately the corner outfielder is lousy.

      I don’t advocate trading away the entire farm. At this time last year I even lobbied for a trade of Cole or Taillon. Never both. But one. Definitely ot the pitching. but Pollanco and Sanchez are pieces I could part with if you get back the right guy.

      Basically I feel like we have all been stuck looking at these guys in the system and being told they will be the answer soon. Some of them get here and are as advertised. Some get here and are not as advetised(D’Arnaud, Hague.) At some point you have to take te sure thing now in echange for a hope in the future.

      I don’t know what that right move is right now. There may not be one out there. but I am so sick of every July having the discussion about how this isn’t the year. Next year will be the year. The asking price is just too high. Blah Blah Blah. Maybe just maybe if you want to play with the big boys on the field you have to swallow that lump in your throat and pull the trigger on that deal that will enable you to do it.

      • I’m with you on the same old jargon, generally speaking, except that the whole idea of “all-in” at the trade deadline is terribly, terribly overblown.

        Every deadline SOMEBODY makes a big play.

        If it was worth it, don’t you think there would be a strong correlation between the teams that make big trades and the teams that go deep into the playoffs?

        • That’s a very good point and I find myself agreeing with you more and more these days.

          Is it “Worth it?”

          I guess that depends on the tem and what they need. Which is why I pointed to the “right piece” whatever that may be. we will almost assuredly never know exact negotiations and who was asked for. What bugs me is when a deal does get done by some other team for a marginal price and you hear the Bucs passed because the other team wanted Taillon ad marte and Polanco. To me this points to huntington’s in ability to bargain. Instead of saying no and countering with something more palateable it seems he laughs and hangs up never to be part of the process again.

          Looking for bench pieces this year should be somewhat easier, of course when looking for everyday payers last year we ended up with bench pieces so who knows what will come out of this. Heck maybe this four game slide is the start of somethign major and the Bucs aen’t even buyers come teh 31st. I mean we all certainly hopw that is not the case but it is not outised the realm of possibility.

          • I don’t know maybe when the team finishes above .500 just one year maybe that would indicate it’s the right time. Otherwise you are doing what KC did and trading all your prospects for 1 guy who adds 3 or 4 wins to your team but you still miss the playoffs or don’t have nearly enough to compete if you sneak into the playoffs.

            The Devil Rays have been in the same position we are almost every single year and not once that I can remember have they budged from their plan and traded propects for short term solutions. The Orioles and the A’s didn’t pick anyone up last year that was a big name. In fact the most recent teams that win the World Series do not have guys that they picked up at the trade deadline. The Giants picked up Pence but he hardly was the reason they won anything last year. He was horrible down the stretch.

            There are a lot more examples of teams in similar situations as the Pirates (small/medium market clubs) not making the big move then one’s that do like the Brewers did with Sabathia. The big moves are usually made by teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angles, Rangers and Tigers. They don’t value prospects like other teams they can just get free agents to fill holes and in most cases their big moves don’t pay off and teams like the Giants and Cardinals win it all.

  27. Hope everyone is staying dry and more importantly safe.

    With all the rain we’re getting is there any logical chance of a game today? It doesn’t look like it will let up any time soon and some people at work are saying that some streets are flooded.

  28. If any of you out there wondered where we get these cool avatars, just click on the link below & follow the simple steps. So easy even a Milo can do it.

    https://en.gravatar.com/

    (That was just for JAL) :)

  29. Look at how far Pedro has come:
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2012/2613291.html

    Just a little over a year ago, some were saying he could have been the biggest draft bust in history. Now, he’s in the all star game.

  30. So when Bob Nutting met Brandon Inge’s wife last night, how did the conversation go?.

    1- I have a cousin out yonder in Weirton, who will give you a discount on moving your stuff.

    2- How bad does Brandon and yourself want to spend the summer in Pittsburgh?
    3- What happened to your husband? , a few years ago, i told all my buddies he was the best right handed hitter i ever saw.

    All kidding aside, its getting frustrating when 1 run, 3 runs, 1 run , and 1 run, is all i am seeing over the last 4 games.

    Get some new blood up here, and end this Brandon Inge experiment 1x and for all!!!.

    Aoki, Michael Young, Chase Utley, Carlos Quentin , Ibanez(who can play 1st base, BTW) Logan Morrison, Ryan Roberts, are just a few names that would help the 2013 team, and wouldn’t cost the farm to be raped of its best prospects.
    Gotta do something, and not wait until 11 59pm on July 31st !

    • As much as I hate Raul Ibanez, that might not be a bad fit. Not sure Utley is going anywhere.

      • Utley has played 1st base in the past, also.

        Ryan Roberts is a switch hitter, little pop, can play infield AND outfield reasonably well, he can run, and i am betting he can hit a tad better than 180. after 100 or so plate appearances.

        Aoki, Young, Ibanez, Logan Morrison, in that order would work for me.

        A relief pitcher would be Ok, but i don’t think that is a major problem, especially with a few arms in the AAA bullpen who can do just as well.
        I still would like them to give this De Jesus Jr a shot, and also bring back Presley, as a competent PH off the bench.
        I just hope they don’t just stand pat with this current roster, if they are going to wait until the end of the month, to attempt to wheel and deal.

        And one more time, Cut Inge loose!!.

        • The issue with DeJesus is that he isn’t on teh forty man and the team isn’t quite ready to cut ties with any of the other 40 man guys. The obvious choice would to bid adieu to Harrison, but at this point he has about equivalent numbers in AAA as Dejesus and has played meaningful games in the bigs. He has had varried results, mostly bad but did show some marginal ability in some of his earlier stints. at one point he was a spark plug that seemed to have good things happen around him. that seems to have faded. You can argue he has had his shots and it is DeJesus’s turn, but I think the Bucs are more apt to go with the guy who has started in the pros before and not take a flier on DeJesus.

          Say you cut Harrison. You add DeJesus to the 40. You bring him up. he hits .180 in what is mostly a bench role while Barmes and Mercer start everyday. DeJesus then does not get the chance to play every day and devlop and he is just as bad off the bench as aharrison was. You can’t send him down because there are no other middle infielders on teh 40 man. You are stuck.

          Unless you advocate cutting Inge…i do…but you still are left with a prospect who would benefit from playing every day being stuck in a PH role.

      • Add Nate Schierholtz to that list of lefty bats. He’d platoon well with Tabby.

  31. I see Brian Bocock is starting for Indy today at ss. How did we reaquire him?

  32. I glad Pedro was left off the HR derby. It would have been embarrassing to watch him strikeout.

  33. I’m curious about this; why are the names of ARod and Ryan Braun allowed by Bud Selig to be kicked around now in the media – as being in line for a 100 game suspension even though they may not get such a severe penalty – and the other 20 + players remain anonymous?

    Does the star status of ARod and Braun create greater “excitement” about this travesty of truth and the game of baseball? The others are currently flying under the radar, while some of them may well be “stars” themselves.

    There is a huge inequity being allowed here IMO. Many of these others may also merit the max penalty also.

    I don’t quite get it.

    • Other names are out there, I think its just a case of those two being the “most famous” ones on the list, for example, Nelson Cruz is another fellow tied to the list

      • Yes, I was aware of Nelson Cruz. Do we agree that those other two names make the story more sensational, and the post-All Star game announcement makes it “real dramatic”?

        You know I shouldn’t be concerned, because the appeals process will be even more disgusting

    • The names are not anonymous. I saw the list on ESPN when the news first broke. I don’t have it off the top of my head thought. there were only 2 or 3 other guys worth really noting on it if I recall.

    • They’re not anonymous, Bob. At least not most of them. A-Fraud and Cryin’ Ryan are just the “big stars”. Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Fernando Martinez, Fautino De Los Santos, Cesar Puello, Bartolo Colon, and Yasmani Grandal just don’t get the same response.

  34. Funny, I wasn’t aware Pittsburgh still had a mayor.

  35. Heard Huntington on MLB Radio about an hour ago. He said we may or may not make trades by the deadline.

    Discuss.

      • Gotta keep those other GM’s guessing. :-)

      • BTW, I found out last night that you can send in unused season tickets, I called to buy some for when Demon and company visit and I was asked if I had anything in my “bank”.

    • I think he’s hit with sticker shock regarding prices of players that would make a difference

    • 24/7 has multiple tweets on the segment.

    • Meh. that’s pretty much what you will hear from most GMs. “We will make moves if we feel they are appropriate to the teams goals and if not we are happy with what we currently have.”

    • Who cares what he says, let’s see what he does. I’m not showing you my cards either.

    • Just another case of old neal being the smartest man in the room.
      I have ZERO confidence in him doing the right thing.
      Actually, I look for him to acquire more AAAA players and prospects. (Hello Mr. Snider).

      • What we think is right and what is right for the team is more of an insiders view point.

        I happen to think that his trade for Wandy, was spot on. So was his trades for DLee and Ludwick the year before. Snider and Sanchez were probably viewed as platoon type players, like they are.

        • My first line doesn’t make sense………at least the “insiders view point” part. Let me try to clarify.

          Meaning: We have no idea what takes place during trade talks. I wish it were like the movies, but I’m sure it isn’t.

          Easy for us to want this player or that player..I know, I fall to that as well.

  36. I think some concern should be with the eight starters too. We have no consistent producer among them as well.

    Yes we need bench players, but if the starters across the board are not succeeding, this dilemma to me is akin to using a band aid when a tourniquet is required.

    We’ve had several very well pitched games – especially the last two – which resulted in a loss because of no run production.

  37. Happy Birthday to Gene Alley, a youthful 73 today.

  38. Matt Harvey has been scratched from Saturday’s start at Pittsburgh. They shouldn’t have said anything, we probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

    • That’s a smart move. The Mets aren’t going anywhere this year, and he deserves to start the All Star game this year in his home park.

  39. I’m not gonna ask how he got that blister ;X

  40. @DK – The Pens signed winger Matt D’Agostini for $550,000. Is this Tyler Kennedy, the sequel? I know he scored 21 goals a couple years ago, and 550k isn’t much to take a flyer on a player, but he doesn’t seem like a bottom 6 forward unless the theory of having a 3rd line that scores plays out (D’Agostini-Sutter-Bennett). He and Jeffery may battle for that LW spot. Or he is just an extra forward….

  41. Game thread is up

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