By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media
Morning, Lunatics …
>> Today’s TribLIVE Radio show — 1-2 p.m. — will feature special guest Aaron Donald, Pitt’s outstanding defensive tackle who this week was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award. He’s coming off a season of 18.5 tackles for losses, 5 1/2 sacks — despite teams being able to routinely double him — and should be one of the top players in the country at his position.
Here’s a small slice of our conversation on video …
We’ll also hear from Trib baseball writer Rob Biertempfel and, of course, @Suckmeter.
To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android, we’ve got the upgraded TribLIVE Radio app. Also free and easy.
I want you involved, too …
And you can email the show at any time, not just when it’s airing.
>> The Pirates lost their third in a row, to the A’s.
Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.
>> Just for fun, this was the basic summary of reader feedback I got in this and other social media over the past couple days:
1. The Pirates are struggling to score.
2. Hence, they need to upgrade in right field.
Now, in the broader sense, I get that. Even addressed that position specifically in the column last week advising caution about making any major — emphasis on major — trades.
But turns out that right now, there’s absolutely zero direct linkage between Nos. 1 and 2 up there. If you haven’t noticed, since Jose Tabata was told to go win the right field job Thursday, all he’s done is go 9 for 21 with three walks to raise his team-best season average to .304, his on-base percentage to .371. He’s also chipped in three doubles, a triple and a steal.
If you’re going to complain, at least get the complaint right.
The problem is the bench.
To repeat: The column last week was about MAJOR trades. It’s in there twice, for those who stopped at the headline. And no bench trade is a MAJOR trade.
(Sorry for the obnoxious font. Seems to be what it takes at times.)
The Pirates aren’t exactly killing it with their everyday eight, but it still stands out that they’re getting .195 production from their pinch-hitters, as well as a .561 OPS that ranks 21st in the majors. Even some of that is misleading, once you see that Russell Martin is 2 for 2 as a pinch-hitter. It’s not like he’s part of the bench.
Between them, Brandon Inge, Travis Snider, Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones and Michael McKenry are a combined 11 for 73 as pinch-hitters, with one home run and 11 RBIs.
That’s the problem.
And that’s not something that can be solved by calling up Alex Presley or Josh Harrison.
I’m going back to the ballpark today for the purpose of a Wednesday column.
>> The Penguins’ rookie development camp begins a week from today. Rob Rossi reports. The lone scrimmage will be July 20 at 3 p.m. at Consol.
>> Still feeling indebted to the Riverhounds for their courtesy this weekend, I’ll toss in here that they’re pushing hard to sell out Highmark Stadium for the July 19 international friendly vs. Wigan Athletic, England’s FA Cup champs this season.
>> Hope you can tune in today!