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Final: Pirates 5, Athletics 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (53-36) vs. Oakland Athletics (54-37)

Starters: LHP Francisco Liriano vs. LHP Tommy Milone

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Jose Tabata, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Russell Martin, C
  5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  7. Jordy Mercer, 2B
  8. Clint Barmes, SS
  9. Liriano, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Rob Biertempfel is on the scene.

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.

201 Comments

  1. Ok. No more it’s-a-good-thing losses.

  2. So Pedro back out of the cleanup role already…..

    • Only because A’s are throwing a lefty. The fact that Clint didn’t drop him to 6th is a ringing endorsement, actually.

    • And will be anytime a LHP starts against us. He’ll be right back in clean up against the next RH starter. I think it makes sense. Though Jordy hits lefties better than Tabby so I’d rather see him hitting 2nd.

  3. This is a game we should win based on the pitching matchup. But I hope Liriano doesn’t have to throw a no-no to win it.

  4. WEDNESDAY PICK ‘EM!!!

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!!

    Tonight’s Pick ‘Em Line
    What Will the Pirates Get in tonight’s game?
    Win (EVEN ODDS)
    Loss (EVEN ODDS)

    Please Note – All games must be considered official games in order for line(s) to be valid. Any postponement, cancellation, or suspension of game(s) will void line(s).

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    P.S. – The Window has secured tickets to the Pirates / Mets games on this Friday and Saturday.
    Anyone of you fine lunatics looking to meet up for a brew or two, send me an email at buccooverunder at gmail-dot-com

    DK, if you are going to be at either one of those games, The Window formally requests an audience with your Eminence.

  5. Did anyone see the Giants signed a resident of the blog; Jeff Francour?

    This is sounding like their 2010 run. Cody Ross and Pat Burrell off the scrap heap.

    • If they can turn whatever is left of the guy who used to be ok at baseball named Jeff Francouer into something close to Cody Ross of 2010, then Sabean has a deal with the devil.

      • Matt Cain just got pulled after only going 2/3 of an inning. I think Sabean has bigger problems than figuring out how to use Frenchy.

        But, I have to admit that I always liked Francoeur. At one time (a few years ago) he might of had the best arm of any outfielders in baseball. The guy was fun to watch play.

      • I agree. Cody Ross wasn’t fairing to well either whenever they picked him up. But who knows.

        Giants pitching is what won them 2 WS’s, but now they all seem hurt. Not a good thing.

  6. NMR,
    To reply to your question (rhetorical?) this morning, I’ll just quote myself from yesterday morning: “…Jones has faced righties 259 times to the 69 times Sanchez has faced lefties… Meanwhile, since Sanchez is on the bench more often he is a candidate to pinch hit more often. His BA as a PH is .133.”

    Above numbers don’t reflect last night’s game, but they are telling enough. Sanchez essentially has TWO roles: as a rightie platoon mate for Jones, but just as importantly, as a late–inning bat off the bench. As for the discussion you and AJS had where you two appear to concur about “keep(ing) Gabby in his role as a guy who bats only against lefties,” I would have to beg to differ. The reality is that we don’t have that luxury. Late in games it is ‘all hands on deck.’ In the past two Oakland games we’ve called on Gabby in his other roll as a pinch-hitter and he’s been just another one of the guys failing to get it done.

    • Oh, so all we need is guys who can hit both righties AND lefties?

      WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!

      :)

      • Ha ha!
        I actually had been thinking of a couple of your previous posts (‘What do you call bench players who can hit? Starters!’ Or, from early in the year when we entered the season with A.J., Wandy, and three big question marks in our starting rotation. You posted something to the effect that this is the reality with most MLB clubs — the back end of a rotation ain’t going to be on par with it’s front end.

        Well, we caught lightning in a bottle with Jeff Locke & Co. letting us have our cake and eat it too. Can’t a guy get greedy and want the ’79 Bucs bats coming off the bench too? ;)

          • One good Muppet sighting deserves another!

            • You made my day. I even said on the other thread that I would miss cookie monster ( as in Matt Cooke).

            • I can see you’re not too good with a scissors. ;)

              • If you mean “cutting and pasting,” no, I’m not. Have tried to figure out why the whole embedded video shows up when I’m only pasting the link, and others, like Jandy, have given advice. But to no avail. Sometimes, like below, I use Tinyurl.com for help. But there must be something with the Firefox browser I use. I dunno. Happens to Hippo too, I think.

              • I meant the holes in Charlie Brown’s ghost costume. He explains the holes be explaining that he is not good with a scissors, but I like your explanation too. It’s grown up, which is what I should be more often. :-)

              • OH! Forgot about my Halloween costume, there. As for my “grown up” explanation — sorry! It was a relapse. Won’t happen again. ;)

        • Haha, I’m glad you found the intended humor in my response.

          I’ve been intermittently b*tching and moaning about the way this roster was constructed from the beginning of the year, and this is one example.

          I have no problem with teams, especially low payroll teams, utilizing platoons. What I don’t like is when the same team has several, only one of which actually works, and it just so happens to be with two defensively limited players.

          I’ve accepted both Gaby and Jones limitations at this point, and I think the Pirates should too. Instead of putting Gaby in a position where he HAS to come through against righties in a difficult PH role, Hurdle should be given someone who can actually hit righties. Plenty of roster spots available.

    • So you don’t feel that another lefty bat off the ench would be a good thing to have? I sure do. It means you can use your PH more situationally and less out of necessity.

  7. Thought of the day: does anybody have an opinion about whether Tabata should bat leadoff and Marte second?

    • 1. Matt Carpenter .331 .404 .500 .904
      2. Shin-Soo Choo .285 .429 .474 .902
      3. Gerardo Parra .287 .335 .461 .796
      4. Starling Marte .286 .330 .457 .786

      He’s got the 4th highest OPS in all of baseball out of the leadoff spot… “If it ain’t broke”…. And thankfully it finally aint broke.

      • My response has more to do with Marte hitting behind Tabby and in front of Cutch than with “fixing” anything.

        • I see your angle, but I don’t know if it makes a difference. If Marte is leading off and getting on base, Tabata is still going to see fastballs. Especially with Marte a threat to steal. Plus the pitcher is not going to want to put two guys on base ahead of Cutch. I think by moving Marte, all you do is risk turning a strength (finally having a lead-off hitter) into something less than what it is now.

          • I can accept that.

            But wouldn’t you at least say that if Tabby continues far outpacing Marte’s OBP, that “risk” would be awfully small?

            • That’s a massive “IF”….

              If Tabata can not only produce, but stay healthy and produce it does more than allow Hurdle to bat him lead-off and move Marte down. That fills the gaping hole in RF. But his health is another massive if.

              I’m rooting for the guy, and I hope he comes through. The Bucs have millions tied up in him, and it would be great if he becomes a productive, EVERYDAY, bat. But until that happens, I’m not messing with Marte.

          • With tonight’s personnel, I think I would go:
            Tabby
            Mercer
            Marte
            Cutch
            Alvarez
            Martin
            Sanchez
            Barmes
            Maybe just while Walker’s out, and vs. RHP, but there it is.

    • I have an opinion that Marte needs to be taken out to the wood shed. He previously had been observed learning to have, well, at least a “little” more patience and discipline at the plate. But some of his outlandish swings in these past two games would make a Little Leaguer blush.

      • Does Jay Bell have a problem with Marte?.

        I notice after the tying HR on Sunday, as every one was congratulating him, Bell barely moved, did not get up, and slightly raised his hand , as he passed by.

        You would think the hitting coach would be 1 of the 1st to welcome him back to the dugout.

        Maybe an afternoon of getting bitched at by Hurdle for the mostly incompetent Ab’s, made him sulk in his own little “happy place”.

      • Marte being Marte. At this point, I don’t think anybody can reasonably expect him to change.

        A while back I tried to put a little perspective on his plate discipline. I simply looked to see which outfielders were successful while striking out more than 20% of the time and walking less than 5% of the time.

        I had to go back to 2008 before I found a single qualified player to even fit those parameters. Yikes.

        Good news is that the two players I found were Adam Jones and Carlos Gomez. So, it can be done successfully…just very, very, VERY rarely.

      • Hurdle himself, said during the Spring that they weren’t going to tinker too much with Marte, for exactly that “Marte being Marte” reasoning. By and large I buy this. However, he has perceptibly regressed these past few games — that one swing AFTER the ball had clearly bounced before reaching the plate was unacceptable. Marte can be Marte, but he can’t completely turn his brain off.

        • Oh trust me, I don’t buy this whole “let him be” thing in the least.

          People compare him to Vlad Guerrero because of their shared aggressiveness, but they leave out the part about Vlad actually being good at hitting baseballs outside of the strike zone.

          Marte is not. He’s not even average. Does Marte absolutely no good.

          It is a testemant to how great he can hit balls inside the strike zone that his season is going as well as it is.

          • Yes. Since we didn’t win, that home run in Chicago Tomp mentions probably set him back more than it helped him. I think there’s a direct correlation between that (amazing!) shot, and his ensuing dunderhead at-bats against Oakland. But Hurdle and the team will get the kid to figuring it out. Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, but the art of batting really is a journey. I’m close to age 50 and still learning (nowadays, through my kids).

          • The homer on Sunday was outside the zone. But one example does not discount your correct assertion.

            • Very true, but also very true.

              Most batters chasing a pitch outside better compromise and poke it the other way, or they roll over on it and weakly ground out. Marte still *pulled* it with a liner into the seats. The raw ability of this kid is off the charts. If he manages to put it all together — wow.

        • Seems like he’s guessing too much. I’m all for looking for a certain pitch, in a certain zone, and being ready if you get it. Most guys will look for it, and only swing if it’s that certain pitch. Consequently they end up looking at some pretty good strikes, just because it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.

          Marte, on the other hand, looks for a pitch and just unloads regardless of what is actually thrown.

          • If its not what they wanted or “their pitch” then its not really a good strike. Its just a strike. A good strike would be looking at one in their zone and taking it.

  8. Speaking of the “scrap heap”, are we beginning to see the inexorable march of time work its undoing on the likes of Verlander, Lincecum, Halladay, Sabathia, Hamels, Hudson, Zito, etc.

    They appear to be but a shadow of their former selves (self).

  9. On the home run derby, who gives the mandate that Wright and Cano should be the captains in the 1st place?

    It certainly should not be based solely on the fact that those 2 are members of teams playing in New York.

    If i recall last season, the game was in K C, and again , Cano was the “captian” of the team.

    I just remember the S-storm of boos and heckling he received for not choosing Billy Butler for the gang of 4.

    Next season, after the Nl gets totally thumped, maybe the fans should pick the 4 contestants via an internet ballot, just like the extra player is chosen.

    As for captains, the leading HR hitter in each league should be captain, whether he wants to participate or not.

    Bob Walk and his hand maiden Greg Brown went a little too far in the “why isn’t Alvarez on the squad”?.
    Of course , the rest of time was mostly spent as they played auctioneers, and throwing in a little baseball play by play.
    I realize the auction is for a good cause, but they have to attempt to cut back on the constant pining for $$$$.

    • All part of the budmeister master carnival plan

    • Pedro’s omission from the HR contest could turn out to be a blessing. First, does he benefit from being left out of a meaningless contest and put his time to better use? Second, does it inspire him to work harder at drawing walks instead of striking out? Third, does he try harder to hit more homers to in the regular season to “show up” Wright and the others? Finally, does it save him from the risk of messing up his timing, eye-arm-hand coordination and swing?

      Revenge is a meal best served with a cold beer.

      • Or, he could actually have some fun with it if he was actually selected.

        I’m not one that believes that one HR derby ruins a swing.

        • From MLB today on Pedro’s participation in the HR Derby:

          Hurdle said he was fine with Alvarez’s potential participation but that there was a certain way to approach the Derby.

          “I’ve seen some guys come out of that thing gassed,” Hurdle said. “Whether it was a coincidence or not, the follow-up for a few weeks was a whole different thing than what you saw going in.”

  10. It getting real dark out here in Beaver County

    Lets hope they get this one in

  11. @ playoffs

    100 for the win please!

  12. 100 on the win please.

  13. I don’t post much because I won’t let myself break down and post at work, and I debated posting this for about a week because the length of this post will most likely be greater than its value…but what the heck, I’m sure a few will appreciate it anyways, I’m looking at you NMR…

    I live in Hagerstown, MD (I’m checked in with Biz :)) and WV Power came to town last week and I went to all 3 games. Here were my observations (warning: amateur baseball analysis ahead):

    Josh Bell

    My expectations: I expected to see a stud in the mold of Mike Trout/Jason Heyward type. All around good athlete.

    What I saw: Definitely a big body with some athleticism there. But not the most athletic guy on the field. I don’t want to say he was cumbersome looking as he ran, but something looked awkward to me…couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s not like he was slow, but maybe the strides were so long that it looked slower? Vlad Guerrero kept coming to mind.. idk… They had him playing right field and he had the opportunity to come up throwing to the plate…very strong, impressive arm on him. Hitting, he only squared up 1 or 2 balls at the plate over the 3 games, but even his “excuse me” swings jumped off the bat and went for doubles, of which he had 2-4 in the series. Fun player to watch. I could see him as a legit major leaguer.

    Dilson Herrera

    My expectations: After reading that he would be in the Futures Game, I expected to see something special

    What I saw: Poor guy had a rough series haha. Didn’t have bad range, but couldn’t get to any balls. About 3 poor throws from 2nd base. Only squared up 2 balls at the plate, 1 was an “at em” ball and the other he got robbed. He was visibly frustrated by game 3. Overall, not sure what the hype is about

    Tyler Glasnow

    My expectations: This guy’s going to be a stud. High 90s heat. Probably about to be promoted.

    What I saw: Dude is tall and lanky. I’m sure in slow motion his wind up looks smooth and repeatable, but live, it looks like a sideways helicopter haha. If you’re looking at him from the batter’s perspective, I bet his front knee, glove (lead arm), and ball/throwing arm all travel on the same plane…if you can picture that. A scout said he sat at 95 and touched 97…but the kid got hit hard early and often. Didn’t see a lot of movement on the pitches. Curveball seemed to break early rather than late. Not very good pitch sequencing. Not sure if it was an off game or that’s what he is right now. Definitely needs a lot of seasoning before becoming a major league player… from the 1 game I saw :)

    Luis Heredia:

    My Expectations: After reading about how he showed up to ST overweight, I jumped to the conclusion that he’s lazy, not a hard worker. I’m thinking, what’s this kid doing, is he complacent with the $, maybe he’ll never get that fastball up to the projected 95mph heat that we hoped…

    What I saw: Wow. Rene Gayo found another gem. Heredia blew me away. Fastball sat between 91-93. Slider was real nice. He kept the hitters off balance with superb pitch sequencing for that level and worked the outside corner all night, I dare say even working over the ump. At one point I thought; “this kid could be a #5 starter in MLB RIGHT NOW”

    Clearly much more advanced than any other player on the field, despite not yet having “elite stuff.” Amazing for an 18 year old. Throws with a lot of arm/shoulder right now. I can see why they say that he can add a couple more mph to the fastball (if he learns how to use his legs/core to generate torque in my opinion).

    Coolest story of the series: On 1 of the 2/3 hits that were squared up on Heredia, the center fielder (not Barret Barnes that day) ran a looong way into the right center gap and caught the elevated line drive on the track for the 3rd out. I naturally snap my head to Heredia. Luis jogs 2 steps towards the visiting dugout along the 3rd base line, stops in his tracks, and turns to wait for the center fielder. The center fielder slowly trots off the field behind the rest of the team and Luis greets him behind the mound with a hand shake and a smile. The 2 trotted in the dugout together. Another example of superior maturity from Heredia. Again just blew me away for an 18 year old.

    Surprise that I saw: I’m going to be keeping an eye on Max Moroff. Spunky little switch hitting SS that appears to have gap power potential. Built like Adam Kennedy and reminds me of Jordy Mercer skill level when I saw him play for High A Hickory

    Sorry for the length here.

    Go Bucs. #everyoneremaincalm

    • Hell, we’re all amateur baseball analysts. Good stuff, Jordan.

    • nice post!

    • “couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s not like he was slow, but maybe the strides were so long that it looked slower?”

      Jose Tabata?

      • No. Not Tabata. Hard to describe. I keep typing analogies and deleting them. Sorry I can’t be more descriptive haha.

    • Thanks for posting and sharing, Hagerstown added to the list of lunatics

      Do it more often Jordan ;-)

      Nice post

    • Jordan that is really good stuff. Thank you. I am going to taken a Bradenton game while on vaca in early August and will try to give an update. Hope I can do half as good as you did.

      • I’ll be looking forward to it, Lad.

        The reason I decided to post was because I know how much I enjoy reading other people’s eye witness accounts. We always hear reports on prospects, but it’s almost always boiled down to the same 6 adjectives of baseballspeak. Doesn’t always pick up the little things that are so interesting.

    • Great post. (Except for the shout out to NMR). :-)

    • Way to go, Jordan. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Great report. Wish the Bowling Green team down here was still in the Sally League. Then I’d get some Power games to go to.

      Saw some good baseball the last time they were here several years ago.

    • Jordan …thank you…enjoyed your observations !!!
      .
      RE: Josh Bell……I’ve heard some folks say …..he might be a future first baseman. Your thoughts above point that direction (instead of OF)

    • Thanks Jordan!

    • Nice job, Jordan. I had Heredia on my untouchable list so your comments were of interest.

  14. Its raining cats and dogs outside, gonna be a long night

  15. Here’s a new one:

    “Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) suggets five blockbuster trades for teams, including a swap between the White Sox and Pirates. Bowden’s hypothetical has Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez heading to Pittsburgh for outfielder Gregory Polanco, pitcher Nick Kingham, and shortstop Jordy Mercer. Bowden reasons that the deal will give the White Sox an excellent prospect in Polanco while allowing them to get younger and free up dollars. ”

    Heck of a hypothetical. No way this happens, IMO

  16. Jordan’s post earlier leads me to this question for all—i am very close to Jamestown, NY where pirates have short season A team…..anyone on that team I should watch for?

  17. Any guesstimates on a game start? Currently on usair flight from charlotte to phx and was hoping to catch the game on the ipad

  18. Lyle Overbay hit a grand slam tonight. That’s his 11th this season.

    Just thought I’d share.

  19. Start time 9:50

  20. We have tickets for tonight’s game.
    We haven’t left the house.

    We’re not going to make it to the game tonight.
    I’m bummed because I really wanted to see tha A’s…and see another Bucco victory

  21. Is this delay because of Cole?

  22. Nice play by Liriano !!!

  23. Needed that, Liriano has a lot of movement on ball tonight will need to find command. Heads up play to get Crisp to far off third.

    Time for the bats to awaken from slumber.

  24. Marte hit that one with a wedge I think.

  25. Exhibition of stellar baserunning so far by these two teams.

  26. I am surprised that so many people are in the ballpark

  27. Way it has been going bottom of order strings together consecutive hits but pitcher is up with two outs

  28. Tabby looking good.

  29. Cutch looked like he was shocked he got a hit with someone on base.

  30. Finally the big inning the team needed. Top of order coming through with Tabata continuing to be spark since return and Alvarez quickly becoming most feared hitter on team.

  31. Wonder if Oakland’s bullpen is overworked.

  32. Pedro hitting lefties like an all-star. That 5-0 looks nice, even this early.

    • Agreed.

      I am going to say something that will border on blasphemy, being everyone is in love with AJ, Cole, Locke, etc………………………………………….. Frankie Liriano may just be the Pirates most consistently good starter this year. Who would have thought that when he was signed, then that goofy injury?

      5-0 good guys looks mighty nice. :)

    • Agreed, even has his average at .254 so can’t even find fault with that. He is developing into complete hitter.

  33. Any opposing pitcher would be a fool to ever throw Marte a pitch above the knees.

    He seems to be an addict for low balls OUT of the zone, and he looks hapless on those

  34. Behind seven dominant innings from Francisco Liriano and a 12 hit night that included multi-hit games for Marte, Tabata, Cutch and Alvarez the Bucs blank the A’s for the first time ever 5-0 and there was noooooooooo doubt about it.

    With the win the Pirates are 18 above .500 at 54-36 and salvage a game in the series with Oakland. The Pirates snap a four game losing streak and are 3-6 in July. The Bucs are 3.5 games up for the top wild card position and 1.5 back in the Central.

    After the off day the Pirates will open their last series before the All-Star break against the Mets with Charlie Morton taking the ball in the opener.

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  35. Raise The Jolly Hippo!

    First time ever beating the A’s.

    Good Night from Hippo’s Pond. :)

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