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Morning Java: Liriano like 2006 … only better?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

WASHINGTON — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column recommends three insider trades the Pirates should be delighted to make. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to an outside trade. It’s in there.

Here’s some of what Garrett Jones had to say on the topic …

I am interested, as always, in your own thoughts on players who might step up down the stretch.

Here is game coverage by Rob Biertempfel, focusing on Francisco Liriano’s continuing excellence.

If I might expand a bit …

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I loved how the first thing out of Clint Hurdle’s mouth afterward was being impressed that Liriano threw 20 of 22 first-pitch strikes. That’s just outrageous and, really, it’s a far cry from the Liriano who had significant walk issues the past … well, for quite a long time, really. And the beauty of it is that Liriano hits that initial spot, then can move all over the strike zone with all of his pitches.

Remember what Tony Watson told me last week about how all of Liriano’s pitches look like “they’re coming at you at exactly the same speed?”

Well, imagine being the hitter with that effect and the location he’s shown.

“He’s just a pro,” Hurdle said. “You’re watching a pro out there.”

Maybe it’s a little more. You know, one thing I recalled reading about Liriano after his breakout 2006 season with the Twins was that his Tommy John surgery would basically cost him his best pitch, the changeup. Saw him in Fort Myers during his comeback, watched hitters take whacks all day off him, and thought how sad it was that he was trying to essentially reinvent himself.

I have to tell you, that changeup he was throwing last night was for legit swings and misses.

So I asked the man the following question …

Uh-huh, he did say that.

Anyway, here are official game highlights with a whole lot of Liriano, from MLB.com.

>> One day until the Steelers report, two until they take the field in Latrobe and — just for fun — 44 until the opener with Tennessee. Alan Robinson looks ahead. (But not that far ahead.)

>> Robert Bortuzzo is retained by the Penguins. Josh Yohe gets reaction. On deck now, apparently: The trade of Matt Niskanen.

>> Bill O’Brien mans the mic at the Big 10 meetings. Scott Brown is in Chicago.

>> Man, Rushel Shell is easier to dislike by the day. Putting off for another day an announcement that he’s obviously going to West Virginia, as if that’s still a big deal as opposed to a transfer?

Paul Chryst will look like a genius out of this.

>> Quality preseason honor for Pitt safety Jason Hendricks.

>> Reminder: The weekly chat has moved to Fridays. That begins this week.

>> I’ll stay here for the series finale today — and the Friday column — then drive back home in plenty of time to see the Steelers’ first practice.

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.

226 Comments

  1. By my count, just 40 days until Pitt’s Monday night nationally televised ACC debut.

    I noted 6 of the preseason ACC Offensive and Defensive players come from Pitt’s opening opponent, Florida State. Also, the Seminoles are ranked generally in the 13-14 range, depending on the source.

    Certainly a tough draw, especially since FSU will similarly have not played a game. No current tape to look at. But overall the schedule is favorable. ND is at home. North Carolina and Miami have to come north when it will likely be chilly. And no Clemson.

    You can learn a lot about a coach by how is team plays and executes when given a lot of time to prepare for an opponent. So I think the opener will be a good measuring tool for evaluating Chryst. Especially with it being against a quality opponent.

    DK: What would the line be at this point, Florida State by 35, 40?

    • Yeah, I don’t think Sagarin and his ilk have posted lines yet. I was looking at power rankings on one site, something called 4down20.com, and they had FSU’s PR at 2 overall and Pitt at 24! And, of course, if something is on the internet, then it is conclusively accurate!

      Even if the Panthers get pummeled, it should still provide a lot of information about Chryst’s gameday abilities.

    • John: have you seen any Big 10 predictions yet? I have not.

      • OSU good. Everyone else, not so good.

      • Hey Radio:

        I’ve seen USA Today’s preview. They were high on Ohio State, obviously, but also Michigan and Nebraska. I think they projected PSU at 7-5. I think they had my Badgers going 8-4.

        I know you have Iowa connections. USA Today predicted a struggle for the Hawkeyes. Both my sisters live in Iowa City. They say not much is expected for them. The Hawkeyes don’t have a decent QB. I wonder if there will be pressure on Ferentz ? I have always thought he was a great coach and a great fit for that school.

        The Badgers have a new coach, who I like a lot. They have QB issues. I have season tickets for them again this year. They open up 08/31 at home with UMass.

        I just bought Phil Steele’s preview. Have not had a chance to look at it closely. But I pretty much consider that my preseason Bible.

        • John, thank you for the feedback. Is Phil Steel’s preview only in hard copy, or can it be purchased as an online content?

          • Not sure about the online version, RW. I’m old school with that publication. I will buy the hard copy until they stop making it. :)

    • Florida State by 26 and a half.
      The “half” is for shuttlecock awareness, which everybody knows, is of far greater importance to Florida State players than Pitt playaz

  2. Wow, what a game! I closed and open today (It is Thursday now), but taped the game. I think Neil got him on the arm. Major league umps miss some, but remember, they are Major League Umps. Meaning the best. Did the job for free or for peanuts when I was younger, and I can tell you it is the next best thing to playing. is umping. You have to be in position, be ready, make a call, and live with it.

    DK, love your work. I’ll have just enough time to drink my Morning Java and read yours before I put my eight in and come home and watch the tape of today’s game.

    Twenty one over .500. “21 mean anything…”

    ‘night Lunnies

  3. If Liriano’s changeup is back, if his control is back, and so is his fastball (couldn’t see the game, but 24/7 reports he hit 98 with it today), no wonder he’s virtually untouchable.

    Don’t know what A.J. has in store for us tomorrow (probably something very ace-like), but has there ever been a team that doesn’t know who its real number one starter is because so many of their guys are so dominating? I mean, Cole’s ‘worst’ start was that game against the Mets where he gave up a three-run first inning… and nothing more. A.J. is A.J. Locke, frankly, has been even better than our ace, and so has Liriano. This is incredible.

    • Well said, Ghost. The whole starting staff shows up almost every game and gives a great effort. The bullpen is generally like that as well.

    • I checked out in about the 4th inning (had a late night Tuesday) but I did see Liriano hit 97, and he was sitting at about 94-95. Granted this was only up until the 3rd-4th, but the velocity seems to be there early on.

  4. Hipposter,
    Check out this pic. of Lynda Carter from only 3 1/2 years ago, at about age 58.
    One of kind. Still July 24, out here, so one more time: Happy Birthday, Lady Lynda.

    http://thatsthelook.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/lyndacarterperformingatfashionnightout3.jpg

  5. Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! ….LX wins down, …and XXII to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    PS: Nice to ready the brooms for a sweep today !
    .
    PSS: Look at the batting averages at the bottom end of that lineup yesterday….Snider (.228), McKenry (.193), Barmes (.216)……frightening :-( …….and yes, it is reconginzed Mikey had 2 RBI — still scares me !

  6. “I don’t want to talk about Pitt,” he said.

    Man, Rushel Shell is easier to like by the day.

  7. Man, did yinz guys see that welt on Tabata’s forearm after he was hit with the pitch in the top of the 9th?

    TV showed a close-up at 1st base . . . . you not only could see the whole ball, you could see the stitches!!

    I said “ow!” out loud (scared the cat) when I saw it!!

  8. Neil Walker and The Fort come up with B-I-G ribbies in 9th inning last night.

    Dejan’s article proves true!

    Fort seemed to call a decent game for Liriano (only 2 hits) and allowed no stolen bases.

    Like Mark Twain said, “Reports of the Fort’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

    • I was so happy to see the Fort come through in such a huge way, especially after whiffing on a pitch two feet out of the zone! Great guy who needed to smile at least once this season. But we still need a better backup…

      • Agreed, Karen, it’s high time…and I was happy!

      • Well said, Karen. Fort has frustrated me with his lack of production this year, but he came through big last night and you have to feel for a guy who does that when he’s scuffling.

  9. Some thoughts on the upcoming trade deadline:

    Ibanez would be a nice addition and wouldn’t have to give up too much. I think he could be OK in PNC’s right field, given the shorter dimensions. The need at this position may have been heightened if Tabata is going to be out, yet once again.

    Byrd may be an option too. I’m really not that impressed with Rios and am glad he may be out of the picture. That trade proposal floated around in recent days, involving Rios and Alexei Ramirez was ridiculous. I’d really like to see Joey Bats in a Bucs uniform again, but the price on him would be prohibitive as well.

    I also think that the answers may be at Indy, in Lambo, DeJesus and Tony Sanchez, although with Sanchez, he needs to fix his throwing problems first. McKenry has actually come through a couple times recently, so maybe that one could and should wait.

    Mainly, there needs to be better options off the bench. There could be a few more sellers by this time next week, maybe the Nats being one, having lost six straight and are now 9.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Also the Phillies, Rockies (Cuddyer?) and the Giants, who are really falling off.

    I wonder if the Angels and Blue Jays, two high priced teams going nowhere, might throw in the towel too?

    • …you can’t come home again 3 x !!! :-(

    • Good thoughts, Ed. I have wondered about DeJesus in Indy as well. He is a PH-back-up infielder type, but never gets the call. They must think he is awful in the field. I’ve been scratching my head all year on that one.

      I don’t think teams like the Angels throw in the towel simply because they have the huge TV deal and they need ratings, plus they have the huge payroll and they need bodies in seats. At least, that is what I am hearing about the Angels, Phils, Yanks – teams like that. Cubs seem to be the only big market team that approaches it differently.

      • I’ll say this one last time then I am done making this point. Neither Lambo NOR DeJesus are on the 40 man roster. We can keep talking about htem all we want but the fact of the matter is they are not coming to Pittsburgh this season. The only way it happens is if someone goes on teh 60 day and opens up a slot on the 40 man. They’d much rather go with harrison who

        1. Is on the 40 man,
        2. Has played in some games and had some success(prior to this year of course) and
        3. They believe can play infield and outfield poitions

        Though with the DFA of Inge a spot on the 40 may open up.

        • I don’t recall much success with Harrison, AJS. His batting avg. has been bad, his OBP has been worse.

          I recall he ran over Yadi, and that was cool. Other than that, I think he is a AAAA hitter. I just thought they picked up DeJesus to possibly help them this year. It is not a big stretch to think he could be on the 40 man in place of JHay. I am conceding that they must think JHay is a better defender.

          • The success has been spotty and limited for sure. But I do remember two years ago when he was playing everyday at third base it seemed like once a game he made something happen. that eventually tailed off and a larger sample size sows he likely i the AAAA hitter you describe. But the fact that he has had limited success keeps him on the 40 man. That and his percieved defensive utility.

            • No doubt, that’s it. I just find it perplexing. But, they know what they have.

              I think we will see an upgrade of the Harrison role from the outside. I hope so, anyway. I’m not talking about a blockbuster deal. But, there have to be better options.

    • You like the old fellas don’t you? Ibanez and Byrd. EEK! I wan nothing to do with Raul Ibanez. Dude is like 50.

  10. Great pitchers duel last night. I grew up watching Seaver, Ryan, Carlton, Gibson, etc…………… and I was a fan of them as much as Stargell, Aaron, etc. (no one in my eyes ever compares to #21…….ever). I would take last nights game over an AL 12-8 fantasy baseball game any day of the week. Must be old……….

    Agreed Frankie has been great this year, especially after that goofy accident in the offseason. But lets be honest……….. how many people saw this coming?? I know his stats the past few years showed room for improvement, and switching to the HL helped, but come on………… no one could have seen this. And for those who want to give neal credit for this signing, I have two words for you: Jonathan Sanchez.

    Who would I like to see step up from DK’s little piece about Burnett, et all……….. Burnett. Its is obvious that pitching and defense will carry this team. And Jones, Walker, Tabata……. well, they are what they are. It would be wonderful if they improved, but I cant see that happening.

    neal has 6 days left until the trading deadline. Thing to keep in mind on NH trades……. he doesnt trade high prospects. Highest he has ever traded was Robbie Grossman, and I believe he was a # 8 or 9 prospect when he was dealt….. and didnt have a high ceiling. A medium ceiling, yes. So prepared to be underwhelmed this year. But a bat is STILL needed.

    Regarding Rushel Shell……… proving every day he has a million dollar talent, 10 cent head. Like the fringe Paterno supporters, the media should give this fool no credence, but I understand papers need to be sold. I easily see at least 2 more years of Paterno supporters, and Rushel Shell “highlights”, and the media will be there like Pavlov’s dogs to lap it up. Quite pathetic.

    Pirates with a businessman’s day at the park. Looking forward to seeing our esteemed Congressmen at the game today. Maybe they can race around the field, and the Pierogies can ambush them.

    • ‘And for those who want to give neal credit for this signing, I have two words for you: Jonathan Sanchez.’

      I think Liriano is an example of why you take a flyer on a guy like Jonathan Sanchez.
      You never know when a guy is going to be able to put it all back together again – - or reinvent himself.

      From his results from last season Liriano could have easily pitched like Sanchez.

      • Agree with your premise, TC.

        But neal obviously was going for the “throw everything against the wall, and see what sticks” approach. He missed on Sanchez, hit on Liriano. I am not convinced this is a correct strategy, but given what finances he had to work with, I see the benefit of it.

        I cant remember where I read it, but Lirianos BABIP, xFIP, EIEIO, some number said he was due to get better. I think the ERA he had was 5.1, yet the numbers said it should have been something like 3.88. Sanchez, who knows.

        • It’s the strategy every team uses.
          Sanchez got signed by the Dodgers after he was released by the Pirates.

          • Sanchez would’ve never been signed if Liriano hadn’t hurt himself, and never would’ve made the team if Karstens hadn’t gotten hurt as well.

            Not sure how that signing is at all comparable to Liriano.

            • And I believe Sanchez was only signed by the Dodgers because of the injury to Grienke.

            • I think he would have been signed (or invited) to spring training even if Liriano and Karstens were healthy.

              I believe the majority of teams employ the strategy of seeing if they can fix a pitcher, or think a change of scenery will help cure him. Especially with pitching.

              • I agree that we have been fortunate so far with Liriano. Even his freak broken arm may have been a blessing in disguise. It allowed them to see who was a keeper out of Jeanmar Gomez, J. Sanchez, etc. And it means he is still fresh as we head into August. Liriano has always had nasty stuff. Maybe he has finally harnessed his control issues. He’s still relatively young.

                As for Gomez, does NH not deserve credit for him? Anyone in MLB could have had him, as evidenced by what it took to get him from Cleveland. I think it is undeniable that NH and his staff have an ability to find pitchers that fit a certain profile for success in our system. They don’t all work out, but a decent % do.

              • Regarding Jeanmar Gomez, does anyone know if he has an option left.

                Is he out of options and that is what may have forced Cleveland to deal him for anything they could get (otherwise known as ‘the newest member of the Wild Things’”

                I believe Stolmy Pimental will be in that predicament next year.

              • Gomez is out of options TC.

            • Agree. Completely two different signing. Sanchez was signed for insurance with the hope he regained something. Liriano was signed to instantly come in and be the number 3 starter behind A.J. and Wandy. I think it was the second largest free agent contract ever given out by the Pirates behind Martin’s. That is the Pirate equivalent of making a big splash in the free agent market.

              • I agree Nate. But wasn’t there also big hopes that Liriano ‘regained something’?

              • Liriano wasn’t given two guaranteed years and $13m simply in hopes he might regain soomething.

                He was brought in to be a starting pitcher.

                Two completely different signings.

              • I think they had a pretty good idea Liriano still had good stuff when they signed him. And they were right.

      • No kidding. Neal has had pretty good success with his reclaimation projects. Or at least initial success.

        Correia
        Bedard
        AJ
        Liriano
        GRILLI
        heck even Melancon who was getting roughed up a bit in Boston last year.

        With a track record like that I don’t mind a miss on Sanchez.

        Correia and bedard both fell off after a period of time but the Bucs got way more out of hem than anyone ever expected when they were first acquired.

        • It just proves the point that they can’t all be winners. After 20+ years of losing, though, I can see why Sanchez, J and Zagurski (among others too numerous to list) stand out and make you want to roll your eyes.

          • I have no idea why they brought in Zagurski. Nothing was ever there to revive!

            • He had a great run in AAA to start the season, and those guys have mostly worked out lately for them. He fit the profile of throwing pretty hard and throwing a lot of grounders. That one blew up, though, in the Big Zagurski’s case. To their credit, they got rid of him and moved on.

          • Hanrahan. He was struggling big time when we got him. I thought that was a reclamation project of sorts as well. He was all “high upside potential” at that point.

    • Just realized I said HL, instead of NL.
      Obviously I am dreaming of that third major league coming in 2014……. the Hippo League.

      • It’ll be an instant “hit” :)

        • Morning, Jandy!

          I dont know why I put HL. Must have baseball on the brain.
          Great game last night……….. I love pitchers duels. Bucs have been on the losing end of too many of those in recent years. This team is a resilient bunch, eh?

          Good to see the regulars here today. I think the dicussion will be good the next few days………. deadline coming up, Cardinal series next week. Looking for investors for the Hippo League. ;)

          • You’re preaching to the typo queen, Hipposter lol.
            I knew what you meant, anyway.

            This place gets sticky over baseball stuff too quickly.
            I read and absorb. And keep moving lol.

            I want this sweep, to help cover some of the rough stretch ahead.
            Go Buccos!

            • If you read and absorb, does that make you the Nun Sponge?? ;)

              I am out til later. I like these early games…… better for Hippo sleep patterns.

              Keep this place in order.
              You are the legend in charge.

              Hippo out. :)

          • Loved that game also, Hippo! Our whole family was glued to the TV for the whole thing. And, the best part was it ended and it wasn’t midnight!

  11. 1) I agree with all the points DK makes in his column. But it proves DK reads his own blog because people have been calling for an upgrade in RF and to fix or replace the Fort for a while. (and so have other sports talk shows)

    Just for fun I would like DK to walk up to NH, point his camera at him and ask what he plans to do at the trade deadline to improve the team. And I want NH to respond with:

    “Trade this Neil Walker for the real Neil Walker”
    “Trade this Garrett Jones for the 2012 edition.”

    That would be must-see.

  12. Big game today. They should be fired up to play.

    1. 4 game road sweep

    Done last
    1997 July 3-6 St. Louis
    1996 September 12-15 San Francisco (5 wins)
    1993 April 12-15 San Diego
    1992 August 6-9 St. Louis

    2. Get over .500 for July and with a strong series in Miami they can put a down payment on a winning month before the Cardinals come to town.

    It’ll be interesting to see the lineup today. I expect an all righty lineup against Gonzalez who is giving up a .404 OPS to left handed batters.

    Mercer plays and Barmes or Walker sits.
    Harrison plays and Alvarez sits.

    It’s a day game. The Nationals are feeling low. The Pirates have won 4 in a row and are playing for something. And the Pirates offense is due to break out. I smell a rout.

  13. JAL’s Winner Takes It All Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92cwKCU8Z5c

    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 Best $36.5 M Spent in Baseball Today

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/first-pitch-the-best-36-5-m-spent-in-baseball-today.html

    Francisco Liriano Dominates Nationals in 4-2 Pirates Win

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/francisco-liriano-dominates-nationals-in-4-2-pirates-win.html

    Prospect Watch: McGuire Has a Four Hit Day; Cunningham Ties Career High in HRs

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/prospect-watch-mcguire-has-a-four-hit-day-cunningham-ties-career-high-in-hrs.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Francisco Liriano outduels Stephen Strasburg as Pirates win again, 4-2

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/24/4554892/francisco-liriano-outduels-stephen-strasburg-as-pirates-win-again-4-2
    8 WHYGAVS

    Game 99: Pirates 4 Nationals 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2013/game-99-pirates-4-nationals-2.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Liriano Outguns Strasburg In 4-2 Win

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/07/liriano-outguns-strasburg-in-4-2-win.html

    10 Rumbunter

    In Absence Of Grilli, Pirates Should Abandon Typical Bullpen Roles

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/24/in-absence-of-grilli-pirates-should-abandon-typical-bullpen-roles/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 4 Nationals 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/07/pirates-4-nationals-2/

  14. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Washington Post

    Nationals fall to Pirates, 4-2, as skid hits six

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nationals-fall-to-pirates-4-2-as-skid-hits-six/2013/07/24/aad4cb76-f49c-11e2-9434-60440856fadf_story.html

    Pirates fans make themselves felt in Nats Park

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/07/24/pirates-fans-make-themselves-felt-in-nats-park/

    13 Rant Sports

    MLB Trade Deadline: Biggest Name on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Radar

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/07/24/mlb-trade-deadline-biggest-name-on-the-pittsburgh-pirates-radar/

    14 Amarillo Globe News

    ‘Dream come true’: AHS grad Black makes it to big leagues

    http://amarillo.com/sports/local-pro-sports/2013-07-24

    15 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Has Clint Barmes earned more playing time?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/07/24/pittsburgh-pirates-has-clint-barmes-earned-more-playing-time/

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Nationals Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130725_PIT@WAS/piratesnationals-preview

    17 KDKA

    Colin Dunlap: Live In The Now With These Bucs

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/07/24/colin-dunlap-live-in-the-now-with-these-bucs/

    18 PBC Site

    Liriano outduels Strasburg as Pirates fend off Nats

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_24_pitmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Prospect Black gives Pirates natural born reliever

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130724&content_id=54591132&notebook_id=54624944&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Living Strike Zone

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21262

    20 Fangraphs

    Player’s View: Is Hitting More of an Art or More of a Science?

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/players-view-is-hitting-more-of-an-art-or-more-of-a-science/

  15. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    More questions about the Steelers entering training camp

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/24/4546928/steelers-training-camp-questions-depth-chart-roster

    The key to the 2013 season

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/24/4549750/the-key-to-the-steelers-2013-season-is

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Tomlin Says Roethlisberger Needs to Lead in 2013

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/07/mike-tomlin-says-ben-roethlisberger-needs-to-lead-in-2013/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    Suarez is simply too good for Liverpool: Tradition is not enough, so who can blame Arsenal target for wanting to go to London?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2376858/Liverpools-Luis-Suarez-right-want-leave-Anfield.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 24th July, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-24th-july-2013

  16. I will take FULL credit for the win. I’m going to today’s game too.

    Didn’t see either Dejan OR 24/7 at the game though. Lots of ‘Let’s go Bucs’ cheers, I’d estimate about 15% of the crowd were Pirate fans, and it was a full house.

    Did NOT agree with using Wilson in the ninth, and was proven oh so right.

    But why quibble, a win is a win. Couldn’t see the ‘tag’ in the ninth, but from 500 feet away, it sure looked like it was nowhere near a tag. Ramos didn’t run onto the grass either, so I don’t know if you could claim he was out of the baseline very successfully.

    • Can we all remember though years ago when a Bucco would make the tag and the ump would call him safe? Or any close play that always seemed to go against us? I think it’s one of those where when you are good sometimes you get the benefit of the doubt.

      Watching the MLB Channel broadcast with the Nats feed, they didn’t have a good replay angle to really tell. Though you would think that Davey wouldn’t have given up the argument so quickly if it was an obvious blown call.

      Kevin

    • Well, I am going to one up you, John. I take FULL credit for this 4-game winning streak. I packed up the family on Saturday and drove from Chicago to Cincy to take in the Sunday game specifically to end the mini-slide. It was a little hairy in the Queen City, but we got it done.

      The rest, as they say, is history!

      Totally kidding, of course. As my son told me on the way back home on Sunday: “I’m glad they won today, dad. I was starting to think we should never go see the Bucs in other cities again because they always lose. I don’t want to be responsible for jynxing them.”

  17. It all works for me, Double Deuce. I hope your nose knows exactly what’s up!

  18. Is Hunter Pence out of our price range? Always liked his game. Can’t remember having a 5 game series with anyone, much less one with so much excitement surrounding it. First things first, sweep the Nats.

    • Someone needs to check the Way Back Machine, but I seem to recall as mammoth 5-game series with the Phils in the late 70′s or so. Or, was it only a 4-gamer? It was a weekend series in Pittsburgh. Rainouts earlier had caused it. Double header on Friday. I recall being so excited as a kid that I got to go with my cousin and our dads. Bucs won both that night in exciting fashion in front of a packed or nearly packed house at 3 Rivers.

      Then, Stargell hit a slam in the 1st inning Saturday to get us off to a 4-0 start. I think it fizzled from there, and we lost the Saturday game in a slugfest to end our comeback bid for the division.

      Now that I think of it, maybe it was only a 4-game series. We were down 3.5 games heading into it. If we won all 4, we would need to replay another rainout vs. another team. We ended up winning on Sunday, but fell short.

      Anyone else recall that one? I was pretty young, but the Bucs were good every year then.

      • I’m also recalling a 5-game series with Houston, where we won all 5 (including 2 doubleheaders).

      • I do remember that series and I think your recollection is excellent. Must have been 1978…..

      • 1978. Bucs needed to take four in a row from the Phillies, then beat San Diego (I think) in a rainout makeup to go to a playoff. Swept a doubleheader against Philly on Friday night. Saturday afternoon, the Phil led of the first with three runs. Stargell countered with a grand slam in the bottom of the first. Phils ended up winning a slugfest on the strength of two home runs from pitcher Randy Lerch (I think it was Lerch. Cut me some slack, it was 35 years ago) to end what had been a remarkable turnaround by the Bucs that season.

  19. In the interest of fairness – Nate Schierholtz had 3 hits, a homer, and 5 RBI last night for the Cubs in Arizona. Yes Virginia, a road game. I just so happened to be watching when he hit the home run, and it was a bomb.

    • As was I. Len Kasper was saying the other day that Schierholtz was really looking forward to the Cubs upcoming series in SF. He is from that area and, of course, once played for the Giants-the team he came up with. That means the Cubs will probably trade him before that series.

      People here have convinced me that he would be a good pick up. But don’t expect me to jump up and down if it happens. :)

  20. In the beginning of 2012, we had McLouth, Tabby, Presley, Gorkys, et al all vying for that right field spot. It was a nightmare.
    We knew what McLouth could do from his previous stint with us, but he was banished without a real chance to reprove himself. Baltimore is now profiting by his skills

    Tabby has been given a real chance – very generously – and has disappointed big time.

    Gorkys was, too obviously, just a fast runner with quality defensive skills.

    Presley has always been treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild. From what I have seen, he may not always help you – ala Cutch – but he will not hurt you. He has far more upside than Snider because of speed and hustle, and an above average arm. He has some power. Has never had a comprehensive opportunity here like Tabby.

    We now have him and he should be given a shot, before we bring in someone else’s cast off at the expense of one of our prized future studs – or two. He turned 28 today!

    • Bob

      Like you, I support giving Presley another shot. I did not see last night’s game as I am in Myrtle Beach on vacation. I understand Tabata got hit by a pitch and it was nasty. So, perhaps the DL (once again) is Tabby’s next stop. That would open the door for AP. Or maybe they could send down Harrison instead. When CH puts JH in right field like he did the other night, my wife gets the rosary beads out.

    • We knew what McLouth could do? You mean the stuff he did in 2008 and ignore 2009, 2010 and 2011??? Not to mention his wretched start to 2012?

      Way off base there. McLouth was terrible. And there was no room on the PBC for a barely .100 hitting OF.

      • As I said, not given a REAL chance to reprove himself amid the congestion we had competing in 2012. The wretched start I suggest was a bi-product of the pressure to perform when he had a cameo shot under the then circumstances.
        The years 2009, 2010, and 2011 were with Atlanta, not under our control, but he was invited back, only to be snubbed because Tabby was their boy.

        “the stuff he did in 2008″. Amazing reference!

        With his current performances in Baltimore, he obviously had something to offer which was missed in 2012 by NH and CH.

        Who are you defending with your entry? Or merely taking your usual shot at me

        My entry was attempting to focus on Presley (not McLouth) – like you do often – you missed the point and dwell in your mini-sphere of interest.

        I am simply asking that Presley be given an honest opportunity – nothing more.

        • I’m with you, Bob, on giving Presley the starts Snider is getting right now, and have advocated that for a couple of weeks. I think Snider has been slipping, and Presley can get hot for extended periods. I don’t know that Presley is the answer for sure, but I would have liked for them to have found out over the past few weeks. If not him, they need to get a lefty bat in RF.

          • Yes, let’s find out about Presley first, before we go off on some spree.
            IMO, there is little to dislike about Presley.

            He hasn’t yet hit .300, but do we know if he can over an extended period. We do need a left-handed bat there now

            • Not gonna argue about giving Presley a couple at-bats like Jim said, but let’s not forget he was handed a starting job out of spring training last year – without competition – and failed.

              • Agreed, but he also did get extremely hot one year for a good stretch, as Bob mentioned. Snider just seems to be scuffling too much. I thought Presley was the move a couple of weeks ago. Now, it might be too late and they need to search outside (Aoki, Nate “Clemente, Jr.” Schierholtz, etc.).

        • It was missed by every other team in the majors as well. Any one of them could have signed him that off season, and any could have claimed him off of waivers when the Pirates cut him.

      • Presley deserves a shot…………..NOW!!

        • Very emphatically stated, to which I emphatically AGREE.

          • “From what I have seen, he (Presley) may not always help you – ala Cutch”

            Say what?

            • Meaning he may NEVER be the player Cutch is. He may never do all of the things that Cutch can do, but he deserves a shot, and we need to find out exactly what he can do.

              Do you get it?

              • Thanks Bob! I thought you were saying something else.

                Although I don’t want to put my August and September eggs in the Presley basket.

        • YES! Is he in the doghouse for some reason? I don’t understand everybody (Snider, Harrison, Tabata) given extended shots (and failing) but him this season.

          • If Harrison patroling RF in Sept or Oct doesn’t scare the “you know what” out of you, I don’t know what would.

      • Correct, Naje. Nate was really struggling and needed a change of scenery and a new start. He is doing pretty well in Baltimore, but he isn’t exactly tearing up the league. He would help in RF right now, but we could not wait forever for him to get his game back. We did pretty well in that trade, BTW, I would say.

        • And obviously Atlanta recognized the talent and potential value, to have sought him from us with the trade they made.

          I commend that trade in retrospect

    • Without a chance to reprove himself??? Many at the time thought they waited 3 or 4 weeks to long to release him. He was horrible and he had shown very little in Atlanta the previous 2 years to have any way of knowing he would do what he is doing in Baltimore right now. I chaulk this up to bad luck. I’m sure Atlanta is kicking themselves for giving up 40% of our starting staff in that trade to get a lesser version of McLouth as well.

  21. DK I really really enjoyed that blurb about Liriano and his changeup coming back, and the way hos pitches appear the same speed. I love that sort of background info we get from you.

  22. Free Presley. Or, considering last night, maybe Harrison is the new right fielder…

  23. ***IMPORTANT***
    Newbies and lurkers, we want to chat with you. If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.
    Don’t be shy, we won’t bite :)

  24. Hi Loonies – It’s been a long time…hope everyone is doing well.

    A thought this morning on the local baseball team…57 and 105 in 2010…the low point of 20 years…not counting the strike year of 1994 in which they won 53 games.

    Last night was win #60. They don’t give parades for 60 victories on July 25th, but, there is still something to be said for 60 wins on July 25th for this Pirates team. An impressive number this morning.

  25. COUNTDOWN: 22 games wins to go till our nightmare is over.

  26. Good morning all.

    Feeling good about 60 wins. Am looking forward to the afternoon game. Hope Tabata can heal quickly. I felt that hit at home… Yikes!

    Cannot wait to see who becomes a Bucco at the trade deadline.

    Time for all Bucco fans to cone out of hiding!

    • Hey Brandimal! Good to see you this morning. Great win last night :)

    • What I am most concerned about is that the Reds and Cards, like the Buccos, just keep on rolling. I really do not have to have to face a one game playoff, especially against either one of those teams. We need to win the division.

      • If we play a WC game, I don’t see how it would be vs. the Cards. That would mean Cincy would pass both of us. Definitely possible, but not likely.

        I agree with you, though, Dom. We need to find a way to outlast St. Louis. Drew’s boss cannot have the last laugh!!

  27. Here’s what I think about last night:

    * Good to see Twi-Dro return. That guy went into a 0-20 funk, but I thought it was more about not finding holes for a few games. He was still hitting it hard often, and going the opposite way. He seems to be snapping back now. I like it.

    * I notice a lot of little things that probably only mean something to me. Last night, Liriano lost his no no on a very tough play for Pedro. He made a great, quick move to his left just to get to that ball. You could tell he wanted that out for Liriano so badly. Pedro was so disappointed he didn’t make that play. You could see it on his face. I really liked that. This is truly a team. They seem to generally play for one another. NH needs to be careful about how much messing he does with the dynamic. Wholesale changes did not work this spring for another local team.

    * Liriano has always had plus stuff. He just has never consistently located it. He’s still young, and maybe he is figuring some things out. Or, maybe this is just a great 14 start stretch for him. Whatever the case, I feel good when he takes the mound.

    * Big hit for Neil. Very big. I think he’s key down the stretch for this team. I also like that Jordy is there to spell him vs. LHP.

    * We obviously caught a big break on the phantom tag at the end. I’ll take it and quietly move on, just like the team did.

    * Remember those “regression” discussions regarding our bullpen earlier in the year? It was inevitable, right? Some of us said that even though it would most definitely happen, it did not have to spell doom and gloom as other parts of the game would pick up and compensate. Just sayin’.

    * And, as to that regression stuff, I’ll just say, this bullpen has an uncanny knack for knowing when to regress, don’t you think? They seem to falter pretty much only when they have breathing room. Monday and Wednesday are examples, as was the extra inning game in Anaheim. There have been many other examples as well. Something very special is going on right now. I hope it keeps up.

  28. I predict Jake Peavy is an Atlanta Brave by this time Saturday Morning.

    • Oh, and this Cashman, Rodriguez thing is too good to be true, isn’t it?

      • What Cashman/Rodriguez thing? Is the happy couple still fighting?

        • Oh it’s on, baby. Rodriguez hired a doctor, without the Yankees knowing. The doctor never physically examined Rodriguez but went on NY media to tell anyone that was listening that Rodriquez was fit to play. Cashman issued a terse press release-referring to Rodriguez as “Mr. Rodriguez.”

          It’s delicious stuff. Cashman earns his paycheck, that’s for sure.

      • It is so funny, John.

        ARod wants to make sure he still gets paid, or at least works out a settlement that pays him most of what is left on that hideous contract. The Yankees want help from MLB in getting out of that hideous contract. I predict they will get that help, somehow, some way.

        I believe the Yankees knew exactly what ARod was doing (‘roids) when they signed him, and they wanted the enhanced performance. I believe they knew what Roger Clemens was doing, and they wanted that enhanced performance. I believe they knew about Giambi, Pettitte and others. Now, that it is biting them in the butt, they want him banned. I want him banned as well, but all that does is ensure the Yankees will sign the biggest free agent catch in his place.

        • I don’t mind so much about the PED’S. Take them to recover from injury as recovery is a huge part of performance. Time for players and MLB to sit down and have some intelligent discourse on this topic.

          As for A Roid, I want him banned because he is a terminal poop shoot whose act has, finally, grown quite tiresome.

        • Jim, what gives you the impression that the Yankees knew that all of those guys were cheating?

          • All these Front Office types knew.

            Keith Law even has admitted he knew of players using while employed by the Blue Jays.

            DK: Yes. Some of them know well, well in advance.

            • So if all of these front office types knew that these guys were cheating and none of them sign these players, cries of collusion, no?

              And if they knew they were cheating, doesn’t that trigger the just cause clause in the Joint Drug Agreement?

          • For starters, wasn’t a Yankee employee shooting up Clemens in the clubhouse?

            • Or, was he just employed by Clemens? Regardless, it took place in their stadium, right?

              I don’t see how they didn’t know and willingly allow it to happen while they kept winning championships.

    • You could be correct with Hudson going down last night. That injury looked really bad.

    • I think you may be right. The Braves had been making noises about having too many starting pitchers with the imminent return of Brandon Beachy so they may plug him in and go that route, but I think they will make a deal and put Kris Medlen in the pen. Peavy is the likely target.

  29. –We knew what McLouth could do from his previous stint with us, but he was banished without a real chance to reprove himself. Baltimore is now profiting by his skills

    Wow. You think he wasn’t given a chance? He started. He came off the bench. He just looked like he couldn’t do it anymore. No way. He HAD to be cut. A few weeks in the Baltimore farm system and something clicked for him. I think he was given a fair shake here.

    • In his return stint last year, he hit .140 (8 for 57) with 18 Ks over parts of 34 games. I’d say he got his chance, and didn’t do much with it.

      • Let me concede to AJS and Naterosboro and all others of the similar opinion that McLouth got his shot and blew it. That is not my sales pitch here.

        I believe Presley needs that same shot, or better yet, the shot that Tabby has been getting for – what some three years – and still shows no ability, less desire and minimal potential.

        Just give Presley a shot – the most extensive shot that time and his skills can permit – because we are in a dogfight with St.Louis, and their offense is very efficient.

        If Presley comes up lame like Tabby, then do what you must.

        Just first let the guy show us all – one way or the other. He at least deserves a good look-see similar to the failed Tabata experiment.

        I maintain no long standing passion for McLouth. It is finished here for him.

  30. This is from MLBTR:

    9:28am: White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams “has been spotted in Altoona,” home of the Pirates’ Double-A club, notes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

  31. Perfect.

    Take the whole damn team, but don’t even think about Taillon or Polanco.

    • Glasnow may be better than Taillon. Hands off him as well.

      I think Dickerson is a target.

      • If we’re only giving away Dickerson, then who are we obtaining? I’m guessing it would be Rameriz but would he really be that much of an improvement over Mercer? I hope that deal wouldn’t include parting with Mercer.

        • I just looked it up and Mercer has a superior OBP anyways and he has more homers. I don’t see how Ramirez is better.

          • Ramirez is a legit plus defender, and has a history as a solid offensive contributor.

            Jordy can’t say he is either of those things.

  32. Just saw this tweet from DK and it made me laugh:

    ” ‏@Dejan_Kovacevic 56s

    Hurdle used ‘bling’ in answer just now. Stopped him and asked, ‘Did you just say ‘bling?’ Him: ‘I did.’ Me: ‘Whoa.’ That’s it. No point here”

  33. I like the idea of moving the weekly chat to Fridays!

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