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On location: Cardinals 13, Pirates 0

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (65-42) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (62-44)

Starters: RHP Charlie Morton vs. RHP Joe Kelly

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. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  5. Garrett Jones, 1B
  6. Tony Sanchez, C
  7. Jose Tabata, RF
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Morton, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Rob Biertempfel, Karen Price, Travis Sawchik and I are here. I’ll be writing the Friday column.

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.


  1. Has to be wrong

    • Tony Sanchez is hitting 6th and catching, Jones is at 1B and Gaby Sanchez is on the bench.

      DK: All fixed up. Sorry, just getting unpacked up here.

  2. DK: This is for TC, 21 and a couple others, I think, who asked about Chase Headley in previous thread. Didn’t have chance to answer then, and I apologize.

    I actually had a full paragraph on Headley in the original draft of today’s column and killed it for space reasons. (And it was still too long.) What it said, basically, was stuff you already know: Headley was the one offer I found reasonable, the one I felt should have been entertained.

    That’s why the language that ended up in the column included something like “almost all” to describe how bad the offers were that the GM was hearing.

    Hope that answers your question.

    • De-shawn,

      Excellent article today!

      Always prefer the longer versions!

    • Thanks for the deeper insight, found the piece today added a great dimension and perspective to all the variables and moving parts that come with the deadline.

      Opinions and emotions sure run high from fans, and whether anyone agrees or disagrees with what was done or not done, felt you were able to achieve a clearer conversation and dialogue on the day’s happenings with NH and that came though in the column.

      I know that probably has not always been the easiest in getting NH to open up and be a little less defensive and guarded. The human less robotic element came through.

    • This is why we keep coming back to you.
      You answer questions, and give deeper insight.


      Now, go get us a bat. ;)

    • DK,
      Thanks for getting back and answering the question. I appreciate it –really do.

      But I re-read the article and I still don’t see the “almost all” in there. (at least not the online version)

  3. Jose Tabata’s .364 SLG is going to look awesome in the 7th spot.

    • I think we’re all going to just have to accept being disappointed when we see who is in RF. Neil made sure of that yesterday. They’ve gotten by without one for this long, maybe they can continue…

    • Ah yes, the classic power spot in the lineup: 7th.

      • +1

      • NL team SLG from 7th spot is .384
        Pirates team SLG is .372
        Tabata SLG is .364

        Let’s expand on it because lord knows I’ll hear it is OPS to judge 7th hitter
        NL team OPS from 7th spot is .688
        Pirates team OPS is .646
        Tabata OPS is .692

        So yes, Tabata looks great in the 7th spot.

        • Except, without looking, the probably aren’t very many other (playoff contending) teams with corner outfielders (especially RF) batting 7th.

          • There aren’t many center fielders like Cutch, and there aren’t many third basemen like Alvarez.

            It doesn’t matter where the production comes from, as long as it comes.

            • And that is precisely why Pedro must stay at 3b for as long as possible. There are 1b who produce offensively like him. There are no other 3b in the NL producing like him at the present time. If the tradeoff is a few more errors, so be it.

            • My point was….you would expect your RF to have better numbers and batting higher in the lineup. He’s batting 7th by default.

              The 7 spot ideally should be C, 2nd, or SS.

              Again, without checking, I would think every teams CF and 3B are also somewhere in the top 5 or 6 spots.

              Pedro is a paradox. I’ll agree with his power numbers, but it’s very tough to also accept the .245 average (needs to be closer to .260) AND him leading the league in errors…NOT just a few more errors. Hopefully that will come, but it highlites issues like having your corner outfielder batting 7th, because he AAAA and why the universal disappointment on a trade not getting done.

              And for the record Tabata, Synder, Elvis are all the same guy…just a different number on the back of the uni. They can make a contribution, but are exposed when they are forced to play too much.

              • I wasn’t going after you on Pedro, tpb, if that is how you took it. I was just expanding on Sis’s point that Pedro is unique as a 3b. I just think you can find a power hitting 1b easier than you can find a power hitting 3b these days, and that’s why I would accept mediocre fielding from him at 3b for now.

              • You do realize in 600 AB’s the difference between .260 and .245 is 9 hits?

                Not much difference if he provides the HR and RBI numbers he does.

        • NL team SLG from 8th spot: .353
          Mercer SLG: .407

          NL team OPS from 8th spot: .661
          Mercer OPS: .742

          I can play the useless stats game too!

          • You and your silly stats.

            It seems I missed interesting dicussions this morning……..I’ll try not to let my job interfere with this blog..

            Stupid work.

      • Well now, lets not be rough on our RF’ers.
        neal made it clear he is happy with what we have……….. and who are we to question him?

        I am not looking at RF as a black hole, I am looking at it as a Fun House……………… you just dont know what you will get. Maybe a hit, maybe an error, maybe a strikeout, maybe a great play. It just like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates !!!!

        Anyway, I hope for the best……. and I stay far away from the TV for obvious reasons. ;)

        • There is an enormous difference between being happy with what you have and recognizing that what you want costs more than you’re willing to pay.

          Love the fun house idea. If that doesn’t work out for you, trying looking at right field as a box of Cracker Jacks. You know there’s a prize in there. It’s probably garbage, but once in a while you might get lucky and find a cool temporary tattoo in there.

        • Where did Neall make it clear he is happy with what he has? I mean he can’t really say on August 1 our RF’s suck, and we are doomed if we get to the post-season. But from what was reported, including DK’s column today, to say he is happy with the RF situation is kind of silly. But, that’s really Eric’s fault for ragging on Tabata. You really want Gaby against a right handed starter and Jones in RF? We are what we are and have just taken 4 in a row against the Cards, but happy with right field?

        • Sorry, AW, here is his quote………………

          “”We’re comfortable with the players we had,” Huntington said. ”

          So I misremembered happy, with comfortable.

          So it isnt as silly as you think.

          Sorry for the confusion.

          • I thought NH really couldn’t say much else than that after the deadline had passed, Plan. He now has who he has, and it doesn’t help to rip them was my take.

            Doesn’t necessarily mean he is happy with who he has. But, he didn’t feel prices were reasonable to upgrade. We all have our opinion about that last part, which is understandable.

            • Agreed, Jim.

              What I stated wasnt silly in any way.
              I didnt have the article in front of me at the time.

              In light of all the silly statements here in this blog, mine wasnt in any way, shape, or form silly.

              Thank goodness we all have our own opinions, eh?

          • My point about he HAS to say that stands. He reportedly tried to get Stanton, for crying out loud. I know, I know, that was just for show.

            • AW, what is the matter?

              I never said Stanton was a show, although there are conflicting reports as to who said what, and whether there were talks for him (I linked an article on the morning thread).

              I apologize to you for whatever I said or did to make you like this.

              I wont do it again, I can assure you.

              • I’m not being personal, plan. It could have been anyone making the same statement. It just struck me as odd in light of DK’s article, which started out the day. “Silly” was too pejorative, and for that I apologize. It’s overblown in any event, at least on my part.

  4. A popular option on this blog is to advance Lambo to the starting job in rf. while I think he is earning a shot, I wonder how he will do against mlb pitching? I notice he whiffs 1/3 of the time against minor leaguers.

  5. Looking forward to another “insane” game tonight. Insane is much more fun than Hokey Hey.


    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    CONGRATS to War Horse for winning the month of July!

    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.


    Line #1
    Total HITS ALLOWED by Charlie Morton in tonight’s game
    Line is 7.5

    Line #2
    Total WALKS by Pirates Hitters in tonight’s game
    Line is 3.5


    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!!!

    65 Down, only 17 more to go!!

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23

    KEEP CALM & BREAK .500

  7. Don’t know eactly what this means, but the top hiiters over the last 7 games are/were McKenry, Harrison, Barmes, Mercer, G. sanchez &Walker. The bench looks pretty good in this snapshot. walker is the only regular over .300.

  8. Oh Blondie. The tangled web we weave. SMH.

    • Yeah, I saw it.

      Pretty funny of her to launch an accusation about Dejan being unprofessional considering her reputation and work.

      • I missed this.
        What happened?

        • Former blogger, Kristy Robinson – “wasn’t long ago he was giving high fives& celebrating in the press conference room after their loss to ensure a 20th L season”

          Dejan’s response over a few tweets is just gold…
          “You know that didn’t happen. For years, I’ve shaken hands of everyone in press box on “82″ day for having endured another.”

          “And I’m willing to line up every single person covering that night to back me on it. But you know that isn’t necessary.”

          “So you’ll already acknowledge lying about the high-fives? Go ahead. I’ll wait.”

          Of course she responds with “you tried to high five me, DK. Honestly I don’t care. Its the past. I just thought it was unnecessary.”

          To which DK, “No I didn’t. I don’t think I’ve high-fived anyone in my life. Not something I do. But you’ve been caught in one lie, so …”

          …this girl doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about and desperate to get back some Twitter “cred” by going after him.

    • Krist Robinson accused DK of high giving the press box after the Pirates clinched a losing season last year. I won’t even dignify that with a defense of DK because it is so ridiculous.

    • I’m going to go out on a limb here. If ANYONE would have done that their credential would have been pulled.

      • And knowing the sage advice Dejan provided to a friend this year… ” don’t raise your arms” in the press box. I’m pretty certain he wouldn’t have raised his hands to high five Kristy Robinson or anyone else.

        • This happened.

          Steeler game in 1999. Will Blackwell was hurt. This came over the press PA,”Steelers wide receiver Will Blackwell has left the game with a right knee injury. His return is questionable.” A very prominent member of the local media quickly said loud enough for everyone in the press box to hear. “His career is questionable !”

          This was followed by the predictable outburst of laughter. And then this over the press PA, “Members of the media should refrain from any and all outbursts during the course of the game. Anyone violating NFL policy will be removed from the press box and be subject to having their credentials revoked.”

          • When I did some stringing back in 2002 covering high school football, I hated sitting in the press box with all the people cheering and trying to say, “hey, I think he has 100 yards now right” and I’d look at my play charts and would be like… “no, he’s at 50″.

            Though standing in the rain interviewing a head coach as he verbally tried to dress me down because someone else at the newspaper said his team would get beat 50-0 and they won like 12-9.

    • I heard she gets a lot of high fives.

    • Somebody deleted a whole bunch of tweets……just saying.

  9. Boy if Martin really has a dodgy knee it will be a lot of pressure on Sanchez going forward. Guys in Indy just look like organizational depth. Would they drop down to Paulino if MArtin is out for a while?

    In looking at the 40 man roster I realized that there really hasn’t been a further report on the injury of J Mac. Last I remember he was either going to get seen or wasn’t going to get seen by Dr. James Andrews.

  10. Does anyone else find it odd that Martin keeps attempting all these steals when he has a bad knee? Twice last night, I believe.

    • I was wondering the same thing but you know the old saying, “feed a cold, steal a sore knee.”

    • Yes. And does anyone find it odd how Martin continues to start sliding way too early?

      • Yes. Reminds me of a famous Stargell slide that was about 6 feet early. Came to a complete stop far short of the base. Then, in true Stargell brilliance, he called a timeout. I really miss that guy. He would be so fun with this team right now as a consultant or front office type or something to just be around and teach.

    • I hope he cuts that out. We can’t risk him getting injured.

    • I think the first one was more of a hit and run….strike em out, throw em out doesn’t really concern me, but the 2nd attempt I thought was pretty dumb.

  11. I wish they would give Presley a string of starts in a row. I think he at least provides a spark. I know what Tabata provides.

  12. For anyone looking for BBQ at the game tonight, I just read that Sangy’s place is closed. He is working out like a fiend for some unexplained reason. The plot thickens.

  13. Sorry guys I made my post this morning and got caught up in work;

    So I’m going to respond to a couple responses to my comment…

    NMR you don’t understand the tunnel vision comment? Well its simple to me. I think it came down to wanting to get that top notch RF yesterday. Were they attached to other names over the past week sure they were. But for some reason I believe NH chased every lead he could for that RF. Did you hear the Pirates being in on anything other than a RF yesterday? Norris was cooled, the MR was a quick mention and then dead.

    There was no talk yesterday of any other names; they were all leading up to yesterday. Perhaps NH knew he wasn’t going to be able to improve the team based on the current asking prices but I’m sorry I don’t buy it for a second that there were not players to be had for the bench; and sure we can applaud NH for not giving up more than a reasonable price for a guy to be a bench player but lets see how we feel about that when we got to rely on guys like Sanchez etc to come in and pinch hit.

    More than tired of the protecting the future mode. Said it before and will say it again; someone even mentioned the Rays as an example of a team that is close and then takes them a while to get that close again. Could even use the Pens as an example of that.

    You got so many questions going into next year that I would have shot for it this year.

    1. Will AJ be back?
    2. What kind of Wandy will we see when he returns?
    3. Is Locke going to remain Locke or turn into JMac?
    4. Liriano going to have a back to earth year?
    5. Who comes up from the minors for the rotation and how will they perform?
    6. Mercer your SS next year? Hope he learns how to catch a DP ball
    7. Going to extend Walker based on his injuries?
    8. Do we even have a middle infielder other than Hanson that has any expectations?
    9. Who is your RF next year?

    We are having such a year that there is no way you can expect the same type of performance out of our pitchers next year. No way. I’m sure every team has questions but this is why I felt they needed to get the players to help them NOW. Not every prospect they hold dearly is going to amount to an every day player.

    • No offense, but that’s just way too long of a post for my attention span. I’m sure it has some good points in it though.

  14. Steve Jones and his side kick reported today on 1450 espn radio in State College that Neal offered Marlins Tallion, Lock, polanco and someone else for Staton and the Marlins turned them down. Now I love Staton and your outfield would be set for 10 years but thank our lucky stars Neal got turned down. Neal said it was crazy. That would have been crazy.

    • It wouldn’t have been set for 10 years; Pirates probably would not have been able to afford Stanton in a few years.

    • And to be honest that’s not all that bad an offer if NH had someone in mind to fill the spot that Locke would have left. Your banking on Polanco and Tallion living up to their potential when you get Stanton who is a stud and young as well. Polanco could be the next Tabata, Taillon could be the next Tommy Hanson

  15. Everyone wanted a RF but there no one available who would fix RF

    • I agree JAL; smart to not trade for just anyone. But if you can’t fix RF you can’t tell me the bench doesn’t need an upgrade as well.

  16. Wasn’t going to blog tonight-rather busy. But Milo and I go a long way back on Blondie talk.

    Thanks for the heads up, Milo, and the transcript, Bowser
    Good stuff.

  17. 100 on the under for line 1 and 100 on the over for line 2 please.

  18. This helps explain August waiver trades………………..

    Bring home a win tonight.

  19. Don’t want us to forget about The Fort. Finished the game with a torn ligament that required surgery. You know those guys in the clubhouse ain”t forgetten. Stayed in so number 1 Russ could rest his balky knee. So when Russ is still stealing with a bad knee he’s just doing what it takes to win that game. That is what this group has done all year long. I cannot remember seeing quit in any of them. I’m all in as a fan of this bunch. They believe in each other (even whoever is in right field) and that is really a recipe for winning, and good enough for me.

    Speedy recovery Fort.

    Lunnies. Insane. Hmm…Neil must read this blog.

    Game time in 2 minutes.

    Go Bucs!

  20. Well, I’m going to be here most of night. I think I strained my Achilles so a bunch of ice and elevation is in the cards tonight. (Oh, see what I did there?)

    15-day DL for me.

    What a play by Pedro!!

    Get that man some GOLD

  21. I’ll say it again, Pedro can make the difficult plays look easy, he has a rifle of an arm and that plays at 3B well.

    Good early sign for Morton inducing three quick ground balls.

  22. What was that about? Joe Kelly giving a look at McCutchen…

  23. Morton has to get that ball.

  24. Oh Tony… have your work cut out for you tonight.

  25. The play was there to be made at the plate.

  26. Many reasons why Martin always needs to catch Morton, that’s one of them.

    • See how slow Sanchez moved laterally trying to black that ball ? That’s what I was talking about that I saw in spring training. Of course, I can’t blame any catcher with Charlie out there. He’s nearly impossible to catch.

  27. Jones continues to make solid contact, but those balls are finding gloves.

  28. Well Kelly walks the bases loaded to get to the pitcher.

  29. I think they need to be more aggressive with this guy early in the count. See a fastball & hit it.

  30. Okay, need a hit. Let’s not let this guy go deep with a bunch of zeroes in the H column.

  31. They’re getting pitches to hit.

  32. Another nice play by Pedro

  33. Every time I see Ray Searage, I think we should have a Christmas movie, so he could play Burl Ives.

    But he is one heck of a pitching coach.

  34. Morton the one weak link of rotation, I so wish Wandy could return.

  35. Is Hurdle doing his best John Russell in this inning?

    1st base open, Kozma singles in a run

    … now Morton taking his time can’t get Kelly out at first.

    • You have got to be kidding me. I can’t see the game, so don’t know what’s going on, but still, you have got to be kidding me with comparing Clint to JR, unless you actually see him nodding off in the dugout.

  36. Morton is scuffling again

  37. The line was 7.5 hits against Morton…. he’s at 6 through 4 innings. If Morton gets to pitch two more innings, I’m confident he’ll give up at least 2 more hits.

  38. Well the good news is he won’t be pitching against the Rockies. They’d have to issue small craft advisories for the Allegheny.

  39. Bottom of the 4th and the rally cap has to already go on. Get some freaking hits! By the way – Joe Kelly is pitching a NO HITTER.

  40. Can’t get hits unless you s-w-i-n-g t-h-e b-a-t!


  42. 8 hits for Cards…. sorry Playoffs…. that was too easy with Morton on the mound.

    Need a hero (firefighter) and get him off the field because there’s a gas can on fire on the mound.

  43. Proof tonight that you can get hits and score runs by just getting easy hits. If you try and kill it, you may not get the hits. Pirates need to take some notes.

  44. The joys of hearing Bob Walk making excuses for Morton.

  45. Any chance we see Stole my Pimento make a start soon?

  46. Breaking News: Pirates get a hit

  47. Why, oh Why couldn’t Mr. Charlie do that with bases loaded earlier in the game?

  48. A question? Since Lambo is not on the 40 man at this point, couldn’t McKenry be put on the 60 day DL to clear a spot for him. Or does McKenry have to placed on 15 day for 15 days first before going to 60?

  49. Can Jeanmar Gomez audition for Morton’s spot?

  50. Should have replaced Morton when he got on base, at least maybe we may have scored at least one run on Marte’s hit.

  51. Charlie Morton since July 1st:

    5 starts / 4.99 ERA

  52. Well just one of those nights, would have signed up for a 4-1 series win back on Monday.

    Still six more on the home stand with Rockies and Marlins up next so great chance to pile up a few more wins before venturing back on the road.

    All phases of the game have looked bad tonight. Tomorrow a new day.

    • 4 out of 5 is much better than most of us thought this would go. Now the Bucs need to really beat up on the Rockies and Marlins.

      Could Lambo’s be arriving this weekend??

      • agree w/you gunner and jray. if the bucs can build this plus .500 up a few more games before a rematch with the redbirds…that would be helpful.

  53. You just knew that this team wouldn’t be swept in 5 games. It was also bound to happen that one of the three games on national TV would be a blowout against the Bucs. This sucks but they can’t come back and get the Rockies this weekend. They will still have a 1.5 game lead in the division. Keep winning series and all will be fine.

  54. 4 out of 5 wins is pretty good. but, to get blown out like this in the finale…ouch.

  55. Looks like the Cards are taking out some frustrations tonight…

  56. Extra innings in Indy. Andrew Lambo just grounded out to end the 9th. Oh, against Mike Zagurski.

  57. You really have to wonder just how bad Martin’s knee is…

  58. How embarrassing…

  59. Cumpton could take Morton’s spot…

  60. Well Folks…I’d say as we completed August 1, 2013…that there is a full blown battle for the NL Central that is taking place. 2 months to go…put your seatbelts on…! Have a good evening all…

  61. This has now become the most runs given up in a game this year…..shades of that Brewers throttling a few years back. Bucs run differential taking a beating tonight.

    But still only counts as one loss.

  62. What do you think, Jordy Mercer pitches the 9th ?

  63. I think NH should have done the “insane”… ;)

  64. It might be time to recall Jared Hughes as he has pitched well at Indy and has experience as the Vic Black experiment does not seem to be working right now, live arm but he will need to develop another pitch.

    • He needs to develop a fastball that isn’t straight. He’s not going to be a quality pitcher if he can’t get some movement on it, especially if the curve isn’t working.

  65. Good old fashion butt whoppin. My money is on these guys recovering with a good game tomorrow. 4 of 5. Yep, I’ll take that. 13-0. Ouch, It’s baseball kids. 162 games. You are going to have a few like this. A good butt whoppin makes you think straight.

    Go Bucs!

  66. Tonight’s game is an example of why you don’t want to be a wildcard…

  67. I’m rooting for Jordy Mercer to pitch the 9th inning.

  68. Too bad there’s no mercy rule in MLB. Now do you believe me that Morton’s no good?
    Gomez just as bad. Good place to use him though, he was getting rusty sitting in the bullpen. It doesn’t matter how bad you lose, it’s only one game loss in the standings.

    • Chuck

      Like you, I don’t care for Morton. He has a distinct pattern: for every good game he pitches, he pitches at least 5 bad games.

  69. When I read about how good Vic Black is, then see the lack of movement on his fastball, I wonder about these internet scouts.

    • You deal with that when you have 98+mph fastball… it will come. Or it won’t. He’s got a lot of baseball ahead of him…far from a finished product.

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