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Morning Java: Just call him Rusty

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column digs deep into the past of newly minted Pitt quarterback Tom Savage … just to find the last time the guy actually played.

It’s a wild story that, given the Panthers’ challenging 2013 schedule in the ACC, could get a whole lot wilder before long. Especially if Savage plays anywhere near his freshman peak at Rutgers.

Here’s our news coverage of Savage being named, by Jerry DiPaola.

And here’s a bit of our talk over on the South Side …

What are your expectations for Pitt in Paul Chryst’s second season?

Let’s hear it in the comments below.

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>> The Pirates and Starling Marte overcame Tuesday’s monster, monumental, epic, earth-shattering, seismic, senses-shaking loss … by winning one simple game last night. What a concept. Karen Price is in St. Louis.

Oh, and Francisco Liriano for Cy Young after a 10-run outing?

Don’t laugh.

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage.

Here’s Cardinals coverage from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> The Carnell Lake effect on the DBs is measured by Mark Kaboly in Latrobe. That and much more, including goal-line drills last night at St. Vincent, can be found on our Steelers page.

I stopped up at campus yesterday, too, for some future material. Here’s a question I had for Brett Keisel

>> Man, did I enjoy yesterday’s TribLIVE Radio show, and I mean that. It was almost entirely due to having callers control the opening segment. Really enjoyed it, and I’m planning on trying it again next week.

This was how the segment played out …

>> That was one seriously lousy loss for the Riverhounds in Wilmington, N.C., last night. Let’s just say they were Bosnia to the Hammerheads’ United States.

The Hounds’ 2013 home finale is Saturday. Almost sold out.

>> Action-packed few days coming up, first baseball, then football. Really looking forward to it all.

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.

224 Comments

  1. First!? The Buccos are in first and that is all I really care about.

  2. Huge win tonight by the Pirates.
    This was where it could’ve really fallen apart, and they struck early and held steady.
    Some decent offense for a change, and Liriano was outstanding.
    I do remain concerned about RF.
    It’s early….But Andrew Lambo does not strike me ML ready at this point in time.

    • Agreed, huge win!

      Remain concerned about RF? You mean like all year? A possible solution is to acquire Morneau, put him at 1B, and move Jones to RF. Then instead of RF du jour with Presley, Harrison, Tabata, and Lambo, you can move them to the bench. You improve 3 areas.

      And it is early on Lambo. He may not be lighting it up, but he seems very poised for a rookie. He doesnt look like a deer in the headlight at the plate. He may be a possible solution in 2014.

      • I agree about Morneau….That’s the best option at this time.
        Will Huntington get the deal done?….I’m certainly not optimistic.
        Otherwise, I’m not down on Lambo already, but I just think this is no place for him right now.

        • NH will not acquire Morneau or Dunn – no sense to disrupt the team chemistry. Thru the rest of this season, the Bucs are going to rely on what got them this far: A STRONG PITCHING STAFF!!

          For the most part, I agree with NH.

          • Nobody is talking about turning the team topsy-turvey.
            We’re taking about adding one bat.
            Chemistry with little offense will only get you so far.
            Pitching helps….But you have to be able to score.

  3. Great start by Liriano. Couldn’t ask for more after almost the entire bullpen was needed the night before. Also don’t underestimate the importance of Pedro’s home run. It allowed the team to exhale. 4 must be the magic number. Hopefully that will be the last 4 game losing streak.

  4. Had some people running around here this morning doing The Scream by Edvard Munch. ‘Marte should be benched!’ ‘Send him down to Indy!’ ‘Collapse III has started,’ (and my favorite) ’21 is nigh.” It was so ridiculous it was humorous.

    Calmer heads just knew Francisco Liriano would take the ball and take care of business. The one-off game at Coors was absolutely meaningless and anyone trying to see anything into it has been drinking too much Coors. Liriano is our ace. Kershaw will probably win the Cy Young and he deserves to. But I am delighted to have Liriano.

    • Was upset that Marte dropped the ball but more so that he’s been swinging at so many bad pitches out of the zone. He looked much more focused last night, especially the AB that resulted in the 2-run double. He’s redeemed himself for the other night.

      What a shot in the arm by Liriano. Not only gets a win but saves the bullpen too. I had the feeling a couple weeks ago that if it came down to a play in game, I’d go with Burnett. After last night, I’ve changed my mind.

      • Yes, that was a true “quality” at bat Marte gave us. Like I said last night, I think Marte has recently been showing more discipline. Nobody is perfect and there will be relapses, but the kid is figuring it out.

        Liriano: Neal Huntington’s finest hour.

    • Ghostie………..

      re: people running around……….. while the trolls that came here yesterday are never really welcome, let people say what they want. If they want to run around saying ’21 is nigh’, let them. If any fanbase is to be cut slack, it is the Pirate fanbase. 20 straight years of losing, horrible play, and horrible management decisions will do that to people.

      Also, how many people really “knew” Liriano would have the outing he did last night. His last outing produced 9 runs in 2+ innings……….. not exactly a confidence builder. I believe many were hoping he would do that, and he did, in spades.

      But, thats baseball, I guess.

      • Oh yeah, people can say whatever they want. Well, I don’t really like it when fans start dehumanizing players and saying vile things about them. But I am not about stopping any of the rest of the silliness. What I will do is point that stuff out in the light of the day, or the glow of victory the following night. I did predict Liriano would come out and pitch like a man on a mission, by the way. I think those were my exact words.

        • Agree with you about saying vile things, and dehumanizing players. 100%

          And you may have said Liriano would do it (props to you), I was just pointing out that with the level of hysteria yeasterday, I dont think many people, calm heads or not, had much confidence in Liriano after his previous start.

          Hope the fish didnt scar you too much.

        • Liriano pitched and has handled himself like a consummate professional. He could have whined and blamed the last poor performance on any number of things and let it affect last night’s performance, but he put that in the rear view, got on his horse and rode. The rest of the team followed suit.

          Way to go Frankie!

      • I did say yesterday that I thought Liriano would give them a good outing last night. I am no soothsayer. I get stuff wrong all the time. I just thought the game in Colorado was an aberration. He had never pitched there before, and I think it killed his confidence when he saw his breaking stuff was flattened out as it is for everyone there. He let it ruin him that night. But, I figured he’d get back on track against the Cardinals.

        I agree with you on the fanbase being cut some slack. Not everyone is going to come to believe in this team at the same rate. That’s ok. As you say, we’ve all been through a lot over 20 years.

  5. My expectations are for Pitt to improve as the season goes along. I know that isn’t sexy but that’s it. New, “rusty” quarterback, true freshman running back, inexperienced linebackers, team still trying to adjust to coaches, offensive and defensive schematics. Coach trying to reshape the program with character players. Opening the season on national television against a very strong conference opponent.

    Whew! That is a lot to have on your plate. I expect them to get beat handily by Florida State. Hopefully, they survive and move on. And try to improve each week. That’s it.

    Really like Paul Chryst. A very down to earth, let’s get to business sort of guy. I think he has the temperament, discipline and work ethic to get the program to where it needs to be. It will just take time. Painful time. The guy is a legend in my state. From his high school quarterback days in a pastoral small town to undeniable success as offensive coordinator at Madison. I wish him success and I can’t wait for September 2.

    DK: Is it your belief, John, that Chryst would have been next in line with the Badgers? Or was he lucky to come here?

    • My exact thoughts on this situation is what John posted. Thanks for saving me the time.

    • I believe Chryst was next, next in line at UW-M. What I mean is, not the guy after Bielema, but the guy after the guy after Bielema. I think he is Alvarez’s guy, and will get a chance in Madison when Alvarez feels he is ready. I believe Chryst will take that opportunity if/when it arises because that is his dream job. I don’t have any inside info. Just reading between all the lines for the past year+.

      I also like Chryst. Seems to me like a very good man. I know the goal is win football games in the ACC, and I think he will do that pretty well. But, I like football coaches that actually represent the school well and do right by the players. I don’t want to see an Urban Meyer-type at Pitt, even if it means more winning. I have a friend who is a die hard OSU alumnus/fan, and he said Meyer is so slimy it is sickening. Says he is trying to get a few troubled players from UF to transfer, etc. If true, those problems will catch up with that program again.

      I love the way Chryst handled the Shell situation. I also believe he can coach, but he is going to build it the right way, which means slowly building to a 10-win team in about 3 years. If that happens, I think he would take the Wisky job when it opens. I also think he will leave the Pitt job in good hands, maybe with Rudolph or another assistant taking over. He will do it the right way, ensuring some stability.

    • Dejan:

      I think Chryst was definitely in the line of succession for Badger head coaches. Bret Bielema abruptly leaving definitely caught the program off guard. I think had Chryst known that Bielema was going to leave, he would have stayed in Madison for another year. I don’t know for certain but it probably didn’t hurt Chryst that Alvarez is from Western PA and he probably lobbied Pitt to give Chryst deep consideration for the job. I also think that Alvarez did not pursue Chryst last winter due to his connections to Pittsburgh. I also think that Chryst has the type of character that he didn’t want to leave Pitt spinning by leaving there after one season. He seems like the type of guy that wants to see thing through.

      I have always thought that Pitt is an attractive position. Good history, academic school, strong schedules and located within a recruiting rich territory. It’s funny, when I was at school at Madison and Chryst was the QB there, going to coach at Wisconsin would have been a death sentence. I think Chryst saw what Alvarez did for our alma mater and would love to do the same thing for Pitt.

  6. I hereby declare this blog pitchfork and torch free.
    Fire rescue has been canceled for the massive amount of ledge-walkers, and bridge-jumpers.
    Psychiatrists have been taken off standby.
    Grandmothers have been told not to make any more hot chocolate.

    All is well. Resume Lunatic activities.

  7. Dont know what to make of Mr. Savage. Hasnt played in 3 years, different teams, schemes, etc. I do know this…………. a corpse is better than Sunseri, so lets hope for the best.

    What do I expect from Chryst? A .500 season, continue building for the future, and continue to kick malcontents out of the locker room. It aint easy raising the dead, and after the 500 HC’s in 500 days fiasco, let the man do what he needs to do, and let him see it thru.

    Very disappointed to see our RiverPups lose. I will give it to their fans……… next game almost sold out. Something tells me even if there was a hurricane coming, game would still probably sell out. But that’s soccer, I guess.

    DK: Tino was quite the lightning rod. Probably still is when his name comes up.

    • DK, you are correct.
      From most accounts I have ever heard, he was a good kid.
      His name will be on peoples lips for some time, I guess.

  8. The derogatory term “troll” gets tossed around here, and presumably some of my posts following Tuesday’s loss were seen by some- maybe all- as trollworthy. But, I believe the opposite is true. If you did not live and die with every single pitch in Tuesday’s game, sweat through the intentionally loaded bases multiple times with tge Cards poised to win, erupt in anger when Cutch froze on third, have flashbacks to 1992 NLCS Game 7 with Barmes’error and the eery reliving of Bonds-Bream through the bodies of Marte and Jay, despair over the lost opportunity to retake control, and become irate over the going through the motions listless excuse for baseball activity that occurred at 5280 feet in Denver, then you too may be a “troll.” Let’s just hope that Tuesday’s loss is not the difference between the division crown and a one game playoff. They all count.

    • I haven’t really used the word “troll,” myself, though they are ‘out there’… While I can’t speak for Hippo, I seriously doubt he was referring to you, Reading. You were very doomy and gloomy last night, but as Hippo says — and I wholeheartedly agree — you have every right to be however you like, from night to night. Because it’s true — the last 20 years have made ALL of us neurotic! (Did you see my backside running for dear life from Hippo’s pond, Hippo pumping buckshot into it?! That’s what 20 years has done to me.)

      • Amen, Ghost! Everyone needs to experience this season, the ups and downs, in their own way. We will all arrive at the same destination.

    • True. I wasn’t kidding yesterday either, I wanted to punch someone I was so mad.

      The Pirates are my passion. I’ve lived down in DC since 1985, and have been ridiculed for my faith in the Pirates for almost every year I’ve been here. I want the Pirates to not suck in the worst possible way. I’d probably have an aneurism if they went all the way, but it would be worth it.

      • You are a true fan, John. We feel your pain. But, I really think it is going to be ok. This is a different team. The “walking aimlessly through the wilderness years” are over IMO. They may not win it all this year (in fact, that is unlikely), but they will make the playoffs and they are on a good path for the future. Just my $.02.

    • Tuesday’s game was to determine whether the Bucs would have a 2 game or 4 game lead in the division with 43 games to go. If you’re living and dying with every pitch of that game, I fear for your health when the playoffs start. :-)

  9. Don’t know if the Pirate broadcast in Pittsburgh was the ESPN one or not, so I don’t know what everybody else saw on the Mercer “error” play. But while the booth gang for ESPN was ambiguous about it on the replay, I paused the super slo-mo and advanced it frame by frame. Not only was it not a tie (which would have had the batter out), but Mercer’s throw actually hit Jone’s glove before Carpenter’s foot hit the bag. Not faulting the ump on a bang-bang, inconsequential play. But Mercer made a nice recovery and did not deserve the error. C’est la base-ball.

  10. For the first time this season I did not watch last night’s game in St. Louis. I didn’t have the heart for it. Tuesday’s game was such a big disappointment to watch, it qualified as trauma. Waiting on every pitch, every play, as if there was a chance for something worthy to happen for 14 innings and then see it not happen was my limit. Losing the way the team did brought back memories of the Pirates of the 1940s and 50s–the “hapless Pirates” as the Associated Press called them, duly reported in my local newspaper back East. Last night, I didn’t watch the game live because I didn’t want to take the chance of another big disappointment. It’s no mystery how deep-rooted memories of watching your team lose another game get stored up and triggered when it loses a heartbreaker like Tuesday night in St. Louis. These last 20 years have made me feel somewhat detached from the team, almost uncaring. Only masochists and idiots can bear the disappointment of rooting for a loser year after year.
    But, last night, I woke up in the middle of the night, shortly after the game was over (3:30 AM in my time zone), and got on the Internet to find out what happened. The web site had not yet posted the wrap-ups, just the summary and box score. That was enough. Yes! The Bucs had won the game, 5-1, and Liriano has gone all the way with a four hitter.
    I will watch the game live this afternoon. I will be wary. My confidence with this Pirates team is on hold. A week ago I would have bet on winning the NL Central, as I thought we might do last year and the year before. Let’s see if A.J. can match Francisco’s effort today. I know he’s capable of winning the game. They all are.

  11. Hi Dejan–

    Hoping you can comment on this in the next couple of weeks. In late September/early October, with the Pirates likely making the playoffs, the Steelers in full swing, and the Penguins kicking off their next campaign, it’s going to be mighty interesting from a journalistic point of view, eh? Lots and lots to cover. You guys are going to be busy, especially the columnists.

  12. Props to Libido for pitching a complete game!!!!!

    Thanks Mr. And Mrs. Lad 9!

  13. They WON?

    Enjoy The Ride.

  14. Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! ….LXXI wins down, …and XI to go.
    .
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    .
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    .
    PS: Great to get the train back on the tracks…THANK YOU Mr. Liriano….excellent job.

  15. I’m feeling MUCH BETTER today.

    Immeasurably.

    Liriano is the best free agent signing the Pirates have had since either Jim Bibby in 1978, or Lee Lacy in 1979.

    Rick Reuschel is also in that mix, but I wouldn’t put him ahead of Bibby.

    Marte’s 2 run double was GREAT. I’ll allow him to finish out the season in Pittsburgh.

  16. The Bucs win, the Bucs win!!!
    After last night’s performance I’m ready to declare that the Pirates will win the Division, the Pennant, the World Series, the Stanley Cup and the Claret Jug.
    Frankie Liriano will pull in the Cy Young Award. CH will win the Manager of the Year. In a never before act, Andrew McCutchen will win both the NL & AL MVP Awards. Nick Leyva will win the 1st ever NL 3rd base coach of the year award, which will be formally named named the Nick Leyva Award. Sadly though, Andrew Lambo will only finish 3rd in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
    This post brought to you by Angry Mob Outfitters, Rt 19 North in Zelienople. Angry Mob Outfitters, come check out our large selection of pitchforks and torches. All inventory is drastically reduced! Up to 90% off!!! Everything must go!!!
    Angry Mob Outfitters, like us on Facebook and check us out on the web…http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/2013/08/14/morning-java-pitts-secret-weapon/

  17. *cracks open door*

    Is it safe to come in?

  18. Watched the opening segment:

    - DARRYL called in from the West Coast.

    - DK has a fat wallet. Probably lots of money in there but I bet there is a lot of Starbucks receipts too. The promo discount of a $2 grande drink after 2pm ends at the end of the month.

  19. JAL’s Don’t Worry Baby Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW0YGC68qP4

    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: Why Do Some Big Name Players Clear Waivers?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/first-pitch-why-do-some-big-name-players-clear-waivers.html

    A Detailed Look at Francisco Liriano: The Stopper

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/a-detailed-look-at-francisco-liriano-the-stopper.html

    Prospect Watch: Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson and Stetson Allie Homer

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/prospect-watch-gregory-polanco-alen-hanson-and-stetson-allie-homer.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Francisco Liriano’s disdain for hitting, collapse on display in 5-1 Pirates victory

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/8/14/4623148/francisco-lirianos-disdain-for-hitting-collapse-on-display-in-5-1

    8 Rumbunter

    Do Pirates Fans Want To Lose?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/08/14/do-pirates-fans-want-to-lose/

    9 WHYGAVS

    Game 119: Pirates 5 Cardinals 1

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2013/game-119-pirates-5-cardinals-1.html

    10 The Green Weenie

    Liriano Tosses 5-1 Gem

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/08/liriano-tosses-5-1-gem.html

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5 Cardinals 1

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/08/pirates-5-cardinals-1/

  20. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Should Acquire Justin Morneau

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/08/15/pittsburgh-pirates-should-acquire-justin-morneau/

    13 KDKA

    Pirates Hitting Coach Jay Bell Not Pushing Panic Button

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/08/14/pirates-hitting-coach-jay-bell-not-pushing-panic-button/

    14 Shelby News

    Indians’ affiliation with Pittsburgh mutually beneficial

    http://www.shelbynews.com/articles/2013/08/15/sports/doc520c0da353638329894319.txt

    15 USA Today

    Time to rethink baseball’s postseason format?

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/08/14/mlb-postseason-stlouis-cardinals-adam-wainwright-jason-giambi/2654725/

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Cardinals Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130815_PIT@STL

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Cards can’t keep the ball rolling

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-cards-can-t-keep-the-ball-rolling/article_3a46cd96-dd6e-57c7-a1ce-207fde3bb36f.html

    Cardinals fall flat against Pirates

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinals-fall-flat-against-pirates/article_24a6b092-7a22-5da0-8336-6bf3f8994a13.html

    18 PBC Site

    Lights-out Liriano masters Cards in complete game

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_14_pitmlb_slnmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Remarkable plays overshadowed by 14-inning loss

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130814&content_id=56993932&notebook_id=57006424&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Nine of Our Favorite Pitcher Conversions

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21516

    20 Fangraphs

    Finding Value in Pitcher Inconsistency

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/finding-value-in-pitcher-inconsistency/

  21. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers depth chart: Brian Moorman and Drew Butler punter battle intensifies

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/14/4622134/steelers-depth-chart-brian-moorman-drew-butler-punter-battle-holder

    Steelers training camp update: Shaun Suisham hits 60-yard field goal in practice

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/14/4622524/steelers-training-camp-update-shaun-suisham-60-yard-field-goal

    22 Steelers Depot

    Tomlin Talks About Wednesday’s Depth Chart Changes

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/08/mike-tomlin-talks-about-wednesday-depth-chart-changes/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Rickie Lambert proves anything is possible, says Steven Gerrard, after winning goal for England against Scotland

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/10244440/Rickie-Lambert-proves-anything-is-possible-says-Steven-Gerrard-after-winning-goal-for-England-against-Scotland.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 14th August, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-14th-august-2013#vRH2kSBOUOo1eq9t.99

  22. Justin Morneau stinks.

  23. This St. Louis sportswriter’s take on what’s wrong with the Cardinals made me feel good this morning. He sounds like some of the heavies on this blog who complain so much about the Bucs.

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-cards-can-t-keep-the-ball-rolling/article_3a46cd96-dd6e-57c7-a1ce-207fde3bb36f.html

  24. Glad Thomas is back in the fold at Pitt. I think 7-5 is a ambitious start to the ACC. I’m hoping for more but realistically, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

    The Pirates did what they have done all season, turn a negative around and play with aggression. The Pitching staff has been far and above what anyone could have ever hoped for. I like Lambo’s approach, I think if he is given some time to settle in he can be an upgrade over Travis Tabata or Jose Snyder, whichever you prefer.

  25. Great effort by Liriano last night to get the Bucs back on track. Now our other money pitcher, AJ needs to do the same.

    The Bucs will be successful today. Daydro will go deep and Lambo will contribute, too. Let’s go strap it on ‘em!!!!

    • I hope so. He’s come in like a Lamb hopefully he goes out like a Lion-O. That’s for all you Thundercat fans out their. I know you exist.

  26. So Savage hasn’t played a game in 1000+ days. Plenty of schools will begin the season with QBs who haven’t played a down of football on the college level. It is what it is. Florida State’s QB will be starting his first game on September 2.

    If everything falls in to place for Pitt and they win a game or two they’re not supposed to maybe they squeeze out 8 wins. I would like to see them at least win the games they’re favored to win. No more Youngstown State like debacles. Should be around a .500 season and hopefully they show signs of improvement for the future. Give Chryst the chance to continue to build a program with the right kind of players who are committed, willing to work hard and do thing sthe right way.

    Looking forward to both the Steelers and Pitt seasons. A touch of fall in the air this morning.

  27. If worrying that the Pirate offense seems to have an overall pattern of weakness in what many refer to as “clutch” situations makes me a troll, then maybe I am. Counterbalancing this worry, is the team’s incredible bounce-back ability and their seeming ability to invent ways to play winning baseball. What really may qualify me for trollhood, is that when I look in the mirror(rearview), I see Red(s). The scariest thing I see, when I look back there, is Arroyo pitching 7 innings of 2 hit shutout baseball (admittedly against the Cubs, but the Cubs are the team that lit up the guy who strikes out every Pirate he faces).

    The Reds are for real, and have finished a season with zest. While I think the Pirates are for real, it remains to be seen if we can finish a season strongly. I will cease, now, before I convince myself I am a troll.

    PS: missed the game last night, did Liriano and Marte give each other a big hug?

  28. Check out #12 on JAL’s list.

    Justin Morneau and Garrett Jones are very similar but Morneau is slightly superior in terms of BA, OBP, homers, strike outs, and is superior in terms of defense.

    Of course we wouldn’t have to choose one if we obtained Morneau or the other as Jones would then be our answer to right.

    • At this point in his career Justin Morneau is closer to Jose Tabata than Garrett Jones.

      Up until August 1st, Justin Morneau was hitting .261/.321/.391 with an ISO of .130. Tabata, .256/.335/.381/.125.

      If you think Morneau is going to continue slugging at a .629 pace like he has the last two weeks, then sure, he’s obviously an improvement. But considering it is 2013, not 2010, you’d most likely be acquiring a mirage.

      • I agree with you, but. He would be a big upgrade with the glove at 1st base. That saves you from putting Gaby in for defense in the 6th inning, which in turn saves Gaby for that one pinch hitting AB against a lefty late in a game. Sad as it is to say it even upgrades your defense in right field marginally.

        But your main point is undeniable, he’s Lyle Overbay at the plate.

        • Very valid point.

          For me personally, I could buy in on that alone, IF Morneau wasn’t another platoon lefty himself.

          I just can’t imagine how Clint Hurdle could be expected to manage a lineup of Walker, Morneau, Alvarez, and Jones with exactly one righty bat on the bench worth mentioning.

          That darn near turns it into a 6 inning game. Opposing managers would simply load up on BP lefties and neutralize over half the lineup.

          • Kinda the way it works now, isn’t it ? You’re just replacing Lambo/Snider/Presley with Morneau.

          • I think you are saying we are “LOOGY-susceptible”, NMR. I think Milo is correct that we already are.

            • I’m not saying we’re LOOGY-susceptible, I’m saying we’re warm-body-that-can-throw-left-handed-susceptible.

              Managers can whipe out entire innings using lefties against that lineup, not just one out.

              And I don’t understand how making a bad situation worse is justification for the move.

              But if one believes Justin Morneau is back in the time machine, screw it. Lets go for him.

      • The other part I reserached a few weeks back, NMR, was that Morneau was abysmal from a power standpoint in road games at that time. I haven’t followed where the Twins have played over the course of his current hot streak, but that was a red flag to me.

        Then, again, we are not talking about a long term acquisition here. We are only wondering if he can out hit Lambo, a rookie who has been thrust into a pennant race. If Jones picks it up (nice start last night), then he goes to RF in the event Morneau is obtained.

        Will it make the team better? I have no idea. But, I am not against giving it a shot and seeing if he can stay hot.

  29. I see Tabata got up off the sick bed to catch the final out last night.

    Maybe he’ll be in the lineup today, if that didn’t drain him too much.

  30. For most of this season, the Pirates were able to win games with late inning rallies, and in extras, which is exactly what good teams do. Especially good teams with superior bullpens to support a solid group of starters.

    Colorado revealed a chink in that armor – as did Tuesday in St. Louis. There was justifiable cause for alarm. Liriano turned off that alarm bell, and we need to get back to being the best defensive team in the league. We probably remained at the top of that defensive heap, but “glaring blunders” tend to draw attention.

    Some errors of commission are part of the game and acceptable indicating at least an effort – Marte’s wasn’t. It was an error of LACK OF CONCENTRATION AND CARELESSNESS. Errors of omission – in every sport – are unacceptable, displaying a lack of preparation, lack of awareness, lack of understanding.

    I believe Marte’s generally excellent defensive skill level will minimize errors of commission, as long as he concentrates all of the time.

    • Not that I want to add to the 700 some post yesterday about dropping a ball because I thought we had moved on but I think you are being a little hard on the guy. I watched the play more then a dozen times now and he watched the ball all the way to the glove. I have seen a lot more careless attempts to catch a ball then that. Players flicking the glove down or looking away before the ball hits the glove. He simply just misjudged it and it hit the heel of the glove.

      • I agree. I watched it many times and I thought it was a lack of concentration. It’s really bizarre. He just missed it. Watched the ball the entire time.

      • It was not a running catch – he was under the ball in ample time. In my many decades of playing and watching baseball, I have seen that “flicking” thing too

        It usually comes from a hot dog, a dude who thinks he’s extra cool, a jerk. That doesn’t resemble Marte in my mind at all. In fact I detected a look of bewilderment on his face.

        You, Hurdle and a posse of whomever you can round up will never dissuade me from this opinion – HE LOST CONCENTRATION in a most critical time of the game.

        “He simply misjudged it. . . . . . .” is your way of saying he lost concentration.

        The game is in hand and he was being called upon to make the easiest of routine plays, and he dropped it.

        • That’s fair and I respect that opinion.

          I think the eyes following he ball into the glove is proof that he did not take the catch for granted or lose concentration at anytime but you disagree which is fine.

          • How do you justify ” . . .the eyes following the ball into glove. . . .” and then say he did not lose concentration.

            If you follow the ball ALL OF THE WAY into the glove – what has been misjudged?

        • BLACK … WHITE… NO GRAY AREA…

          • Nope this is the line your either on this side of it or the other.

            Seriously I believe he could have sprinted to the spot and got under the ball set up a tent took a nap got out and then caught the ball. That is what I try to teach my 10 year old to do because he wants to jog to it and then make a diving catch. However the next time I see a major league outfielder that is not named Bryce Harper that doesn’t ease up and jog to catch it in stride after they know they can get there will be the first.

            • But for flyballs that don’t require you to get on your high horse, I think it’s hard to sprint to the spot. Getting to where the ball is going to land is a process, for lack of a better word.

              • You know of course when you are running after a fly ball, your eyes are bouncing with each time a foot hits the ground – those kind of balls can be misjudged – because your eyesight is not fixed.

                Of course running to a spot – if possible – and awaiting the arrival of the ball, as Marte, did is preferred, to eliminate misjudgment.
                Thus in these instances, a dropped ball is a result of. . . . . .lack of concentration. And Mr. Marte was simply awaiting the descent of the ball into his glove and – VOILA – he dropped it.

              • He didn’t look like he lost his concentration to me. I think it’s a mystery that none of us can really solve and I’m okay with that.

                I really don’t get the eyes bouncing stuff but whatever.

              • I’ll stifle myself with this; when you are running, especially after a fly ball, your entire field of vision is bouncing. Thus when you are running while attempting to sight an object (baseball here) the object appears to be bouncing.

                In this circumstance, misjudgment is possible.

              • Sure. Flyballs can be misjudged, groundballs, etc.

    • Actually, what good teams do is win blowouts. Close games are relative coin tosses.

      Marte dropped a ball. There was nothing wrong with his technique. He watched it all the way to his glove. It was a physical error. It happens to everyone.

      • If you think that’s true Sisyphus, I suggest you pick some teams and compare their record in 1 run games and blowouts and compare that to their overall record.

        • That study has been done already. I don’t have it to hand, but its true all through baseball history. Bad teams often get blown out, but rarely blow anybody out. The opposite is true for good teams. But it isn’t unusual for a good team to have an ordinary record in close games, or for a bad team to be over .500 in one run games.

          • Fair enough but saying that it isn’t unusual is quite different to me from saying that close games are relative coin tosses.

            • Ah, when I say “relative coin tosses” I mean compared to their comparative records in blowouts.

              For example their winning percentages in close games might be quite close, say .497 and .500. The their winning percentages in blowouts will be radically different, such as .200 and .750.

  31. So the pattonbb family leaves tomorrow for a much deserved vacation. We’ll be spending the next 10 days laying on a secluded beach of sugar white sand and playing in aquamarine colored water. I fully expect the Buccos to have an 8 game lead by the time we get back. When do playoff tickets go on sale?

    Play nice together folks. And remember….Fear the Bones.

  32. After watching the opening segment of Dejan’s radio show yesterday, I went back and looked at the replay of Marte’s drop. My memory was that Marte take kind of a non chalant approach to the ball but after watching the replay, I don’t think he did at all. He even looked the ball into his glove. But I heard Hurdle yesterday on the radio say that he did talk to Marte about having more purpose (maybe not that word exactly) when he went after flyballs.

    Also, I was a little concerned about Marte having his head completely in the game last night and being confident. I’ve always believed that baseball is a game that you must play with 100% confidence. Stretching that hit into a double was beautiful. Yes, I said beautiful.

    • I agree with you but the front office may be balking at his 3.7M salary for the remainder of the season, per a beat reporter from another paper who was on the radio yesterday.

      • I think you meant this probably for TJ. I agree though that they’re probably not interested in Morneau from a value perspective. I don’t think it’s just about the money. I think it’s a combination of the money plus the risk that he might not be worth having.

  33. I am ready for Morneau. For those that think he will not be an upgrade that is something I cannot say I would disagree with totally but he brings something that I don’t remotely see from Tabata, snider or Presley and that is the HR threat. While its only a threat it still makes a pitcher think. And you just might catch lightning in a bottle for a few key games like the Yankees did with Soriano, and in a race like this it might be all you need.

    As for the chemistry side I think it would be a clear signal that management is trying their best and not hoping for the best by bringing up untested rookies in the heat of a pennant race.

    And for those games when Morneau might not start who would you rather have coming to the plate to pinch hit…. Harrison, Sanchez or Morneau?

    • Against a left hander Gaby. This feels a lot like back up quarterback syndrome. Everyone loves the other guy until that guy plays and they realize he was not that much better if better at all. It’s just my opinion but I don’t see Morneau as a productive player anymore.

      • “Back-Up Quarterback Syndrome.” I love it!

        It makes me think exactly of the reaction around Andrew Lambo. Now, he may end up becoming a great player. He may even end up contributing during this pennant race.

        However, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t gotten a chuckle out of his first two games.

        THIS is the guy we had to “free” from AAA? THIS is the guy over whom management kept their heads buried in the sand?

        Maybe, just maybe, those guys knew what they were doing when they didn’t bring him up.

        I’d be happy to be proven wrong, however.

        • What have you seen in two games that is laughable?

        • I don’t recall anyone here calling him the savior, Sean. What I read was people saying, “Presley is struggling at the plate and Lambo has hit 31 HR in AA/AAA, so let’s see what he has.”

          • Jim,

            You’re right, I’m probably inflating the extent to which people lauded Lambo.

            At the same time…I mean, the Pirates are in a pennant race. Is now the time to give the guy a try out?

            • It should have been done sooner. But better late than never.

            • SeanAY

              I don’t think you are inflating as much as you think. I don’t know if savior was used but it definately was implied. 6 AB’s is not enough to say he can’t stick but I definately went in with lower expectations then others. I honestly was and still am hoping for Tabata numbers with more power at best.

      • I think people lose sight all the time of just how incomplete other teams are. The best offensive teams in baseball like the Tigers and Cardinals have guys batting .230 in their line up.

        Marte with an average of .279 is 25th in the NL right now among players with enough at bats to qualify. There are 200 everday position players in the NL and probably around 150 of those have enough plate appearences to qualify. That means 83% of everyday players bat below .279. When you look at it this way Jones batting .251 or Tabata batting .259 doesn’t seem so bad. Every team has those guys on the team. More power from Tabata would be nice but we are something like 7th in the NL in Home Runs so we have made up for that elsewhere.

        Unless we trade for one of the Cardinals batting above .350 with runners in scoring position which is our biggest problem it’s not going to make much of a difference. At least not a big enough difference to justify trading a really good prospect or absorbing a good size contract that runs through next year as well.

        • I agree that every team is flawed, Nate. Better pitching + defensive shifting has turned the tables on a lot of hitters that don’t use the entire field. St. Louis doesn’t hit HRs very much. That might bite them in the playoffs, just as our low batting avg. might bite us. Have they even hit a ball to the warning track on a fly these last 2 nights?

          • Did you see the stats for the Cardinals against left hand pitching last night? The ESPN broadcast talked a lot about it. They are something like 12-23 against left handers.

            They are a weird team. They don’t hit for much power and have practically zero team speed. They play small ball without the speed.

            • Yes, I said that yesterday also. Small ball without speed is a strange combination. But, they do a great job most nights of waiting on the ball and hitting it the opposite way through holes. That is a good strategy, but is not something every batter can or will do. The Cardinals have bought into it, right down to Holliday. They are often “death by a thousand pin pricks.”

              • I see the 2013 Cards as a study in the value of an out.

                Yadi, Craig, Holliday, and Freese are all having down power years, but they’re still getting on base.

                They could fill a lineup 1-8 right now with guys getting on base at a .340 clip or better. Thats incredible.

              • I read something in ESPN The Magazine while waiting to get a haircut the other day about how many pitches guys take per plate appearance. Yadi, in particular, was cited as an example that more pitches is not always better. They said the emphasis on teams driving up pitch counts led to batters getting deep into counts, but it doesn’t mean a higher avg. for every player. Yadi’s pitches/PA has decreased for the last 4 years while his average has gone from .260′s to .330′s. He said it is basically because when he sees a “cookie” he hits it. He doesn’t care if the count is 1-0 or 3-1, or anything in between. If he allows the count to go deep purposely, he might not get the best pitch of the at bat to hit.

                I don’t know if that explains it all for Yadi. I think he has just gotten smarter and better as well. But, he has simplified his process.

                More than one way to skin a cat, I think.

              • Ugh.

                What I can’t stand about articles like that and the one Verducci did for SI is that they go off the false premise that all pitches are equal.

                That people around baseball are teaching hitters to take good pitches just for the sake of taking pitches. That is obviously awful advice.

                The entire modern premise of working the count is to take pitchers pitches. Strikes that have a high probability of weak contact.

          • I don’t think I’ve seen this many pitchers with sub 3.00 ERA’s in a while. I’m not sure what to attribute it to. Less PED’s, defensive shifts, players striking out being more acceptable.

            I also don’t remember this many pitchers pitching over 95 MPH. Maybe that’s just because I’m a Pirate fan and those didn’t exist on our team until the last two years.

            • I know what you mean out the 95 MPH pitching. I heard something interesting on the game broadcast the other night. The announcers said that ball parks had changed how park radar guns record the pitches (they didn’t discuss when this happened). That in the past the speed was recorded at (or near) the plate, but nowadays it’s recorded as it leaves the pitchers hand. Not sure if that has to do with (what seems like) the uptick in fireballers.

            • My take on pitching dominance now is that it is an answer to inflated offense of the last 10-20 years, which was brought on by a bunch of things – take your pick:

              * Newer, smaller ball parks
              * Bigger, stronger hitters
              * Greater emphasis on taking pitches, driving up pitch counts, high on base %
              * Emphasis on driving the ball out of the park to take advantage of the parks

              I’m sure I left out some other factors. So, teams went about placing more emphasis on pitching to gain an edge. They looked for bigger, harder throwing “horses.” They improved on teaching pitching mechanics, to get the most MPH out of a guy’s arm. They started grooming hard-throwing relief pitchers to throw just one inning. They placed a premium on guys who throw with sink.

              And, they made a study of where each player tended to hit the ball and acted on that info. more than at any time in history. Shifts always took place, but just with extreme pull hitters. Now, a high % of players face some sort of a shift, even if it is just subtle.

              I think the pitching and defense of today is an answer to a need in the market.

              • Dang, absolutely excellent point about technology.

                Baseball, by nature, has always and always will favor pitchers.

                Advanced technology and scouting seems to have benefitted them disproportionately.

              • What do you mean by nature NMR? I’m thinking that lowering the mound, smaller ballparks, and the DH has favored hitters.

              • All that and pitchers still succeed 70% of the time against Hall of Famers.

                The science of hitting a round ball with a round bat will always favor pitchers over hitters.

                The game, by nature, will always favor pitchers over hitters.

              • “All that and pitchers still succeed 70% of the time against Hall of Famers.”

                True but wouldn’t a BAA of .300 be a very poor rate of success for a pitcher?

              • Only relative to the fact that pitchers already succeed in getting outs much greater than hitters succeed at getting hits.

                Pitchers dictate what, where, and when a pitch is thrown. Hitting technology basically tries to improve the chances that the hitter knows what is coming.

                Pitching technology exploits the hitters weaknesses, thus having control of that information sways his odds disproportionately.

            • I think the increase in young, hard throwers can most likely be attributed to advances in science and medicine.

              These guys are the generation grew up with pitch counts and common knowledge that encouraging growing boys to throw breaking balls is negligent.

              Also probably has a lot to do with the influx of Latin American talent.

              As for the ERA’s, I’d add pitch counts/bullpen usage to your list. Guys aren’t being left in to face lineups for the 3rd time with 90+ pitches already thrown like they used to be.

              • Thanks both for your info. I knew most of that but it’s always interesting to hear other’s thoughts. I think computers and better understanding of the human body have changed the game more then we realize.

              • Good points.

          • Lack of power is likely to hurt the Cards badly in the playoffs. It’s much harder to win with an offense that relies on three singles to produce a run against playoff teams, who usually have good pitching and good defenders.

  34. I did laugh when you mentioned Liriano for Cy Young…Cant hold a candle to Kershaw with regards to stats or ” stuff “.

    But I wouldnt laugh if you mentioned Liriano for MVP but that rarely if ever goes to a pitcher….

  35. Perusing the Trib on line & I came by this little nugget that hits close to home for me. My sister graduated with Derek & my parents had their wedding reception at the hall in the complex.

    http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourallekiskivalley/yourallekiskivalleymore/4521849-74/kotecki-park-derek#axzz2boLZmkCe

  36. “Not counting several random assaults that generated double-digit run totals and inflated their misleading run differential, the Cardinals’ offense has pretty much remained in shutdown mode in recent weeks.” – I love this from link 17….not saying run differential is meaningless, just that it is in fact not the barometer for “real baseball”.

    It can be indicative of many things, but sport to me is like Walter Hagen golfing….3 lousy shots and one amazing shot still make par (Bagger Vance). There are very few Micahel Jordan’s, Miguel Cabrera’s and (I don’t know) Peyton Manning’s out there….so if sports are all about recovery, then bludgeoning teams to death should not be the standard.

  37. Ok, so Liriano restored order to the blog. Thank you for that, Francisco. I mentioned early yesterday that I thought he would do that. Colorado screws with your mind the first time there as a pitcher, I think. Breaking stuff doesn’t act as it normally does, and guys panic. He got shelled, but it was just a bump.

    Liriano could have been called Picasso last night. He was an artist. He toyed with the Cards when we absolutely needed it. 94 pitches for a complete game! Holy Randy Jones!

    Ah, Marte! Everyone is rightfully mentioning his 2-run double. But, that was no ordinary double. That was a “Marte” double. No one this side of Yusiel Puig gets a double there except Starling. That was a single to center with a gazelle legging out an extra base. He is a special athlete, warts and all!

    I also want to point out, in case anyone may not have noticed, that once again we saw the difference between Marte and Holliday (and most other LF) defensively. Walker’s ball dropped harmlessly in front of Holliday. He appeared to have no chance at that ball. Marte, as we have seen many times this year, makes that catch with ease. So, while Holliday does not get an error there, and Marte does not get gold stars when he routinely catches fly balls like that, it is obvious to me why Starling’s huge gaffe on Tuesday in no way comes close to matching all the good he does in LF. Defense is mostly about range, and Marte and Cutch are chock full of it.

    I could also mention that a flyball dropped just foul down the LF line on Holliday later that Marte also would have caught, as he has all year. But, that would just be piling on. My point is, as it was yesterday, everyone botches plays if they play this game long enough. That doesn’t mean it is ok to take your eye off a flyball. But, Starling got past it, showed good character in accepting full responsibility, and ripped a 2-run hit last night. I think he’ll be ok, and so will the Bucs.

    Today will be tough assignment, but win or lose, there will still be 42 regular season games to go after today, and this team will win a good portion of them. Just my opinion. As always, feel free to disagree.

    Oh, and one more thing, Pedro got a whole lot of that ball to CF. 440′.

  38. My Pitt take. I like what I see of Chryst. He knows how to coach. Does he know how to recruit well enough? We shall see.

    I think Savage will do well this year. Chryst has done this before (Russell Wilson, anyone?). I would be happy with a 7-5 regular season this year, and thrilled with 8-4. But, next year and the year after should be better. Go Panthers!

    • Very much on the same thought plane as Jim. 8-4 would be great. Coach Chryst made a few rookie head coach mistakes last year that he won’t repeat, so we will be better there. The O-line should be better at least marginally, the D-line is fine and the secondary is good. Linebacker concerns me, but based on what I am reading it appears we might have a little depth and it was not a strenght last year so we should be at least even. Tight end is a major strength – I saw the spring game and there are three guys that can really play. Plus Carswell is out of the mix, which is addition by subtraction.

      That leaves the skill positions. Running back will be weaker, no getting around it. A couple of injuries could be catastrophic. Ace in the hole could be an emergency tailback named Tyler Boyd if needed, although I am sure they don’t want to do that. WR will be good if Boyd starts, but depth is a major issue.

      Which brings us to the QB. I don’t think the difficulty of operating last year with a QB that limited your play calling so much can be over-emphasized. You can survive in college football if your QB can run well or pass well. But when you have one that can do neither, you are to quote Leonard in the Big Bang Theory, “attached to another plane wrapped helically around an axis”. You can throw short to intermediate passes that don’t tax the arm strength, and hand off and bang your head against the line and that is about it. I think Savage will make a big difference, and we will see more of what this offense can do. It could be ugly early, but I expect improvement and a positive season.

  39. Making Plans for Nigel just came on my last.fm mix
    Just sayin….

  40. Good morning, to borrow a phrase from an historical figure: “It’s Morning Again in the Asylum”.

    1. Liriano’s start was HUGE. Not only to shut down Holliday, Beltran, Craig and the merry band of opposite field singles hitters, but to go the distance saving the bullpen which was very taxed on Tuesday. He’s the ace, no doubt about it. And very very worthy of Cy Young consideration.

    2. Love CH’ quotes about yesterday not being as important as tomorrow… love the fact that the Pirates veteran players dealt with Marte after Tuesday’s game… love how this very very good player bounced back with a great game yesterday.

    3. How soon we forget.. .last year, Marte was a blog darling “#FREEMARTE”.. since he was called up, he has been very very good. Outstanding defense, great speed on the bases and he has hit very well even as he is adjusting to major league pitching and trying to improve plate discipline. How anyone can take a view that he isn’t only a solid starter and leadoff hitter for the Bucs now, but also a legitimate catalyst of this offense and perhaps worthy of a few MVP votes is beyond me. And I don’t care that this franchise has lost for 20 years, etc. Marte has nothing to do with that.

    4. The Cardinals are not invincible. I’m really not sure they are more talented than the Pirates are. Their defense is abysmal (anyone prefer the butcher Matt Holliday in left over Marte?), their speed is nonexistent, and they have little to no power. If the Pirates played their right fielder in the hole between 1st and 2nd, Holliday and Craig might not have a hit in this series.

    LETS GO BUCS. A BIG GAME TODAY, A SERIES WIN MAKES THE WHOLE ROAD TRIP A GOOD ONE AND IT’S BACK HOME FOR THE SNAKES THIS WEEKEND>

    • Speed? I think Carpenter’s got some pretty good wheels on him. That hit last night surprised me even with the bobble, since it was hit so hard. I though he still could/should have been thrown out but he beat it.

      • I”m sure Carpenter can run,speed is usually referenced on major league baseball teams in terms of defensive range and stolen bases, etc. Cards have to be among the worst at both. One decently good baserunner (Carpenter) is not a good example of how the Cards have good team speed, IMHO.

    • Good thoughts, cmat.

      Liriano has definitely become the ace of this staff this year. But, I don’t think AJ sees it that way quite yet. And he is as competitive as it comes, which is a good thing here. I see him upping his game once again – hopefully, beginning today. I remember all of the competitiveness on the old Braves staff, and how it propelled them to higher and higher pitching levels. I can see the makings of some of that on this Bucs staff.

  41. don’t look now, the reds and d-backs are hot. St. Lou might be losing her #2 spot later today in the rankings.

  42. DK—I enjoyed the column on Pitt. I was surprised to hear they had named a 5th year senior as quarterback, but then saw he had started out successfully at Rutgers in his first year. I hadn’t known the whole backstory and reasons for all the transfers. Thanks.

    Sounds like he could be college football’s version of taking a chance on someone else’s failed first round pick in baseball. And in Pitt’s situation worth a shot. It was a little concerning to see Chryst had just the day before naming him starter referred to him as “sporadic.” It was also good to see in DiPaola’s linked column that Tyler Boyd seemed to be doing well.

    As far as the record I don’t expect anything more than around a .500 season, but I’m very happy with Chryst so far. And as far as the opener, Youngstown State beat Pitt last year (I know).

  43. I don’t comment here often, but being that Pitt is my true passion in this town I thought I’d take the opportunity to check in with my hopes/ expectations for 2013. I’m intrigued by Savage and the prospect of a more downfield offense, but I realistically can’t ask for anything more than a 6-6 record and a birth in the ACC equivalent of the Compass Bowl (which may actually be the Compass Bowl). If Pitt can do that, given all of the turnover in talent and the move up to the ACC, I’ll consider it a successful season.

    The thing I most want to see this year is Chryst grow as a head coach. He showed flashes last year of being a real asset as a coach (playing Notre Dame down to the wire on the road is enough proof of that) but he also could do some head-scratching things, and there were times, even beyond Youngstown State, where I wondered how well-prepared Pitt was for games against unranked opponents.

    DK: Really glad to have you, Ryan. There will be a lot of Pitt coverage here as the fall progresses, I can promise you right now.

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