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Morning Java: Blaming Marte? That’s fair?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Today’s TribLIVE Radio show — on its new day and new time, 2-3 p.m. — promises some good stuff. It will feature a special guest culled from my visit today to Latrobe, one I’ll reveal via Twitter at the first opportunity.

We’ll also talk with Chris Adamski, one of the Trib’s college football writers, on topics covering all our regional teams. And, of course, we’ll have @SuckMeter.

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’re mobile, there’s a TribLIVE Radio app. Better yet, participate: Email at or call 412-320-7925.

>> By the job’s nature, more time is spent with some teams than others. Which can drive me nuts because, having something of an obsessive personality, my preference would be to attend all events all the time.

Such as it is, I finally made it over to Pitt camp yesterday (when I was supposed to be off, but hey) and finally had a chance to poke around for some names that might be a bit beneath those we read or hear about daily.

The question goes something like this: Who do you like?

And the answer most often was James Conner, whom I snapped (poorly) below for Instagram …


Conner is a 6-2, 230-pound running back and true freshman out of Erie McDowell, where he was a beast: 1,680 yards, 21 TDs, average of 10.8 yards per carry. On the other side of the ball, he had 12 sacks as a senior. Probably was Homecoming King, too.

I’m just throwing his name out there, mind you. Isaac Bennett’s the designated starting back, but he’s out with a mild knee injury right now, so Conner is getting the first-team reps … and doing very well.

Today’s coverage by Jerry DiPaola focuses on the defensive secondary. and a Joe Starkey column on Paul Chryst’s many tough calls since taking over.

Here’s some of what Chryst had to say after practice …

>> The Pirates lost a crusher in 14 to the Cardinals, one in which Starling Marte had the most nightmarish of roles. Karen Price is in St. Louis.

People will rally around Marte, or they’ll bury him. If I had to guess, being familiarized daily with the short-term thinking of most fans, many more will bury.

Is that fair?

Is that ignoring that the offense went the final 12 innings without scoring?

Is that ignoring that the offense, in general, hardly ever wins the game?

Let’s hear from you.

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage.

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

And here are official game highlights from

>> Dick LeBeau’s future and Heath Miller’s present are detailed by Alan Robinson in Latrobe.

Here’s the rest of our Steelers coverage.

And here’s what our panel on WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word’ had to say about the O-line …

>> More mythbusting on the Penguins beat, this regarding Evgeni Malkin. Rob Rossi brings the Lysol.

>> Hope you can tune in this afternoon.

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. PATHETIC effort by the Buccos….

    • It’s more than fair to bury/bitch/ridicule Marte, because he is the reason this team lost.

      He makes that catch, like a normal outfielder does 99 % of the time, the next guy K’s, and no one is talking about all the LOB and the K’s.

      They lost as a team(big shocker when Hughes became part of the equation), but they win this game if he makes a routine play, pure and simple.
      Clint Hurdle and his “bad place” excuses , just does cut it.
      Marte needs a seat on the bench for today’s game, at the least.
      I just hope Tabata’s flu like symptoms have gone away.

      Time to get tough with these guys Hurdle, and cut back on the catchy phrases.
      Any word why Tony Watson got the night off?.
      It seemed like the announcing team, as usual, was clueless.

  2. Wow. I can’t believe how much faith this Pirates team has built up for me throughout the course of this season, because I still think they’ll be alright. And I make mention of that fact, because… wow. These past few days seem like just the set of circumstances that have sent the last two teams into tailspins.

    As for Marte, it’s tough to be angry with him. No one is more upset than he is. However, that one failed split-second does make the loss more frustrating and disappointing, especially given that we had to go another few innings.

    • It’s not tough to be angry with Marte….fundamental play…catch the ball…no excuses. No excuse for Cutch not scoring on that ball hit to SS either….

    • the drop was bad and he should have looked the ball into his glove. this game was over.
      since it wasn’t i blame the offense and the baserunning (especially not running in the 13th on contact). Leyva is a really poor third base coach. He has cost the pirates allot of runs by hiolding runners at 3rd. You cannot be passive in this game. The Pirates need to be more aggressive. They are fighting for a Division Title. Act like it.

  3. Horrible….Horrible loss.
    I have nothing to critique and nothing to say period.
    For the first time in 20 years, I got that same sick feeling I got in Oct. ’92.
    I’m still not sure Bream was safe….And I’m not particularly sure John Jay was safe.

  4. How does Cutch not score from third in extras? That was the real gaffe.

    • Has anyone paid attention to how many times we’ve had runners thrown out at home on ground balls to short and third this year? Look, Leyva’s a lousy 3rd base coach, and he’s proven that repeatedly – but maybe, just maybe, they’ve talked about not taking off on contact and making sure the ball gets through! The infield was in – way in – and there’s a very good chance Cutch gets thrown out at home and we’re asking “Why’d he run?” instead.

      • Visiting team…extra innings…speed on 3B….you have to take that chance….

      • Cutch is the fastest guy in the team. The Cards player dove for the ball. No way he even gets a throw to home. If Cutch does get thrown out, a guy is on second. Hits were not exactly coming at a rapid pace. Take the chance there. As we continually see, the “another” hit never comes. Especially in this game with 12 plus scoreless innings.

      • Damned if you do
        Damned if you don’t

        • Wrong. If they do, Pirates win 4-3 and guarantee at least a two game lead heading back to Pittsburgh. Also, they reduce the Magic Number by 2 and nullify the Reds win. Now? Sweep in play. Tie for first a possibility. Reds gaining ground.

        • I agree playoffs….if he stays on 3B, all it takes is a decent flyball – that had to be the thought process….remember, those sac flys have been coming in bunches

      • diehard : no matter what,a runner on third HAS to go in that situation,if for no other reason than to make the fielder decide whether to go for the double play or throw home for the first out.HAS TO ! The runner ,if he doesn’t go on contact, can go as far down the line as the 3d baseman is from third,and if the SS,even if he fields the ball cleanly,begins to throw toward 1st or 2nd,a runner like McCutchen scores easily.

      • I have no problem with the runner at third being thrown out at home. I have a big problem with the runner of being stranded at third with less than two outs. I have always taken the point of view force the other team to prove they can make the play. If you’re thrown out at home fine, but by challenging at the plate there is always the possibility the other team will not make the play.

    • 1st & 3rd, less than 2 outs, you go 100% of the time. Your main objective there is staying out of the double play. 100% of the time.

  5. Can’t believe the Cards’ third base coach sent Jay. What is he nuts? Wait, you mean that you take a chance and make the outfielder throw you out? Okay. Watching too many Pirates games.

  6. DK – had the Marte gaffe happened earlier in the game, I might agree with you. Fact is, it happened in the 9th with the game in hand.

    What if this were the Wild Card game or, worse yet, WS Game 7? Would it be the offenses fault?

    • You can’t live in the “What if” world. You can equally say that, if Grilli was healthy, or Hanrahan didn’t get traded, either of those two would have closed the game and there wouldn’t have even been extra innings. This isn’t game 7. It was ONE game that was against a division opponent. It was ONE error in a ninth inning. Did it lose the game? Melancon could have shut it out just the same. The loss is on the team, not Marte.

    • But it didn’t – it happened in mid-August, which is part of the point. You’d hope that this happening here means Marte’s more alert to it down the road, especially in bigger games. Bucs went, what, 1-12 with RISP? Cutch and Walker were on base 3 times for Alvarez and Martin, who combined for a 1-9 with 5 strikeouts. Jones and Lambo combined for an 0-7 (but only 1 strikeout). If your lineup starters #4-7 go 1-16, you’re going to lose.

  7. If we’re going to bury Marte then let’s bury Barmes for misplaying a routine grounder that allowed the winning run to get on. It was hard hit but right at him. Play has to be made. Good thing it’s only August 14th and they play the Cards 11 more times this year. Based on some the season is over.

  8. DK – You wrote a line about this team a while back.
    I believe it was ‘explaining the inexplicable’

    Every time I see a game like the one tonight, I always think of that line.
    Still can’t explain it.

    DK: My reference was to stupid decisions, but you’re free to apply as you wish.

  9. All will be forgiven with Marte the next time he has a 3-hit game and the Pirates win one. One game in August is not going to turn him into Stan Belinda or Bill Buckner or Fred Merkle.

    • It won’t be forgotten. It will be filed away, to be brought out later when Marte does something else to anger the masses.

      In 162 games, lots of bad stuff happens to every team. Get over it, fans.

  10. Sidney Crosby looked like Colby Armstrong against Boston in the playoffs.

    Ben Roethlisberger holds on to the ball too long, more often than not causing turnovers.

    Jerome Bettis fumbled in Indy. Thankfully, Ben was there to bail him out–but could you imagine what would have happened if he didn’t?

    Starling Marte failed to catch a ball tonight and the Pirates played a lackluster game. Stars have rough nights. Marte’s not a bona fide star yet, but should one game cause his crucifixion?

    He’s not Jerry Meals. Sans the aggression of fans, Meals went home that night thinking he’d made the right decision and slept soundly. This one will probably bug Marte enough.

    Come on. Nobody’s perfect. He’s a professional athlete. Criticize the error all you want, but Marte has done tremendously more good for the team than bad. SMH at all the hate on social media I’m seeing for the guy. It’s like Philadelphia fans migrated west.

    • Seriously, what does SMH mean? Are you allowed to say on a family blog?

      • Shaking My Head. Using neck muscles to twist the noggin left and right gently in a “no, that didn’t just happen” expression.

        Please excuse the response if you were being sarcastic. Couldn’t tell. No coffee yet. Need to get back to sleep.

    • This is the best post on here this morning. Keep the composure, keep it real. Good job, Jeff.
      When Pittsburgh fans start acting like Philly fans, it’s time to get out the tar and feathers for our own!

  11. Really down right now. Even if, out of some miracle, they make the playoffs, it will just be a repeat of 90-92 where the key players bat something like .083 for the series.

  12. Marte smiling after it happened aggravated me. Do not want to see him in the lineup tomorrow.

    • Just tomorrow? You’re much more forgiving than me.

    • You aren’t alone. I don’t care if it is a grin of embarrassment. It ticked me off. Same thing when McCutchen called him off a ball later. Send his ass down and bring up Presley.

    • It was a nervous smile. I’m sure you’ve done that after an embarrassing moment.

    • I wish I could smile after making an egregious mistake… I usually just say a couple swear-curses and bang my head against a wall. Believe me, smiling is a way better response to stress.

    • I dunno. Smiling wasn’t exactly what he did. I mean they showed three to four shots of him just shaking his head wondering what the heck happened. They showed him in the dug out STILL visibly upset with himself. Even with the guys on the bench trying to pick him up.

      My issue us this is like the third ball I have seen him misplay in like a week. Against Miami he had a ball clip off the top of his glove. that was a line drive nd a tougher play but still.

      The Bucs had some chances to put that game away and didn’t. Marte’s gaffe was the last straw but hardly the sole purpose for the loss.

  13. It’s not just the error tonight by Marte. It’s the constant swinging at bad pitches at the plate. He needs to ride the pine for a couple games.

    • But having just thrown Marte to the wolves, I’m not ready to go into full panic mode just yet. It’s been a rough past few days, but this team has been resilient all year and got Liriano and AJ going. If they’re gonna win, gonna have to beat our best.

      If they lose out or go 1-4 the rest of the week, then maybe I become concerned.

    • Ed, Marte’s reputation as an undisciplined hacker is well earned. But he’s actually getting better. Yes, three K’s tonight, but except for that first pitch ground out I think he worked counts, took a lot of first pitches, and even drew a walk. He’s come a ways since he got away with hitting that lunging home run at Wrigley and proceeded to go on a spree thinking he could wave his bat at anything.

    • Right, because we’re blessed with so much depth at the corner outfield spots

  14. I believe this is the third game in a row, possibly the fourth, where the Pirates had the lead and lost. Not a good sign. Failure to add on, cracks in the pitching armor. Reds a coming. Pirates will be on the outside looking in real fast.

    • “…cracks in the pitching armor.”
      Gotta beg to differ here. Three earned runs in 14 innings and almost all of the damage done on ground balls and / or defensive gaffes. Morton and the bullpen all gave above-the-line efforts.

      • Referring to pitchers giving up leads in Colorado and Liriano implosion, not so much tonight.

        • Series the Colorado one happen. But I really look forward to Liriano taking the ball tomorrow and being a man on a mission.

          • Ghostie, thank goodness for a voice of reason, friend!

          • Has Liriano earned all of his inenties for the year yet? My Uncle implied the other day that we may be looking at a guy intent to prove he is worth his contract, and then once he earns it the drive goes away and so does the sharpness on the mound.

    • What game were you watching last night if you think there were ” cracks in the pitching armor ” ?

  15. 21 is still in play. Can totally see a 10-34 record down the stretch. Look at the remaining sked.

    • Wow.

    • Totally agree, and glad I’m not the only one to see this as a real possibility. Try as I may, I can’t believe in this organization. Creative failure is their specialty. Slobbering over mediocrities like K-dro and Marte, depending on one aspect of the game (pitching) to make you successful while ignoring everything else, having a manager that seems to go brain-dead at random points in the season–all these add up to impending disaster. I’m still amazed at just how good their pitching really is, considering how they get virtually no help from their teammates in any way. .

    • That’s exactly right.. in the immortal words of Jim Mora…

  16. Its easy to throw Marte to the wolves. I wont. Yes, he dropped the ball, but lets look at what happened before the 9th inning.

    Bottom of the 6th, Morton struggling. Why not get him out of the game? Do that, and you maybe save a run. Martes drop not a factor.

    Not getting RISP in. Get one or two in, Martes drop not a factor.

    Hopefully this doesnt bother Marte going forward. He looked visibly upset last night. This was a horrible game to lose. Win it, the Cards doubting themselves big time. Now, they smell blood. This offense is going to be the undoing of this team, if it isnt already.

    I had many friends messaging me last night that they hope this isnt the start of Collapse 3. I am not going there, but I do see their point of view. Just a horrible loss.

    • Many good points.
      A crazy error by Marte….I hope it doesn’t affect him down the line.
      I won’t even consider holding it against him.

      • Agree with you and Plan. We’ll let Marte wash this one off.

        Sometime, a long time ago, it became acceptable for pro outfielders to drop the extra hand and catch everything one-handed. Leaves you no chance to trap a bobble or otherwise secure the ball. I get it that if you’re running hard to get to a ball then sticking two hands up would slow you down and be athletically awkward. And putting up the second hand anytime except right before closing the glove could impede your vision. But on a ball you can settle under, why not go the extra step and close the glove with two hands like we’re all taught when we’re starting out? Marte’s boner is a rarity, but it does happen. Didn’t Josh Hamilton drop a fly in the World Series?

    • I think the collapse started in Colorado:

      Friday: Liriano gives up 10 runs in 2.1 innings.
      Saturday: 2 run lead; AJ pitches batting practice in the 6th (CH lets him) and game is blown
      Sunday: 2 run lead ; Balk, K-dro error, the usual 9th inning failure by the offensive Big Shots Result: Another blown game

      See a pattern here? Maybe it’s too soon to know for sure but I wouldn’t make any “win #82 celebration” reservations just yet.

      • “See a pattern here?”
        Heck no. I see a four-game losing streak that was preceded by a five-game win streak. Four-game losing streaks have happened before and they’ll happen again.

      • Step away from the ledge, WVS

      • 44 games and in need of 12 wins.

        8 with St Louis
        6 with Cincy
        3 with Arizona
        3 with Texas

        lets call those all losses. That leaves 24 games to get 12 wins. .500 against the likes of the Cubs, Brewers, Padres, and Giants should be easy enough to handle. And I don’t expect them to lose all 20 of the games listed above either.

    • Another voice of reason. Amen, Hipposter.

  17. Remember when the Bucs had the third best record in all of baseball?

    • Irrelevant. All that matters is where you are after the 162nd game. I have complete faith that this team can drop themselves out of the playoffs completely, if not finish below .500 to keep the streak alive.

      • Thank you. Exactly my point. All that matters is where you are after 162. I’m saying the last four awful games were preceded by 114 great ones in which they were the best team in baseball and that THIS team (not any team from the previous two years or twenty years) has earned my faith making judgments on the final 44.

      • Why waste your time watching or listening to the Pirates then ? But particularly,whyeven comment ?

  18. Forget Marte. Forget Andrew.

    I blame Dejan for this.

    He visited pitt.

    That’s just asking for disaster.

  19. Worst loss of the season by far!.

    Every one behind them (that matters), pick up a full game.

    It ‘s just amazing to watch this team self destruct , once again, like they have down in the past 2 season, after putting together a remarkable 1st half.

    The inning that got me disgusted the most, was the 8th, where after the lead off double by Walker, K, K, K.
    Good teams don’t do that, and this team is not a good team right now.

    Did anyone really think Hughes was going to pitch 1 scoreless inning?.
    I surely did not.
    Terrible, just a terrible overall effort offensively , by this team.
    They cannot hit a freaking fly ball when it really matters.
    The 1st 100 plus games was a gift, and now it looks like a million years ago.
    I have no faith in this team right now, and i truly expect them to get SWEPT in this series.
    Good thing Huntington didn’t do anything INSANE at the trade deadline.
    I know it was his first game , and a tough opponent, but Lambo doesn’t give me any hope he will be better than the other 2 clowns he is replacing.
    12 straight scoreless innings made me sick to my stomach.
    Like i said, no way the Cardinals do not sweep this series. after the worst loss of the season.

  20. I’m still so pissed off my day is ruined.

    Part of me wants the Pirates to miss the playoffs, or a winning season, by this game.

    The rest of me wants to punch someone, preferably Marte, but Barmes evidently will do.

    • Try Thunder.

      • Andrew McCutchen on the loss:

        “That’s baseball.”

      • Nope, only want to punch someone who is to blame. I’m wavering though, I’d also like to cry and be held.

        But only in the most manly possible way.

        • Please. Relax. Step away from the ledge.

          If you want to punch who is responsible, you’ll have to punch nearly the entire team.

        • You will cry and be held (by your cell mate bubba) if you punch those responsible

        • Lol. Great post.

          Embrace the sadness and look for a loved one to hug it out with.

          I and many men share the same behavior of taking all emotions and releasing as anger.

          As BoR mentions, letting the anger take over may have unattractive consequences. Hopefully you don’t end up with Bubba, but unresolved anger always finds ways to work itself out and it’s rarely productive.

        • I recommend an axe and a good sturdy log to vent your frustrations. And if it makes you feel better to put the picture of your least favorite pirate… Jay Bell, since it is clearly his fault that the pirates strike out so much… go ahead and do it.

          • Good advice. I like that method a lot. Anger usually runs out well before the tree is chopped up. Then you get the chainsaw.

            • it’s a lot easier if you just crank up some hard rock and open a bottle of Cap’n Morgan’s and add a bit of coke…the less coke the better ;)

  21. I am going to do a Clint Hurdle and forget about this game. There still 2 games up, win tonight, or even just tomorrow, and you guarentee you walk out of there with at least the same. With a win tonight, we can let this go and talk about a series win!

    One thing, though, this is a stretch, at this point of the season, that they haven’t been able to get over the last 2 years. If this team truly is different, they will one of the next two against the Cardinals. No, the rest of the season does not sit on this series against the Cardinals. However, they need to overcome this.

    Oh, and for the love of pete, how about some offense beyond 2 HR in the first 2 innings. I mean, that is just pathetic. Though the bullpen wasn’t its perfect self, it deserves SOOOO much credit for keeping the Pirates in it an extra 5 innings.

    • Marte on 3rd with one out, McCutchen takes a called strike 3.

      One of several examples of me immediately turning off the TV and cursing.

      It was almost like watching a Steelers game.

  22. I’m not inclined to blame Marte for the loss, although I understand why people would. Like Derek above, the bigger issue is the offense that can’t get runners in from second with no outs or third with one out. Marte is probably going to catch 99 of the next 100 balls of that kind hit to him. The offense is going to continue to be a problem. When a team goes 12 innings without scoring, it doesn’t leave itself much margin for error in any other facet of the game.

  23. Hey, didn’t we win a game early in the season against the Astros when 2 of their fielders collided and an easy fly ball dropped?

    As they say- “this stuff evens out. That’s baseball”

    • The Astros are the worst team in baseball. One actually expects that from them.

      The Pirates are in first place. One doesn’t expect that from them.

      Will it still be “that’s baseball” if the Pirates dont make the playoffs?

      • I was AT that game the Astros gift wrapped.

      • I think you can ‘expect’ plays like that from little league teams.

        • To me, “thats baseball” is an excuse. An excuse to settle for mediocrity. An excuse to settle for a dropped fly ball. An excuse for settling for leaving a pitcher in too long, and blowing a game.

          This team, based on pitching and (normally) solid defense alone, should be sitting at 85 wins.

          This team, based solely on offense, should be sitting at 35 wins.

          If this team could put it all together, and have at least a semi-awake offense, we wouldn’t have to hear “that’s baseball”, Little League or not.

          • This team, based on pitching and (normally) solid defense alone, should be sitting at 85 wins.
            15 more wins than they have now?

            The team with the most wins in MLB (and there are only 2) has 73 wins right now.

            That would have be some pitching staff and defense.

            • I am basing it more on the number of games this offensive offense has cost the team.

              I think that 15 games lost by the offense is a fair number.

              But, that’s baseball I guess. :D

            • I don’t agree with Cutch’s use of the “that’s baseball” phrase in this instance, but I’ve used it and heard it used more in cases when you crush a ball right at someone, hit a weak seeing eye single, etc.

      • Matt Holliday had a ball clank off of his glove and land in the left field bleachers against the Pirates just a couple of weeks ago, and followed that up with a dreadful misplay of a ball that landed on the track five feet to his left when he misread it. Are the Cardinals the worst team in baseball as well?

        Roberto Clemente’s career fielding percentage was .973. Even the best make errors. Take a breath and relax.

        • More excuses.
          Take your own advice.

          • Feel free to point out any excuses I may have posted.

            Chill, it’s a long season, bad things happen often in long seasons, and there is still a long way to go.

            • “Even the best make errors”.
              No duh.
              That mentality is an excuse for not holding players accountable for making errors. “Its ok, little johnny, even the best make errors”………… instead of teaching players to not make those types of errors.

              This is the second time you have told me to relax or chill. Why would you do that when I am already relaxed? Its a beautiful day out, got my mini-workout in, fresh air, etc. Thats why I said to take your own advice. Whenever someone tells someone else to relax, normally they are the ones that need to do it.

              Unreal…………. have a nice, relaxing day! :D

              • “Even the best make errors”.

                That’s not an excuse. That is a statement of fact. No amount of talent and no amount of teaching or coaching will make errors go away. Players will commit errors. Benching a guy for making an error will not prevent a single future error. It might make him make more errors in the future, though, from trying too hard. Baseball is a game you have to play under control.

                I’m glad to hear that you are relaxed. Most people aren’t usually relaxed while engaging in tirades.

              • Chill dude, relax.

              • yeah chill and relax… jeepers.

            • You didn’t make any excuses for Marte. Bad things happen sometimes although in this case it shouldn’t. There’s no excuse for Marte dropping that ball and I feel confident that everyone knows it.

  24. Marte, stinks.
    McCutchen, stinks
    Pedro, stinks
    Barmes, stinks


    (there. I feel better)

  25. “We’re just counting on our hitter to hopefully get a ball in the outfield, a sacrifice fly.”

    Clint, haven’t you been watching this team bat with runners on third ?

  26. JAL’s Why Worry Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The RISP Problems For the Pirates Are a Fluke

    Pirates Fall to Cardinals 4-3 in Miscue-Filled 14-Inning Thriller

    Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Hits 11th Homer; Kris Johnson Injured

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Starling Marte’s mental mistake paves way for 4-3, 14-inning Cardinals win

    8 Rumbunter

    Pirates Come From Ahead, Lose To Cardinals


    Game 118: Cardinals 4 Pirates 3

    10 The Green Weenie

    Cards Outlast Bucs To Take Giftwrapped 4-3 Win

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Cardinals 4, Pirates 3

  27. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Yahoo Sports

    What Are the Pittsburgh Pirates Getting in Andrew Lambo?

    13 Wall Street Journal

    Pirates Seeing More Booty in the Seats

    14 Beaver County Times

    Mueller: Just enjoy the Pirates’ ride

    15 USA Today

    Nightengale: Expansion of MLB replay a major task

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Cardinals Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Burnett, Liriano come up big for Pirates

    Not-so-Cardiac Cards outlast Pirates

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates drop stunner to Cardinals in 14 innings

    Notebook: Lambo makes MLB debut; Presley optioned


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Balk: The Black Sheep of the Baseball Rulebook

    20 Fangraphs

    Fixing the Waiver System
    Who Is Andrew Lambo?

  28. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers credited with fifth ‘most-engaged’ fan base

    Injured Steelers working their way back on field for practice and preseason

    22 Steelers Depot

    No Mental Errors By Leveon Bell During Training Camp


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Premier League 2013/14 preview: how will Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and your team fare?

  29. Maybe we bury Cutch and Pedro who can’t drive in Walker who is on 2nd with 0 out. Stupid play? Sure. But no sense in overreacting.

  30. To me, it looked like Marte’s attempt to mimic McCutchen’s stiff-wrist, side-saddle catches in center on routine flies.

    He needs to just catch the ball and not worry about styling. I put this loss on him.

  31. People can blame him for this loss if they want. Personally, I wouldn’t. The offense had many opportunities to score another run and never did. And things like that happen. It sucks and people complain about fundamentals, but at the end of the day, great players sometimes drop one every now and then. The pirates would be nowhere close to where they are this season without Marte.

  32. Marte screwed up and probably(more on that later) cost them the game. I supervise people. Everyone screws up at their job and few own it like Marte did last night. I don’t think what he said was an excuse, but an explanation.

    We continue on thinking that if Marte makes that catch that Carpenter still strikes out. Maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t. He has a different approach at the plate, Mark has a different approach towards pitching. Maybe Marte makes the catch and Carpenter hits a home run. You don’t know.

  33. There is plenty of blame to go around. That said, catch the damn ball. Choking dogs.

    • Amen, Milo. Not to mention they were 1 for 12 with RISP (the same thing over & over again).

    • Yes, a lot of players contributed. As most here know, I’m not one of these people who will go out of his way to blow sunshine up the butt of a negative situation just to make myself and others feel good about things, and one of the “glass half-empty” contributing factors in this loss was the play of McCutchen. His failure to run on contact late in the game cost the team a run and even Mr. Positive John Wehner said as much and was as critical of McCutchen about it, but also, McCutchen not bothering to take his bat from his shoulder on a called third strike fastball right down the pike (jsut liek the two he looked at before that) with Marte standing on third with one out earlier in the game, was also a factor. His job there is to get that runner home and you don’t stare at a pitch like that in that situation. Make contact, get the ball in play and get that run home, It’s not like he threw him a knee-buckling, breaking pitch there. Brain fart by McCutchen all the way there.

      I say glass half-empty because yes; he did hit a two run home run, but that’s no excuse to take the rest of the night off like he did. I’ll save my comments about DoublePlayDro, and how the Cards somehow manage to get THEIR gift walks home, as that’s just icing on this crap sandwich of a game.

    • I didn’t see Daniel Alfredsson there?

  34. Marte isn’t to blame – yes he made an error that allowed the 9th to extend, but the offense had plenty of chances to add a run to win. Is anyone complaining that McCutchen didn’t try harder to make it home on a grounder when he was on third? Anyone railing against Josh Harrison for not getting the ball out of the infield with the bases juiced?

    It’s so easy to blame Marte, but the truth is that the team lost the game, not our sudden-villain left outfielder.

  35. A litany of my season-long gripes, grievances and fears were fully on display in this loss

    Marte is – or will be – a great player. A five-tool star in the making, but he doesn’t concentrate. At bat on low outside curves he must show visible restraint, and not simply flail away. Same for throws from the outfield, AND CATCHING the ball. Concentrate.

    We have an incompetent 3rd base coach, who makes routinely poor decisions, and apparently gives no pre-pitch instruction or direction on just exactly what to expect and just how to react. There must be communication on EVERY PITCH with the runner(s).

    You have an over-the-hill failure at SS, who ironically entered the game in the ninth as a pinch-hitter – promptly striking out – then for defensive purposes replaced the starter who was playing an outstanding game, and then proceeded to make a critical error which contributed to the loss. If you shrug this off, as just baseball, then you will shrug off the season too. This was a Hurdle (you know the sanctimonious snake oil salesman) decision, who feeds your desire for Barmes. Well you got him.

    (And for those of you who have clamored long and loud for Lambo, you got him too, at the expense of Presley.)

    Surrounding yourself with people like Leyva and being all in with Barmes, neither of whom offer much to this team’s success, is an indictment against Hurdle.

    Statements such as “that’s baseball” and “Forget about this game”, cannot be tolerated after having come this far. That sort of complacency will breed more similar examples of failure.

    My opinion of this series and the next three have been posted here. However, I’D LOVE TO BE WRONG!!!

    The prosecution rests.

    • ‘apparently gives no pre-pitch instruction or direction on just exactly what to expect and just how to react. There must be communication on EVERY PITCH with the runner(s). ‘

      How can you tell that he doesn’t give instruction before each pitch? But I am going to email ROOT Sports and tell them instead of showing all those annoying crowd shots they should have a Leyva Cam and show what he does/says before each pitch.

      Isn’t one of the reasons Barmes came into the game was so that the pitcher’s spot in the batting order would allow the reliever to stay in the game longer?

      • If the same mistake, blunder , error of omission or commission continue at third base as they have ALL YEAR LONG, wouldn’t you think that there was a problem?

        About Barmes, maybe you are right, but it was a very opportunistic and convenient time to get “his boy” into the game. And if you’re thinking about winning the game quickly, does the idea of the “pitcher’s spot” become important

        They could have used Cole as a pinch-hitter if need be, that is if you are worried who remains as a viable (possible) hitter the next time that spot comes around.

        • Bob,
          I am so far past this thinking of Clint getting ‘his boy’ into a game.

          I believe that is ridiculous.

          I believe that the on the very top of the list of Clint’s priorities is: Win as many games as possible.

          What is below that top line on the list is also: Win as many games as possible.

          • TC, Barmes should never be on our baseball field!!! He shouldn’t even be on our roster, yet CH “manages” to find a way to get him into critical games, in critical situations – such as last night.

            If you are” so far past. . . .”, well you will continually be given reminders BY HURDLE”S using him, that you might say something different later.

    • Just heard Hurdle’s explanation on the radio. Contact play was NOT on. Not Leyva’s fault in this instance. This one’s all on Hurdle. Playing scared, go figure.

      • I’m talking about the 1st & 3rd no outs in the 13th when McCutchen stayed put.

      • Ridiculous decision.

      • I did go figure – sometime in April – on his ability to manage

        • Yeah his ability to manage sure didn’t come into play when it saved a few runs even to put the Pirates in a position to win the game with his defensive shifts.

          • I applauded his decision last night to have Walker in short right. Absolutely. But the game had more length to it after that great call, there was still more work to get done – and he(we) didn’t get it done.

            Do you go to work and work 4 hours – and expect 8 hours pay?

            • You said you figured this out in april. How does such a horrible manager get this roster void of offensive talent at many key positions to where it is today?

              So because he didn’t put on the run on contact he wasn’t working?

              Tell me Bob; would you not be screaming had there been a double play or Cutch thrown out at the plate on a ground ball?

              If 2 out of the 3 things that can result from your decision are bad I don’t consider it a bad coaching decision.

              Wake up and realize the ball simply has to be put in the air to the outfield.

              • The funny thing is I didn’t see that play, but from all of the negativity I am now reading here, it seems as though the play had the SS on his knees after lunging to his right.
                I’ve also read that the infield was in and that should have allowed Cutch to get even further down the line before the ball is even hit.

                You say “the ball simply has to be put in the air. . .”
                which has not been so simple for this Hurdle managed team all year long.
                Wouldn’t you have thought that by this time – as the announcers have been saying all year long – TO GET THE BALL IN THE AIR -GO THE OTHER WAY, that Hurdle could have taught them that?

              • Did you ever hear of the salesman (not unlike this snake-oil salesman) who made a great presentation, but couldn’t close the deal?

                That’s what we have here. He has you and others “sucked in” with his post-game hypnosis, clichés, saying all the right stuff and using all the right words i.e. “barreling up”, etc. and you become transfixed into thinking how brilliant he is.

                I believe he was afraid to yank AJ the other day in a game at Colorado that we were leading and should have won, when it was “apparent AJ was tiring.
                If that was Cole on the mound in that same situation, CH would have come bounding out of the dugout waving to the pen.
                He’s a bad manager.

            • Bob;

              Do you not think for as long as Clint has been saying get the ball in the air by going the other way that the pitching coaches have taught there pitchers to put the pitch in a position so that it can’t be hit the other way in the air?

              To blame coaching at this point is totally ridiculous. Comes down to execution and the Pirates did not do it.

              You want to blame Hurdle thats on you; but I’m willing to bet you’d be on his case had they been forced into a double play on that.

              • As I stated, the announcers have been preaching it.

                No sir you are wrong about me and the double play.
                If aggressive, alert action is taking place, I would be the last to criticize.
                I was taught to be aggressive AND SMART so as to help create and force opportunity.
                I don’t know another way.

              • Regarding the opposing pitching coaches, here’s this; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
                Simple physics, if physics should ever be labeled as simple.

              • Totally agree with you here TJ.

      • And if he had lined into a double play we all would have been screaming. Can’t have it both ways. All the guy has to do is get the ball in the air.

      • I agree with contact not being on Milo. You MUST get the ball in the air in that situation. That’s not playing scared, that’s playing correct. No need to run yourself out of an inning on a ball hit in the infield when there’s maybe 3 guys in MLB that can throw cutch out on a run of the mill fly ball to the OF (and one of those guys bats in front of cutch).

      • Given how many times the contact play HAS been on this year, only to result in wailing and lamentations from the masses, I’d say that this is a six of one, half a dozen of the other sort of decision. I’m with you, I would have sent him on contact, but there would have been just as much screaming about it here when he was thrown out at the plate, and half of the people screaming about sending him are probably included in the same group that is screaming today that they didn’t send him.

        I do love baseball, but sometimes my fellow fans are quite a trial.

        • Yea there’s no way I have the runner go on contact with the infield in. Way too easy if hit directly at them and if it gets by, he’s walking in.

    • Bob, I agree with your assement on Marte. He’s a star in the making but does lack concentration.

      However, I disagree with your assesment on Leyva. I think you put waaaaaaaaayyyy too much empahsis on a 3rd base coach at the MLB level. Little league, yes, you need to communcate but that this stage of the game? Give me a break. I’m sure words are spoken, signs are given.

      In that situation, No way do you put the contact play on with infield in, it just so happens that the fielder had to dive for it, no way of knowing at the point of contact. Infield drawn in, ball gets through, Cutch walks home.

  36. Bet the showers in the visitors locker room ran out of hot water last night.

  37. Last nights loss is really magnified not only by how they lost, but because they’ve now lost 4 in a row. I’m trying to stay level headed, but it’s pretty tough given how the last couple of years have shaken out.

    I suppose the good thing about baseball is there’s always another game the next day to make up for it and forget. Go Bucs

  38. Wow…what an eye opener this morning when I saw the final score and the play(s) that lead to things. Then, I hit the blog. A spirited debate and good points indeed. Here is a point I have wanting to bring up for weeks, months, years (and this is specific to last night, plus hundreds of other games): Why don’t players use “two hands” to catch a ball? Ball in glove and other hand to clasp/secure the ball in the glove. Secondly, why do batters swing at the “first pitch” they see? Patience at the plate. Make the pitcher throw you some pitches…look at a couple things. Those are two items I (and every other kid) learned in Little and Pony League ball. Have a good day everyone.

    • Two hands if for little league and the final out of a game 7 in the Worlds series (maybe). telling a pro player that he needs to use two hands is like telling a NASCAR driver he needs to have his hands at 10:00 and 2:00. “The Drop” as it might become infamously know as if this sparks the start of another collapse, was because his brain was not there, not his hands,

  39. Of, and as far as kharma goes, Garrett Jones is now one game behind Sid Bream in games played as a Pirate with 642. Get him in the next two games and get that reminder behind him.

    Lambo’s one game played ties him with a LOT of guys. Like Jeff Bannister…

  40. Doesn’t matter how good they look running the ball leading up to the Florida State game, or who’s doing the running.

    After about seven minutes in, they’ll be down by 21 and passing every down.

  41. Wow the amount of doomsdayers in here is incredible…the sky is falling!!!
    Send Marte down!!! Fire the coach! The manager is a bum! Cutch needs to run! Cutch needs to swing! Where are the pitchforks and torches???
    Back away from the ledge people…

  42. Today’s song dedication.
    “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind
    1st Lyric:
    “I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend, ”
    Apply it to yourself or your favorite player….
    (Or as Drew would say… “Thunder”)

  43. Now we see the penalty being paid for having a poor offense. The Great Wall of Pirates defense/pitching can show no chinks when the offense puts up no more than 3 runs night in and night out.

    All it took to lose this game was a blooper that, if it had happened in the 3rd inning, people are merely slightly disgruntled.

    Lambo, First Blood didn’t show much. Hopefully Part II is better. :-)

    • I saw that great defense on display in the Colorado series too. Coincidentally; errors are becoming as popular now as there were this time last season.

  44. Whew! Good thing we have all the calm and collected types to make that loss last night feel so much better. I was ready to jump off the closest bridge but thankfully, the internet psychiatrists here made me see the light. Thanks!

  45. So much for that Lamboner that everyone was sporting…sorry ha

  46. Barmes was not charged with an error on that ball by Jay. The benevolent “official scorer” credited Jay with his 4th hit, thus Hughes was charged with an earned run.
    That sucks.

    It’s the same kind of play that this blog chooses to indict Mercer for, thus the unfair and untrue evaluation of his defensive skills.

    Our top 5 batters – whom I call our core – had a combined 11K’s. Unacceptable!

    Any chance that Chuck Noll, Vince Lombardi, Bobby Knight, Bill Parcells, among many, many others would accept such a mediocre performance and simply say with a mere shrug, (I paraphrase) “let’s just forget about it”?

  47. I always thought the Pirates’ best chance was a wildcard given that objectively they have far less talent than either the Reds or Cardinals. While their pitching has been heroic, it is hard to win when your hitting statistics rival that of the Houston Astros.

    At one point last night, the Bucs were winning while Arizona was losing and Reds were in extra innings. When the dust settled, the Reds won and the Diamondbacks tied their game with a HR in the bottom of the 9th and won with a walk-off. So what could have been an 11 game lead in the playoff race is now down to 9 games.

    So while all eyes are on the Cardinals, the 3-game series with Arizona may actually have the most impact on the Pirates making the playoffs. In a strange quirk of fate, it might actually be in the Pirates’ interest to root FOR the Reds next week against Arizona if the Bucs came out of this weekend with a 4.5 game lead which is possible given how they have managed to lose the last 3 games.

    A troubling trend is that against Miami, the Bucs overcame 2, 3 and 4 run leads to sweep the series. In a reversal of form, the Bucs have blown 1, 2 and 3 run leads in the last 3 games of their 4 game losing streak.

    While the 2013 team is better, it still has little margin for error (literally as we saw last night) given their offensive challenges. If their 2 aces can’t right this ship in the next 2 games, the pressure will really be on for the weekend series.

    It’s hard not to believe that 70-44 will take it’s place among 63-47 and 51-44 as the “remember when the Bucs were” high water marks of the last 3 seasons. I know some fans will say this indicates a lack of faith, the fact is that the Bucs have won only 18 games in each of the last 2 years in August and September. Duplicating that this year will result in a total of 83 wins. They are 5-6 so far in August; here’s hoping this doesn’t get to 5-11 by Sunday.

  48. Did I miss something on Alex Presley that has people clamouring for him as if he was performing like Dave Parker? One guy said to send Marte down and bring up AP. One guy made a judgement on Lambo’s first three major league ABs after being promoted in favor of Lambo.

    Nope: .264/.274/.389. 1 BB/18 K.

  49. Morning all -

    So many things I want to blast off about this morning. Sure I could easily slam Marte, sure I could easily slam base running.

    Bottom line to me is its the same thing as its been all year long. Its great to think that Cutch should be going on contact; but as Hurdle pointed out if its a ground ball at someone you got 1-2 with one out, if he lines out its at least a double play if not a triple play.

    This team flat out cannot hit with RISP or manage to hit sac flies and it absolutely turns my stomach to see our pinch hitters last night were Clint Barmes, Tony Sanchez, Gabby Sanchez and Josh Harrison. You’ve got a weak offense as it is and then rely on this junk to come up in key situations to hopefully drive in a run?

    Not bridge jumping but I seriously hope this isn’t this years version of the Jerry Meals game.

  50. I haven’t had a chance to read everyone’s commments. I only had a chance to read DK’s questions and glance over a few comments so I don’t know if I’m in the minority on this one or not but I am not going to bury Marte. I’m dissappointed it happened but that play could have happened anytime during that game. Just like there was 6,7,8 players we could have praised for the comback win against the Marlins 5 games ago there are 6,7,8 players who didn’t make the plays in this game.

    I also think the Cardinals deserve some credit. That is a good team. Wainwright going 7 innings and over 120 pitches is exceptional. Their relievers were really good last night and not because it was the Pirates offense. They have been good all year against all teams. The path to the plate and slide to end the game was textbook. . We went toe to toe with a very good team and came up short in this particular instance.

    There is plenty of blame to go around but there is also plenty of accolades as well for players on the Pirates and Cardinals that did have good games.

    • LOL… this isn’t 1st grade kickball where you get a participation medal

      • I suppose your flawless? I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve blame but to bury the guy and forget the games he has helped us win this year is over the top. To error is human. We all do it. Nobody feels worse then him. I’m dissappointed but not angry. I reserve anger for people who do something on purpose that effect my life in a negative way. I don’t get angry at my child for spilling milk on the the floor but I would if he threw it on the floor.

  51. After saying that I am going to be a hypocrit and bury Hughes. That high leg kick with the winning run on first was the most disappointing play of the game for me. He gave his catcher and team no chance to catch that guy stealing. I think I could have stole that base. I don’t get to see every game like you locals so maybe that is how he pitches all the time with men on base.

    I’m just joking about burying the guy many others failed during the game leading up to that point. I just thought it was a key play in the game that was preventable.

    • Great point. How many things in this game led to the loss? Failure to hit with RISP? That’s my biggest beef.

      • I feel like you can always point to many things in a game. We know the limitations of our offense. For me, this just comes down to catching a routine fly ball.

        • that’s fine, 21, I just disagree. :)

        • I agree 21; we’ve managed to over come those offensive limitations and put up a 3 run lead. Had our closer on the mound with 1 out and no one on. In situations like that you cannot give the team extra outs. There are only so many things a team can over come during a course of a game and still win. You cannot make the hill that much more difficult to climb when it comes down to a routine fly ball.

      • I think someone said that earlier today.
        Help me out, Jandy, who, or what was it??? ;) :D

        • Must have been Dejan :P

        • theplanisworking says:

          August 14, 2013 at 2:43 am

          Its easy to throw Marte to the wolves. I wont. Yes, he dropped the ball, but lets look at what happened before the 9th inning.

          Bottom of the 6th, Morton struggling. Why not get him out of the game? Do that, and you maybe save a run. Martes drop not a factor.

          Not getting RISP in. Get one or two in, Martes drop not a factor.

          Hopefully this doesnt bother Marte going forward. He looked visibly upset last night. This was a horrible game to lose. Win it, the Cards doubting themselves big time. Now, they smell blood. This offense is going to be the undoing of this team, if it isnt already.

          I had many friends messaging me last night that they hope this isnt the start of Collapse 3. I am not going there, but I do see their point of view. Just a horrible loss.

  52. Blame Marte? sure, that is easy, BUT if our “stud” hitters could get the ball in play with guys on 2-3 with none, or one out, Marte’s gaffe would be a footnote. We are going to have to beat out either the Reds, who are a demonstrably better team (right now) or the Cards, who have 6 of the top 14 hitters with RISP. The Shark Tank is superb, but sooner or later our batters will have to make contact when it matters, or we can return to the “82 or Bust” goal.

    “. . . count on getting a fly ball?” How about a dribbler to the right side? Sick at-bats.

    • BUT, turn your point around…If Marte catches that ball, our team’s inability to bring in a runner from SP becomes a footnote.

      • But…the team is winning 3-0 after what? 4 innings? it’s not one person’s fault they lost 4-3. not ONE sole person’s fault.

  53. Woke up this morning and I still feel sick. Having trouble wrapping my head around this one. It’s August and now it feels just like the last two Augusts. IS this team different? We shall see how they respond. I’m praying that they do. I do NOT like this feeling.

  54. I guess 20 years of losing has lots of folks in a panic this morning.

    The team lost the game, not just Marte. Offense still is not getting it done. The pitching staff can only do so much. To pin this on one player’s defensive gaffe when the offense had multiple opportunities to throw the hammer down with RISP ( otherwise known as dreaded Pirate kryptonite ) is ludicrous.

    Pick yourselves up, scrape and was off the stink of the kids, and GET BACK AT IT!

  55. Marte’s gaffe did cost the game, in all likelihood. But physical mistakes happen. What concerns me more is that this team is awful in situational hitting and base running. I am coming to think that Jay Bell can’t coach or these guys can’t be coached. The Cards take the outside pitch to the opposite field instead of whiffing while trying to pull. I think the Bucs have more physical talent but have so far to go in execution.

    By the way, try to think of a better posting name than just adding another “wild” to mine, please. Looks weak.

    • I agree the Pirates could be better in these situations however the cards failed to score with the bases loaded a couple of times and they struck out in key situations as well last night. It definately wasn’t either teams best effort in terms of fundamentals. Pedro did get the ball to the right side of the field and Marte layed down a nice sac bunt. Obviously on the year the Cardinals are having a historical year hitting with runners in scoring position.

  56. Lambo Calrissian on the offense…

    “They told me they fixed it! I trusted them to fix it! It’s not my fault!”

  57. I’ll say this; if Marte isn’t in the lineup tonight it better be because of an injury or a match up problem and not due to that error last night. If Clint benches him over that he deserves to be fired.

    • I’d be very surprised if Clint benches him over it.

      I think Marte’s drop probably did cost us the game. But trying to bury him for it is way over the top. All players have mental lapses, and Marte is in his first full year and does demonstrate concentration lapses at times. He’s seemed to learn from past mistakes, like when Gaby took him aside for not hustling, so I expect he’ll learn from this. And he’s been a key player.

      But heck, I remember Cutch last year getting buried, wrongly, for dropping an easy fly ball the day he was coming back from an injury or illness. Marte will be fine.

      • I remember Cutch getting pulled in the middle of the game once. I think Hurdle knows how to handle his players and will make the right move which is having Marte out there tonight.

      • ++ Amen, Arriba! Everyone drops a flyball at some point. It was a physical error at a very inopportune time by a guy who came back to make an excellent sac bunt later, and a terrific throw to the plate to almost get a runner on a play that should not have been close.

  58. I just consulted the google machine to refresh my memory on the Matty Alou dropped “can of corn” at Wrigley in 1970. I stopped after reading three different obituaries where it was mentioned. Matty Alou, an outstanding big league hitter that won batting titles obit wasn’t complete without mentioning that he once dropped a fly ball in the heat of a pennant race.

    Just something for Starling Marte to look forward to.

    • So in response to DK’s question in the blog headline – since nothing else that anybody did last night will show up in their obituary, yea I think it’s kinda fair to blame Marte.

      • It WAS mid-September, not mid-August. :-)

      • So you think this error in August with 44 games to go will be notable enough to end up in his obituary?

        Marte deserves the lion’s share of the blame in this loss. It’s a routine fly that has to be caught. They win if he catches it. They also win if about a dozen other opportunities, before and after that play, are executed. It would have been a great opportunity for a teammate to pick him up after a glaring mistake. None did.

        • Just citing history Zane. There is precedent.

        • Alou played 15 years, won a batting title, was a two time all star and it found its way into his. And it didn’t even cost them, they won the division 2 weeks later.

          • Good point. I also agree about the this not yet been the heat of the pennant race. Cardinal Fans certainly didn’t treat it like a must win game/series. Thousands of seats available.

    • “210 pounds of golden bantam” is what I believe the Gunner said on that fly ball. A good trivia question for Pirate fans who remember that is who was the batter? (Answer to follow)

      • Willie Smith.

        • Absolutely correct and if I had to bet who would get that right on this blog it would have been you without question Milo. Awesome!

          • Remember, I just looked it up. I would have guessed Jim Hickman or something. :)

            He must have been really slow because Ken Rudolph pinch ran for him, and he was a catcher.

            • He actually ran a decent amount earlier in his career, but not much later. He is listed at 6′ 185 lbs in Baseball Reference, but my memory puts him at about 230 at that point. He made up for his loss of speed by hitting a whopping .216 that year……

    • I would add that almost every conservation about Ron Santo refers to his reaction when Brant Brown dropped that ball in Milwaukee.

      In fact, Google Ron Santo’s name and “Ron Santo Brant Brown comes up in the drop down of suggestions.

      I’m guessing fans will never forget that Marte drop either. Fifteen years from now when Starling Marte is Googled (or whatever we will be doing then), “Starling Marte Dropped Ball” will be near the top of suggestions.

      He’ll have to live with the infamy. No one will remember the Pirates other failures from last night’s game.

    • I thought of Alou as the ball it the ground.

      Let’s think of it as a good omen since they went on to win the division.

      I just wish we had the bats the ’70 team had!

    • And he got his ticket punched out of town because of it. God, I loved Danny Murtaugh.

  59. Why hasn’t anyone blamed Lambo yet? (:

  60. INHO….we win game if marte catches the ball though you can’t assume that the next guy strikes out…can’t change one thing and expect everything else to stay the same….with cutch at third we need to play to win….cards played to win by running on marte…would like to see garret play entire game when he starts and we’d be better team….Barmes should make that play in 14th and marte needed to charge harder on winning hit…game winning hit reminds me too much of 1992…pitching was completely awesome yesterday…including Morton and even Hughes….didn’t see marte smiling except when cutch called him off…glad to see him smile then…he looked like he was about to cry…yes I’m worried but not about complete callapse…worried about that wild card game away from pnc…upset about game but its 1 of 162….it sucks but that’s baseball….time to wash off…beat em bucs

  61. Good morning on a “Rant and Rave” Wednesday.

    Tough loss last night. No way around it. That makes 3 excruciatingly tough losses in a row and 4 losses in a row overall. Still 70-48, though, and still 2 games ahead. We have now lost 4 games in a row 3x this year. The losing streak stopped at 4 both of the other times.

    Every OF who has played a significant amount of games in his life has dropped a flyball at some point. Marte’s came at a horrible time, but he wasn’t showboating or anything. If you want to bury him, go ahead. I’ll stand by the fact that the good he does in LF far outweighs the bad. His throw to end the game was great. That play should not have even been close, given where Jay was when the ball got to Marte.

    We may have the 2 worst defenders in all of baseball at 1b. It is the easiest position in the field, but they botch groundballs and throws almost every night. They each missed catchable groundballs last night. Sanchez has perfected the art of diving over top of a ball and never touching it as it scoots under him. He is just not a good athlete, but that is often the reason why guys like him end up at 1b.

    Gaby made a horrible decision to throw down to 2nd on a play that was going to be very close, where the risk was too great vs. the reward. A guy with a good, accurate arm can make that throw, but Sanchez cannot and should not. It’s just too risky to expect a perfect throw from him there. Maybe if either of our 1b was hitting, I could accept the porous defense. Neither of them has hit for quite awhile.

    It was NOT automatic when I played that you always break for home on 1st & 3rd, no outs in a tie game. That is decided in advance, generally, and relayed to the runner by the 3b coach. I don’t know whose call it was to have Cutch stay. Maybe he used his own judgment there, and decided it was better to see if the ball would go through, knowing there were 0 outs. He can’t tell for sure from 3b if it is hit right at the SS or to his right quickly enough to adjust his thinking. He decided to play it safe, and take his chances that if the ball was caught there Harrison would get him home as the next batter. If Cutch goes on contact and the ball his hit directly at the SS, he is out at home and everyone is screaming at the Pirates for having the most runners thrown out at home on infield grounders in MLB this year. 1st & 3rd, one out still gives you a better chance of scoring than 1st & 2nd, one out, which would have been the case had he been gunned out at home.

    My biggest issue was not with Cutch there, although he obviously chose the wrong option. I had an issue with Martin standing so far from the plate when it was obvious the pitcher was painting the outside corner, pitch after pitch. He could have moved up on the plate 3″ or so there, but very few MLB batters ever do that for some reason. Why not make an adjustment during an at bat, based on how the other team is pitching to you? Even still, why does Russell always insist on pulling that pitch? You can’t do anything more than roll it to SS. That said, I’ll take that blemish on Martin’s record for the defense he brings. Then, JHay hit the most perfect DP ball right to the 3b bag that the Cardinals could hope for. I’m not faulting JHay. He has been terrific of late in clutch situations. He has been so much better than Inge. Just hit the ball in the wrong spot.

    Morton pitched very well, as did the bullpen for the most part. The Cards did not really hit a ball very hard all night. They had one double, I think, and it was just slapped past 3b by Jay. I have never seen a team like them that plays station to station, “small ball” every night, yet has very little team speed. They do a great job of going the other way and finding holes or dropping the ball in front of the OF. But, I don’t see them as some great team that is now going to overwhelm the Bucs. We handed them a game is all.

    The bottom line is the Bucs let one get away. I don’t think it is a sign of anything big. It was just one game. Our offensive flaws were exposed, as has been the case in most of our losses this year. We made some blunders in the field. We also made some clutch plays in the field. We got to 1st place on merit, and I believe this is a bump in the road. We need Liriano to shut down St. Louis tonight, and I think he’ll snap back and pitch well.

    • It was noted above that the play on third was Hurdle’s call. Cutch was not supposed to run on contact.

      • Unless of course Hurdle didn’t want to throw McCutchen under the bus, which is at least a possibility. And if that’s the case he was right not to do so publicly.

        • You could be right about Hurdle, Milo. I just remember as a runner that a play like that is a tough call. He has to tell himself before the pitch that he must go if it looks like a DP ball. You end up being right half the time and wrong half the time.

        • That’s what I’m putting my money one. No way run on contact was NOT on in that situation.

    • He actually wasn’t showboating at all. I went back and watched it a few times and it was simply just a drop. I’ve seen much worse. Heck later in the game when Cutch caught a fly ball and called off Marte he didn’t even look the ball into the glove he turned to say something to Marte that made him laugh.

      As usual I agree with almost everything you posted except for the Gaby play. I feel as if it was the correct play and that is throw he can make more often then not. You have to keep that guy out of scoring position if at all possible.

      • I hear you on the Gaby throw, Nate. Another snap judgment call. But, he and GIJ have weak arms and not great mobility. If Keith Hernandez catches that ball, of course you throw down to 2b. Even a slightly above average 1b can make that throw. I just think it is too risky for Gaby. As it turned out, he got off the hook so it didn’t matter.

    • Well said Jim. The Pirates are 5-5 in their last 10 games, hardly evidence of a collapse. As other people have noted, the Cardinals are good. They seemed to have fixed their bullpen issues from the last series, too. The sent Salas to AAA and traded Rzepcienski (I know that’s not close) to Cleveland. Let’s see what happens tonight.

    • Good stuff Jim. I think Gaby has been horrendous at 1B this season. He consistently does not move off the bag when coming out of the hold and it cost us twice last night and once against the Rockies. Even if you are in the no doubles defense you have to get a little daylight between yourself and the bag. No point in having your coverage zone include foul territory there. And as you noted, Jones has been no better or even worse there, and they have not hit. Time to rally tonight!

      • ++ on the mobility/quickness issues with Gaby. He’s a platoon guy for a reason. If we can get to the point next year where he bats almost exclusively vs. LHP, we’ll be better off. And, we have to upgrade defensively to the point where our manager doesn’t consider him our best defensive option at 1b.

        I also don’t like the doubles defense at the infield corners. Sometimes, it seems as if they are almost positioned in foul territory. I have never liked that. Reminds me of the “Prevent” defense. Overall, though, it is hard to fault the Bucs defensive positioning this year. It has worked very well, overall.

  62. You want to point fingers at something? How about Cutch continuing to disappear when the game’s on the line. How about Pedro having as much of a chance to hit a breaking ball as I do? How about Gaby Sanchez being totally out of position in the 9th inning (good call on that by the way, Bob Hasis)? How about Clint Hurdle getting out-coached with the game on the line?

    Look, this team has holes. Everyone knows that. Their strengths have been good pitching and great defense. When they stop playing great defense, it just magnifies the weaknesses. Last night they stopped playing great defense.

    Starling Marte is one of the top young players in baseball. He is irreplaceable on this roster. Just because he chose to get lazy on a routine fly ball that eventually led to a Pirate loss doesn’t change that. Anyone calling for him to be sent down should have their head examined. That is, without a doubt, the most ignorant thing I’ve heard of in a long time. Having said that, his error cost them the game. There’s nothing wrong with blaming him. I’d be willing to bet he blames himself.

    One loss does not define a team but It appears that one loss can define a fan base. Calm down folks. The Jolly Roger will be raised tonight. Shelby Miller is going to get a bunch of strikeouts. He’s also going to get beat like a drum. Just like last time we faced him.

    Deep breaths people, deep breaths………..

    • I think Cutch is great but I must admit I was waiting for him to take over the game in those key situations….show people why he is a legit MVP candidate.

      Watching that game last night I noticed that when Cutch strikes out it is usually (or so it seems) is on pitches outside the strike zone. Pedro strikes out a lot of times on pitches that seem to be right down the middle.

      Pedro has 64 more K’s so far than Cutch.

      • One thing is for sure, IMO, Thunder. Most of the Cards do a much better job of strike zone management than most of the Bucs. Their philosophy seems to be to shorten up and find a hole – especially when they get down in the count. We don’t have many hitters like that, which is why (I guess) we hit a lot more HRs than them, strike out a lot more than them and don’t hit as well with RISP. The Cardinal hitters don’t seem to swing at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.

      • Pedro strikes out on everything, in the dirt, down the middle, neck high, on the black, a foot outside…

        He really doesn’t discriminate.

    • I don’t know about Cutch disappearing, patton. Wasn’t it an important spot when he launched a 2-run HR to get them off to a great start on the road? He also drew a walk later, and got a single to start the inning where we didn’t score with 1st & 3rd. He didn’t get the runner in from 3b with one out, but I’ll take how Cutch is playing right now.

      Agreed on Marte. He simply dropped a ball. It happens, even at the pro level. It is not acceptable, by any means. But, errors happen.

      Also agreed on the fact that this was just one game. Great teams need to often get over the hump and fight through some adversity. Maybe this is our adversity on the way to a division crown.

  63. IMHO, The whole team should throw itself under the bus, have the bus back over it 10 times, pick itself up, and move on. Maybe this will wake up the offense!

  64. I know some hate prospects but in an effort to bring some sunshine to the blog today Luis Heredia had a second straight solid start last night with 5 shut out innings, Polanco went 3-4 and Josh Bell went 3-3 with an HR.

    • Good stuff, Nate. I never tire of hearing about this stuff. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the shot of feel good!

    • Yup. Lots of good stories continuing to take place in the minors. Meadows and McGuire still look very good as well.

      • I’m already convinced McGuire at the very least will be a well above average defensive catcher if he stays healthy. If the bat comes with him it’s just a plus.

        There are under the radar guys like DeJesus, Howard, Santo and Dickerson having really good years. Even Rojos has gotten hot lately. This depth can’t be taken for granted. It’s what allows them to possibly trade during the off-season. Some of these pieces may be interesting to other teams or make the Pirates more comfortable to trade others away knowing they have the depth to in fill as needed.

  65. Refreshing to hear Marte after the game be so frank and place blame on his dropped catch on basically being too full of himself which has led him to be complacent.

    Alarming that no one in that clubhouse noticed a big head which would have lead to a little talk. Are these guys blind? Or that a coach didnt see it?

    • This is a joke right…

      Usually you are harder on yourself than anyone else is.

    • I read that this morning as well, Sarcastic. I think Marte is a very accountable guy, for what that is worth.

      I read a good story on him over the weekend about how he came to be signed by Gayo. The first time the Bucs looked at him, he was playing SS and he did not look good. But, Gayo saw him running like a deer and spraying balls all over the field. He told him to come back as an OF, and when he did they immediately signed him by offering $10k more than another MLB team.

      The story also talked about how much pride Marte takes in his game, and how much he wanted to show the Pirates that his first tryout was an aberration. I think we forget sometimes that these young Dominican players don’t have the benefit of playing in showcase tournaments every weekend growing up vs. great American pitchers from all over the country like US kids do. They play on rock fields against spotty competition sometimes, and they often don’t get great instruction. So, maybe it takes a little while longer for them to realize their potential. Marte lost his mom when he was 9, I think. He is married and sends money back home from every paycheck. I’m a sucker for the human interest angles. It makes me want to root more for a guy like him. I’m not saying it excuses mistakes or lapses in judgment, just that no one is taking it harder than Starling. I think he is totally accountable for his mistakes. I thought you could see it all over his face. He felt horrible. And, as I said, I thought he made 2 good fundamental plays after the error (sac bunt and great throw to home). He’ll be ok, and his teammates will rally around him.

    • I don’t think Marte meant ” literally” a big head. The equipment guy, at least, would have noticed that.

  66. Largely because of the 20 year streak, I have not kept up wth MLB like I once did, so I am not real comfortable with some of the new hitting stats.

    But I do know this…when your 4, 5 and 6 batters are all hitting less than .260 and your #4 is hitting .230 (and yes I know he has 28 HRs – how many the last couple of weeks?), the rest of the game has to be near perfect…and I wasn’t. Still just stunned with Marte on 3rd and Cutch never lifted the bat off of his shoulder. I do not care what he has done in the past, that just can’t happen at any level..and IMO, is just at bad as Marte’s drop. There were other plays gone bad as well, turned it off after the 12th.

    Fundamental baseball.

    To me, the only reason they are where they are is because they HAVE played fundamental baseball far more than not, so far this season. They just didn’t last nite and in an important game, starting an important series. I guess that’s what is the most disappointing.

    I hope Lariano pitches well tonight and they can put this game behind them, because last nite’s preformance adds a little more pressure to tonite.

  67. For the record, I saw Walker and Jones sharing a laugh in the dugout during extra innings.

  68. Did anyone see this piece of news on Malkin?

    “There’s word — via the player’s father –that the Dallas Stars made Evgeni Malkin a richer offer than what he received to sign an extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The fact that Malkin was, by no means, free to be negotiating with another NHL club is the most interesting part of the story. For their part, the Stars deny any such overture took place. And, unless the Penguins file a tampering-related grievance, the league isn’t expected to get involved.”

    Found that on ESPN this morning

    • It’s ESPN, so it makes me wonder about the credibility. Still, interesting.

    • It kind of makes sense if you look at the fact that Dallas went out and got Seguin from Boston.

    • Check out the link to Rob Rossi’s story at the bottom of DK’s post. Much more complete article, and more credible as well.

    • ESPN does one hockey story and that is the one? They have zero credibility in hockey – the Bleacher Report of the sport so to speak! Did they have Stephen A Smith give his opinion on it and did he work an NBA angle in? :)

    • Actually, according to Rossi’s report, the ESPN story is “true” to the extent that there is a Russian newspaper apparently reporting that. But doesn’t sound like the report has any credibility.

    • Stars quickly denied report because Malkin was under contract and that would make them guilty of tampering.

      They may have put feelers out through Gonch once they had him but I don’t think anything close to an offer or negotiations were done.

      I also believe the statement in the Rossi article that Gonchar advised Geno to stay in Pittsburgh. Malkin and Gonchar seem like sincere friends. And with Geno’s disdain of spotlight, it was good advice. Not that I think Malkin really considered going to Dallas or any other team.

  69. I blame Jose Tabata.

    He’s the one who got the flu…or ‘flu like symptoms’

  70. Wow, along with people who would like to see Marte benched for the fly ball or blaming Cutch for “disappearing” with the game on the line (like leading off the 13th inning with a single and a steal – but not a HR, so I guess he did disappear. Right.)
    How about this – During the month of June, Pedro Alvarez hit .309 with 10 HR and 24 RBI (w/35 K’s). For the rest of the season he has hit .211 with 18 HR and 41 RBI (w/105 K’s). Basically, a full 1/3 of his production came in a month, other than that he’s actually been pretty bad. Not just bad – how about the most strikeouts, most errors, fewest doubles, and lowest OBP of any 3B in the National League. Only one qualified (3.1 AB/G) 3B has a lower average (Todd Frazier, CIN), but his OBP is 25 points higher. In spite of the HR’s he’s only 3rd in slugging and OPS – or maybe BECAUSE of the HR’s, and little else. How about a WAR that puts him 8th. Pedro WILL one day put it all together a la Jose Bautista – who also used to have a good month here and there when he played for the Bucs. Unfortunately for the Pirates, there is no other option at 3rd (Harrison? For more than a day?)
    How about the continued play of Gaby Sanchez? 3 for 21 as a pinch hitter. (But he kills lefties! No, he hits .307 (.982 OPS) against them, which is good. Marte kills lefties – .413 BA, 1.109 OPS) No home runs since June 25.

    • Good info Diehard.

      This is what he is and more then likely always will be. He possible could get a little better at not swinging at stuff outside the zone but he isn’t going to change much from this point forward. You can live with a guy like that in your lineup if the rest of your line up makes good contact, doesn’t strike out, draws walks and does the little things. The Pirates line up as it currently stands does not do those things. Maybe they will be doing those things before they have to make a decision on Pedro.

      One thing I do know is when he goes on one of those 20 game streaks with this pitching staff you can almost gaurentee this team wins 15 of those 20 games. Very few players have that abillity. He reminds me a lot of Jay Bruce and the streaks he has.

    • I believe that Greg Brown said that it was Mercer’s first home run since the middle of June.

      • I don’t think anyone’s expecting Mercer to be a guy to bring power to the lineup though. Mercer is also hitting a respectable .288 with RISP – which is actually the best of our regulars. Cutch is right behind him at .285.
        Sanchez is .211, Pedro .248.

      • By the way MLB Network used the Pirates broadcast last night for the game instead of the home Cardinals crew or one of their own. So I got to expereince what you guys do all the time. Maybe it was because it was a road game but I wan’t impressed. It seemed a little lifeless and had a lot of moments were there was no talking at all for long stretches of time. I almost felt like I was watching the game with a few guys sitting in my living room talking instead of getting paid to give analysis.

        • No talking at all? Our crew? Something must be wrong with your TV.
          Not giving analysis for long stretches or talking about the game? That’s different.

          • I am use to the Reds and Indians announcers. I actually like the Reds announcers. Maybe it’s just a preference in style.

        • no talking at all for long stretches of time

          Those can be the best parts of the broadcast

        • If were a home game, at least you would have been ambushed with constant shots of the crowd.
          Yes, even when they are actually playing.

          Pirate announcers are Pirate employees, thus they will present the game, the way the Pirate front office wants you to hear it.
          The 3 roving color men for the team are just buffoons.
          How long did it take Bob Walk to explain the difference between 2 pitching grips last night?.
          Seemed like a whole inning past, and he was still talking about air flow and gravity.
          But they are part of the “old boy” network, and as long as they tow the line, their job is safe.
          That’s too bad.

        • Did you miss the 3-minute dissertation from Walk on how to throw a fastball vs. a sinker?

    • I said Cutch was disappearing. I also admit it was a poor choice of words. He’s not disappearing, he just has to play smarter. That’s what I meant to say. Or something like it.

      • I can agree with playing smarter – especially when it comes to that low outside pitch he swings at too often! I swear, if he didn’t swing at that pitch his average would jump 10 more points in a week.

        • I hear you on his propensity for swinging at outside pitches still. But, he hit over .320 last year and is in the .315 range this year. If he can improve on the chases, I can only imagine what he’d hit with all that bat speed. I’m not complaining, mind you. If Cutch never gets any better, he’s still top 2% or so in the league. I think he will still get better. In fact, he is cutting his whiffs this year. Is he all of 26 already? Lots of room to improve for a smart guy like him.

  71. When I see Dick LeBeau as in the photo of today’s Trib sports section, I think of the resemblance with Crocodile Dundee.
    Or vice versa.

  72. Isaly’s chipped chopped Lambo.

  73. It is cold outside. Feels more like football season out there than baseball season. Could this mean we’re due for a cold winter?

  74. I was on the horn with my old man yesterday when McCutchen didn’t run home on the grounder to short.

    I normally don’t hear him curse that much unless he’s trying to repair something mechanical.

    This team has a way of causing Sudden Onset Hypertensive Tourette’s.

  75. I really wanted them to win last night if for no other reason then to say to Bob see they didn’t lose 16 in a row like you said they could. I guess I will have to save that post for another day. Hopefully today around 11:30 tonight.

  76. Tough Wolrd by Donnie Iris & The Cruisers just came on my mix

  77. We need a designated pinch hitter who avoids the whiff. How about signing Freddy Sanchez, promise him he will never have to throw a ball, or play the field. There have been a hundred recent times when it would have been glorious t o see him at the plate with runners on and all we needed was a ball in play. Another desperate pipe dream: the Twins put Morneau on irrevocable waivers . . .

  78. 446 comments by the middle of the day. Impressive. DK what is the all time blog post record?

    • 3 weeks ago, I think one thread had 700 posts, and the first 3 days of the Bucs-Cards series had over 3100 posts in 3 days.

    • yes but at least 300 of them are utter BS, IMHO. It’s like the vultures that circle the carcas around here whenever something goes wrong for the Pirates…most of the posters today have been quiet for a long time this summer when this team was accomplishing the best record in baseball. A 4-game losing streak and an agonizing loss last night has brought out the vicious, ugly birds.

      I was as frustrated as anyone last night watching that 5-hour game. Bucs get lead but don’t add on… letting the Cards “hit 4 bouncers through the hole to the opposite field” rally to make it a game… and of course setting up Marte’s HUGE error. Make no mistake, folks, if we were awarding NHL-like “stars of the game” but instead “reasons for the loss”… third star goes to Bucs offense failing after the 2nd inning to generate anything; second star goes to Cutch not being aggressive off of third (even though contact play wasn’t on, no one was playing 3rd so he could have gotten down the line and then scampered home when he saw the player dive); and first star goes to Marte inexplicably dropping an easy catch. If you look closely, Marte didn’t have his glove all the way over his left hand… is that his normal method or might it be due to hand injury?? Not making excuses, just noticed that.

      More than anything, last night’s game was LAST NIGHT’S GAME. Yes, Marte made a big error, but what do you want him to do about it? Pout and lose his confidence and energy (both of which are HUGELY important for the Pirates) and go into a monthlong funk? OR, bounce back, with the support of his teammates, his manager, and hopefully his FANS, and put this behind him?

      The Pirates are still 2 games up on the Cards, 3 1/2 on the hot Reds… the Cards just lost 2 of 3 at home to the Cubs.. not too long ago they suffered a 2-9 road trip… it happens, it’s baseball.

      The Bucs biggest problem remains their offense, especially with RISP. The pitching, especially the bullpen, has kept clicking along, which is HUGELY different from past 2 summers. Check out the Cards approach, in mostly every at bat, but especially with RISP…they just try to hit bouncers in the holes …maybe the Bucs should try that??

  79. I think we’re going to find out about the Pirates here pretty quickly.
    They need to get at least one of these next two games against the Cardinals.
    A sweep would be disastrous, especially after last nights game.
    Oddly enough….I don’t think the Cardinals look all that special.
    The Pirates just need to settle down and (though this is probably asking too much)….Get some timely hitting for a change.
    I’ve never seen a SAC fly so hard to come by in my entire life.

    • Daq,

      every team has its flaws. But no other team has the weight of 20 losing seasons, and 2 collapses like the Pirates do. The Pirates are not only in a pennant race, they are trying to overcome history.

      Fair or not, that is reality, despite some people saying last year has nothing to do with this year, etc. Just look at the fan reaction after losing these last 4 games. If last year didnt translate to this year, there wouldnt be any reason to panic. But that doesnt seem to be the case.

      • No question.
        It also concerns me that some look at ending the season over .500 is going to earn some kind of black and gold trophy.
        This team is capable of going much further.
        Don’t settle for going five games over .500.

        • I agree with you about just breaking .500 at this point. Would be kind of like the booby prize.

          • Less than 90 wins at this point is where disappointment starts for me. 89-73 or worse is a huge disappointment from where they sat on Friday afternoon.

            I still think they eclipse 90.

        • Actually, on the plus side…I’m actually of the opinion that once they break the 82 barrier and lift that weight from their collective shoulders, they may really begin to play to their (offensive) potential, and achieve their ultimate goal…October baseball of consequence.

      • You would still have sentiments of frustration and worry, but not like you have seen on the blog for the past few days. That is due, in part to a passionate, crazy fan base as well as to 20 straight losing seasons. Besides that, no one wants to feel continuously duped into thinking things will get better when all indications say they will not.

        I personally believe the season is incredibly long and the loses will come. With the anointing of St. Lambo (tongue firmly in cheek) as a move to improve the offense and Frankie Liriano (gotta Pittsburgh up that name) wanting to come back hard and pitch well, things will turn around.

      • Since I’m too lazy to look it up, just how many of the 2013 roster was even playing in Pittsburgh in 2010, much less the 2011 and 2012 collapses. This 20-year thing is purely on the fans… I can’t imagine a young player even thinks about last week much less 20 years ago.

        The Pirates will get back to winning if their pitching stays strong and they get some offense. They will not if their offense continues to be subpar and their pitching falls apart like it did past 2 years. This won’t have anything to do with Sid Bream’s slide, the trading of ARam and Joey Bats, trading for Matt Morris, drafting Danny Moskos, the ghosts of Kris Benson, Kip Wells and Ian Snell, Jerry Meals’ unbelievable safe call…. or the Pirates Charity Sign. Or even Greg Brown’s ‘trip-trip-triple’ call, Frank the Tanks’ morning cocktails, or Neal’s ‘say nothing’ political spins to every question.

        • If you really believe that, and that this season is totally in a vacuum, I got some priiiiiiiiiime real estate to sell ya. Cheap, too. ;)

          • I’m only saying from the PLAYERS perspective, Plan. As a fan, I totally agree that this season is in a broader context…I prefer to think of how sweet it will be when this time clinches the division and the playoffs, not how bitter it would be if they fall short.

            • I am talking about a players perspective too.
              The players read the papers, hear the media and fans, they cant help but hear all the chatter.

              But, I just hope they win so we dont have to discuss this come October.

              • yes i know they get asked this question all the time and I’m not saying the players are ignorant of that. But to make the conclusion that they internalize this to a level where, like a golfer who can’t close the deal, get the yips and have the play on the field be impacted? don’t see that happening. These are young confident players and I’m sure their reaction is more “what the hell does what happened in 1992-2012 do with me”?

    • Good points Daq and I agree. Though I do think they are hitting SAC flies a little more lately than they were before, just couldn’t get it done last night.

  80. 458 posts already??

  81. I’ve seen a handful of games this year, and lets face it, unless the Bucs are massacring the opponent, most of their games are excruciating to watch.

    We have great pitching and great defense (most of the time)

    …and horrible hitting in every possible category. Stupid statistics be darned, this team can’t hit and hasn’t hit all year. The lion’s share of our victories have been squeekers and low scoring games.

    I’m glad we’re doing so well and not freaking out, but if you watched that game last night you would conclude we were the worst team in the majors.

    – Alvarez…OMG..seriously I could strike him out. He is TERRIBLE
    – Cutch….I love him man, but how can you stand there and watch three perfect pitches right down the middle of the plate
    – Barmes – come on man. He’s swinging at pitches (three of them) that nearly hit him on each pitch.
    – Sanchez at first – looked like he was diving at balls after they were in the outfield
    – Marte – wild swinger, appears to be from another country (that was a joke)

    Team is so desperately in need of some kind of hitting instruction. I swear half the team is swinging for the fences on every pitch.

    Oh well still love em

  82. The manage is aptly named because, let’s face it, 20 years of losing is a tough “Hurdle” to overcome.

  83. Does McCutcheon ever take a practice swing at the plate?

  84. Wow…based on all the Chicken Little posts on here today you would have thought that the Bucs lost by 6 runs or more. Yes, their hitting with RISP is an awful stat that keeps rearing its ugly head, but let’s not throw anyone under a bus just yet.

    The Cards did not in any way outhit them. Even with their amazing RISP numbers. This was about as close a game as we could get. These Cardinals are not the 1960 Yankees, you know…

    BTW…they are still in first place in one of, if not the most, competitive divisions in all of baseball. The mathematical probability of another epic collapse is just too improbable that Baseball Prospectus has the Bucs making the playoffs at a whopping 99%.

    Finally, I am sick and tired of fans throwing Leyva to the wolves. If not for him shifting Walker to shallow right field in the 8th with Craig up, we never would have seen extra innings in the first place.

    The sky is not falling, people…

    • hello Me. Dormont. Wow, it sounds like you’ve been here before?
      By the way, I pretty much agree with your post.

    • I think the criticism of Leyva goes overboard, too, but I’m pretty sure his participation in defensive shifts is to relay a sign from the bench.

      • Not according to the radio team last night. According to them, that was Leyva’s call. He actually is a pretty brilliant guy when it comes to calling shifts, and considering the Bucs do shift more than any other team in baseball, it appears to be working. If I’m not mistaken, the Bucs have one of the best fielding percentages in the MLB, do they no

        Yeah, Jandy…I’ve been here before, but mostly as a lurker. I do that sometimes…:-)

        • Did not know that. But the shifting is, at a minimum, very computer aided. But if he IS making some of those calls, someone has to remember the data, so good for him. I actually have liked Leyva from the beginning, so I’m not coming from an anti-Leyva POV, just was what I understood. And, yes, the Pirates have been very good defensively, at least until the last 4 or 5 games, according to the television crew last night.

          • I was totally wrong who was at the plate. It was Adams, not Craig. Just thought I’d correct myself…

          • I think Leyva unfairly got blaimed for some bad decisions of sending runners home or from first to third on a single last year. I think it was the teams overall game plan last year to be aggressive and take that chance and force an average or even good throw to get the guy at home. The team wasn’t perceived to have the ability to get that guy in otherwise so why not take a chance.

            That being said the Pirates do not seem very good at getting guys in from third this year either so maybe they should have continued being aggressive.

        • Hey, we like lurkers, Dormont. So, do we take it that you’re from Dormont, PA? Does Biz have that town listed on Dejan’s Luantics’ Asylum?

        • They actually have a numbers guy, for lack of a better term, who does all of the shift analysis. I can’t recall his name, but they give him a ton of credit for the shifts this year.

          I think he gives them all of the info, and they use what they want. So, maybe Leyva interprets it.

          I don’t know that their fielding % is at the top of the league, George. But, they are at the top in % of batted balls in play turned into outs. That is a combo of defensive positioning and actual player performance. Plus, they throw a low # of HRs and a ton of ground balls. So, teams usually need to get 2 or 3 singles in an inning to score a run.

    • Thank you for that, George. If I were a Cardinals fan, I might be saying, “Doesn’t this team ever hit a HR?” Or, “Pittsburgh has been kicking our butts, and we were very lucky last night. Need to play much better.” Or, “Why don’t we have any team speed?” Or, “We’re still 2 games back.”

      Cutch had a 2-run HR, a single, & a walk. If people want to criticize him for not scoring on the grounder to SS, there’s at least a basis for rational discussion on that. But, criticizing his hitting at this point in time? I struggle with that one. He obviously guessed wrong and got frozen on the fastball on the inside corner that stranded Marte. But, I’d say he must be guessing right an awful lot because he’s hitting about .350, I think, for over a month. Take a look at MLB stats. No one drives in every runner from 3b with one out. Not even close. There’s a rumor the opposing pitchers are trying out there, too.

      • Or, why the heck did our stupid manager (please bring LaRussa back) let the pitcher swing away and into a double play? OR, why did our stupid manager pitch our closr 2 innings today, after he threw 2 innings Sunday… his arm is gonna fall off…

  85. And just where is NMR? Sleeping it off??


  86. One of the most frustrating losses for a regular season in a long time. Couple of thoughts and playing the blame game:
    –Not liking the trend of blowing leads lately. Happened last night, and a couple of times in Colorado.
    –Obviously, Marte should take blame for his gaffe in the outfield, it ended up killing us. But, don’t let Melancon off the hook. There was still one out when it happened,and he had two outs in the inning and allowed the basehit to tie it. Get one more out Melancon, and the game is over. Sorry, but that is what closers do, they pitch around mistakes. Again, it wasn’t like he was asked to pitch around bases loaded and no outs. Get one more out and we win the game. Blown save, period.
    –If the offense wasn’t so anemic, it never comes down to that dropped ball. Should have been up by at least two runs in the 9th with the chances we had. Our lack of late inning hitting is killing us. Taking third strikes looking, failure to hit balls twice out of a drawn in infield in the air, stranding guys on third with less than two outs, are all killing us.
    –Lack of movement at the deadline. I know other teams stood pat, but other teams did not have the RF and 1B deficiency we have. Maybe one, but not both. If it comes out that Rios or Morales could have been had for a lesser prospect if we took on the contract, Huntington needs to be gone, and Nutting ran out of town on a rail. The Rangers got Rios for nothing because they were willing to take his salary. If it is the same cheap ownership something needs to be done. Too close to having a special season to not pull the trigger….

    • Sorry…but you are just plain wrong about Rios.

      First off…in the non-waiver period, teams are looking for their best return in a deal. Hard to not assume that the ChiSox were looking for a good package of prospects during that timeframe. When they can’t find a deal after the non-waiver period, then they start to look for other options to shed salary. Yes, they got very little return for Rios when it was all said and done, but that is because it was all they could expect by then.

      Secondly, the Rangers were ahead of the Bucs on the waiver line. The Bucs would have been blocked by every team ahead of them, especially the Cards or Reds. Bucs wouldn’t have had a chance to even sniff at Rios.

      • Yes, it doesn’t make sense to blaim the Pirates front office for the White Sox front office mistake. They obviously could have gotten more then they did for Rios if they traded him before the trade deadline. They positioned themselves to having only one team to trade with or eat the salary. Can you imagine if the Pirates did the same with Xavier Nady 4 or 5 years ago. The fans would have been outraged.

      • Dormont

        What do you think about them putting in an offer for Dunn who cleared waivers? It’s not the perfect solution but Jones can move to the outfield and Dunn gives them another proven middle of the order bat. He also walks a ton. I think he has a career OBP that is about .100 points higher then is batting average.

        • Not sure I want to add another player who strikes out about 40% of the time. I think we have too many whiffers to be honest. Boy does have serious pop, though…

          • He does make Alverez look like Tony Gwynn sometimes but his approach at the plate is better then most on the team. He swings at strikes he just doesn’t hit them………but when he does it is magical.

            • You guys are really getting me interested in Dunn. Now I wanna see him play.

              • He is the ultimate all or nothing swing guy. Think Big Country Brad Eldred with just enough talent to stick in the majors or a much much larger and way way less athletic Curtice Granderson.

              • well, will he help more than he’d hurt? We can use some offense for sure.

              • Don’t get your hopes up, Jandy. Even if the Bucs try and put a claim in for him, chances are it will be blocked by another team with a worse record to make sure the Bucs can’t load up with other possible playoff performers. That’s baseball folks…and front offices know how to play the waiver game. Sadly, (or maybe not since we got where we are with what we have) what you currently see with the pirates roster may very well be the best it gets…

              • That is where the problem comes in. Nobody knows. He is very streaky. He can carry a team for weeks or he could strike out 25 times in 10 games.

              • Dormont

                I’m not 100% sure but I think once he cleared waivers which he did I think any team can trade for him and it can’t be blocked.

              • He cleared waivers. Waivers aren’t really an issue anymore with Dunn, unless the rules say teams can do it again, which would surprise me.

              • Well, I really don’t have a problem with going forward with who we have. I just wish some of them would be a bit more consistent is all.

                I appreciate all the input, guys.
                Still learning here. :)

      • You are on fire, George!

    • Completely disagree about Melancon. He came in and got the first 3 batters to hit into what should have been outs or strikeout. The only hit he gave up was 3 inches off the place just below the knees. That was a great piece of hitting. What more could he have done.

      • Yeah, even criticizing Melancon, with what he’s done this year, smh.

        • This is getting worserer and worserer

          • And this is one game. A bad one, yes, and against our biggest rival, but one game. ;-)

          • What’s getting worserer? The blame game. I like it. I nominate Jack Clark.

            Crazy day when the Pirates can lose and the only name on the 25 man roster not blamed for the loss is Jose Tabata (oops I forgot Watson). Oops again I also forgot the other 4 starting pitchers although Cole could be blamed for skipping a start.

            • I’m tellin ya!

              Get out the hard liquor! Call the reserves. Call in the SWAT team!

              heck, it’s all NMR’s fault. he hasn’t shown up yet today, so I nominate him!

            • You musta missed it, Nate. Tabby got plenty of criticism for being soff and not playing. Presley’s immune, though.

              For some reason, Frank didn’t get any.

              Hi, Frank.

              • yeah but Tabby’s not as soft as Walker ;)

              • I stayed off of the game thread last night. I got the rare treat of actually watching the game on TV last night.

              • But I thought everyone was mad he was starting instead of Lambo. So everyone should have been happy.

              • I was off the tread as well. Just popped in once or twice on the cell (which I hate) but I went to bed around 10:15 or so. I get up at 4:00am. It was 3-0. No reason to lose that game…and I repeat, it’s not ONE person’s fault.
                What time is game time tonight? 8:15?

              • It was more after the loss. Go figure.

              • You know I did check it around the 13th inning and most of the regulars were not posting. It had been taken over by a lot of negative post from names that were new to me. The comments were way over the top. I didn’t have the energy to debate with them.

              • it gets old. I agree.

              • Nate, I felt exactly the same way. Like I was in a different world (Well I was in Cleveland, but that is a different story). A few names were ringing a bell though so I looked into my palantir and sought them out. Lo and behold:


              • lol! Yup, familiar ;)

              • It is curious that the Pirates have gone from laughingstock for 20 years, to a juggernaut of epic proportions that has let so many people down for a mid-August loss that trimmed its lead to 2 games.

                Amazing how quickly expectations can change.

                I do get people’s frustrations, though. This team has let everyone down a lot. I just don’t think we are anywhere near that yet.

              • Think of how far we have come to be able to say they let us down and they have 70 wins in August. If you would have told me that last year we have had this record I would have taken it and not looked back.

                Also, we are getting to watch real baseball, which was definitely not appreciated on the blog last night. Back to back intentional walks to get to the pitcher with no pinch hitters available. A steal of second at just the right time (wrong team though damn it). A five man infield leading to the old 6-9-3 DP. The second baseman corraling a line drive in right field. Epic fails by a left fielder and a first baseman. The league leading clutch hitter doing his job. There was so much in that game last night it boggles the mind. That is why I fell in love with baseball years ago and why, win or lose, I am enjoying this season like no other. Don’t get me wrong; I want this team to win it all. I am a competitor. But the enjoyment of the sport has been unsurpassed. And don’t discount that we have this site to share these thoughts with our e-friends. Everyone that comes on here adds something that makes this season even better. Go Buccos!!

        • That was a flair into RF. Give Craig credit for the hit, but it is not as though he hit a rope.

  87. I’ve been looking for an update on the guys that were recently placed on waivers over the past few days and I cannot find any update whether or not they have been claimed. Does anyone know how long a team has to claim them after they’ve been placed on waivers.

    • I think claims can be made within 48 hours, sometimes MLBTrade Rumors has a list of those that have cleared, once they clear, they can get traded anytime till the end of this month

    • As far as I know a team can claim a player at anytime after he clears. The waiving team can then either: 1. Pull him back (if he gets waived again, the waiving team loses all rights to him and will lose him for nothing in return), 2. Try to work out a deal with the team claiming him, or 3. Do nothing.

      If you claim someone, he must be on the 25 man roster by August 31st in order for him to be on your playoff roster.

  88. I don’t blame Marte for the loss — the Pirates wasted too many chances to score with runners on base — but I did turn off the TV after his error.

    • hey gonfalon, are you a lurker too? We love to chat with lurkers. Does Biz have your hometown on the Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum list? :)
      Welcome :)

      • Yes indeed, and thank you!

        I’d rather not give my hometown, though… let’s just say that having to listen to the Cardinals’ announcing team also contributed to my decision to turn the game off.

        • no worries. But if you change your mind, let us know :)

          Sorry you had to turn it off. Heck I went to bed when it was 3-0-. Imagine my surprise when I found out we lost 4-3…after 14 innings!

        • I don’t mind the play-by-play guy so much, gonfalon, but Hrabosky has the delivery of Ward Bond on the old Wagon Train TV show!

          • :D

            It’s not so much the delivery for me… it’s more the commentary/ dialogue — equal parts turgid and insipid (and usually unsupported by facts, esp. for the Cardinals’ opponents). Neither of them seem to know how let the broadcast “breathe”, if that makes sense.

        • Gonfalon:

          Was it Mike Shannon, by any chance?

    • Best avatar yet! Saw them live many times during the foggy eighties.

      • Well, there ya go, gonfalon, Oshkosh endorses you :)

      • Thanks! I never saw them back in the day, but I did see the Black Flag reunion tour earlier this summer. I had kind of low expectations going in, as it was just Ginn and Reyes plus two new guys, but they were really good. And the energy was incredible… the crowd just exploded when they launched into classic songs like “Nervous Breakdown”.

        But back on topic, I understand the energy of the crowds at the Cardinals series a couple of weeks ago at PNC Park was pretty incredible too!

  89. *****ATTENTION*****
    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 don’t bite :)

  90. The sabermagicians rave about Charlie Morton because of his high ground ball rate. But these same people don’t like Jared Hughes as a reliever because he throws too many ground balls. SMH.

    • Just thinking out loud here, and I’m no saber, but could it be that the stats for an SP are different than an RP? At least statistically on what works? Doesn’t sound out of the realm of possibility, and RP’s are more known for their heat.

    • Really? I sure don’t claim that I get to read everything, but I haven’t seen any criticism of Hughes for throwing too many ground balls. I’ve seen some about his strikeout rate, though. That’s a big deal for releivers because they often come into games with runners already on. It’s less of a big deal for starters because high strikeout rates sometimes lead to high pitch counts.

    • I like some SABER stuff, but a lot is way over the top to me. I do not get the Charlie Morton unconditional love. He gets defended to the nth degree no matter how he pitches. I think he has pitched very well the last 2 games, but let’s face it, he has not been a quality pitcher for most of his career. And, he’s been hurt a lot. But, since he throws ground balls, he is always assumed to be good? When he gets knocked around, it is always bad luck with the SABER crowd. Bad luck? Really? Always for the same guy? And that is coming from the guys who say they are injecting logic into the discussion.

      We’ve been here before with Ground Chuck. I hope the good times last this time. But, I reserve judgment for a bunch more starts.

      • When he’s getting knocked around by little dribblers that the batter beats out, or manage to squeeze their way between two diving infielders, it is bad luck. A pitcher can have some impact on whether a ball is hit on the ground or in the air. He really can’t force him to hit a ground right at a fielder, though. When he’s giving up screeching liners or the long ball, or walking tons of batters, then it’s bad pitching. I’ve seen a lot more of the former than the latter since his return. His problems getting lefties out are a big concern, though.

        When you’re evaluating Morton’s career, you basically have to throw out everything he did before he altered his delivery and started throwing sinkers. He’s a completely different pitcher since then. For all of last season and at least half of the previous one, he was pitching while injured, so you need to take that into account as well. Not to say that you ignore it or anything like that, but you have to factor it in.

  91. So I read some of the blog from last nights game. I’d say rather funny.

    Blaming Marte? He does deserve his fair share of criticism for that lackadaisical effort, but to be honest he seems to do that on every lazy fly ball, so does the Gold Glover to his left.

    Gone are the days of fielders using 2 hands to catch a fly ball, or taking a knee on a ground ball (see it every once in a while). That’s a little league approach and above the pro athlete to play that way. Today’s athlete is to get on the latest highlight reel.

    I honestly blame this style, type of fielding on Griffey Jr. He was great, Cutch is great and Marte could be better than them both.

    This error was a fluke, unfortunately came at the wrong time in the ball game though. It was by no means the reason the team lost.

    Way too many factors go into the dynamics of the game for one play to effect the outcome.

    I also feel that Liriano will shut down the Cards tonight and so will AJ tomorrow. The collapse is not apon us folks, just a 4 game losing streak.

    Good pitching always beats good hitting and tonight, the edge go to the buccos.

    • Thanks, Ryan! I needed that! I’m gonna put these tranquilizers down now.

    • Morton pitched well last night & they lost. Locke pitched well Sunday & they lost. Not always, there are no absolutes.

      • So the question is: Is our pitching vs their hitting better than their pitching vs our hitting?

        Wasn’t last nite.

        Marte’s error shouldn’t have been a factor. You leave 11 RISP, you will lose almost every time…

      • Did Morton not leave the game with a lead? Was it not held through almost 9? What about the extra inning pitchers? A bloop got the guy to 2nd and a routine single brought them in.

        No doubt the buccos have offensive woes, can’t/won’t argue that.

    • Ryan, I agree with you on Marte and Cutch but I still see some Major Leaguers including Walker go to a knee to take a grounder on occasion. And they shouldn’t, IMO. One reason being if they miss the ball, it’s harder to recover.

      • I know there’s some that still do that..the fields are much more crisp than that of LL fields, there’s not reason he should miss it while doing that, but an OFer shouldn’t miss an easy pop fly either.

      • They often should, because if they miss the ball then it is likely to hit them and stay in front of them, rather than go through their legs and on to the outfield. Depends on what sort of ground ball it is, though.

      • I think only the 2b can afford to do that, 21. He has the shortest throw.

    • A breath of fresh air from the left coast!! thanks for that… maybe it will get the stale iron city stench out from the ‘debby downer’ crew.

      I kicked a few things during that game last night, but I come away not intimidated in the slightest by the Cards. They have no team speed, next to no power, and their ace pitcher is not tough to square up. If we can only stop the powerful Matt Holliday from hitting 5-bouncers into right field we might shut them out. Oh and stopping friggin’ John Jay who pretty much sucks vs. the rest of the league but seemed to wear out a path between SS and 3B.

    • I believe Mays and Clemente were both “basket catch” guys quite often, FWIW. That is 2 hands, but very unorthodox. I believe the 2-handed catch pretty much went away awhile ago.

      • I know Clemente caught some heat for being a hotdog with the basket catch, at least earlier in his career. What I couldn’t remember was if it was with 2 hands.

        • I thought it was, but I have only seen a few clips.

          Rick Barry got criticized for the underhand free throws, too. He was over 90% every year.

  92. Afternoon, Y’all! I guess we still gotta feel pretty good about ourselves, since the pitching is still holding up (he says, biting his fingernails).

  93. Just did something far worse than watching that game last night.

    Went to Middle School Registration with my son.

    I weep for the future.

  94. I feel Marte’s pain. As a high school sophomore second-baseman I dropped a two-out pop-up in the top of the 7th inning of a tie ballgame, which allowed Sammy Khalifa (yep, THAT Sammy Khalifa) to score from second base with the eventual winning run (it was a seven-inning game).

    It was a late-season game that determined first place in the conference, and it had a big impact on the post-season seeding. My team eventually lost in the State playoffs, and Khalifa’s team went on to win the State Championship (with Rodney Peete as the championship game winning pitcher – yeah, I’m name-dropping).

    I wanted to crawl into a hole and cry – still haunts me to this day.

    I didn’t laugh like Marte – although maybe he cried in his hotel room last night (this morning) with no one looking…

    • Sahuaro High School !

    • Don’t worry about Marte. If it still bothers him now, he’ll probably forget it by today’s game. I always wondered how someone like Scott Norwood or Bill Buckner dealt with their disastrous errors. Marte has the rest of the season to make up for it. Norwood had the entire offseason to let it bother him. I don’t think he played in another regular season game for the rest of his career.

      When I was a kid, I was at 3 rivers for a high school championship that would have sent winner to the state championship. I forget who it was but the team that was trailing towards the end of the 4th scored a TD that placed them down by one in the final minutes. I remember everyone saying that this team hadn’t been to a state championship in decades. The unfortunate place kicker missed the extra point that would have tied it and the game was over. How would you like to be that kid afterwards?

  95. I went to kindergarden registration yesterday. I weep for the present. When did pajamas and bed head become normal attire for adults. I thought that was only acceptable at Walmart. Yes I shop at Walmart so I’m not making fun of everyone that shops at Walmart just the 20-30% that treat the store like it’s there own house.

  96. Justin Morneau cleared waivers. He’d be owed $3.5 million for the rest of this season. Was reading the Pirate chat from the other paper yesterday. Sanserino is under the impression that the Pirates would be unwilling to stretch the budget that far. $$$

  97. pirates, rise and rise again, until lamb-o’s become lion-o’s.

  98. blah I’m bored… somebody do something crazy then tell me about it.

  99. Anyone else ever wonder if Beltran wasn’t using PED’s at some point?

    • there ya go, Kevin!

    • Well he got his big payday and then had 1 or 2 bad years with the Mets and then he suddenly got good again. It’s hard not to suspect almost anyone in the game. Especially when I hear about players who played in the 80′s and then ended their careers in the 90′s. They don’t give any names but they say there was a definate change in what guys looked like and their bat speed. They said it wasn’t human and it was more then just a few players.

      It’s unfortunate because I’m sure there are guys out there that are built like machines that work hard and achieve it naturally but it sure feels like a majority of them have help from some type of PED.

      • It’s just expansion and the smaller ballparks. Sisy set me straight yesterday.

        • And advancements in weight lifting equipment. Because lifting heavy things before 1990 didn’t add any strength. It’s amazing that nobody figured out how do use that bench press thingy earlier.

          • Weight lifting by baseball players is a recent development. You could hear baseball people warning against weight lifting well into the 1980′s.

        • Give me a call when you actually produce any evidence that I’m wrong.

          • If you provide me any evidence to support your broad statements yesterday going back “more than 100 years” I’ll look into it. All I have from you are unsupported opinions that steroids was a minor influence on the power surge in the “steroid era.”

  100. I call #700

  101. heading out for a bit…maybe catch ya later on…be good, Loonies :)

  102. John,
    I just wanted you to know that I appreciated the People of Walmart reference and was planning on posted it myself until I saw that you had taken care of the job.
    Sun Tsu, in the Art of War, said something along the lines of, “When you are weak, act as if you are strong. When you are strong, act as if you are strong.”

    I don’t know how contemporary Chinese interpret America by our Walmarts.

  103. Someone or some above were moaning about Marte not using two hands to catch that ball. Not sure if anyone responded with this, but here are some new “rules” that are taught to the modern ballplayer… and they’re right for teaching so.

    1. Players were taught to use two hands to catch ground balls and flyballs because their gloves were not very good…nor were the fields.

    2. Catching a ball with two hands limits your reach, your range of motion and in most cases your speed to get to a ball.

    3. Glove construction and fields are much, much better than they were in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s… players are taught to catch with one hand because they can get to more balls that way and they have a much larger range of motion.

    Catching with two hands often can interfere more than it helps. Try this exercise: count the number of times a fly ball or ground ball is caught with two hands in a game. I bet you could count those on one hand.

    • Naje,
      That was me who originally was wondering about that. Then someone else, Ryan I think, who echoed the same thing. However, I addressed the drawback you mention and allowed for it. I also addressed the issue of decreased visibility when one puts the second hand up too soon. Still, I believe that when you have time to settle under a routine fly (as opposed to have to run one down), trapping the ball with both hands will not hurt. Indeed, having a second hand up there would have given Marte a fighting chance of catching his bobble.

    • I remember as far back as Syd Thrift saying they taught the one handed catch. That was the 80′s.

      • Yes, this became the norm for as far back as I remember. But for the *routine* fly balls, I still don’t see the harm in securing the ball with the extra hand at the last split second. Clearly, I’m missing something because if that provided any kind of advantage, teams would insist upon it.

    • Sorry I missed that Ghost… head couldn’t quite wrap itself around the hundreds of posts… just saw the original. But it is interesting to note the evolution of the teaching of the game…

      One of my pony league coaches, from back in 1980, gave us a mimeographed copy about 10 pages long of all his rules for the team…both off the field and on the field…about how we play in certain situations, proper techniques for fielding, catching, throwing, bunting, etc.

      Well, a lot of his techniques have changed through the years. One of them was dealing with catching with one hand… another was “running around a backhand so that your momentum is moving toward your target”… catcher’s positioning their throwing hand behind the body rather than behind the glove… interesting little tidbits and always fun to discuss the why/why not of these little things.

    • Great points, Naje!

      I struggle with this concept while helping coach my son’s 11U team. It makes sense, I think, to have very young kids begin learning to catch by using 2 hands for better control. But, once they become proficient, I have no problem with them switching to one hand for routine throws or even flyballs. We have a coach who constantly says, “Use two hands!” Sometimes, he says it after a kid has to lunge for a ball 2 feet over his head and 3 feet to the side. Finally, I told him that if the kids used 2 hands every time, they would not catch nearly as many balls as they do by reacting on their own. I have been trying to break one kid of this habit of taking his last 3 steps for a flyball, often running at a fast speed, with both hands on his glove in a catching position – all because the other coach has been drilling “Always use 2 hands” into his head for 2 years.

      Of course, this is the same coach who gets mad at 11 year olds for hitting medium flyballs to the OF, when they might be a small kid taking a nice swing and driving the ball well. He constantly says, “Hit the ball hard on the ground, not in the air!” I just shake my head at that. How are they ever supposed to control that?

      For grounders, I absolutely think two hands is the way to go as long as the ball is within easy reach. Barmes gets away with one hand, but he is an exception to that rule. Obviously, if you have to range far in either direction, you have to resort to one hand.

      • Yes, in the scenarios you describe the forced use of two hands would be detrimental to getting to the ball.

      • We have our 6,7 and 8 year old shortstops going down on one knee to form a wall with their body/legs/glove. In theory this is good but anytime after that age there is not enough time to do that and get a runner at first. It’s good to have the kid stop the ball and feel he or she accomplished something but it’s not the technique they will be using going forward.

        The coaches on my sons 9 and 10 year old team didn’t take an extra base on overthrows unless the ball got far enough away that it made sense. Other teams almost always sent the kids and they would be safe 70-80% of the time but at the next level it will more then likely be they are out 70-80% of the time. Our team was really good and went 21-2 and the coaches really wanted to stress the right way going forward and not the way that would give you a win this year or allow you to run up the score.

        DK: We’re now 740 comments deep, much of it invested in thoughtful, probing analysis … of someone dropping a ball.

        He dropped the ball.

        • I agree DK. I’m not sure why you decided to put that as a response to my post (probably because it was the last one). I was simply commenting on how at different age levels fundamentals and techniques are coached differently. Wasn’t even referring to Marte or Barmes decision on how to catch or not catch the balls hit to them.

        • DK,

          Comments like that will scare new baseball fans away.

        • Well there you have it – DK with the final word on the topic.

        • DK from the post today:

          “People will rally around Marte, or they’ll bury him. If I had to guess, being familiarized daily with the short-term thinking of most fans, many more will bury.
          Is that fair?
          Is that ignoring that the offense went the final 12 innings without scoring?
          Is that ignoring that the offense, in general, hardly ever wins the game?
          Let’s hear from you.”

          I repeat, “Let’s hear from you.”

          DK: Touche, Wilver. You got me.

          Referring mostly to the singular act of Marte dropping the ball, but your point very much blows my battleship out of the water. :)

        • He DROPPED THE BALL??!! OH MY GOD!!


        • DK,

          Not really sure why any of this should surprise anyone. I’d rather people take out their frustrations, shout, laugh, berate, and over analyze here than one their loved ones or on me while I’m driving little kids around.

    • I mentioned how neither 2 hand catching or taking a knee was no longer used. But I also noted (I think, don’t feel like scrolling back up) the professional ball player shouldn’t use this type either, its mainly for LL players.

      I seriously have no issue with how they catch a ball, other than the nonechalent way they do it these days……it was bound to happen, honestly.

      • Absolutely, and the timing was horrible, but….

        The much bigger issue was leaving 11 RISP. In particular, after a lead off double, 3, 4 and 5 striking out in a row, with #3 never even taking the bat off of his shoulder. I played for 15 years and coached for close to 20. That was not acceptable at any level, under any circumstances, or any decade and I don’t care what the name on the back of the uni was.

  104. I do think we’ve done milked the cow that was yesterday’s game. To recap for you that may be just joining us:

    1) The ‘reverse bandwagoners’ (i.e. those that are predicting the Pirate Coll-apocolypse ’13) believe that Marte dropping the ball both deserves immediate benching of a legitimate MVP candidate and perhaps a demotion to AAA.

    2) The fundamentalists (perhaps sponsored by the 700 that still around?) believe that two hands, taking a knee is essential and they are now back to churning their own butter (their appearance on a modern invention like a blog still baffles me)…..

    3) The blame everything on Clint Hurdle committee has determined that Marte dropped the ball because Barmes is still on the roster and Leyva sucks as a 3B coach.

    4) And the “trade deadline never dies” crowd has directed the Pirates to trade for Adam Dunn asap. It should also be noted that Barry Zito has cleared waivers, so let that discussion begin.

    As for me, can’t wait to get back on the field …um, get back to watching from my sofa..tonight and beat these damn Redbirds, who above all else are very, very beatable.


    • I’m that #2 you mention, though I don’t propound the dropping to one knee part…

      Barry Zito? He was MONSTER for the Giants in the post-season, last year. It’s true he self-admittedly sets up his fast ball with his change up, but this actually has me intrigued. Don’t know where we’d fit him in, but if the Giants ate some of that money he’s owed…

  105. Adam Dunn? Barry Zito? No thanks to both.

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