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Morning Java: Low RISP, low reward?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column applauds four unsung heroes in the Pirates’ rise to first. At least one of those names is guaranteed to surprise some.

>> The weekly chat is today at noon, here on the blog. As soon as you see the post, you can submit entries.


>> The series finale brings the Pirates another extra-inning lossKaren Price is in St. Louis.

One popular meme that’s emerged from the Pirates’ recent struggles — they’ve lost five of six going into this homestand vs. Arizona — is that all would be well if they’d only come up with a few more clutch hits.

Two problems with that:

1. Almost every conceivable analysis decries the mere existence of clutch. So start there.

2. The Pirates’ overall OPS is .702, and their OPS with RISP is .637. That’s not some colossal gap.

Sure, the .637 figure is the worst in baseball. And as such, whether you believe it to be coincidence or not, it’s got room to climb. But the infinitely more meaningful figure is the .702 overall, because that ranks 24th in the majors out of 30 teams … and that doesn’t allow much room for failure in the more visible moments.

Let me put it another way: If you’ve got an offense that routinely rolls out 5-6 runs, you’re not going to care in the slightest who’s clutch and who isn’t because it won’t be noticeable. It’ll look a lot like St. Louis’ rally yesterday off A.J. Burnett, where it’s just a bunch of hits strung together.

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage.

Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Diamondbacks news from the Arizona Republic.

Here are official game highlights from

>> The Steelers again lose Le’Veon Bell to a knee injury. Alan Robinson and Ralph Paulk are in Latrobe. That and much more can be found on our Steelers page.

Been pretty clear throughout camp that Mike Tomlin and staff are dying the give the ball to Bell. He even inched up the depth chart this week — tying Isaac Redman at the top — without playing against the Giants. Bizarre territory for a rookie.

But if Bell can’t stay on the field, Plan B needs to kick in sometime soon.

Meanwhile, Mark Kaboly wonders if four wideouts might be enough …

>> Pitt’s defense tries to get up to Seminole speed. Jerry DiPaola files.

>> A 6.6K run to benefit the Mario Lemieux Foundation?

Sign me up for everything but the running part, please.

>> The Flyers’ captain gets hurt golfing? What is that, like, comedy?

>> Penn State’s 2012 football season is chronicled wonderfully in this Wall Street Journal excerpt. If you didn’t already think the world of Bill O’Brien and Michael Mauti, you might after this. It’s the stuff of movies.

>> Most of the weekend will be spent at PNC Park with an aim toward Sunday and Monday columns. I’ll be part of WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word’ Sunday night. And then I’ll drive on out to D.C. to cover Steelers-Redskins on Monday night.

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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, recently, 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 country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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