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Sunday column: Bats need to get this done

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Sunday column looks beyond Jeff Locke’s latest dud to what the Pirates must do to reach the finish like a bona fide playoff team. Hint: It’s got nothing to do with pitching, and it’s got everything to do with what you see in the pic below …

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I’d welcome hearing from you, in particular, about the trade suggestion made near the end.

Also in Sunday’s paper from our Pirates coverage team …

>> The game story by our Rob Biertempfel.

>> Is it possible to prevent pitcher injuries? Travis Sawchik digs deep.

>> Jose Tabata does a little extra, by Biertempfel.

>> Why not wear Penguins sweaters again? Biertempfel has a weekly notes package.

>> Stetson Allie hits a wall in high-A, by Jim Brockman of the Bradenton Herald.

>> Locke’s ‘great regression’ is calculated/chronicled on the Bucco Blog by  Sawchik.

>> The daily Pirates photo gallery, by staff photog Chris Horner.

Finally, a reminder that I’ll be part of the panel tonight on WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word,’ and we’ll be talking a lot of football with Richie Walsh, Bill Phillips and Biertempfel. The show airs at 11:35 p.m.

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.

Comments

  1. JohninOshkosh says:

    Justin Morneau ?

    Yes, please.

    People, you are really doing yourselves a great disservice if you are not visiting Dejan’s links to the photo galleries. Extraordinary.

  2. Ghost says:

    I don’t know what the inside word is on Morneau, but the fact that nobody else has taken him either only increases my leeriness. On the other hand, though I like Jones and think he still can be some kind of roll player on this team, Morneau can probably only be an improvement on what we’re getting out of first base.

    Where I’d like to see the team concentrate it’s efforts, however, is on something more bold. Instead of pawing over the very slim pickings that others have thrown out post-deadline, I still think the best deal is with one of the erstwhile pretenders that have to start dealing with reality. Teams like the Blue Jays, or in a few more weeks, the Yankees. All it takes is for one high-priced player to clear waivers, then the Bucs and their counterpart can talk cash. Ichiro or Bautista would sure look good in a Pirates uniform.

  3. Lad9 says:

    DK I think the acquisition of Morneau or equivalent is imperative. We need a bat, plain and simple and I don’t think the price would be prohibitive. The Rangers got Rios for their #15 prospect. I think we could get Morneau for Dilson Herrerra, a relatively similar player who is a nice prospect at #12, but will not leave a huge hole in the system. Especially if Alan Hanson does not stick at short and slides over to second.

    Maybe just as big will be the “acquisitions” of Wandy and Grilli if they return healthy. The bullpen has been great and Melancon closing is certainly not the issue. But Morris is struggling, and doing things like running Gomez out on back to back days are causing a few warts to show. And as you mentioned in the column, the starting pitching is showing some strain also. I am certainly not dangling from a ledge as a few of the blog brethren are, but a little help might be just the ticket.

    Thank you once again for an enjoyable column.

    DK: Glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback. Nice avi, too.

  4. bizrow says:

    A disappointing game for sure.

    We need the next one, Charlie is starting?

  5. TJ says:

    Morneau should have already been here.

    I seriously, seriously hate to go back to the comments made by nutting prior to the start of the season when he said this was their team, all their major acquisitions were done during the off season, don’t expect anything big at the deadline.

    Now we heard the Pirates sniffed Rios etc but how serious and how close they actually got no one will ever know. All we know is that the Pirates have done nothing, zilch, nadda to improve their offense while you have teams like KC that goes out and gets a couple players that may not be better than what they have but what they had wasn’t working.

    The Pirate plan seems to be; well we have some guys that are not living up to expectations and we believe they can turn it around and all will be cotton candy and lollipops. NO ONE is turning around, not Jones, nor anyone they throw in RF.

    I believe the 6 HRs Morneau has this month is one half of what our RFs and Jones have totaled for the season.

    Lets stick our head in the sand and hope that the likes of Lambo, Snider, Presley, Tabata or anyone else they stick in RF or 1B decides to contribute.

    And if its about the remaining portion of his contract we should be calling Inge, Jonathan Sanchez, JMac, and Karstens and asking for a refund. Those 4 only account for roughly 6mil in wasted money for a team that cannot afford to waste it.

  6. TJ says:

    Ghost I am not sure of a team in the playoff hunt that needs a 1B unless Texas wants to add him as more offense, TB seems to be riding their pitching.

    Only get so many golden opportunities, the shelves are supposedly stocked, what do you have to lose by adding him?

  7. JohninOshkosh says:

    Amen, my Bruddah.

  8. bizrow says:

    I’m not going to read Dejan’s column until I go outside tomorrow and pick up the paper.

    That being said, if I read the tea leaves right, the pitching is what worries me right now.

    That was a gawd awful swing by PRNW, he is definitely pressing from the right side.

    Bullpen is getting burned up right now.

    We liked being at a 4pm start today, but there is nothing like a Saturday night game

  9. theplanisworking says:

    DK, great thought-provoking column as always.

    I would throw this out for consumption…………

    The Pirates are a team that will live and die with pitching and defense. If the pitching goes south, so do the Pirates. I think we need to stop concentrating on our offense. It has stunk since the beginning of the season, it currently stinks, and will continue to stink. One player acquired wont help. I think we need to concentrate on the pitching. Wandy coming back will help. Rosters expanded to 40 will help. But the hitting should just be ignored…………it is truly a lost cause. You say we should be pounding opposing pitchers, but with these bats, they cant pound a wet paper bag.

    As for Morneau, I say acquire him, and give him a chance.
    Most posters here are afraid of acquiring anyone to help the team.
    They say , of any player to be acquired…………………………………….

    “he stinks, he isnt an upgrade”,
    “he costs too much, either in prospects, or cash”,
    “we just need our players to improve to their norms”,
    “he is too…….. old, slow, etc”

    I have never seen a fan base so reluctant to improve the team by making built-in excuses to NOT acquire any players. The hitters we have now arent getting the job done, that is clear, but yet people dont want any upgrades, because the “super-upgrade” isnt available. Morneau probably could be had just for a low-level prospect, but most people dont want to part with any prospects.

    I dont pretend to have all the answers, but what the Pirates have for offense, just isnt an answer either. Does the FO want to try to upgrade, or sit on their hands. They didnt do anything at the trade deadline, and they are still not doing anything.

    Good luck to us all, I guess.

  10. Ghost says:

    The only thing we really have to lose is “opportunity cost” if Morneau becomes the end-all. I concurred that Morneau would “only be an improvement on what we’re getting out of first base.”
    However, if Morneau was truly an obvious grab, not only playoff teams but surely any one of the other 29 clubs would have bitten by now. Nobody has.
    In any event, I just have this sense that an even bigger, better deal is out there if we just put our noses to the ground and sniff it out. Since we don’t have unlimited funds, I’d prioritize the ‘home run’ trade.

  11. Ghost says:

    By the way TJ, I saw you fighting the good fight on behalf of sanity today on the game thread. Not that Hurdle is Mr. Perfect, but he’s not the problem and those that want to string him up and hang him are being goofs, to put it kindly. You and Jandy deserve a tip of the hat for standing in there, today.

  12. Ghost says:

    You are right — there is risk/reward in making any move and a team like ours cannot afford to live in fear of making such moves. I personally would like the team to see if they can make an even bolder move. But barring that, sure, go ahead and bring in Morneau.

  13. TJ says:

    Thanks Ghost. I agree and mentioned at one point I do not agree with every move he makes but it drives me nuts to see people suddenly becoming experts on baseball and managing a team when they were no where to be found in the first 110 games.

  14. theplanisworking says:

    Ghost, you know what I am talking about……….. people on here who make a built-in excuse to stay paralyzed and not improve the team. I wonder how any of the players that can be acquired ever got into MLB, if they all stink. Curious how that works.

    By the way, I found a sock of yours. Being it is bloody from the fish, I will dispose of it for you. Next time, I will shoot first, and ask questions after the fish have their way with you. Other than that, hope you are recouperating nicely.

  15. TJ says:

    I am going to ring this bell one more time….

    This type of opportunity will not present itself every year even if the farm becomes the pipeline they want it to be.

    Your in a division with the Cards and Reds who both are run very well and always find a way to field a competitive team. And yes the Cubs are rebuilding, and while they may have prospects years behind the Pirates the one thing they have is money to speed up that process.

    Add that to the fact that going into next season you will have likely the departure of AJ, hopefully Wandy can bounce back, will Liriano pitch like this again? What becomes of Locke? Will Cole be consistent? What happens at 1B? No way jones or Sanchez are brought back in my opinion at their salaries. What do you do in RF? How much do you pay Walker after this year?

    This is the time we have been waiting for the last 20 years. It’s admirable that the FO wants to stay the course and build within but there are no guarantees those prized prospects will ever pan out and one thing you can guarantee is that those teams behind us are going to continue to find ways within their organization or outside it to win.

    To me wasting this opportunity is blowing the chance on a know opportunity for the HOPES of one in the future.

  16. TJ says:

    And how many of the prospects they are afraid to trade never make it to the big leagues

  17. TJ says:

    Nor recognize the positive things but rather dwell on the negative.

  18. theplanisworking says:

    EXACTLY !!!!!!

  19. theplanisworking says:

    Preach it!!!

    Apologies to Matt H. and Lucky. ;)

  20. bizrow says:

    Folks, the BMTIB always thinks tomorrow

    Conversely, I think, why not now?

    What brought the club here seems to be whats struggling right now

  21. JohninOshkosh says:

    I watched the inaugural “Fox Sports Live” tonight.

    All I can say is P to the U !

    Chevy Chase’s talk show on Fox in the early 90′s comes to mind.

    It was sort on an unholy conjoining of Sky Sports and Sportscenter.

  22. theplanisworking says:

    They are new.
    These things take weeks, if not a couple months.

    As long as they arent all NY-BOS, with Brady, Kobe and LeBron mixed together, they will be an automatic upgrade over Sportscenter. Bucause those are all that matters to ESPN.

  23. theplanisworking says:

    ” those that want to string him up and hang him are being goofs ” ………..

    As are those who have declared him “Saint Clint”, and he can never be criticized for any mistake, ever. That is why I left the blog yesterday.

    Goes both ways.

  24. diehard says:

    I could go for Morneau – honestly, he’s more consistent than Pedro. Yes, Pedro crushed a three run homer tonight. And left McCutchen on for the cycle (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). Consider this – McCutchen is 4th in the NL in BA, OBP, and in doubles, 5th in steals, 6th in OPS, all meaning he is pretty consistently in scoring position. Pedro is completely an all-or-nothing hitter. If he doesn’t hit it out, he pretty much doesn’t do anything. (Anyone out there realize that Marlon Byrd has more extra base hits than Pedro?) If Pedro was a .250 hitter we’d probably have 10 more wins – and Pedro himself would probably have over 100 RBI’s. Yes, even if those were singles. Cutch is constantly on 2nd and 3rd right now, and he stays there.
    Walker can hit more, Jones can hit more – and they have. Pedro has not, and honestly, I think Pedro will not. #4 hitter should not be a semi-automatic out

  25. Ghost says:

    Hey All!
    Join me for a quick pop into Hippo’s pond! Those aren’t jacuzzi bubbles surfacing around me, but it’s sorta’ like a jacuzzi thing I got goin’ in here.
    Ohhhh, yeahhhhhh — Huh?… Oh oh!
    shick, SHICK!
    Yikes! Gotta run!

  26. Eric Bowser says:

    Acquiring a productive major league bat for RF AND 1B is about three months behind schedule and doubtful to happen for a very big reason…. the team’s budget is just about maxed out.

    Otherwise, how can you justify passing on White Sox RF Adam Dunn or Twins 1B Justin Morneau?

    Morneau leads all 1B in August with 15 RBI and 6 HR, the Pirates have gotten 1 HR and 1 RBI from Jones and 0 HR and 3 RBI from Sanchez. If you’ve watched Jones play 1B, this is a no-brainer.

    Meanwhile, Tabata’s little hot streak in August has him 7th in MLB with .444 OBP and 4th with 1.122 OPS, that’s equated to 4 runs scored and 4 RBI.

    Now compare those RBI numbers (t-24th) to Alex Rios’ 7 RBI for Chicago and Texas or Hunter Pence’s 10 (1st).

    The guy that I and some others have wondered about is White Sox 1B/DH/RF Adam Dunn who hitting .364 this month with 3 HR, 6 RBI, .455 OBP, .545 SLG, and 1.00 OPS.

    If I’m desperate to make a move, and let’s not pretend the Pirates aren’t, I’m going after both Adam Dunn and Justin Morneau.

    Lineup
    1. Marte, LF
    2. Walker, 2B
    3. McCutchen, CF
    4. Alvarez, 3B
    5. Morneau, 1B
    6. Dunn, RF
    7. Martin, C
    8. Mercer, SS
    Bench: T.Sanchez, Jones, Barmes, Tabata, G.Sanchez

  27. Ghost says:

    I did actually see a Red Sox fan article tonight complaining about Mike Napoli and his .210 BA with RISP. They compared him with Morneau who has a .280 with RISP. Jonesey and Sanchez also are both at about .210 with RISP. Beginning to warm to Morneau.

  28. Ghost says:

    J Hay has actually batted well of late, but more importantly he can play every defensive position except (maybe) catcher. So long, Gaby. Thanks for being a pro while with us, but it’s time to move on.

  29. Eric Bowser says:

    Prefer to see…
    Dunn and Morneau vs RH pitchers
    Tabata and Sanchez vs LH pitchers
    Jones can be that LH “power” prayer…..

  30. diehard says:

    One way Dunn doesn’t work for me – same issue as Pedro. He either hits the ball a mile, or doesn’t hit it at all. Although, to Dunn’s credit, he walks a whole lot more, and is striking out a little less frequently this year (for him). His OBP is nearly 50 points higher than Pedro’s.

  31. Ghost says:

    Sanchez, he of the .211 RISP overall and .136 BA as a pinch-hitter. I gotta pass. For all we vilify Harrison, he can play all the infield and outfield positions and that means something to a team that often needs to scramble late in games. Sanchez doesn’t get it done offensively and doesn’t bring enough to the table defensively to compensate. I have zero animosity towards this man (unlike other posters here at the mere mention of names like Tabby or Barmsie), but if we need to make room for Morneau, Sanchez becomes redundant as an unneeded 1st baseman.

  32. TJ says:

    He can be criticized; but there is a difference between criticism and saying someone is not a good manager over not pulling starters fast enough. Criticize all you want but the stupid comments being made yesterday were not criticism they were plain silly.

    The stance I take on some of these fantasy baseball managers is they live for today’s game, and forget what got the team to where they are now.

    Everyone bringing up AJ against the Cards and then Locke against the Dbacks and want to blame the loss on Clint for not pulling either fast enough. Clint also has to manage a bullpen and keep bodies ready and able to pitch; he cannot get relievers up in the pen every time someone gives up 3 straight hits. Saw the criticism over letting Melancon pitch after it was a non save situation. I am no pitching coach but by the time the Pirates were up 6-2 I am sure Melancon was already stretched out; you essentially have had him pitching.m just because he wasn’t facing a batter does not mean he was not using his arm. You want to sit him back down and use another arm and still face possibly not having Melancon today?

    Then my favorite was an idiot writer for another paper complaining that Clint should have pinch hit for walker when the Dbacks made the pitching change, that Gaby should have pinch hit. That’s right the right move in this genius mind was to hit Sanchez for Walker because Sanchez hits lefties despite his total of I believe 2 pinch hits all season.

    Clint’s not perfect and does make bad calls; but blaming him and wanting him fired or saying he has cost them games over failing to pull a starter in the 2nd or 4th inning this late in the season is silly. If your going to do that make sure you give him credit for those games the starter only went 6 like cole did and the pitchers that Hurdle left in the game got the job done.

    Hurdle isn’t working with household names in his bullpen and working with a up and down rotation. In my opinion the staff have done their job and Clint has done a great job this season considering what he has to work with.

  33. TJ says:

    Unless you pull a Jack Clark

  34. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Big THANK YOU to Johnny Wisconsin for re-posting for me earlier.
    Gonna need one more re-post from one of you fine people today.
    Thank you again in advance.

    SUNDAY PICK ‘EM!!!

    ******PLEASE READ WHAT IS WRITTEN BELOW******
    PLEASE PLACE YOUR “WAGERS” AS REPLIES IN THIS COMMENT BOX
    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!!

    Today’s Pick ‘Em Line
    Total INNINGS PITCHED by the Pirates Bullpen in today’s game
    0 – 1.66 (DOUBLE ODDS)
    2 – 3.66 (EVEN ODDS)
    4 or More (EVEN ODDS)

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    72 Down, only 10 more to go!!

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23

    KEEP CALM & BREAK .500

  35. Brandie says:

    You are the hippo version of Elmer Fudd!

  36. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, Bugs!!!

  37. Brandie says:

    These bats, the way they are constituted, are not going to get it done. If the FO is worried about messing up clubhouse chemistry, let me tell you, wearing down your bullpen and losing games that are, indeed winnable due to an anemic offense will certainly screw up clubhouse chemistry!

    FO, go after Dunn and Morneau. Greed is necessary to stop the bleeding. The team can afford to give up prospects, not progress.

    Excellent article as per usual, DK!

  38. Brandie says:

    Any time, doc!

  39. Drew71 says:

    When do the Steelers report to Latrobe?

    DK: Ask one of the 18,000 people who watched their PRACTICE the other night.

  40. Brandie says:

    Good Morning, Drew-la Hoop!

  41. theplanisworking says:

    ” He can be criticized; but there is a difference between criticism and saying someone is not a good manager over not pulling starters fast enough. ”

    But yesterday, in the game thread, you called someone an idiot (unprovoked) for criticizing Hurdle. so how do you think he can be criticized????

    ==================================

    ” Then my favorite was an idiot writer for another paper complaining that Clint should have pinch hit for walker when the Dbacks made the pitching change, that Gaby should have pinch hit. That’s right the right move in this genius mind was to hit Sanchez for Walker because Sanchez hits lefties despite his total of I believe 2 pinch hits all season. ”

    Sanchez wasnt a good option there, Walker wasnt a good option there. it was truly a no-win. So because someone has a difference of opinion with you, he/she/it is an idiot??? Wow, talk about stepping back from the ledge.

    =======================================

    Look, Clint has done some good things this year, and he has done some bad things this year, no way around it. I have been one to praise him for the good, and criticize him for the bad. So, by your (and others) narrow definition, I am an idiot for daring to criticize Hurdle. Makes sense to me.

    Some posters are over-the-top in their criticism of Hurdle.
    Some posters are over-the-top in their praise of Hurdle.
    Posters like me that are in the middle, are idiots to both sides, I guess.
    Then we wonder why there are fights here. Sheesh.
    This reminds me of the Pro FO/Anti FO arguments from years ago. We as a fanbase havent advanced much.

  42. Drew71 says:

    More of a Drewpy Dog today.

  43. Drew71 says:

    Maybe it’s time to bring up Sano.

    Oh wait…

  44. theplanisworking says:

    They cant, because they “stole” the town.

    Waiting for the Penguins to report……… after they are allowed out of the zoo! ;)

  45. theplanisworking says:

    Down with Drewpy D” !

    Love it.

  46. theplanisworking says:

    You cant run.
    You are still recuperating from last time.
    You will never learn, eh??

  47. theplanisworking says:

    You are Daffy !!!

  48. theplanisworking says:

    Wouldnt want to see Dunn, we already have that in the lineup.

    Wont see Morneau, because of Prospect Separation Syndrome.

    Contrary to the needs of the team, we are staying the course, for better or worse.

    We are either going to make the playoffs, or struggle.

    Amazing.

  49. Drew71 says:

    Where’s Brandon Moss when we need him?

  50. John Lease says:

    Bring back Presley. The Lambo era is over, and at least Presley can pinch run. These games matter.

  51. JAL says:

    JAL’s California Here I Come Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vqhyEIGNcg

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013draft

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Five Stages of Jeff Locke Regression Grief

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/first-pitch-the-five-stages-of-jeff-locke-regression-grief.html

    Prospect Watch: Howard Homers Twice, Polanco and Cunningham Go Deep in Altoona Win

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/prospect-watch-howard-homers-twice-polanco-and-cunningham-go-deep-in-altoona-win.html

    Pirates Lose 15-5 as Jeff Locke Falls Apart in 3rd Inning

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/pirates-lose-15-5-as-jeff-locke-falls-apart-in-3rd-inning.html

    Pirates Notebook: Gerrit Cole Stays in Rotation, But For How Long?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/pirates-notebook-gerrit-cole-stays-in-rotation-but-for-how-long.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Locke, Gomez, Morris come apart in 15-5 blowout loss

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/8/17/4632064/locke-gomez-morris-come-apart-in-15-5-blowout-loss

    8 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Should Sign Delmon Young

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/08/17/pittsburgh-pirates-should-sign-delmon-young/

    9 WHYGAVS

    72 Wins

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2013/72-wins.html

    10 The Green Weenie

    Arizona: A Lot – Pittsburgh: A Little

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/08/arizona-lot-pittsburgh-little.html

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    DBacks 15 Pirates 5

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/08/dbacks-15-pirates-5/

  52. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Arizona Central

    Offense explodes as Arizona Diamondbacks pound Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/20130817offense-explodes-arizona-diamondbacks-pittsburgh-pirates.html?nclick_check=1

    13 New York Daily News

    Pedro Alvarez slugs path from Washington Heights to stardom with Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/zone-alvarez-slugs-path-washington-heghts-big-league-stardom-article-1.1429677

    14 City of Champions

    Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez remains on track for late-season return

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/08/17/pirates-starter-wandy-rodriguez-remains-on-track-for-late-season-return/

    15 Beaver County Times

    Pirates Insider: Locke rocked as Bucs fall

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/pirates-insider-locke-rocked-as-bucs-fall/article_2a1ab1bc-0f63-52fd-a861-d9283600d306.html

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Diamondbacks Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130818_ARI@PIT/diamondbackspirates-preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Kelly plays stopper again

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/kelly-plays-stopper-again/article_a1c08e0c-d129-5869-88b7-126b1c012f28.html

    18 PBC Site

    After Locke labors, Bucs can’t contain D-backs

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_17_arimlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Pirates communicating pitching plan to Cole

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130817&content_id=57298930&notebook_id=57300044&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Tight division race a new experience for Reds

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130818/SPT04/308180043/Tight-division-race-new-experience-Reds

    20 Fangraphs

    The Worst of the Best: The Week’s Wildest Swings

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-worst-of-the-best-the-weeks-wildest-swings-13/

  53. JAL says:

    California Here I Come Al Jolson 1924

  54. Drew71 says:

    If this was intentional, I sing your praises.

    “The Lambo Era Is Over” is one of the funniest lines I’ve read in here.

  55. Nate83 says:

    If morneau is having his best month in 3 years and that equals .268 average I don’t want him. We will get one of his other 20 months he’s had over that time because that is what he is. Jones has had the month Morneau just had numerous times over the last 3 years. He has a better chance of putting up those numbers over the rest of the year then Morneau does.

    Also how is 4 runs over 5 innings against Cahill not good enough? That should have been good enough. Seems hard to blame the offense for this one.

  56. Drew71 says:

    Stop that.

    Too logical.

  57. Nate83 says:

    I probably will. The blog (especially game threads) have made me sad over the last week. We were a happier group when we didn’t expect to win. Now if my wife who knows nothing about baseball read the blog she would think we had the worse players in the league and Hurdle was the Magic Johnson of MLB managers. I feel like they could go 5-2 on the next road trip and if the Cards go 7-0 there will still be more negative post then positive.

  58. Good column. Spot on.

  59. Brandie says:

    Point being…there are complaints about how we win, when we win, and complaints about how we lose, when we lose. There is no pleasing everyone. When the Buccos win the World Series (it will happen someday), there will be complaints that it did not happen sooner.

    OK armchair GM’s, how does the FO dig itself out of the morass?

    I swear, the blog has undergone more personality face lifts over the last three days than Joan Rivers has in her lifetime. Simply messy!

    Tone is a bit more respectful today. That is much improved over yesterday. Made me feel like I was back in high school with a bunch of bloody teenagers!

    Bottom line, credit Clint where credit is due and criticize when there have been mess ups, which there gave been. THIS TEAM MUST EXECUTE, EITHER WITH IT’S PRESENT CONSTITUTION OR WITH ANOTHER BAT!!!! THERE IS NO MUDDLE GROUND AS FAR AS THAT IS CONCERNED!!!!!

    Criticize me all you want. I have heard worse. I can take it. I apologize for the yelling!

  60. Brandie says:

    Should be “middle ground”, but muddle ground works too.

  61. Brandie says:

    OK, Drew-k of Earl!

  62. Brandie says:

    Shortest era I have ever seen. Barely makes a paragraph in a history book.

  63. Brandie says:

    Agree, Revvie!

  64. Brandie says:

    Plan,

    It’s a crap shoot at this point, even with veterans with regard to staying power. Prospects won’t get it done now, because we all want the wins and for the nightmare to be over, now.

    Not sure what else to do. Maybe it’s time for a “come to Dejan” meeting among the players!

  65. MadTurk says:

    Yes he and a high schooler can play all the positions but not well enough to be a regular or even a true backup at any. He stinks defensively. And not lot offensively.

  66. MadTurk says:

    I would like to see a platoon of Presley and Lambo over what we have now. Seriuously though Lambo has not had a long enough look for me to decide anything about him.

  67. MadTurk says:

    Should be does not add a lot offensively.

  68. Drew71 says:

    I like that

  69. Guess I’m glad I’ve been busy the last few days and will be today.

    Sounds tough around here.

  70. Brandie says:

    People take it seriously, but sometimes forget that there are other things to take seriously as well. Hope your congregation comes together in wonderful, joyous fellowship, Revvie.

  71. muddled ground is where we currently sit

  72. Nate83 says:

    The Pirates lost some tough games on the road which all teams do. 4 losses in 6 against Rockies and Cards could have easily went the other way. Yet we wake up this morning and the team I think we all want to win is 2 games up in a very tough division. I hope JRay3 doesn’t mind me posting the below. He posted it last night and he is always one of the most level headed and logically thinking posters on this blog. It puts things in perspective.

    Records since All Star Break:

    Reds 16-11
    Pirates 16-13
    Cardinals 13-16

    Pirates record versus:
    Cardinals 8-5
    Reds 7-6

    Pirates up 2 in Central and up 8.5 games for playoff berth.

  73. TJ says:

    Plan its simple to me; if someone takes an aggressive stance and says I can’t see something I’m going to give it back. And yeah I call Smizik and idiot for saying Clint should have used Gaby in the 6th inning of the game not because he differs in opinion but because its a ridiculous idea.

    Your absolutely right neither were a good option so how do you sit and write that the best option was to pull your starting second baseman for a guy who has 2 pinch hits all year?

    And thanks for officiating the commentary yesterday; I didn’t realize you were named blog monitor bobby brady

  74. TJ says:

    Can’t argue with the truth Nate; scary thing to me is the fact that they have more road games left than home games. Only a .500 team on the road. I’m looking best case scenario of 94 wins. Which if you had told me last year I’d be thinking about 94 wins on August 17th I’d been jumping up and down.

  75. theplanisworking says:

    TJ,

    I didnt officiate anything.
    Yesterday, I pulled out of the blog. Didnt want to be a part of that.

    And, I am not a blog monitor, I merely pointed out your aggression towards people, showing how you say criticism is allowed, but you attack those who criticize.
    If you doubt this, please go back and read yesterday’s game thread, and see if I am making anything up.

    For the record, I dont like Smiziks viewpoints either……… I honestly didnt know he was still blogging until a few days ago.

  76. theplanisworking says:

    +

  77. TJ says:

    And really plan if your going to call me out on stuff at least do me the favor of getting your facts right. I didn’t call him an idiot over criticizing Hurdle. I called him an idiot and would call you one too if your going to sit and try to debate me that Hurdle has cost this team 6 wins this year, that Locke should have been pulled after the first 3 hits in the inning and AJ should have been pulled much faster in St Louis.

    I consider someone an idiot when they try to make themselves look and sound smart by saying something different should have been done after the fact.

    But please; if you want to call me out get your facts right because there was give and take in the comments between me and the irishman

  78. theplanisworking says:

    We definitely need your prayers, Lucky.

  79. TJ says:

    Thats great; you didn’t want to be part of it but you have no problem making yourself part of it now….. Makes sense.

  80. TJ says:

    And to clear this up once and for all; I’m not here to pick fights with Anti-Pirate management bloggers.

    If someone has an intelligent comment; useful insight and are right on the money I don’t say a word about it. And hell it doesn’t even have to be all that intelligent.

    What I am against in this our 20th year of losing and finally getting to enjoy a real pennant race in AUGUST and in FIRST PLACE are the bridge jumpers with comments that aren’t opinions; they are cries for attention that hope someone will agree with them because all of a sudden Clint Hurdle forgot how to manage after managing 70 wins without a peep from anyone. NOT ONE PEEP from anyone about him till the past week and all of a sudden the sky has fallen.

    I’m here to enjoy this remarkable season with fans that have suffered as long as I have. I’m not going to let my parade be rained on.

  81. theplanisworking says:

    My advice to you is simple…….
    stop calling people idiots, if you want to be taken with a grain of salt.

    I saw the give and take yesterday, and there was absolutely no reason to call anyone an idiot, regardless of their position.

    And, you did call him an idiot for criticizing Hurdle. You then expounded why. I would agree that Hurdle has cost the team 5 victories with poor decision making this year. I would also add that he has gotten the team 7 or 8 victories with his managing, so ita a wash.

    In your world, anyone who doesnt agree with you is an idiot, and not a true fan. How sad for you.

    I will leave this conversation with you, as I dont want to continue this anymore. I am saddened that the Pirate fanbase has turned on each other due to the right of people to cheer/criticize as they see fit.

    Good day to you.

  82. Baywatch says:

    I agree, Nate. Can’t really fault our offense for the game yesterday. Oh yes, we can run the “we only scored in two innings” drill, like we’re want to sometimes. But it comes down to “it’s baseball” and that’s the way it usually shakes out (though I’d like to see a study on that sometime: In how many innings to teams usually score in, to win). It’s baseball, and pitching is still the name of the game. That being said,as DK says, the numbers don’t lie: As a team, we suck with the bat.

  83. theplanisworking says:

    I believe that is called not wanting to be a part of it when it occurs, and then looking back at all the give and take, giving an opinion.

    People do it all the time.

    Good Day, TJ.

  84. Nate83 says:

    I think we will find out a lot over the next 7 road games. SF and SD are teams that beatable but definately not easy games on the road and on the west coast.

    After that trip we will have 17 home games and 15 road games.

    6 of the last 9 against the Reds.

    20 of the 40 games left are against San Diego, Chicago and Milwakee.

    24 against teams with losing records and 16 against teams with winning records. Should be fun.

  85. Patrick(RI) says:

    I think you hit it on the nose — simple problem, simple solution: get a bat or not, and pray for the pitching staff.

    As for the tone, the solution is not a simple. There is documented (research studies) reason to believe that opining on the internet can get more testy than face-to-face discussions due, precisely, to the facelessness of the participants. This may be behind DK’s insistence upon getting Avatars. It has always seemed odd that people tend to take stuff so personally, when there is often no “person” involved?

    The best move might be to just accept that we all get snarky and just plan to bite our tongues a lot. Now for some coffee and a newspaper — real newsprint that I can hold in my hand and use to annoy my wife with commentary about the contents.

  86. TJ says:

    Plan I am sorry if I have offended you; however if your going to have commentary on my actions I think I at least deserve the right to defend myself and explain my line of thinking do I not? Whether you intentionally involved yourself or not is irrelevant but you made me the focal point of your posts up there and I guess you want me to sit and not say a word.

    I’ll keep that in mind going forward.

    Good day to you as well

  87. Scott says:

    You think it’s a ridiculous idea to pinch hit a guy who is hitting .312 against lefties in place of a guy who is hitting .221 against lefties?

    Look, you may not have wanted to see Sanchez pinch-hit for Walker (I didn’t either), but there was certainly a very strong case to be made for that. Calling someone an “idiot” for making that suggestion is an absurd exaggeration.

    Calling people names simply because you disagree with their rational opinion is what trolls do. You should be better than that if you’re going to be a regular contributor here.

  88. theplanisworking says:

    TJ…………

    sorry to be back, but I in no way, shape or form want you to sit out and not say a word. I never said that, I never implied that. But if you want to believe that, go right ahead.

    I think calling someone else an idiot is wrong. We can all try to justify it, but it is wrong. And you say defend yourself? By calling someone an idiot? I am truly lost.

    Sorry to have “intentionally involved my self”, as you say. I was only trying to use an example of how wrong it is to call others idiots…………… over something as foolish as Hurdle’s managing.

    But what do I know?
    Maybe we should just let DK decide.

    I am sorry to have jumped back in.
    I hope you just tone the insults down a bit.
    But its your right not to.
    Hell, its your right to do anything you want.

    I hope this clears things up a little………. but sadly, I dont think you will look at my point of view. A shame.

    Good day again, hopefully it will be a bit more pleasant in the game thread today.
    Sorry to have engaged you in any way.

  89. TJ says:

    Oh jeezus here we go. Not even 900am.

    Scott first off welcome; no clue who you are.

    I’ve made my distaste for Smizik well known to this board and yes I think he is an idiot the way that he goes from one extreme to the other. Kind of like the national inquirer of Pittsburgh sports.

    And yes I do think he was an idiot to suggest using Sanchez in the 6th inning for Walker; you post half the story my friend. If you want to post real numbers why not share how many pinch hits Gaby has this year. Bet that number is lower than the batting average Walker has versus lefties.

    It was an idiotic comment for 2 reasons; one was due to it simply being a reason to try to make Hurdle look foolish once again. Second you don’t go pulling your starting second basemen in the 6th inning of a game for a guy with a total of 2 pinch hits all season just because he happens to hit lefties when he starts versus them.

    I am a regular contributor on this board Scott and I appreciate your concern and attempt to put me in my place. I’m sure you won your self some big boy points with that one. Guess you had your wheaties this morning.

  90. TJ says:

    Nope Plan I’m not going to see it your way; I don’t live in a world of lollipops and candy canes.

    I say what I say; take it or leave it. Because I say what some people think you want to point me out thats fine. Don’t really care. You had nothing to do with the conversation yesterday and there were others involved in it as well. Yep I called the guy an idiot.

    You want to have DK ban me; feel free. More power to you if you can have it accomplished and I won’t shed a tear if it happens.

  91. TJ says:

    I need to stay at the bottom of the page.

    Nate what would be ideal is if SD, SF, Chicago and Milwaukee can find a way to make a couple deals before the end of the month to perhaps weaken their teams. But then again come September 1 some of these teams might start looking at what their call ups might have to offer.

    Would you believe I haven’t slept since 630am yesterday. Funny how a herniated disc in your back effects your sleep. And no folks thats no defense for anything I’ve said up above.

  92. Nate83 says:

    One thing I’m not a fan of is when overall major league ranking are used when talking about offensive production. The AL always will have higher batting averages and runs scored because of the DH.

    Pick any random year and you will find that 8 of the 10 in those catagories are AL teams. Including this year where 8 of the top 10 in runs scored are AL and 7 of the bottom 9 are NL with one of the AL teams being Houston who is rebuilding and the other is one of the worse run organization in baseball the White Sox (and for some reason we want to trade for their garbage)

    The Pirates offense could be better but for what it’s worth their offense since the all-star break is 4th out of 15 in the NL in runs scored. It’s not the offense that has had us struggle to a 16-13 record (tongue in cheek) but instead some below average pitching.

  93. Tom P. says:

    Thanks, JRay and Nate. To me, that shows that the Pirates are competitive with the Reds and Cardinals, two of the better teams in baseball. Is it going to be tight the last six weeks? Sure, but that’s why it is fun. Each team knows that they are going to have to play good baseball to win. Each team has looked really good fir stretches of the season. Other times, they have looked average (but rarely horrible). P.S. The Reds and Diamondbacks play 4 in Cincinnati starting on Monday.

  94. Nate83 says:

    Not fun. I had herniated disc surgery 12 years ago. I had to wait 3 weeks to get the surgery and didn’t sleep more then 10 minutes straight at anytime during those 3 weeks. Slept on the floor flat on my back with legs bent up because if they went flat it put to much pressure on my back. I had to take 7 weeks off of work and couldn’t stand up for more then 20 seconds before the surgery. My prayers are with you because I know how horrible that is to deal with. I hope you get better.

  95. Nate83 says:

    Atlanta went 13-1 to start the season and won 14 in row later. Other then that they are 3 games above .500. All teams have bad stretches.

  96. Brandie says:

    Awesome! I like you. You make me smile.

  97. Tom P. says:

    Apparently, the Braves have some really good ones too. Let’s hope the Braves and Dodgers get all of the winsout of their systems now.

  98. Nate83 says:

    Who do you root for? A part of me wants Cincy to take out the Diamondbacks securing the Pirates position in the Wild Card. I wish I had a crystal ball. Maybe them splitting the series is the best result.

  99. Arriba Wilver says:

    + to both you and Brandie.

  100. Nate83 says:

    Dodgers are scary. 42-8 doesn’t happen on accident. I don’t even know if that could be considered a streak anymore. It seems like it may be what they are. That projects to 135 wins for a year. That doesn’t possible so I have to think they will come back down to earth.

  101. Bob Hasis says:

    A small example how numbers can be deceptive.

    Everyone on this blog extolls how great Pedro’s home runs are and he is so vital. Some of those people also ridicule his fielding (side note).
    Before Saturday’s game, Pedro had 412 AB’s and 29 HR’s with a BA of .235, and batting clean-up.
    Take away those 29 HR’s, so that he has 383AB’s and 0 HR’s he would have a BA of .177. Is that what a 4th hitter should look like?

    I’d put him sixth until he learns how to be a batter as well as a slugger, and in the process teach him that being a batter he would strike out a lot less.

    There are so many times during his AB’s we simply need a single or just merely some contact, and while he’s going for the fence, all we get is a K. Or instead of drilling something to left or left center, he rolls over the left wrist hoping to pull and creates a helpless grounder to second.

    So if “we suck with the bat”, your Pedro is mimicking the Mighty Casey. Start your criticism with him.

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    How do you mess up a +1? Idiot. (Me)

  103. TJ says:

    Not what I wanted to hear. I am hoping to avoid surgery at all costs. We have our trip to disney with the kids Sept 13-21. I can’t imagine trying to walk around those parks all day every day for 9 days like this.

    The only good thing that has come of it is that my golf game has not suffered; couldn’t get any worse!

  104. TJ says:

    Tom the Dodgers have been enfuego. Mattingly went from being close to fired to possible Manager of the Year.

    Remember the Braves hot start and then they came to Pittsburgh?

  105. Bob Hasis says:

    Alfred Hitchcock with his mandatory cameo scene in all of his movies, got a longer look than Lambo – OR PRESLEY for that matter.

  106. TJ says:

    Nate are you asking whether you’d rather face the DBacks or Reds or whether you’d rather have to take on the Braves or Dodgers as a wild card?

  107. Bob Hasis says:

    AS you usually. . . . . .and?

  108. TJ says:

    Andy LaRoche?

  109. TJ says:

    Agreed Nate

  110. Nate83 says:

    Yes Bob but he hit those balls hard so it is safe to say at least 20 of those would have been singles or doubles. Take a 29 for 29 stretch from any batter and oddly enough it lowers their average some 60 points. Cutch has 36 doubles can I just take those out of the equation? He would be batting like .250.

  111. Tom P. says:

    I think he was referring to the Reds-Diamondbacks series starting Monday. I vote for a split. The Pirates magic numbers are 33 against the Diamondbacks, 37 against the Reds and 39 against the Cardinals.

  112. Thundercrack says:

    So Patrick, are you trying to say that my real name is not Thundercrack?

  113. TJ says:

    I would have to root for the DBacks to take out the Reds. The reds are much closer to us in the division than we are the DBacks in the WC. And even though you can’t play a team from your division in the first round of the playoffs I think Cincy could be a scary team come playoff time.

  114. Nate83 says:

    I didn’t mean to scare you. All herniated disc are different. When they did my surgery they said the space for my nerves to get through was almost non existant. The doctor told me he didn’t know how I was even able to attempt to stand up.

    I’ve had disc slip and it only took 3 days of laying on my back all day for it to get better. Hopefully yours is more like that. Enjoy Disney. I’m going in October with my family.

  115. Tom P. says:

    Sorry to hear about your back. Hope it gets better in time for the Disney trip. We had a great time there with our kids in 2009 and 2011. Your back getting better is much more important than a win today (which still would be nice).

  116. Bob Hasis says:

    Here is something to ponder; neither Barmes or Joggin Joe will be here next year under any circumstance. What is occurring with Tabby is, he is being show cased – to whom is hard to imagine. They will not negotiate with Barmes, possibly he too is being shown.

    I said ponder – not comment upon. Oh, go ahead, I know you will anyway

  117. Nate83 says:

    I was just thinking a Reds sweep of the Diamondbacks essentially makes it near impossible for the Pirates to fall completely out of the playoffs which is my worse fear. I don’t expect it but obviously I’ve been trained to expect the unexpected over the last 20 years.

  118. Bob Hasis says:

    As you usually say. . . . . .and?

  119. TJ says:

    A’s lose Colon; not to a suspension but 15-day DL for groin injury.

  120. JohninOshkosh says:

    +, Patrick

    Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com Gravatar.com

    As Brad Hamilton said to Jeff Spicolo and his stoner buddies in Fast Times at Ridgemont High:

    Learn it. Live it. Love it.

  121. TJ says:

    Bob;

    I pray that Barmes is not brought back in any way shape or form. I agree Jones is gone and I would say Gaby is as well at 1B. I can’t remember what Tabby is signed for but its hard to imagine a team taking him unless we shipped him over to the White Sox for Dunn which would probably equal out in salary over life of contracts.

    I guess every team has a Barmes; the 90′s team had Belliard but I think its time for him to move on. The problem is that I don’t know if they have anyone that can come up and be a spot starter and the premium on that sort of defensive shortstop is always so high so maybe the Pirates do bring him back if they have the inside track on a contract.

  122. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! messed that up ! He said, “. Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

    But you get the idea.

    Gravatar.com

  123. TJ says:

    I’m at the point though Nate that making the playoffs is wonderful; but man the expectations for next year are going to be ridiculous and I don’t see who in AAA is going to come up and make this team better when you factor in who your likely to lose.

  124. TJ says:

    I’m saddened you felt the need to bring up a topic from yesterday.

    Guess we both have our own way of pounding our chests and making ourselves feel bigger.

  125. TJ says:

    And I’m not going to let ya goat me Bob.

    Was just trying to point out what I didn’t notice that Nate had already said which was that the Braves started off extremely hot which helped pad their current record. But you have to be impressed with the Dodgers turn around

  126. JD says:

    Chill out Plan. Relax dude.

  127. Bob Hasis says:

    Correct you are, but I was only trying to show what the rest of his AB’s look like. Try and visualize that. It seems that opposing managers and pitchers have seen this picture, and are willing to gamble on pitching to him whenever they have to.
    I would say all of his HR’s come on pitcher’s mistakes and with no one on base, for them it is a reasonable risk.

    Yes he hit a 3-run homer yesterday. Did you see where the pitcher grooved it – groin high middle of the plate.

    He would take .250. Do you think he can get there?

    I was hoping you’d acknowledge the entire entry, not just my hypothetical travesty on numbers.

  128. Dadtackular says:

    Nice one Bob.

  129. JD says:

    Keep up the good fight TJ! The plan is always fighting with somebody. Don’t back down.

  130. Nate83 says:

    TJ who do you see us losing that isn’t replaceable. AJ could leave but that is definately not a sure thing. I have to imagine Wandy takes the player option. He won’t get much as a free agent with his injury this year and 14 million is 14 million. The only other contracts that are up is Karstans and Barmes I think. They will need to make a decision on Morton because I’m guessing he could get 5-7 million in arbitration. They also have to make a decision on JMac. All other players are under contract or controllable years.

    The Pirates should be in better shape then most and if they are allowed to increas payroll 15-20 million they can improve through free agency.

  131. TJ says:

    I didn’t mean they were not replaceable. I just don’t see us having anyone in the minors that can even fill the spots that are being left.

    The questions I always ask going into next year…

    1. Wandy?
    2. Liriano back to earth?
    3. Cole become consistent?
    4. Jones/Gaby not back so who takes first?
    5. Do you pay Walker millions after this season and his injuries

    They could be filled through FA; just don’t see the pipeline filling spots in the offense.

    The rotation still scares me despite the depth they have. As we’ve seen with JMac, possibly Locke; you just never know.

  132. Bob Hasis says:

    Impressed for sure, in fact I thought they were the BEST team in their division when they were last by 5 1/2 games behind Colorado and Arizona. That was right around the time Puig joined them

  133. Nate83 says:

    Fair enough. I’m not a huge Pedro fan but he currently gives us something no other player on the team can and I see the value in that. I do not think he can be much better then a career .255-.260 hitter. I don’t think he will ever be somebody pitchers fear like a Joey Votto so agree with you there. He would have much more value if he hit 6 home runs every month to get to 40 instead of 12 one month and 2 the next.

    I also think his type of player will regress quicker then somebody like Cutch so I am not a fan of signing him long term. Best case scenerio in my opinion is he continues to hit for power and we get something in a trade for him.

  134. TJ says:

    Puig mania will be all over the place come playoff time. No Harper, no Trout, no Strasburg.

  135. Nate83 says:

    These are just my opinions but I will take a shot.

    1. Wandy comes back and is a good middle of the rotation pitcher.

    2. Liriano regresses slightly but still delivers an ERA around 3.00. He has consistantly been more accurate this year. It’s been to many games for me to think he will go back to his old ways.

    3. Yes Cole gets much better. He will trust his other pitches and use them more often. He essentially is pitching good with 1 pitch right now and his secondary stuff sounds better then somebody like Shelby Miller at least according to scouts.

    4. I always forget about Jones. I think Gaby still has another year or two left of control. That is something they will have to address in the short term. Next year is a big year for Dickerson in the minors. He could be the long term answer.

    5. Yes for at least one more year because when he healthy he is a top 10 second baseman in the league. His arbitration number shouldn’t be to high. Plus DeJesus whould be on the 40 man next year and will be good insurance against an injury to Walker.

  136. Bob Hasis says:

    Please don’t fool yourself – like so many do here – about his defense. The difference between him and Mercer is miniscule, and Barmes has no range or
    quickness. Less next year.
    WE have pipeline personnel for this position, but that need will be minimal. Mercer is the man!

    If there is so much disappointment here about Jones, how does Barmes not get the same treatment.

    Jones and Pedro have both shown they can go to left; shouldn’t they do it all the time on outside pitches, or are they so locked into driving the ball to right, that they can’t make the quick adjustment required to be a better batter.

  137. TJ says:

    Nate;

    Even if Gaby is under control do you offer him arbitration?

    Seems like a waste to me despite his ability to start against LHP.

    So how do you see the rotation shaking down then?

    1. Liriano
    2. Wandy
    3. Cole
    4. Morton
    5. ???

    Do they entertain AJ at a discount?

  138. Arriba Wilver says:

    I see Strasburg and Johson were tossed after Strasburg threw 3 straight wild pitches to the Braves’ SS. Good for him (seriously), after the Braves’ obvious headhunting on Harper. Nats still ended up winning in extra innings on an Adam LaRoche HR.

  139. theplanisworking says:

    JD,

    I really dont understand why you keep saying that to me, other than trying to start a fight?

    I am relaxed, yet you keep saying that to me.
    Please stop the foolishness.

  140. theplanisworking says:

    JD, so are you, sir.

    I really dont understand your need to do this to me.
    But, whatever.
    Carry on.

  141. theplanisworking says:

    JD, so are you, sir.

    I really dont understand your need to do this to me.
    But, whatever.
    Carry on.

  142. TJ says:

    I think Barmes is a huge let down; but its kind of become like a given. Kind of like you know that Pedro is going to swing at some bad pitches. So I’ve moved past the Barmes deal. I think Jones is harder because he had a good year last year and with our lack of offense someone has to take the blame I guess.

    I agree Mercer is the man; just not totally sold on his defense. To me the entire IF plays different when he is out there. And I’m not saying that Barmes is the glue or the gas that makes the engine go. As much as I sit there and say Jody how did you miss that throw from Gaby on a DP ball I sit there and scream Clint how did you swing at the same pitch 10 feet outside the zone 3 straight times.

    Put them together you’d have a half decent SS.

  143. Thundercrack says:

    I agree AW – good for him.
    ( I think Johnson had to get thrown out)

    I do wonder if Harper was thinking “finally someone on my team having my back”

  144. TJ says:

    I believe he had 2 wild pitches in 147 innings and then threw 3 last night in the same inning.

    He claims he wasn’t trying and Johnson said it was obvious he was off by the way he walked the first batter on 4 straight. Was he off or did he just miss the first batter with 4 straight and then got really wild with the 2nd one that he went from just missing to throwing behind.

    I think it was bush league for the Braves to do that; up 15 games in the division. Really do you need to do that?

  145. Thundercrack says:

    And I don’t really think Harper was ‘styling’ too much when he hit that homer off of Teheran. No more than most players

  146. Arriba Wilver says:

    Right about Johnson, they had been warned, I think after Strasburg hit Upton?

  147. TJ says:

    Its the evolution of baseball just as we’ve seen it in football. I swear the next time I close a huge sale I’m going to do the Ray Lewis dance for doing my job. Well maybe after the back settles down I’ll give it a shot.

    But whats more silly to me is the walk off celebrations; water bottles the other night spraying the guy as he came to the plate. Really?

  148. TJ says:

    Yep he plunked Upton. Seriously they just need to clear the benches and have at it already.

  149. theplanisworking says:

    I agree AW.
    About time the Nats stood up to the Braves and their headhunting.

    BTW, didnt Atlanta’s manager do this sort of thing when he was managing Miami?
    I seem to recall he did, but am not sure.

  150. TJ says:

    I don’t recall Gonzalez doing it with Miami; this is borderline Dusty Baker stuff here.

    Then again Miami has had so many managers over the past 5 years its hard to know who did what.

  151. Nate83 says:

    It could be AJ. If Locke learns from this year it could be him. I feel better about him then I did about JMac after last year although if he has 2 or 3 more starts like yesterday that changes everything. Don’t forget what Crumpton did earlier in the year. I think you see Taillon coming up at the same time Cole did this year.

    The big drop off is 2015. Liriano and Wandy’s contracts are up and Morton I think would be a free agent. The Glasnow and Kingman, Hredia’s won’t be ready. Baseball is crazy. Maybe Stolmy shows more upside next year and becomes the answer. Maybe Josh Bell or Alan Hanson gets traded for a pitcher who becomes the answer. Maybe the Pirates sign another Liriano and catch lighting in a bottle again or maybe they sign a proven pitcher in free agency to a 4 year 60 million contract.

  152. Nate83 says:

    Washington let it go on for way to long. I’m not a fan of Harper but I am a huge fan of how he plays. Gives 110% every play. They obviously hit him multiple times on purpose with a 15 game lead and the Nats did nothing about it until Strasburg (good for him).

    On a side note if the Reds start pulling this crap against the Pirates again at the end of the year I say we put Cole in since we are watching his inning anyways and have him throw 1 pitch 101 miles an hour right between the numbers on Votto or Phillips. I can’t imagine the Reds doing this in a close division race with only 9 games to go but maybe they are 5 back in the standing and do it. Dusty Baker is Dusty Baker and has made way worse decisions.

  153. TJ says:

    Why use Cole. They just signed Farnsworth!

    He may come in handy!

  154. TJ says:

    Those exact comments are why they should be thinking now. Never know what’s going to happen and there are gaps in the pipeline that will be filled by unknowns. We have a known right now… GO FOR IT

  155. MadTurk says:

    True so very true

  156. MadTurk says:

    +++++++

  157. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think Stan Lee with Marvel movies is more apt for this blog and its moderator. :)

  158. petev says:

    I have been debating this with my buddies for a month. They call me a negative fan. I say Im realistic and this team has a chance to do something awesome this year. But I say I’m realistic and that there is no way the pitching could be as good as theve been for 2 more months. Got to score more than 3 runs. Every day I wonder how this team will even score 3 runs.

  159. petev says:

    AGREE!!!

  160. petev says:

    were you serious with that comment. 9 ABS mostly against a very good Cardinal rotation and you r ready to give up him. Really!!!1

 
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