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Morning Java: Cutch’s catch attempt at issue? Come on

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

HARRISBURG — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column would like to see Neal Huntington finish the job he started.

Tough one for the club yesterday, to say the least. Karen Price has the game story.

All that I’ve got to add is that, among other silly things I’ve heard and read people complaining about, Andrew McCutchen’s failure to come up with Adam Eaton’s winning single was the wildest of all.

He was charging forward on a looping liner off the end of a lefty’s bat. If you saw it from overhead — and believe me, the press box is way overhead — the ball was cutting toward left field. So Cutch finds his route to the ball, goes hard, slides in the same manner Starling Marte had done to great effect earlier in the game, then turns his glove to the backhand and … comes up short.

As the column’s lede describes, Cutch took it hard. When I eventually approached him, one of my questions was about the catch attempt.

“I tried a slide, and the ball hit the ground before I got there,” he replied. “That’s it.”

He’s right: That’s it.

You know what else is really it?

This team doesn’t hit much. That’s the problem. Not this catch attempt, not the nonsensical complaints over which pitcher batted last — Gerrit Cole will be the first tell you he’s not a good hitter — or any of that stuff.

>> I also had questions for Huntington regarding struggling Jeff Locke, and that’s right here …

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage.

Here’s Diamondbacks news from the Arizona Republic and Padres news from the San Diego Union-Tribune. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll want to check the Republic for Kirk Gibson’s tremendous tirade yesterday morning at PNC against Ryan Braun.

Here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

>> Anyway, the Steelers and Redskins get semi-serious tonight in Landover, which is why you see that Harrisburg dateline up there. Decided to drive about halfway after taping the TV show last night.

Here’s our Steelers page.

>> Know all those times I’ve told you the Riverhounds are run first-class?

Check out the year-end appreciation video they put together for their fans …

I call special attention to the 3:25 mark of the video for Jose Angulo’s goal-of-the-year strike in the international friendly vs. Wigan Athletic, but also to defender Niko Katic kissing the Pittsburgh crest on his jersey and to the very end for Angulo celebrating another goal with the Steel Army.

You know how fans fall in love with a team?

Trust me when I tell you this team fell in love with its fans.

>> The Pirates and Steelers dominated WPXI-TV’s ‘The Final Word’ last night.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.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 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.

396 Comments

  1. As Dejan has so diligently pointed out….This Pirate team just CAN’T hit.
    It’s unimaginable that a front office would leave a team to fend for itself in the heat of a pennant race, but such is life with the Nutting Regime.
    The days are counting down….PNC Park has been packed….The team needs offensive help.
    So far….No help is in sight.
    Waiting….

  2. I think the RiverPuppies deserve more appreciation right now.
    They are Pittsburgh’s playoff team.
    A remarkable accomplishment, if you ask me.
    Dont know how their playoff system works, would imagine it would be a one-and-done.
    GO HOUNDS!!!

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

    Great efforts wasted yesterday for Morton, and Johnson.
    14 scoreless innings, for naught.
    Cant possibly blame this on Johnson in any way. he got tired in his 6th!!! inning of relief, and Cutch missed the catch bythismuch.
    This loss can be blamed on the offense, and bad baserunning…………. getting picked off first, getting thrown out at 3rd for the final out, and doing squat for over 13 innings.

    And yet, neal is fiddling while Rome burns.
    Good thing he didnt do anything “insane” at the deadline.
    Good thing he is letting players who already cleared waivers just sit there.
    And I dont care that the other 29 teams let those players sit there also……… Pittsnurgh NEEDS an offensive upgrade more that those other 29 teams.

    So far, all the usual excuses have been used to NOT bet any bats.You know, the
    “every player stinks”,
    “the upgrades arent upgrades”,
    “the Prospect Seperation Syndrome” (gasp!!!!!),
    “the costs too much”,
    etc, etc, etc,………………..

    it is time the Pirates start making excuses to GET an upgrade.
    As constituted, the Pirates wont make the playoffs with this offense.
    They must pray their pitching and defense hold up………….. or else.

    Happy Monday, Everyone!!!!

    Hoka Hey!! — its a great day to sit on our hands!!

    And , as a special bonus, this post has been free of any criticism of Clint.
    You’re Welcome. :)

  3. In the post above, will someone let me know where “Pittsnurgh” is? K?

  4. Sounds like he is bringing up a revelation that none of us die – hard fans have realized after 120 plus games.

    They have a difficult time hitting with guys on base, that is not difficult to realize, if you watch the games(like i do, every single one).

    They tighten up, that is obvious, and the manager’s doctrine of giving away outs to advance to move up a runner, is head scratching.
    Did anyone think Gibson would not IW Mc Cutchen if Marte advanced to second base?.
    Surely , it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

    I am just curious to see what the playoff positioning will look like 1 week from today.

    It’s almost a given that the Cardinals or the Reds will be in 1st place by then, but what will the gap be between the Pirates and Arizona?.

    This team is in trouble right now, and anything greater that 3 wins on this road trip will be a miracle.

    It’s a shame a bat, some kind of bat, could not be added by july 31st.
    If the main holdup was $$$$, that is a clear failure by this organization.

  5. Oh, and for those who are lying in wait to trash me for criticizing the Pirates with no clue for an upgrade, making me “less of a fan”……. here is my two cents worth………..

    I would get Morneau. Yes, that would lead to giving up a low to mid-level prospect (GASP!!!), and paying some $$$$ in salary (GASP!!!), but I would put him at 1st, with Gabby, and move Jones to RF with Tabby. This would help 3 places……. 1B, RF, and the bench.

    Now I am not saying this is a guarantee to get to the WS, but it would provide an upgrade over what we currently have. I also know this will upset the complainers that dont want to upgrade, but so be it.

    If you dont like my scenario above, dont attack me.
    Put your thoughts on the blog. Tell everyone how you would upgrade the offense.
    Or, tell us why you dont want to upgrade the team.

    I understand the Pirates are 72-51.
    I understand the Pirates are in 1st place.
    I understand we have to “enjoy the ride”.
    I understand we have to “keep calm and break .500.”

    I get all that.
    But is the goal to break .500, or make the playoffs??
    If the goal is to break .500, then just sit back and enjoy.
    If the goal is to make the playoffs, win championships and build dynasties (HI FRANK!!!), then upgrades are needed, because what we have now isnt working.

    Sorry for the chatty posts today……….. turrettes kicking in………..

    • Good points!
      It’s always amazing that with some certain Regime-ites it’s “always the wrong guy” out there.
      Pence…Soriano…Morneau…Rios…and more…..It’s always the wrong guy.

      • Daquido, I firmly believe that is an attempt to shield TBMTIB.
        If one always says no player is an upgrade, every player stinks, every player costs too much, then you have constructed a built-in excuse to never get anyone, and have protected neal from being criticized for acquiring player that may not work out.

        You are right, funny how that always seems to work out…………

      • There it is again…Regime

    • Oh, and for those who are lying in wait to trash me for criticizing the Pirates with no clue for an upgrade, making me ‘less of a fan’ “

      You’re arguing with yourself, Plan. The only thing lying in wait is the Pirates offense. Cause I don’t see anybody arguing that they DON’T need a bat.

      And certainly nobody is questioning yours or anybody’s fan-dome.

      Unless we want to talk about soccer.

      • Drew,

        I ask you to go back and read Saturdays, and yesterdays threads.

        people were called idiots, and people were told they werent fans.
        Seriously.
        Thanks.

        • Some people just don’t know when to let go. Thought it was over yesterday; gotta make comments today and then throw me under the bus again today.

          • TJ, please tell me where I mentioned anyone in my above post.
            When you cant, please stop the crap. Seriously.

            I made special point NOT to mention you.
            But if the shoe fits…………

      • Also, there have been posters saying they dont want any of the options, such as pence, Rios, Dunn, Morneau……………………… saying they stink, arent upgrades, too expensive, etc.

        That isnt an endorsement to get a bat, is it?

        • I think it is possible for some people to not like those players for all the reasons you mentioned. Some people don’t think they are that good, not going be the impact others may feel, are too expensive -in regards to money and/or ‘acquisition costs’.

      • Eh, I’m not going back to read old threads. But I’ll do this…

        Who here thinks they should not try to get a bat?

        Let’s leave it off specific names. We legitimately can disagree about execution. I’m talking about strategy.

        Seriously. Anyone think the Ps should NOT try to obtain a bat?

        This is a ridicule free zone. (Unless it’s Thunder.) I am just testing my theory that everyone wants a bat.

    • Yes, that would lead to giving up a low to mid-level prospect (GASP!!!),
      —–

      Has anyone seen any ‘rumors’ as to what exactly it would take get Morneau?
      I haven’t.

      My guess is that the Twins would probably keep him if all they were going to get is a low level prospect. If the definition of ‘low level prospect’ is one that isn’t highly rated and does not have a high ceiling –as opposed to being highly rated and playing in the lower levels.

    • And one other point with Morneau, you wouldn’t have to make a late inning defensive move to take Jones off first. Of course, you would have to start doing it in RF though. As a defensive player, Jones is a great DH.

    • between Hipposter and T, there’s a helluva lotta gaspin’ goin on here….do I have to get some mouth to mouth resuscitation goin on too????

    • “I understand we have to “keep calm and break .500″

      Very well then…so keep calm.

      • And…we have an appearance from our very own…WINDOW!

      • Playoffs,

        you do realize that telling someone to calm down has the opposite effect— they get nervous,
        you tell someone who is on a high floor of a building to not look down, they look down and get nervous.

        I was already calm, but thanks for the message.
        We all get it.

    • Someone sounds a little defensive……..been attacked lately?

  6. I don’t claim to know what goes on inside the collective minds at 115 Federal, but I, for one, WOULD be working hard at looking for a deal. But I also wouldn’t be committing to Morneau if I thought I had a better deal lining up. The Yankees are still kidding themselves that there is hope. It will soon tick midnight on A-Rod’s reprieve and the suspension will start. Soriano’s honeymoon at the fountain of youth is about to conclude. This geriatric team has to start getting younger and that’s when Neal can get a piece of Cashman’s ear. Seattle still has some high-priced players to unwind. Maybe when we’re in SF it will finally be time for Hunter Pence. The timing for such a trade is better now than it was in July. SF is sitting in the cellar. Pence’s wide eyes may be seeing that the Giants aren’t all that, after all. Meanwhile, Pence’s bat has heated up considerably. Last month I wouldn’t have taken either Morneau or Pence. Now I’d take either and we’ll probably pay less for either of them.

  7. My nail polish is wet, therefore I cannot sit on my hands without it being an incredible mess.

    I do not know where Pittsnurgh is. Maybe it’s near the windmills of Frank’s mind.

    Which brings me back to TBMTIB…Time to be “all in”. In other words…

    GET A DAMN BAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I think I counted five times from the 8th inning through the 16th inning yesterday that the Pirates had a runner on base. Yes they needed a hit. But I also categorize it as a clutch hit. They didn’t get that either.

    And what has happened to Garrett Jones?

    • I think Garrett is less of a fan

    • He looks to me like he got old really fast.

      • Unfortunately, Jones looks like Father Time has caught up with him these days. Gaby Sanchez isn’t much better.

        • Father Time has caught up with more than Jones. What so few of you realize is that what these guys have been doing for the past five months is playing so hard to keep ahead of everybody else that they are now exhausted. Johnson’s great effort yesterday was the work of a man who has not been under the kind of pressure the rest of the team has been. He was not as tired as the others (although he may now be) and it showed. The team is not hitting because the players’ vision & reflexes are not as sharp as they were before August. Pure and simple. They team is not hitting as well as it was from April to August because the players are not playing at their best. My guess uis that they may also be distracted by one thing or another, drinking or snorting too much, or staying up late and partying between games. Who the hell knows? Only the players. And that’s the key. If they can’t get themselves straightened out, one by one or collectively as a team, nobody, even a smart guy like Hurdle, can make them well. Adding on another bat is not going to make enough of a difference. Stop blaming the management for not hiring enough power batters and start looking at the tired players and asking why.

      • Maybe the both just got married.

    • Garret Jones has always been similar to Zach Duke in my mind……kinda stringin you along by showing flashes of what you think he can be, but very rarely with any consistency.

      DK: That’s REALLY good.

  9. I’m depressed.

  10. JAL’s California Bloodlines Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9f_FQjuII0

    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 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

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

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Pirates Continue to Bunt Away Their Best Chances

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/first-pitch-the-pirates-continue-to-bunt-away-their-best-chances.html

    Prospect Watch: Jin-De Jhang Homers Twice; Oliver Has a Good Start

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/prospect-watch-jin-de-jhang-homers-twice-oliver-has-a-good-start.html

    Pirates Lose 4-2 in 16 Innings as Offense Flounders

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/08/pirates-lose-4-2-in-16-innings-as-offense-flounders.html

    5 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

    6 Rumbunter

    Pirates GM Neal Huntington Just Doesn’t See The Comparisons

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/08/18/pirates-gm-neal-huntington-just-doesnt-see-the-comparisons/

    Time For Pirates Chairman of the Board, Bob Nutting, To Finish The Job

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/08/19/time-for-pirates-chairman-of-the-board-bob-nutting-to-finish-the-job/

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 123: Diamondbacks 4 Pirates 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2013/game-122-diamondbacks-4-pirates-2.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Pirates Struggle At Dish in 4-2, 16 Inning Loss

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/08/pirates-struggle-at-dish-in-4-2-16.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    DBacks 4 Pirates 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/08/dbacks-4-pirates-2/

  11. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    10 Rant Sports

    Jeff Locke’s Regression Coming At Bad Time For Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/08/18/jeff-lockes-regression-coming-at-bad-time-for-pittsburgh-pirates/

    11 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Why the Bucs should be concerned with Jeff Locke

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/08/18/pittsburgh-pirates-why-the-bucs-should-be-very-concerned-with-jeff-locke/

    12 Arizona Central

    Adam Eaton powers Arizona Diamondbacks past Pittsburgh Pirates in 16 innings

    http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/20130818adam-eaton-arizona-diamondbacks-pittsburgh-pirates-16-innings.html

    13 The Bellingham Herald

    Gibson: ‘Cheaters’ like Braun rob other players

    http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/08/18/3154218/gibson-cheaters-like-braun-rob.html

    14 Lehigh Acres News Star

    Miracle, manager wait for fallout

    http://www.news-press.com/article/20130819/SPORTS/308190025/Miracle-manager-wait-fallout

    15 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Ludwick scuffling, but gets on the hit board

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130818/SPT04/308180087/Ludwick-scuffling-gets-hit-board

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Padres Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130819_PIT@SD

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Wainwright wins 1st game in nearly a month

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/wong-descalso-form-cards-middle-infield-molina-catches/article_91243252-e38d-5ac8-a98e-0f117aeee5de.html

    18 PBC Site

    Johnson finally yields as Pirates fall in 16th

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_18_arimlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Pirates considering giving Locke extra rest

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130818&content_id=57398788&notebook_id=57400928&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21551

    20 Fangraphs

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

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

  12. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Report says Heath Miller may miss first month of season

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/18/4634378/heath-miller-may-miss-first-month-of-season

    Battle of the AFC North: 1st and 2nd Round Draft Picks

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/8/18/4620952/battle-of-the-afc-north-jarvis-jones-arthur-jones-tyler-eifert-barkevious-mingo

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers Offense Could Aim For Deeper Passes Against Redskins

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/08/steelers-offense-preseason-deeper-passes-redskins/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Premier League action: in pictures

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/picturegalleries/10249402/Premier-League-action-in-pictures.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 16th August, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-16th-august-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Pittsburgh Penguins drafting results: Forwards

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/8/16/4627742/pittsburgh-penguins-drafting-results-forwards

  13. I do not like to admit it when I’m wrong:

    ——I was wrong about Garrett Jones. When he kept hitting all those line drives that were being caught, I was willing to use Neal Huntington’s approach, “The reality is, Garrett is just hitting with bad luck!” It’s not bad luck anymore. We’re less than 2 weeks from September . . . . Jones is not producing.

    ——I was wrong about Alfonso Soriano. Look at what he done in a Yankee uni. Last season he turned the Bucs down. BMTIB should have pushed him harder this season. He can’t catch a cold, but the hits just keep on comin’.

    ——I was wrong about Tony Sanchez. I did not think he was up to par defensively to my eye but I thought he would hit. Turns out he can’t catch AND he can’t hit.

    It’s August 19th and the AGONY of a Pennant Race is back. Can we hold on? What can we do to add? How could he make that decision? Why can’t that guy hit? Come on, AJ!!

    Being in 1st Place is not JOY, it’s AGONY! I love every agonizing minute of it!!!

    Gotta get Justin Morneau!

  14. All the way through the climb INTO first place, SOME player made a Hit, Play, Pitched Lights Out, or something, and the Bucs managed to pull a win out of their behinds.
    We’re not seeing SOME player come thru with a timely hit to push us over the line for a big W anymore.
    We need a bat.

    Are you listening, BMTIB?

    Hi Frank.

  15. Dejan, thanks for sharing the Riverhounds’ appreciation video. Awesome. Classy.

  16. I don’t know who frustrates me more, those “I told you so’s” who think they flat out know this is another collapse, or those who like Dejan who steadfastly and stubbornly say it isn’t; like he has a magic crystal ball and the great fortune of gazing into it as he interviews McCutchen sitting at his stall.

    Guess what DK, you know as much as I or the naysayers do about the outcome of this season at this point, and to come with statements like: “Let’s dispel the myths already: This isn’t Epic Collapse III.” takes some real brass and a lot of elitism to make such a comment, considering even the players don’t know at this point what you so smugly proclaimed. Do you also have the next winning PowerBall numbers in your feathered turban, Oh Great One? Also, I don’t know of anyone who uses the word “myth” in future tense. I think the word you were looking for there was “fantasy”. Nothing historical about something that hasn’t happened yet regardless of whether those who think it will or won’t.

    Please get off your stump Dejan and leave the “I know better than all of you because I get to see the players personally” statements out of things. I got about two paragraphs into your latest piece and had to stop reading. This is what turned me off to you when you were at the PG and won’t get you very far with the readers who like to think they can formulate opinions on their own without someone patronizing us and telling everyone what we should and shouldn’t know. This is what separates real sports writers/reporters from the hundreds of power-tripping, over opinionated sports bloggers out there.

    That said; I sure hope this isn’t another collapse, but if it is, I’ll feel pretty good now knowing you will have put your foot so deep in your mouth. Me, I’ll watch this season unfold for another few weeks at least before I formulate any can’t miss, steadfast opinions, but I sure won’t be making lofty proclamations about the outcome of things this early on, because frankly, I don’t like the taste of feet.

    DK: You know, I could be in my 700th year of writing columns, and I’d still hear from baseball fans who don’t know I’m writing columns now.

    It’s been nearly three years since I was the beat guy. Come on already.

    • Snake Jabber,

      Go back to bed!!

      Now get up . . . . . on the other side.

      Man, you’ve got too much venom in you. Reading the newspapers is for entertainment purposes only! Holy Cow, what will your reaction be if you ever stumble onto the Editorial page in the newspaper? Or the political party harangues? Your head will explode.

      Geez, you probably put your kid on bread and water for missing one on his spelling test!

      Serenity now!!!

      • Take out the venom, and I thought Snake Eyes has an interesting point of view which could have led to a provocative discussion.

        I agree with that underlying opinion – that many of us, INCLUDING Dejan, express opinions as if they are fact. As if expressed conviction is all that matters.

        Sometimes Dejan and EYE (and maybe a few others) are a little full of ourselves.

        There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

        • I like the strong opinions here. I don’t like the attacks.

          But Drew, dahling, your posts are mostly pure entertainment.

          <3

    • +1

      DK: That got a +1 out of you? You’re one of the people who hadn’t heard I started writing opinion more than two years ago?

      Wow!

      • Giving out +’s has different meanings to different people. I agree with some things he said, not others, and not the tone. It doesn’t mean I agree with every word.

        • What part(s) of that “Hey, everybody, look at me! I’m slaying a giant” post could possibly have been so agreeable to you to that you awarded it an overall “+” ? It was a huge “minus” fully of spite, if you ask me.

  17. If you look at the stats for the Pirates and the National League. The Pirates hit above average with the bases empty. When men are on their numbers drop off. Normal hitters hit better with men on because the pitcher is in the stretch and their velocity drops and have less stuff. They need to sort out the mental approach to hitting in those situations. What the pitcher does differently. John Wehner observed their at-bats changing in RISP opportunities. How they take pitches with nobody on and then chase out of the zone in those spots. I think they have the ability but the mind is lagging and holding them back.

    Anyway, they can still win with pitching and defense and enough offense.

    In 1990, they were 72-50 with a 3 game lead over the Mets. They went 23-17 overall and 4-4 against the Mets and won the division by 4 games with a record of 95-67. A similar finish will probably get it done. 3-3 vs St. Louis. 3-3 vs Cincinnati. and 95 wins. The number that Clint Hurdle predicted. The Pirates think they are better than St. Louis and they can go 4-2. That’ll help.

    If they can sort out the disparity in their mental approach to hitting, while pitching good and playing solid defense, they will be fine. If they add to their lineup hitters who already know what they are doing I have no doubt they will win the division. They are 2-7 and still have a 1 game lead. They are due for a hot streak. If they win 8 of 10 they will probably get their 4 game lead back.

    Sleep and breakfast has buoyed my optimism.

  18. What’s good tonight? Football game and a meaningful baseball game….that’s what’s good! Nachos for everyone.

  19. It’s not that Cutch missed the ball. It’s that stupid slide that he and every other outfielder seems to use rather than the dive these days. The only way he catches that ball is to dive head-first toward it.

    • I am not a fan of the slide (especially overuse), but if you go head first too often, you end up like Andy VS. I would rather have Cutch miss a few than lose years off his playing time.

      I am clearly watching too much TV, the Geico ads are creeping into my blog style.

      • Well we agree on the slide’s overuse, but repeatedly landing on Three Rivers’ “concrete” is not the same as the grass “pillow” of PNC Park.

      • Honestly it’s not a decsion that an outfieder consciously makes….it truly is a reaction, and it is not a choice in most cases. I have been scolded for laying out when a slide should have been utilized, and this is particularly important when considering how much cut a ball has coming off the bat. It’s a lot easier to compensate for this slice/cut when taking a ball on the slide….it’s a reaction. Noting more. Nothing less.

        • B of R: While I agree that it is reactionary in the sense it occurs in milliseconds, I disagree that it is not conscious. It’s consciously made but only learned through repetition — trial and then either success or error.

          And in McCutchen’s case in particular, I would say he’s made a conscious decision to employ the dive more this year and it has helped him get to balls he would never had a chance of catching with a slide. He just needs to get a little better at his decision-making. I think he will, but only through repetition and with either success or failure influencing his approach.

    • I say we talk about two handed catches. Dejan loves that.

    • *****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!

  20. Here’s a helpful little tip for those of you staring down a week of sleep deprivation with the upcoming west coast trip.

    I’ve taken to going to bed when the opposing pitcher reaches his career high in strikeouts. Usually happens about the 5th inning. La la land by midnight. Give it a try, amazing how fresh you’ll feel later in the week.

  21. Its still the middle of August

    We have miles to go before we sleep

  22. Ahh the beauty of waking up in first place for yet again another day with the sky falling.

    I haven’t checked out the papers in St Louis but is the sky falling during their 9-15 run they are on right now?

    Pirates need some help. I think its clear to everyone/anyone. I seriously hope that the last response that NH gave yesterday concerning contracts was not the mantra for this off season when they once again try to explain to the fan base what happens.

    I’m starting to wonder who Pirates charities really is; is it the portion of the organization that gives to help others or is it the fans that keep flocking to the game?

    I wish the government would allow me to use my budget as an excuse not to pay taxes. Sorry can’t afford taxes this year but by 2015 I should be able to pay them. Just keep giving me another chance.

    By no means am I giving up on this team. I think that’s being done by those sitting in the front office playing their fantasy baseball 2015 with prospects they hope develop.

  23. I guess another question to ask is this:

    WHY?
    WHY is TBMTIB doing nothing. Why are they standing pat.
    If it so obvious to everyone an upgrade is needed, why arent they doing it?

    Money?
    Prospects?
    Another reason?

    This club is getting record crowds
    This team has one of the best farm systems in the game.
    There should be no reasons not to upgrade.

    • Not saying that this is the reason why, but it’s almost like the Pirates were playing a game of chicken with the Cardinals and Reds. If one of them made a move, then the Pirates would have answered. Now here we are 3 weeks later, after 3 extra innings losses, and the offense is what it is…average on it’s best day. An upgrade is needed, but I’m not holding my breath.

      Meanwhile, the Cardinals “acquired” Yadier Molina from the DL and the Reds “acquired” Broxton and Ludwick (yes, I know Broxton is a pitcher) while the Pirates sit around and wait for Wandy and Grilli. But hold on, neither of those guys can swing a bat!!!!

      I’m not going to make any excuses about prospect hoarding, Nutting not wanting to spend money, or any other reason people want to use. Plain and simple, the Pirates needed a bat at the July 31 deadline, they still need a bat and have 12 days to get it. If they don’t and the offense keeps it’s sluggish pace, we’re all going to be pointing fingers come Sept. 30th instead of enjoying playoff baseball.

      • That’s a great point, but folks are going to point fingers no matter what happens in the nex 12 days.

        “I told you Jones would come around if he laid off the GRAP NUTS”(lay off the grape nuts bro….please. You are all backed up!)

        “I told you Morneau still had it”

        “I told you Gaby could get it done if you let his kid in that restaurant”

        “I told you Lambo would hit”

        “I told you Clint Hurdle was going to blow a jaw muscle from all that bazooka before this pennant race let up”

        “I told you AJ would get his swag back”

        “I told you Snider was detoxing from red meat” (easy on the red meat bro, seriously…your missing BP because you spend so much time in the john)

        “I told you Grilli likes other bands besides Pearl Jam” (he switched his intro to she’s a bad mama jama by carl carlton I heard…)

        “I told you Greg Brown was into Metal” (he put Blass in his place during an early September call when Blass referenced doin’ it with the fez on by steely dan on a Pedro Alvarez dinger and Brown said “steely dan sucks steve…the reds just got a Hammer Smashed Face from the Bull…Cannon ball Comin’….suck it Dusty!!!”

        “I told you Jay Bell could still bunt” (he got slipped on the active roster and squeezed cutch home to give the Bucs a three game lead in the division with only two games remaining)

        Do the Jumprope dance

  24. Well I guess with a headline titled “Cutch’s attempt at issue? Come on” it might be an attempt to squelch any discourse on the topic, but I’ll take the bait and do so anyway.

    I have a problem with McCutchen’s catch attempt yesterday. And it goes beyond not catching that one particular ball. My problem centers on his favored use of the “controlled slide”, with one leg under the other, for fly balls (liners, short pops, etc.) that might otherwise be considered 50/50 off the bat for most outfielders. I think McCutchen, although a marvelous player, could be even better in this area.

    First, I am sure that Sports Science would be able to determine this with greater accuracy, but I estimate that a player of McCutchen’s stature and reach loses 18-24″ inches in range by employing a slide technique in lieu of laying out. To his credit, McCutchen has begun doing the latter this year, including 2-3 dives just in recent weeks. I cannot recall even a single instance where he dove headfirst last year, so he gets high marks for not only wanting to improve, but doing something about it.

    Second, with a player’s leg under him, there is a greater chance for catching a bottom leg cleat and tearing a knee ligament or breaking an ankle. So a “controlled slide” — particularly at McCutchen’s blazing speed — can end up being not so controlled but violent. We don’t need that.

    The key for McCutchen now will be improving his decision-making on which particular fielding technique will give him the best chance for catching the ball in each situation. And that decision needs to account for many factors being processed in milliseconds as he approaches the ball’s landing zone.

    Sure, it’s all hindsight, but from my vantage point, McCutchen’s best chance of catching that ball yesterday was with a glove-up, head-first dive, not a backhanded, glove down controlled slide. He might not have caught that one yesterday, but putting himself in the very best position to have caught it is what is key for me. That decision-making is where he can still improve.

  25. Justin Morneau over the last 3 years has over 1225 AB and has only hit 37 HR’s and has a batting average of .256. Is this really the big bat everybody wants? I’m not saying an upgrade isn’t needed but we shouldn’t just make a change for change sake. If it’s not an improvement why do it?

    There is no evidence over the last 3 years that Morneau’s bat can get hot and help this team any more then Jones who over the same time period has 1241 AB and 54 HR and almost the same average. Morneau will help almost as much as Lambo did.

    The team isn’t losing because of right field production or first base, it’s losing because all 8 everday players are not coming up with big hits in big situations. Since the Cardinals are not trading any of their “clutch” hitters and we are not trading for Adrian Gonzalaz, Carl Crawford and Hanley Rameriz no move made at this point in the year will improve this team. These guys have to get it done and there is no reason they can’t. They are the guys that got us to first place on Aug. 19th after over 120 games. That’s right I almost forgot we are in first place. You wouldn’t know it by most of the post on the blog.

    • I don’t think its just a question of whats wanted but what is also needed. Status quo is not wanted or needed at this point. Morneau could easily go on one of those streaks that Soriano is on right now and again; even if its a 6 or 7 game streak its more than I can ever expect from Lambo this year.

      • Jones could go on one of those streaks. That is my point. Nothing out there has any more of a chance to go on a streak then what we have right now. For what it is worth Morneau could not easily go on one of those streaks. He has done nothing close to Soriano’s last week in the last 3 years. He currently is having his only “hot streak” over those last three years. That hot streak is luke warm with a .265 average and 6 HR’s in a month. 18 months of baseball and one good month. I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket.

        • What is there to lose by acquiring Morneau over leaving Lambo in AAA?

          • Well you lose Jones to start with. He would no longer be playing. I’m not sure I don’t like his chance of contributing better then Morneau. You lose a prospect or two and you lose money that could have been spent on something else during the off season.

            You gain an extra bat off the bench and that is needed. You gain some excitement from the fans and the front office gets to claim they tried.

            I’m not against a move. I just don’t think Morneau is the move. As a put below in a post I think Dunn has a much better chance to have an impact.

    • Some of those same arguments were used against getting Lee 2 years ago.

      “. . . no move made at this point in the year will improve this team.” I can’t think of the correct word to adequately describe what I think of that statement. But I don’t think you’re right about that.

      • We seriously talk a lot about chemistry on this board; but you have to wonder what it does on the positive side when you see Justin Morneau walk in the locker room and not Lambo.

      • That was a bit of an over statement on my part. I’ll own up to that. Any feasible move does not clearly make this team that much better. Like I said we are not getting 4 all stars from the Red Sox like the Dodgers did last year. Yes any player we get could get hot and improve this team. The same could be said about any player currently on the team as well. If Walker, Jones or even Martin hit 7 HR’s over the next 25 games the team will be dramatically improved. Those 3 are just as capable as anyone we would pick up of doing that.

        I haven’t heard any all-star names available so your are essentially trading for players that are close in talent to what we already have. Morneau would replace a guy that has the same stats as him over the last 3 years and he has less power.

        • Jones isn’t getting it done; sometimes a change of scenery is good for all involved. Right now Morneau is hitting well; Jones…. is not.

          To me there is not a negative in acquiring a player of the caliber of Jim Thome, Matt Stairs, Adam Dunn, or Justin Morneau right now over having Lambo as our only option. Of course I kid about the first 2.

        • Dunn.

    • I like it Nate….Just hit with guys on boys, that’s it. Time to stop dressing up in drag for flights. Eat a good meal on that west coast flight and then talk, seriously and directly about the need for focus and to simply get the ball in play with guys on and less than two outs. If you guys can’t put a bat on the ball with less than two out then you do not deserve to hang around in this race. No more clearing the bases swings….just touch it. Things will work out..

  26. Good Morning Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!

  27. What a wonderful frustrating season this ix.
    As a Bucs and Red Sox fan, both teams have similar seasons. Both came out of nowhere to overachieve. Both have injuries and are watching slim leads slip away. I am hopeful for a WS matchup. Or will both be playing golf Sept. 30?

    • +1. I am a Pirate fan and a forced Red Sox observer. There really are similarities this year, but I would rather see a World Series between Pirates and Yankees, during which Soriano hits 10 home runs and drives in 30 runs, while ARoid goes 0 for 30 and is hit 14 times . . . and the Pirates win in 7 on a Tabata walk-off homer.

  28. I’m accepting donations for attending another series in September and restablish Pirates’ winning ways! hehehehehe ;)

  29. Dejan – Why are you staying in Harrisburg if you’re going to the Steelers-Redskins game tonight? I guess I can understand if you wanted to stay in Harrisburg rather than Breezewood, but that’s significantly out of the way!

    DK: Had a TSA Pre-check appointment at Philly airport. Took care of that today at noon, then drove down here to Landover.

  30. Garret Jones showed up at the DMV & they told him to come back tomorrow.

  31. Drilling A-Fraud…. Players sending a message or bush league stuff?

  32. KEEP CALM & BREAK .500

    Now enjoy having this stuck in your head all day….

  33. If the Rangers are interested in a guy like Erik Bedard as pitching help there is no reason we shouldn’t consider Morneau as hitting help

  34. I can’t believe Cutch’s dive attempt is even in the conversation.

    When they walk the #3 to get to the #4…you do NOT have a #4. REGARDLESS of the situation.

    Wheither it’s Pedro or Martin, the Bucs do NOT have a #4. When 3 thru 6 do not have a BA over .255 in August…it is not slumps. It’s lousy hitters. Having 30 HR’s while hitting .230 is deceiving at the very least. Martin shouldn’t be batting higher the #7 IF you have a ML lineup.

    Statistics don’t lie, eventually they will catch up. They have. No more walk off singles off the pitchers glove, that should have been a DP, no more WO HR by Harrison…those happen MAYBE once a month. You can’t count on them every nite.

    The BMTIB failed. A post above suggesting that they were playing chicken at the trade deadline with the Reds and Cards is spot on. Yes, we all know no big deals were made. What’s our (real) reason (excuse)?

    Make a move now, please, the ship’s taking on water.

  35. FYI
    Most of the entries here are imploring, beseeching the BMTIB to go and get a bat or two.
    So obviously you are aware that this team is not comprised of enough talent to win. And the talent you thought we had is now failing miserably.

    So why are those who recognized this shortcoming long before, being chastised as something far less than a true Pirate fan?

    Perhaps, they saw long ago – even last year – that this team couldn’t win, and were bold enough to mention it. Then the “loyal” wolves descended on them.

    So here you are – whining about Pedro, whining about Jones &Gaby, and Tabby and Barmes, and the bench. You complained you wanted Lambo ad nauseum, you got him and nothing changed or helped, now your agreeing with NH that the bullpen and starters may be tired and overworked, as he feared early on might occur.

    Nothing can please you short of a championship; guess what – I and we, feel that way too. However there is an obvious difference in perception.

    And strictly for me; if I am manager of this team, then I am going to be in total and complete charge of everything that I have not delegated to my coaches – and I am pointing directly at Leyva and Marte and making sure he is not running if I don’t want him to.

    You can say all of the clever punch lines you can generate, but Marte on second, Cutch on first, one out, the game in the balance – late, and a usually reliable hitter Martin at the plate, I am going to give him every chance to succeed with out having Marte being a background distraction.

    If Martin fails, I go to bed with Pedro. This did not happen yesterday, and we lost! Just an example of managerial (or coaching) incompetence. Not saying he lost the game, but he lost this chance to win it. You can’t squander scoring chances against anyone especially desperate teams – and now this team becomes our arch-enemy to the playoffs

    I hope we go 7-0 starting tonight!

    • Mr. Hasis, good to see you this morning!

      Did Marte run on his own or was he told to run, and by whom?

      (I realize I am opening a can of worms here)

      • Jandy, YOU can open a can of worms.
        Others cant. Big difference.

        I hope this blog doesnt devolve into what some of the others are.
        One poster sees another poster put something up (good, bad or indifferent) , and the attacks begin.

      • Martin is hitting .255 and Pedro .230…and you’re counting on them?

        That’s not to disregard Marte’s “Kris Letang moment”.

        Again, stats do not lie.

        Barmes is hitting .226, why not him?

  36. I’ll just say this: The goal, by many, on April 1, 2013 when they took the field vs. the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park was to break the streak of losing seasons. The rest has been gravy.

    Ok, a bit concerned with 39 games left…yep, like many, but I keep remembering the rest is gravy.

    Have a great Monday everyone!

  37. I saw Oshies post above, stating that some of his friends are taking breaks something is going on. That maybe true, but some of those people contribute to the problem sometimes also. I am not saying they are bad people, just food for thought.

    This place should follow this saying………. made famous 75 years ago.

    “Finding Friends with the same mental disorder as you is priceless.”

    We should all be friends in here…… and the mental disorder is the Pirates.

    • Is it a disorder, or an illness? A disorder sounds like something that can be straightened out relatively easy. I was one of 2(!) people who were screaming in frustration at the no hitter Homer Bailey threw last year. Everyone else, including my wife, thought it was neat to see a no hitter.

  38. All teams that are leading their division have at some point this year struggled. The Braves had a horrible stretch. Detroit went like 7-13 over one 20 game stretch. The Rangers and A’s have had tough stretches. The Rays and Dodgers didn’t even play .500 ball for entire months.

    It’s baseball. It happens. It’s not like the Pirates are losing 8-2 every game. They have had some very tough loses by 1 run. 4 of them in extra innings. The wheels will not fall off. The offense has scored enough runs since the all star break to be ranked in the upper half of the NL. Base on what the pitching did the first half that should be good enough. There was enough talent on this team to get to 26 games above .500 there is no reason they can’t play .550-.600 ball the rest of the year. Nothing has changes. It’s the same guys they need to be accountable and step up.

  39. Did I miss the big move the Cards and Reds made at the deadline? Or for that matter the Braves or Nats or Diamondbacks? They are playing with the hands that got them here for the most part. We are every bit as good as those teams. We proved it the first 120 games. The accountability should be on the players shoulders.

    DK: I’ll give you credit for being absolutely relentless in your defense of all things front office. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you’d rather see them go down meekly with a no-bat first baseman than to see any of them criticized or even challenged.

    It’s amazing, the grip this front-office narrative has on some.

    • Nate, with all due respect, I dont care if the other teams stood pat. That is their choice/problem.

      I care about the Pirates improving.

      Agreed it is the players responsibility to be accountable…………. but some of the players we have just arent good. That is where the upgrades come in.

      Sorry to post this, as your original post is very good.
      Just my 1 cent.

      • The fact that a lot of other teams didn’t make moves may be a good indication of what the market was like at the deadline —especially for the sellers.

        • Thunder, do you think the team needs to upgrade, or stand pat?

          • Plan,
            I think the team needs to upgrade. But I don’t think it as black & white as you make it out to be: one or the other.

            I am one who even though I want to win now, I take into consideration what it will cost us to acquire a player and how that will impact the team in the future.

            I still have not seen specific names: The Pirates could have acquired Player X and it would have cost them Players Y & Z.

            If I see that then I can offer an opinion if the FO screwed up or made a good decision.

            • Thanks Thunder.

              Of course no one wants to destroy the farm system for a player now. Thats a bit of a strawman.

              I just dont want to wait til 2016 to do something, just because we dont want to “impact the team in the future”. The farm system is meant to be a supplement to the big club. Teams arent supposed to put the minors above the big club, like the Pirates seem to be doing.

              • Well, *I* am flummoxed. I don’t think is overboard in anything that has to do with the front office. In my honest opinion, I think he’s basically saying the players have done a good job getting us here, they need to keep on keepin’ on. He’s made some valid points about what other teams have/have not done with regards to free agency. Throw me a bone, here!

              • one bone, coming up.

                The point I am making, is that the players arent keep on keepin on. Thats the problem. If they were, we wouldnt be having any discussions about upgrades.

                Bone taken back. ;)

              • Indian giver :P
                lol
                I got your point, Hipposter. I personally think they’re trying too hard. And that usually brings negative results.
                Deep breath, concentrate, follow thru.
                But then, I’m not at the plate taking the pitches.

            • I agree 100% with this. I also think they need to upgrade but not just make a trade for the sake of making a trade. To say Morneau could be the answer makes no sense to me. Like I said Jones could be the awnser. They are practically the same player. Look at their stats.

        • This was the chance for the Pirates to stand out and do something others didn’t do.
          Instead….They used it as an excuse to sit on their duff.
          A pitiful excuse is what it was…..

      • No problem plan. I have no issues with you or anyone disagreeing. I just don’t see an impact player out there except for maybe Dunn. I think the fact that others are not making moves as well shows how little is out there.

        I don’t troll other team blogs. Maybe their fan base is just as upset. I do know other teams haven’t lost 20 years straight so there isn’t the frustration or hunger for a winning team.

        • So Nate, you are saying the Pirates should stand pat?
          With an offense that is losing games for them?

          I have long stated there is a segment of fans that make built-in excuses for not doing anything. There are upgrades out there. They may not be good enough upgrades for you and others, but they are there. Yet you just stated that there arent upgrades anywhere, except for Dunn. I am a bit baffled, but thats ok. I baffle easily.

          • I don’t keep track of Nate ‘being absolutely relentless in his defense of all things front office’.

            But I don’t see that much wrong with his premise that our record is good, a lot of teams stood pat (and I’m sure they had needs too).

            And why can’t more of the focus be on the players?

            But like I said:
            I don’t keep track of everyone’s posts – and I do think we need an upgrade.

            • TC. This goes back to last September when I felt it was strange for high fives being offered to the front office in July and then in early september it was a 180 and people where calling for their jobs. Everyone acted as if they saw that collapse coming. I just don’t think everything is black and white, pass or fail.

              This team is obviuosly better off then they were 5 years ago yet people are ready to fire the front office if they don’t pick up a bat and the hypothetical of a third collapse happens. The part that confuses me is the bat they are asking for is somebody like Morneau. As if that will magically add 1/2 run per game to this team.

              I’m not saying give the front office a 10 year extension just stating in my opinion getting a bat or not getting a bat doeen’t define the job they did this season. It’s not that simple.

          • At least you’re not flummoxed. ;-)

            • Oh, give me a bit more time, and that will occur also, AW. :)

            • Jandy says:

              August 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

              Well, *I* am flummoxed. I don’t think is overboard in anything that has to do with the front office. In my honest opinion, I think he’s basically saying the players have done a good job getting us here, they need to keep on keepin’ on. He’s made some valid points about what other teams have/have not done with regards to free agency. Throw me a bone, here!

              • I moved this post down as it didn’t post where it was supposed to.

              • And that is to say I don’t think NATE is overboard…friggin jandy typos!

              • Mine was not a comment on the discussion. It went back to an exchange plan and I had over the weekend where I was “flummoxed.” ;-)

              • That’s all well and good, AW, but I’m still flummoxed where that comment came from on Dejan’s end.

              • +1

              • Jandy, I’m on his list. I was pretty aggressive last year defending the front office. I’m sure he knows 500% more about things the front office has done wrong then has been actually reported. But as I told him back then I can only go by what I have actually seen reported and my own personal observations.

                I am not a fan of Kyle Stark or Connelly. Haven’t been for years. I do beleive NH has done a good job with what he had/has to work with. Not great but good. Could have done better with some trades but has done very well with others. He has done a great job stocking the system with hard throwing pitchers through draft and trade. He has been horrible with free agent signings. His drafts have been uneven but the improvement of some players this last year made some average drafts look good.

              • Ok Nate, thanks for filling me in there. But you know, you’re not a “hater” in that you constantly harp on anything. And you haven’t said NOT to get a bat, you just want to see an upgrade, not someone added for the sake of just adding someone. At this point, we know we need help. I hope NH can find it!

              • Jandy thanks and you did read my stance on the topic correctly. If there is an upgrade to be had I want them to make it. Maybe they should call Cincy and check on the availability of Votto.

          • The pitching has lost them more games since the all-star break then the offense. They are 5th in the NL in runs scored since the all star break. That is fact. I don’t think I ever said they should stand pat. I have said Morneau is not the guy they should get and that the front office should not be burned at the stake if they fail to pick up a “bat”. I actually think that maybe the better move right now would be to pick up a starter. Especially if Wandy is not coming back. There could be more options available.

    • It’s amazing to me the grip this anti front-office narrative has on some. What about this organization isn’t better then 5 years ago? Nobody, absolutely nobody is making moves in the National League with the exception of some minor deals made by the Dodgers.

      I said many times over the last week that Dunn would be a great pick up and could help this team. In my opinion Morneau is a no-bat first baseman as well. He doesn’t improve this team. Statistically he is not an improvement over Jones. Just look at their numbers over the last 3 years. Dunn’s numbers are not great but he does something only one current player on our team can do and that is change the complextion of a game in one swing on a semi-regular basic.

      I’m not saying it’s the right move to not get a bat just that there is very little available on the market. I don’t understand the thought process of not getting a bat = must be fired.

  40. David Schoenfield of ESPN just included these paragraphs in an article comparing the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds:

    Hitters who can carry a team: On the season, the Cardinals have scored 578 runs, the Reds 533 and the Pirates 478, although the Reds do gain some runs from their home park while the Pirates lose a few.

    Since the All-Star break, however, the Pirates have actually performed as well as the Cards or Reds, with a .311 weighted on-base average (wOBA) versus .299 and .298, respectively. This time of season, you’re looking for that guy who can carry a team down the stretch, like Miguel Cabrera last September or Vlad Guerrero in 2005 or Chipper Jones in 1999. If you had to pick one guy from these three teams to do that, I go with MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen, who has been one of the best hitters in the majors since the All-Star break with a .355 average and 1.056 OPS.

    But the Pirates have another guy who can go on a hot streak in Pedro Alvarez, co-NL home run leader at 30 with Paul Goldschmidt. Alvarez is hitting .175 in August but hit .309 with 10 home runs in June, which shows what he’s capable of when he gets in a groove. A good sign for Alvarez: Cingrani is the only lefty starter the Reds or Cardinals are using right now and Alvarez has hit 27 of his 30 home runs against right-handers.

    Advantage: Pirates. Their offense might not look as good on paper, but it’s been as good in the second half.

    I post this to point out that there is an alternative perspective to all of the teeth-gnashing that has gone on since yesterday afternoon (all of which I understand). As Jandy posted above, the Pirates need to find that one guy who can step up on a given night and make a difference. That guy may be inside or outside of the organization.

    DK: Remember, PLEASE, with copyrighted material, post a small excerpt at most to go with a link. Thanks.

    • Tom P, thanks for the honorable mention :)

      One thing I will add, is that it might not always be just “one guy” or the same guy who steps up. It has been, and I hope continues to be, any one of the team who steps up.

      • I agree that it won’t be the same guy. As a practical matter, when the best players fail at bat 70% of the time, it can’t be the same guy. It’s not like basketball where you can put the ball in the hands of your 85% foul shooter and say, “score or get fouled.” Somebody has to figure out a way to get it done.

    • C’Mon DK. He cited his work and gave the author credit. Unless you want full MLA citation i think what is there above is about all you can ask for.

      DK: No. Can’t steal copyrighted material.

      • AJS,

        DK is right. Here is a link that summarizes what is OK and not OK with copyrighted material.

        http://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/fair-use-faq

        In brief: “Note that attribution [citing your source] has little to do with fair use; unlike plagiarism, copyright infringement (or non-infringement) doesn’t depend on whether you give credit to the source from which you copied.”

        To avoid a problem, it is probably better to keep any cutting and pasting to a sentence or two. As I said before, I stand corrected.

      • My bad. I did not know this.

      • So if I were to write a research paper and used an ESPN article as a source and I decided to quote maybe 3 sentences of the article, I would be in violation of copywrite infringment? That’s rough. I am going to have to talk to my librarian wife this evening and see if i can figure out where the line is drawn!

        • AJS,

          Live and learn, I suppose. To answer your question, I pulled the following quote from the website of the U.S. Copyright Office: “The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.”

          Here is the entire link: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

          One of the considerations is whether a use is for commercial purposes or for non-profit educational use. To use your three-sentence example, if you only use a small portion of the article, include other sources in your paper, add your own analysis, and only turn it in for a grade, you are probably OK.

          I used the one or two sentence limitation to be on the safe side so that all of us avoid the temptation to cut and paste too much. Let’s face it, the point of the blog is primarily to share our own thoughts, not to assemble and publish the thoughts of others.

  41. It has always been said, by everyone, if you are going to steal third, there are NO OPTIONS – YOU MUST BE SAFE!

    You can’t, as manager, have a wild stallion run the bases without restraints or reins. That is why CH is to blame for that misadventure. He was not in control of his team. Whether Marte ran on his own or not, he had to have at least tacit approval from CH, in which case CH was still wrong.

    But why am I so upset, these shenanigans have been happening at third base for the third year in a row now. And the same characters are in place.

    And you cannot just gloss over it, because invariably loses occur from this.

    • Maybe the mistake Clint made was trusting that his player – Marte- would be aware of the game situation.

      I fault Marte on that play.

      • Thanks for the input, TC

      • Of the many things that could be criticized, you are 100% correct. Marte needs to be aware of the situation and consequences.

        But, this brings up an interesting point…………….. isnt it the job of the manager and coaches to teach Marte those things?

        • The player should know those things by now:
          -don’t make the third out at third
          -if you are going to steal you have to be 100% sure you’ll make it.
          - what is the real added benefit of being on third as opposed to second? A single gets you in either way.

      • I fault Marte, too. But Clint is the one who’s made the decision to go with aggression over tying their hands. We’ve seen it with a lot of players going to third (not necessarily a steal) in seemingly inappropriate situations. Would YOU have trusted Marte there? I wouldn’t, so Clint deserves at least some of the “blame.”
        He’s made the overall decision, and maybe it’s right overall. I don’t know, but I don’t think you can put it all on Marte for what happened yesterday in that particular instance.

        Leyva was getting blamed yesterday, and I didn’t think it was his call, or that he could have stopped him once he got going.

        • In Marte’s defense…
          1. He is still a young player in his 1st full season and there will be growing pains.
          2. The adage is never make the 1st or 3rd out of an inning at 3rd base. Marte may have never thought about that since he took off with only 1 out. If Martin doesn’t strikeout it’s not the 3rd out. And there is an advantage to being at 3rd with only 1 out (but the Pirates seldom take that advantage and do something with it). Again a young players mistake. But the good definitely outweighs the bad with Marte.

  42. The players aren’t robots though. Clint can’t ‘program’ them.

    If Marte made it, all well and good. But he didn’t. It’s on him, he’s played a lot more pro baseball games than I have, he should know this stuff by now.

  43. I’m just going to throw this out there.

    Irishjim I owe you an appology. My comment was childish and out of line on Saturday. I let my emotions get the best of me in an attempt to defend someone that does not need defending nor is it my job to do so.

    I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again. I speak my mind (and everyone said no sh*t). I’ve had more swings and misses on here than the Pirates did yesterday. I’m passionate about my sports and yes there is a line between passion and anger and I took out some anger on you Jim.

    Not asking that my apology be accepted just asking that if possible we move along from this event along with the negativity that I myself participated in this weekend.

    I can man up and admit a mistake but unlike Clint I read this blog and I don’t need reminded of my mistakes.

    If you want to petition DK to ban me thats fine; if you want to send me an angry email or an email telling me when its time to stop its TJECK109 and you can put at something that is close to yohoo behind it. I’d be happy to get to know some of you so that you aren’t just avatars but people I consider yinzers and part of my Pittsburgh sports family.

    Thank you.

    • ++ many for having the cajones, Teddy Bear.
      If it’s any consolation, Irishjim upset me too.
      But I’m learning to ‘avoid’ the stuff that makes me wanna type nasty comments :)

    • By the way. I think NRM has been crushed underneath all the rubble that is the reaction to any sustained trend of losing. That is a shame because he is one of the more logical people on this blog. Hopefully the Pirates win soon so he can peak his head back in.

    • Just blame it on the back TJ. Or you can blame it on that picture of Ted you have. We all go overboard sometimes with our passion.

      How’s that back doing? I hope it’s mending well and you are up and functioning.

      • Nate, you have an excellent memory. I forgot all about TJ’s back.

        • He and I share a history with bad backs. It’s not something you forget. You will never see me complain Walker isn’t playing when he has a bad back.

          • Good point, Nate, as I for one do bust on Walker.
            And I should know better, as my hubby has 3 bulging discs in his lower back, and some days are very uncomfortable.

      • Getting ready to head to therapy now. Got 24 days before I leave for Disney and my 4 year old is counting on me. Gotta ask the question today of do I need to cancel all travel until my vacation. Minneapolis this week, Orlando next week and St Louis the week after. All that flying and crap isn’t going to help. Ugh!

        Thanks for checking in Nate; and btw I would rather have Dunn myself…. he is signed for next year as well which buys time for Dickerson and lets us possibly let Jones and Gaby walk.

        • I hope the news is good.

          The fact that some are willing to let Jones walk who has similar stats as Morneau should tell you all you need to know about Morneau. I think they let Jones walk as well. He hasn’t produced well enough to warrent the contract he will get next year. Dunn has holes in his game but he brings something different not a replica of Jones.

  44. To evaluate any player that the Bucs might think of picking up, first you need to forget about salary or what you might have to give up. Is the player better than what we have on the roster based on recent history, and is he better than what we have in the minors? Does he have playoff experience? If he passes those tests, then you can get into $ or what you are giving up. I’d take a chance on Morneau and I’d even give up Jones for him, if they’d take him.

    Aside from Cutch, who in the Pirates lineup strikes the most fear in an opponent?

    For the season the Pirates have 1 player hitting over .300. Over the last 30 days they have 4. Over the last 7 days they have 6, if you include Harrison and Barmes. While I believe you need to have 3-4 regulars hitting .270 or more if you want to be taken seriously as a playoff team, I think clutch hitting is the bigger issue here. And if they aren’t getting those hits, you have to think the players are starting to feel the pressure.

    The west coast trip will indicate this team’s fortune for the rest of the year. I think the front office would consider the season a success if they finish with a winning record. At the beginning of the season many fans would have felt the same way. I’m still reserving my optimism for the playoffs until after Labor Day. As of right now, I don’t see them getting out of the play-in game, if they make it.

    • No no no.

      The FIRST thing to do is pick a guy whose name we can make fun of if he flops.

      Overbay Overpay OverTheHill Overrate, for instance.

      I think Dunn fits the bill.

      There. Now go get him.

      • I’m sure we can come up with something for anyone they might pick up that under performs. We’ve had 20+ years of practice. Heck there may be some old ones we can reuse.

  45. *****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!

  46. OK, so where is JimS?

  47. Only 333 comments so far?
    I was expecting at least 500.

    I’ll keep calm and hope you all can break 500.

  48. I’ve followed this blog for atleast a year. And I still don’t know what BMTIB stands for… its obviously not Best Manager in Baseball… cuz I need a T in there somewhere. Someone enlighten me please?

  49. Lucky, I thought of you over the weekend. Because 20 years of baseball futility is half as long as Moses spent in the Wilderness with the Israelites, there might be a sermon illustration in there somewhere.

  50. I so want to thrw in the towel today. Just an aggrevating week of Pirate baseball. Forget the sweep in Colorado. They showed signs against the Cards that the sweep is meaningless. The Cards are supposed to be the front runners and the Bucs held there own and lost 2 of 3 on the road both losses in extras. No shame there. They then took the opener against the DBacks. But 15-5 and another Jeff Locke shelacking and 16 yesterday it all just starts to pile up. This team struggles against San Diego and San Fran regularly. It is a series against the Padres last year on about these same dates that really just sent the tame into that tail spin. Gotta get at least 2 from SD and 2 from SF to right this ship.

    10-29 to get to 82. Give me those 10 wins. Then we can start to talk wild cards and home games.

  51. OK guys, I gotta get some serious stuff done (read: work).
    Have a wonderful afternoon and evening :)

  52. Sorry for the long post but below is a great rundown of streaks of poor play by other teams in the league that somebody else posted. This really puts in perspective that this more then likely will not be the trend going forward for the last 40 games for the Pirates. All teams struggle for periods of time.

    Atlanta: From April 19 to April 28, the Braves lost . . . seven of nine. And from April 17 to May 15, they went 10-17.

    St. Louis: Just over three weeks ago, the Cards started on a seven-game losing streak, the last four to the Pirates. A week later, they had a four-game losing streak. From July 26 to August 10, they went 4-13.

    Cincinnati: From June 18 to June 28, the Reds lost . . . seven of nine. Starting on July 26, they had a five-game losing streak and, through August 4, lost . . . seven of nine.

    L.A. Dodgers: From mid-April through early May, the Dodgers had a six-game and an eight-game losing streak. They went 6-17 from April 14 to May 10. They weren’t much better over the next five weeks.

    Arizona: From June 8 to June 17, the D’backs lost . . . seven of nine. From June 23 to July 2 they lost eight of nine.

    Boston: From May 3 to May 14, the Red Sox lost nine of eleven.

    Tampa Bay: From April 7 to April 16, the Rays lost seven of eight. From June 9 to June 18 they lost eight of ten. They lost eight of ten again from July 31 to August 13, including a six-game losing streak.

    Baltimore: From May 14 to May 20, the Orioles lost six in a row. They had a four-game losing streak in late June and a week later started another stretch of losing six of eight. From July 23 to July 31, they lost six of eight again, and they ended another four-game losing streak a couple days ago.

    N.Y. Yankees: Starting May 26, the Yankees lost seven of eight. Starting June 11, they lost . . . seven of nine. Starting June 19, they lost eight of eleven. Starting July 13, they went 6-14.

    Detroit: From June 25 to July 1, the Tigers lost six of seven. They’ve also had stretches of 4-8, 2-6 and 1-5.

    Cleveland: From April 4 to April 19, the Indians went 3-10. From May 21 to June 10, they went 4-16, finishing with an eight-game losing streak. They had a six-game losing streak that ended a little over a week ago.

    Kansas City: From May 6 to May 14, the Royals lost . . . seven of nine. Shortly after that, they had losing streaks of four and eight games. From May 6 to June 4 they went 6-22. Starting July 10, they lost five in a row and . . . seven of nine.

    Texas: From June 6 to June 16, the Rangers lost nine of eleven. From July 10 to July 28, they went 3-12.

    Oakland: Starting April 19, the A’s lost eight of nine. Starting May 6, they lost eight of ten. From April 19 to May 15, to they went 8-18. Starting on June 14, they lost seven of ten. Starting on July 30, they lost six of seven.

    • Whew, feel much better now.

      • I know you’re being facetious, but I’m not into the “misery loves company defense”.

        My mom used to say that and I refused to embrace it way back then.

        Wonder how those teams fared the past two Augusts and September in relation to our beloved PBC.

        Great job, BTW, Nate.

        • Hurdle calls it comparative self-denial.

          • You and Hurdle both put it better than me.

            I know when I went to the pricipal’s office with another person and we both got 3 whacks (they were allowed to do that then), I didn’t give a rat’s rump that he was in there with me.

            Mine still hurt just the same. And I had a fat one then.

        • I can’t take credit somebody else did all the work. It’s amazing the Pirates didn’t have a streak like this at any point during the season before now. By the way every team with a winning record is listed.

  53. I think I need to go back and try and read the game threads. Apparently its been pretty rough. Kinda funny.

    Yes, its only one game.
    Yes, they can’t hit, not knew news.
    Yes, they need a bat. Morneau? Novel idea. (Ive been asking for that guy for 2 years now) No idea what that would take though.
    No, I am not losing sleep over this, nor am I losing sleep on whatever is being said on the blog.
    I think some fans would be better off if the Pirates were still in the crapper. All their hopes and dreams can’t be washed away by the sight of a loss.
    Yes, it sucks the Pirates are on this losing streak.

    But most of all, it sucks that I have to actually go and do some work instead of sit at my desk and enjoy these conversations.

    BTW, August 25th (this Sunday) I get to watch my Buccos take on the wife’s Giants at the 2nd best ballpark in all the land……..AT&T.

    Fun times with garlic fries.

  54. I just saw the “Go Topless” rally is coming to Pittsburgh.

    I think I’m going to find out when and where and go protest it, in person.

  55. What few of you realize is what these Pirates players have been doing for the past five months is playing so hard to keep ahead of everybody else that they are now exhausted. Seriously, they look tired at the plate trying to hit with RISP and tired in the field and on the mound. Johnson’s great effort yesterday was the work of a man who has not been under the kind of pressure the rest of the team has been. He was not as tired as the others (although he may now be) and it showed. The team is not hitting because the players’ vision & reflexes are not as sharp as they were before August. Pure and simple. The team is not hitting as well as it was from April to early August because the players are not playing at their best and they are not playing well because they are tired. My guess is that some of them may also be distracted by one thing or another personally, drinking or snorting too much, or staying up late and partying between games when they should be sleeping aond conserving their strength. Who the hell knows? Only the players. And that’s the key. If they can’t get themselves straightened out, one by one or collectively as a team, nobody, even a smart guy like Hurdle, can make them healthy. Adding on another bat is not going to make enough of a difference to turn them around. Stop blaming the management for not hiring enough power batters and start looking at the tired players and asking why.

  56. You write columns now?

    Since when?

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