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Final: Cubs 5, Pirates 4

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (85-61) vs. Chicago Cubs (62-84)

Starters: RHP Charlie Morton vs. RHP Jake Arrieta

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Jose Tabata, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Garrett Jones,RF
  8. Clint Barmes, SS
  9. Morton, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Travis Sawchik and Karen Price are on the scene.

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.



    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.


    Line #1
    Total INNINGS PITCHED by Charlie Morton in tonight’s game
    Line is 6.25

    Line #2
    Total WINS POSTED by Pirates STARTING PITCHERS in the 3 remaining games against the Cubs this weekend
    Line is 1.5

    Line #3
    Total WINS by the Pirates in the 3 remaining games against the Cubs this weekend
    Line is 2.5

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Wild Card Magic Number: 9

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23


  2. Barmes??!!??
    No Marlon Byrd??!!??
    Garret Jones??!!??

    Lunatics, I await your turpitude and outrage….

    • ICIT, well I have no choice ;-)

      • I think Clint is just happy to be able to have the lineup (1-8) bat R-L-R-L, etc…

        • Yes, I don’t know if it is on purpose or just luck but Clint does have some different bells and whistles to work with now. Left/Right, contact/power, Speed/defense. No matter who he starts there is something on the bench that can allow him to match up with the opposition depending on the situation. The two trades really stretched the line up as well as bolstered the bench.


      Honestly though, no problem at all with this lineup.

      Charlie gets his best catcher and infield defense.

      • And thsi must be Byrd’s day for “maintanance” during the 20 game stretch. Clint’s not going to change his ways just because it is September. he wants to give his horses a day off now and then. This only becomes a giant issue with Byrd and Cutch since they are the only ones who typically are penciled in day in and day out. We get platoons at first, Pedro sits against some tough lefties, Mercer/Barmes, Harrison/Walker, Tabby has played more days than not in left but you ahve to think they will let him keep that up with Marte on the mend.

        • And FWIW, Jake Arrieta is walking almost 6 batters per 9 innings and batter 1-7 in the Pirates lineup walk at or above major league average.

          If they don’t score on this guy, it won’t be Clint’s fault for sitting Byrd.

          • Wait a second. You just said that batter 1-7 in the Pirates lineup walk at or above major league average. That doesn’t sound right at all.

            I trust your information because it is always spot on but it just doesn’t sound right. This senntence has never been used to describe the Pirates “Man those Pirate hitters sure are patient”

            I actually noted a few weeks ago when half defending and half bashing Jay Bell that their plate approach does look better this year. I didn’t realize it was that much better.

            Hopefully we can get his pitch count up and get to the bullpen quickly.

      • Charlie is a ground ball pitcher. Needs his best defense behind him. I’m not saying Jones is better than Byrd by any stretch, but a day off is not a bad thing.

    • I used up all my turpitude when I was cleaning up from painting…. :)


      He is probably trying different line ups to see what he has to work with for the playoffs.

    • Barmes blows.

  3. You beat me to it, Playoffs.

    For the benefit of War Horse of England:

    What is wrong with Clint, resting Byrd when we’re tied for first?

    And, after that double in the 8th last night, where is Mercer?


    Carry on. Nothing to see here.

  4. Anybody see this today?! We’re the MOST lovable (or least hated…perspective is everything)! Till next year! Whoop!

    • Apparently Dejan didn’t have a vote. :)

    • Tigers 15th makes me laugh. Try living next to those fans like I do. They slide in right behind the Yankees and Dodgers in my opinion. I don’t know why but I have never found myself disliking the Red Sox. I guess I want somebody to beat the Yankees and despite the high payroll I respect the way the build their team as compared to the Yankees.

      • I LOVED the Tigers in 1984 when I lived there!!

        • I actually did as well. I was 9 at the time and wasn’t interacting with their fans very much. I hate to say it but Cleveland fans are so much more easier to deal with and knowledgable. In general fans of all Detroit teams thing their team is awesome and that every game they lose is because the ref/ump/lineman made a bad call.

      • I went to a Pirate- RSox game several yrs ago in Ft. Myers and clapped when a Pirate hit a single.
        I swear that image has never left me.
        If you have ever seen the movie “Invasion of the body snatchers” when the aliens turn around and point their finger at the Humans when a dog almost gets hit by a truck and the woman screams.
        That is the same feeling I got ,everybody in the immediate area turned around and stared at me like I was a freak.
        I have seen Red Sox fans since then on t.v. and I’ll tell you I would not attend another Boston game unless I carried an automatic weapon with me. Those are not fans they are scary.

  5. Why is it when there are runners on 2nd and 3rd and less than 2 outs and a ball is hit
    to an infielder, why do the runners feel that they have to run, causing a sure out at home?
    Then what we have is runners on 1st and 2nd. No longer have a runner on 3rd to score
    in case of a passed ball or wild pitch. Just wondering.

    • It is often decides well before the ball is hit wether or not you are running on contact. If the bottom of the order is coming up it is not uncommon to run on contact.

      If there is a guy on second it is not a bad move regardless of who is coming up because you now will have at worse 1st and 3rd with one out instead of 2nd and 3rd. It’s worth the chance to get the run in.

      Even first and third and no outs it’s not horrible because you still have a guy in scoring position when the play is over and depending on the situation the team will concede the run and take the double play.

    • I think the Bucs overall hitting woes have factored into some of these bad decisions, Chuck.

      They’re panic moves brought on by lack of confidence in a player coming through with a 2-out hit.

      • It’s also amazing how many times the throw home is not good enough. With the way the Pirates hit with RISP if the throw is bad 30% of the time it’s better then the 24% of the time the next batter actually gets a hit.

  6. Sorry, did Pedro actually do something to warrant moving out of the 6 spot? He hasn’t hit since his second streak in June stopped.

    • Yes, Bryd is sitting and Jones can’t hit in the 5 spot. Martin’s numbers at 6 are dramatically better then 5 as well.

      Alverez has been laying off the balls in the dirt and making good contact but it has more to do with the other options then what he has earned in my opinion.

    • As if Russell and Garrett have?

      FWIW, a Morneau-Alvarez lineup is pretty much toast after the 6th inning since any manager worth his salt with match up a lefty reliever and Clint is too stubborn to look at facts.

      • NMR did you forget you were on the pro Hurdle side. Are you prepared for the wrath of the War Horse. Very unwise of you.

        • I did get a chuckle out of that part, mostly the fact that I was Clint’s boy and Arriba was some sort of pompous jerk who pee’d in Clint’s Cheerios.

          • On his statue, and Roberto’s.

          • I did as well. I was grouped in with those who question everything the front office and manager does. I haven’t seen DK’s list but I’m probably on that one as well for the exact opposite.

            Well at least we are not on the peeing on a statue list. That has one lonely person on it. At least there is a rumor that he did that going around.

        • Thanks, guys. I didn’t have a problem with the pompous jerk part, but if someone’s going to call me a pompous jerk, at least get the underlying facts right. I’m very particular. ;-)

          I did think this was over the line, though, from the War Horse:

          ” Give it a rest, AW. Enjoy the pennant race. Save your efforts at gangster-style intimidation for your wife and kids.”

          Some things just aren’t right.

          • In all seriousness, – NEVER – EVER – , bring family into these arguments.

            I read that and wanted to jump through the screen, AW.

            Completely classless.

          • You’re the coolest gangster-intimidator on here.

          • Are you sure AW peed in Clint’s Cheerios and they weren’t War Horse’s?

          • You need to change your ring tone to Coolio

          • AW: I never called you “a pompous jerk.” Or anything like it. I was reacting to your criticism of my analysis of the A.J. incident with Barmes. Here was what you wrote about it:

            Arriba Wilver says:
            September 13, 2013 at 12:00 am

            “You need to get your facts right, smart guy.
            You have no idea what you’re talking about.
            But if it makes you feel good about yourself to make s#*t up, have a good time.
            And, what Milo said.

            How do you think you’d have reacted to a post like that?

            Not for the first time on this blog, you’ve accused me of getting my facts wrong. But you have yet to specify what facts you don’t agree with. Is it just you being, as you describe yourself, “A Grumpy Old Man?”

            If I hurt your feelings with the remark about intimidating your family, I’m sorry. I apologize. But please stop trying to intimidate me, like NMR’s bullying rottweiler, with unfounded accusations that I don’t know facts. If you don’t agree with my analyses, fine. You have every right to disagree. But try to remember next time that insults provoke insults in return.

            You and a few others seem to think you are not accountable for what you write here. Guess what?

        • I must have missed this list somewhere. Maybe its a good thing.

    • I stated yesterday Pedro is hitting .285 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI’s last seven games including the only RBI off Darvish and hitong last two lefties Perez an Rusin.

      He has picked it up of late.

      • His approach seems like it has been better as well. Looks relaxed at the plate. Not Pujols relaxed but better. Pujols almost looks like he is on NyQuil or something.

      • I’d like to THINK he IS picking it up, but I’d need a few more days (and a few home runs maybe) to believe it. Pedro is hitting .204, .678 OPS with 8 HR, 28 RBI in 194 ABs since the All Start break. Amazingly, Garrett Jones’ numbers (prorated for the number of at-bats) are almost identical. (.200/.676/5/14 in 120 AB).

  7. Alex Presley.
    Man, I almost for got to add that.

    Have a great weekend.

  8. “The Wrath of the War Horse.” Now that’s what I like to hear. Good on you, Nate.
    (In a previous life, I fought at Troy, and my petulance was known as “The wrath of ______”. Well, some of you will get it.)
    But you all are being pathetically apologetic about Hurdle’s Folly in posting tonight’s lineup. It’s a disaster. Because Jake Arrieta has been pitching in the NL for such a short time, only Morneau has batted against him (1 BB in 2ABs). So Hurdle’s had no good data to rely on, as he usually does, to choose who hits well against him. And Arrieta has been very tough on teams like St. Louis, having pitched a two-hitter over 7 innings back in July.
    I am befuddled that Byrd is not in the starting lineup. He had all that time to rest when he was driving from New York to Pittsburgh, and should be prepared to go all the way, every day, now. Jones is hitting .200 since the AS break and belongs on the bench. What was Hurdle thinking?
    Mercer, hitting .381 lately, should be at SS, not the pathetic Barmes. It will be interesting to see where he’s ordered to field his position. As much as I respect Morton, I don’t think he has balls to move Barmes into the hole where he should be. (Let’s count how many infield hits and outs the Cubs get tonight against the ridiculous Stats Shift.)
    And why should Martin be catching when Sanchez is hitting .287 lately? If anyone needs a rest, it’s Pedro. Can anyone remember when he last hit a home run? Of course not, you’d have to look it up.
    Charlie Morton, who invented that phoney excuse about a sore whatever to cover up his miserable start last time out, will at least bring his .190 BA to the lineup. Heaven knows what he’s going to do on the hill.
    I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why CH and the rest of the coaches have become so muddle-headed overnight and why you, the real brain trust of this successful season, are being so considerate, understanding and compassionate.

    • Byrd has played every game since joining the team. A day of rest is not a crime.

      Barmes is hardly pathetic and a much better fielder than Mercer.

      And the ridiculous defensive shifts actually work. Don’t know what games you’re watching, but the Pirates defense is at or near the top of the NL.

    • Barmes in the lineup for defensive purposes. If CM is on his game, Barmes is the most important position.

      Byrd having a day off is a non issue, except for those that think his drive from NY to Pittsburgh was a good enough break.

    • Yup Clint butchered this lineup just like the last 2, sitting cutch then batting j hay leadoff. What’s that? The averaged 5 runs in those games? Never mind.

  9. • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post
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    Like I said a couple of days ago, will be gone till Wednesday night, any help with keeping track of new lunatics signing in would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Line #1 100 on the UNDER

    Line #2 100 on the OVER

    Line #3 100 on the UNDER, thanks.

  11. On location, wit ‘chall! Lego!

  12. The lineup won’t matter is Charlie is getting donesky for the season.

    We’ll know early if that’s the case.

  13. Ground Chuck will bring it tonight. I see 7 innings and and Buccos putting up at least 4 runs.

  14. Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg was a surprise scratch from his scheduled start Friday night because of tightness in his right forearm.

    Manager Davey Johnson said that Strasburg originally felt the soreness before Thursday’s game against the Mets, when the right-hander was experimenting with a new pitch. Strasburg will rest for two days and take some medication, but he is expected to make his next start next Thursday against the Marlins.

  15. GO BUCS! Go Mariners! Go Brew Crew!

  16. I remember earlier in the season, the announcers were saying “It’s a little early for scoreboard watching.” But a lot of us were. Well, it ain’t too early now.

  17. Ground Chuck we need a DP.

  18. Does anyone think Russell Martin needs a little break??? 139 ba since middle of August.

  19. Why are the Pirates not hammering the Cubs pitching? Been this way all year.

  20. Pirate batters are making this guy look like a right handed Sandy Koufax.

  21. I leave for a few minutes all heck breaks loose. C’mon guys!

  22. Take a deep breath kiddos. Pennant race = Anxiety. Elimination at the end of August = Steelers. Root like hell. Root as hard as these guys are trying. Go Bucs.

  23. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Pedro flashes the wheels to wake up the PNC crowd, El Toro!

  25. I don’t think Martin needs a rest.


  26. OMG Martin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Back to back! Woop woop!

  28. Back to Back!!!

  29. Rusell Martin goes yard, back to back albeit in an unconventional way.

  30. Martin must read the blog. :-)

  31. There’s that 2 out lightening again!

  32. Back to back to BACK!!!

  33. Holy COW !

  34. Back to back to back, and to think some were worried about the bats against Arrieta, not.

  35. Any one for FOUR!!

  36. Well, at least we got through the weak part of our order in good shape… :-)

  37. Don’t even know what to say. Holy s*%t to quote Belushi in Animal House.

  38. Cannot believe the season we’re witnessing.

    Love it!

  39. They really can’t take it back now, but I think we got a call on Pedro’s ball. Looked like the fan reached out into the field and deflected that ball – even though Tim and Steve say other wise even with the slow motion showing that. Glad they tied it up though.

  40. Enjoy, Wild Bill.

  41. Brew Crew 2, Red Birds 0. Go Mariners.

  42. Morton a little shaky tonight.

  43. I thought Valbuena’s ball was gone, Charlie thought Valbuena’s was gone, Tim Neverett thought . . . Wait forget that last one.

  44. Very nice running catch by Tabby, Cubs hitting Morton hard, CH needs to keep him on shorter leash especially if he keeps ball up.

  45. Dumb, dumb, dumb…….

  46. Does Tabata have any functional gray matter???

  47. The bonehead baserunning shows up again by Tabby.

  48. Whew, glad Wilson got out of that.

  49. Huge punch out for Wilson there and he did so without his regular velocity as he was sitting 92-93.

  50. We’ve got these guys right where we want them.

  51. Get on The Double Cutch Bus!

  52. That’s what hustle can earn you at times, Alvarez busting it down the line to make it close and force the hurry and Cutch hustling in to score and Buccos take lead!

  53. Good hustle by Pedro

    This club has something special going

    And they know it

    So should we

  54. It’s really hard to go 25 games without, but Morneau is giving it his best shot to accomplish the feat.

      • Double huh? In a come from down 3-0 to take lead with all the great plays and big hits the players have turned in that is the thought?

      • Right before the mini hr derby, Morneau battled through a 12 pitch at bat. You can’t tell me that didn’t have something to do with the hr’s.

      • Morneau has no RBI’s in nine games so far. I was Judy projecting out to the end of the season. He seems to hit well with nobody on, but his at bats with runners on scoring position have been weak pop ups, weak ground outs or strike outs. It’s probably due to trying to hard to make an impact and the small sample size do far. I was just making a comment.

  55. Don’t know if anyone mentioned this above, but Melancon not available. Grilli is the closer tonight. Heard CH pre game.

  56. Brew Crew up 3-1 against the Reds!

  57. One right here would be good for Grilli’s confidence.

  58. K! Nice, Cheese ;)

  59. Dang. he thought he had it and so did I!

  60. I think I need to send my old glasses to the ump behind the plate. Man!

  61. Wow . . . not good.

  62. What a meatball by Grilli.

  63. As Blass just said, this is about the Pirates, not Grilli. Too bad.

  64. Homer. Up 5-4 on our boys! :(

  65. Grilli does not get the strike call on Valbuena which could have gone either way and than Rizzo belts one, game of inches and calls at times.

    On a positive note- M’s take 1-0 lead on Cards and Brewers lead Reds 3-1.

  66. get him out of there

  67. Feel bad for Jason, but the crowd gets it.

  68. Alright plenty of time and cracks for Bucs bats to do some damage on Cubs bullpen.

  69. Oh well, so much for my comment about Grilli needing this one for his confidence.

    Fastball is about 2-3 mph slower, sitting 92 instead of 94-95. He misses those extra mph because it sets up his other pitches.

    We just cannot lose this one. Got to find a way.

  70. Need some heroics.

  71. Seriously Kids, stay positive. Cards and Reds are losing. We are WINNERS now. Last 20 years are American History.

  72. On the bright side, Jose won’t get picked off or doubled up. ;-)

  73. Don’t like that Nats have suddenly won like 7 in a row. Expect no help from Phils this weekend Magic Number wise.

    • Cause they are actually beating the scum of the league. Something we usually have trouble with. I can’t stand them winning at this point.

    • Come on guys…you are still worried about the Nats?? Wow…

      • Not really, I just don’t want them to win since I live south of DC.

      • I worry about everybody until they are eliminated. 7 games back, they’re being allowed to hang around. Magic Number should be 8. Nats aren’t losing to the Phils, we need to take care of our own business, which obviously didn’t happen tonight. Lead will be 4 before we know it, with 6 games against the Reds left. We get swept, and the likes of LaRoche and Ohlendorf are playing the Reds in the Wild Card.

  74. A Cutch 2-run go ahead bomb in the 7th would not have hurt his MVP resume.

  75. So Depres shows up out of shape, checks Crosby today and Sid gets examined for a concussion . . . before being cleared? Nice.

    We certainly don’t need any Sid-less portions of the upcoming season.

  76. Pedro heating up will be huge. (Feel free to quote me)

  77. Mariners are winning 1-0 and Wainright just got out of the 6th with100 pitches. Come on Bucs.

  78. Well…we will have one more chance…pitcher’s spot, Mercer, and Tabby…

  79. Well I hear the woooos are back. :/

  80. Nice K for the FArn

  81. Ok Let’s dooooooooo it!

  82. Alright….hear we go…come on Buccos…send the crowd home happy tonight.

  83. OK, who’s gonna hurt a toe, so we can put Farnsworth on the playoff roster?

  84. Come on Gaby…get on so Pie can run for you…

  85. Nice of us to let Rizzo find his stroke. This team loves squandering opportunities that are given to them. Though two cubs have hit HRs tonight and both were 2-run homers. TWO of their runs we gifted on base by stupid walks. The Bucs need to start learning this from other teams. Usually when a Buc walks, he stays there, or is erased by a DP. Too many walks score against the Bucs – or it at least seems that way.

  86. Gaby = pop-up = no surprise.

  87. Guess we can’t win them all….I’m off to bed, Loonies, working with Hubby again tomorrow,..

  88. Come on Neil…

  89. He smoked it but no cigar.

    Let’s get ‘em tomorrow.

  90. Damn!! Can’t choke these away guys…Cards and Reds both losing….

  91. Lose to the lousy Cubs because Hurdle has a brain cramp with Grilli. Amazing.

  92. Need Seattle and Milwuakee to hold on. Can we please get a blowout- games by the Bucs tomorrow to stop this needless string of close games.

  93. Second basemen for Seattle just misplayed a pop up for two base error

  94. Granted, you need to bounce back and not give up a blast, but I’ll blame the Ump also. Grilli K’d that guy, but the Ump rewarded a guy looking at a pitch on the black with two strikes. Should never happen.

  95. You know St. Louis will win. They take leads late in games. Not give them up.

  96. I disagree that the players choked, but I do think Clint outsmarted himself by rotating all those guys early on, and leaving himself w/o a lefty to face the Cubs closer. Many managers would have brought in a lefty pitcher to face Rizzo, after the walk (and Grilli could have felt pretty good instead of how he must feel now. Of course, I am not an MLB manager, I just criticize them on a blog.

  97. Cards now have runners at the corner with one out–unbelievable

  98. I know it’s all about the splits but would have liked to have seen Jones stay in the game tonight, especially coming off the rope homer he hit to center.

    Sometimes a few days out of the line-up, watching other guys contribute, player more relaxed and then coming through can do wonders.

    • See my comment below. The value of splits to Hurdle is a function of his preconceived notions of whether a player is a regular. Thus, Morneau’s awful splits are ignored; so are Sanchez’s tremendous splits the other way.

      • As to Jones, I fully expect him to hit 30 bombs elsewhere next year. At least eight of them will be off lefties. The yanking him in an out of games (ironically, to give Sanchez at bats) has been done with such maddening obsessiveness that the benefit was blunted in the case of both players, and neither has bern as good as he migh hav been had he been able to relax and play a game end to end. Get a clue, Hurdle. Sit Morneau and Jones against lefties, and rest Sanchez and Byrd against some righties. Byrd is 36 and doesn’t need to be in every day. Morneau should sit against some righties. This isn’t 2006 Morneau, Clint. None of it will happen, though.

        • I’m not anti-Hurdle but I do agree that the application of his principles — which are floating — can be maddening sometimes.

          From the perspective of Jones in particular, the few times he’s gotten in since the trades (at least those at bats I’ve seen) he’s done a solid job. And so if Hurdle was going to go with his gut tonight, I wish his gut told him to leave Jones in. We were up at the time and I know Hurdle wanted to add on, but why not give Jones another shot, trust your bullpen can hold the lead and save your other hitters (like Byrd) for later in the game if you need them?

          Competition, which the trades has brought, can often take pressure to produce off and prompt greater focus. Jones seemed to be more relaxed and focused tonight and the last few times he’s gotten in.

          As an example, Arrieta was pitching everyone up through the first 3 innings. The second time through the line-up Jones adjusted his swing plane very nicely, rather than waiting for the low fastball he craves, and he roped a higher fastball over the center field wall. Regrettably, we’ll never know if Jones was about to have another “locked-in” game like the day before the trades.

          In stark contrast, Hurdle is still giving Tabata, a singles hitter, plenty of playing time even though, in my view, the upside is much greater with Jones, in spite of the year he’s had to this point.

        • So you are expecting that in 2014 he will do what he couldn’t do with PLENTY OF CHANCES in 2013, and in hitting HRs off of lefties, he will do what he NEVER HAS DONE in his career. I guess I will pass on your ‘predictions’ if this is an example of them.

          • Yeah, and I’m sure you guessed when he was called up in 2009 that he’d still be here in 2013, having hit 101 major league home runs. The homers of lefties was tongue in cheek, by the way. Notwithstanding, you can trash him all you want. This offense would have been pretty meager without him the past several years. Pretty unappealing listening to people like you malign a guy who has exceeded everybody’s expectations a few years ago.

  99. Seattle threw the ball away on sure double play. 1-1

  100. Second baseman screws up popup and SS throws ball away on sure double play. Seattle giving game to the Cards.

  101. 1-1 Seatlle and Cards–Cards had two lousy hits going into the 8th.

  102. I am glad that we are done playing the Brewers…they could give teams fits down the stretch…

  103. I’m wearying of the Hurdle worship that seems to be taking root. He is an unusually hardheaded tactician, and his starstruck attachment to Justin Morneau is becoming painful. Jones was benched just after going 3-4 the day before the Morneau trade. Since then, in cameo appearances, he doubled off a lefty and hit a laser tonight. Gaby Sanchez, who owns left handed pitching, appears tonight to hit against … wait for it: a righty. There have been at least six key at bats Sanchez should have replaced Morneau. Instead, we saw Morneau pop out, ground put and strikeout against lefties he never should have been allowed to face.

    Speaking of lefties, we have several of them in the bullpen there to face the likes of Anthony Rizzo. Not tonight. Determined to prove a point, the exploding ball of chewing gum leaves Grilli in to pitch to him. Lefty-righty splits only work for Hurdle when they are applied to people he perceives are platoon players (Jones, Sanchez). Perceived full-time players (Alvarez, Morneau) get a free pass to full-time mediocrity at the team’s expense so Clint can pencil in the same eight names every day. Thus, we see an underpowered slider get a free plane ticket to could-have-been-avoided-loss city.

    Clint Hurdle is a self-help guru wearing a major league uniform with just enough knowledge of the game to be damgerous. Good for him for making the players feel better about themselves and each other. That is to be commended. Now, you want them used properly? Look at the guy with BANNISTER on the back of his uniform. Clint Hurdle is too full of preconceived dogma about individual players and tactical decisions to ever be a consistently winning manager. His players have bailed him out on a remarkable number of occasions. He remains the best we’ve had since Leyland, but his tactical shortcomings are profound and will punish this team in the postseason.

  104. With 15 games to go, the Pirates magic number to clinch the second wild card is 9 (vs. Nationals), to host the wild card games is 13 (vs. Reds), and to win the division is 17 (vs. Cardinals).

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