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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Frowns, Browns and melting down

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column goes in search of a hero. And as such, it somehow winds up extrapolating all of Heath Miller’s considerable worth to that of the Justice League.

And no, I’m not above a brazen either-get-it-or-you-don’t Aquaman reference …

Couple random thoughts from my time over on the South Side: Don’t make too much of this veterans-only meeting, or the 2008 Club, as some have jokingly called it. Ben Roethlisberger described it as the “third or fourth” such meeting the team was having, and Ryan Clark estimated its length in single-digit minutes. … I’ll assume the stubbornness in the room originates with the coaches, but if there’s anyone in any capacity discussing any strategic change, it’s impossible to pick up. … Isaac Redman, on the coming weekend: “If we go out there and win and run the ball like we know we can, all this will change. All this will be forgotten. The talent’s here to do it. I know it is.” … Players can easily avoid media sessions by staying in the adjacent cafeteria. Way more than usual exercised that option. I don’t care, but in case anyone does, there it is.

More from Ben …

Why the passing game can’t connect, by Alan Robinson.

Why the zone-blocking disappeared, by Mark Kaboly.

Why you should plan your parking Sunday, by Bob Cohn.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage, including a Le’Veon Bell update.

Here’s the latest on the Bears from the Chicago Tribune.

>> Oh, Cleveland.

Oh, low-class Browns.

This is beyond any meaningful commentary. But it’s not beyond tremendous radio from up there.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls 2>> Mark Melancon blows it. Not a sentence that exactly rolls off the keyboard, but Rob Biertempfel describes the Pirates’ third loss in a row from PNC Park.

>> Did the Padres solve Melancon? Sure looked like Bud Black and crew were on to something. Travis Sawchik blogs.

>> A.J. Burnett — rightly — shrugs off the whining about his tweet.

>> Bill Mazeroski is auctioning off some of his 1960 mementos.

Here’s our full Pirates coverage.

Here’s Padres news from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Here are official game highlights from

I’ll be over at PNC Park for the matinee finale and the Friday column. That’ll likely be the last I write baseball until — gasp — our playoff preview section.

>> Tomas Vokoun might exhibit as much team-first selflessness as any athlete I’ve covered. Josh Yohe gets underneath the mask.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Pitt’s linebackers measure upJerry DiPaola updates.

>> Penn State just loves Christian Hackenberg. Chris Adamski updates.

>> The weekly chat is tomorrow at noon, right here on the blog.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    An extremely disappointing loss (and series) for the Pirates.
    I’ve seen this San Diego team many times on TV here on the west coast.
    I can tell you that I have “never” seen them play like this all year.
    On the other hand, the lack of offense by the Pirates is just enough to make your head swim.
    They will either come out of this funk very soon, or end their season in this exact horrendous fashion.
    A real shame…..

  2. Ouch…that one stings a little.

  3. Dom says:

    I’m confused why the Browns would part ways with Richardson for just one first round pick. Despite have two broken ribs last year, Richardson did rush for a credible 900+ yards in his rookie season. I saw that a guy named Chris Ogbonnaya is now listed as their starter and he was signed from the Colts practice squad earlier this year so apparently they didn’t have any depth to begin with. Now the Browns can use that first round pick they got from the Colts, select a RB and if they’re lucky they’ll be in the same situation they’re were at yesterday. Why draft Richardson #3 overall one year if you’re going to part ways with him for what will be certainly a late first rounder the next year? I have sympathy for the Browns fans. The Browns aren’t rebuilding, they’re imploding.

  4. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I think the Browns are starting to panic that the Steelers might get a higher pick than them next year.
    That’s all they ever think about….The Steelers and high draft picks.

  5. Dom says:

    Maybe they’re looking to trade up to get a franchise QB in next years draft.

    Still, we’re only two games into the season and they’re already punting their season away. Although I doubt they would have won the division with Richardson, it is up for grabs. Doesn’t send a good message to their season ticket holders.

    Hey, if we do end up with one of the first few pick next year, maybe they would be willing to part ways with both of their first rounders for our first.

  6. Ghost says:

    I often watch parts of Padres games myself. I’ve been liking Cashner for a little while now but all of Piratedom has now seen him first hand. The Pads have a good young set of ballplayers with their best years still in front of them. Gyorko is my favorite, but Venable, Denorfia, Amarista, etc. are all promising. Don’t know what to make of Cedeno, but he’s making the most of this extended shot he’s getting. Headley too, is coming around. They were a crappy team earlier this year. But they’re getting past some growing pains. Ask the Braves who just lost two of three at home to the Friars.

  7. Ghost says:

    Neil Walker’s bat has underperformed our expectations this season. Some of that I do think would be rectified by having him learn to hit as a lefty at all times. But I DO like the plays he’s been making in the field. Last night saw just his latest fine work. Yeah, the Pirates are starved for offense, but these days it’s more important than ever to build a baseball team that is strong up the middle defensively. I think it was one of the Cubs announcers who said the other day that the Bucs have the best defensive efficiency in the league at SS and 2B. Mercer is not chopped liver, but his range is a bit limited. Barmes and Walker have been delivering the goods. Don’t know what the arb. value will be for a guy like him this winter but I’d like to see his glove remain right where it is for at least another year paired with Barmsie.

    Mercer can fill the soon-to-be-vacated 3B. :D (Couldn’t resist!)

  8. Brandie says:

    Last night sure did hurt! Here’s hoping our boys can close out this series on a winning note.

  9. Drew71 says:

    What Did Clint Do??

  10. Tom P. says:

    With 10 games to play, the Pirates magic number to clinch the second wild card is 5 (vs. Nationals), to host the wild card game is 10 (vs. Reds), and to win the division is 13 (vs. Cardinals).

    On the bright side, the Pirates are 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are just much more streaky than we would like.

  11. Jandy says:

    He furiously chewed his Double Bubble…

  12. Thundercrack says:

    Check the final score. He lost this one

  13. JAL says:

    JAL’s Be True to Your School Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Why Do the Pirates Lose to Bad Teams Right Before Playing Good Teams?

    Morton Electric, McCutchen ‘Clutch’, Pirates Lose 3-2

    Pirates Notebook: A Man with a Plan for Martin

    Trades Were Never Going to Help This Streaky Offense

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates take tough 3-2 loss to Padres

    Burnett and Hurdle address attendance “issue”

    6 Rumbunter

    An Open Letter to the Pittsburgh Pirates Offense


    Game 152: Padres 3 Pirates 2

    8 The Green Weenie

    Friars String Three Two-Out Hits Together In Ninth To Rally Past Bucs 3-2

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Padres 3, Pirates 2

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates blow 9th inning lead, lose 3rd straight to Padres

  14. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Beaver County Times

    Pirates Insider: Bucs fall again

    12 San Diego Union Tribune

    Padres rally to defeat Pirates 3-2

    13 Washington Post

    Atlanta Braves rally to deal Washington Nationals a 5-2 loss

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Hamilton, Bruce lift Reds past Astros for sweep

    15 Wall Street Journal

    The Calls That Replay Won’t Fix

    Fusty Old Baseball Brings the Crazy

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Padres Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Wainwright carries the load

    18 PBC Site

    Once again, at a loss against the Padres

    Notebook: Martin sits out first of likely two straight games


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Reworking WARP The Importance of a Living Replacement Level

    20 Fangraphs

    Tewksbury’s Notebook: Pitching to the Best Hitters of the 1990s

  15. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Le’Veon Bell practices, but isn’t looking to re-injure foot

    Antonio Brown vs. Todd Haley: Drama now seated next to misery on Steelers’ ship

    22 Steelers Gab

    Roethlisberger Says Steelers Captains To Meet And Chat About 0-2 Start


    23 London Evening Standard

    Chelsea 1-2 Basle: Swiss side fightback to stun Jose Mourinho at the Bridge

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 18th September, 2013


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points Wednesday: Penguins Then and Now

  16. JAL says:

    Be True to Your School Beach Boys 1963

  17. Chuck Snow says:

    Clearly Todd Haley is at fault for this latest loss as the Steeler stench is clearly drifting into the Pirates dugout.

  18. The Justice Avenger says:

    The Justice Avenger is NOT a happy camper this morning :(

  19. Jandy says:

    Neither is Mother Theresa :(

  20. The Justice Avenger says:

    LOL! Good one, Chuck.

  21. Jandy says:

    I didn’t know Hurdle batted last night :P

  22. Jandy says:

    Gotta give Tom P credit…he keeps on keepin’ on!
    Good job, Tom.

  23. The Justice Avenger says:

    Say some extra prayers today Mama! This team needs it!

  24. Jandy says:

    I’m prayin my heart out, son. I’ll keep ‘em flowing!

  25. The Justice Avenger says:


  26. The Justice Avenger says:

    Clint and the Boys appreciate it!

  27. Jandy says:

    Yup, even AJ does ;)

  28. radio wave says:

    Great choice.

  29. theplanisworking says:

    Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
    After last night, it should be Drink Like a Fish Day………….

  30. radio wave says:

    A critical game and Morton was great. Can Cole do the same? Does PA need a day off? Never liked using pitchers as pinch runners but Padres do it with success. Painful last night, will be there Friday/Sunday.

  31. Karen22 says:

    Neither is Not-so-Rarin’ Karen. :(

    We’re going to the game today under a cloud of major disappointment. After last night’s deflation, I nearly ripped up my tickets. That AWFUL, impending doom feeling again. I don’t like it.

  32. Karen22 says:

    I carry a rosary with me always. Today, it emerges from my pocket at first pitch.

  33. Karen22 says:

    GOOD Charlie showed up, but BAD team “won” the day. This series feels like getting my teeth drilled without anesthesia.

  34. Jandy says:

    Planimal, I hear ya…so what are you serving? Beer? Wine? Liquor?

  35. theplanisworking says:


  36. theplanisworking says:

    Water, silly.
    Fish drink water.


  37. Jandy says:


  38. theplanisworking says:

    But, you can have wine, Jandy.
    Its in the shallow end of the Pond……….

  39. Jandy says:

    Thanks, you’re the best Hippo ever!
    Oh, and I like your tattoo on your rump ;)

  40. theplanisworking says:

    You and that tattoo.!

    Not a word about the Afro or the shades, but you love that tattoo!


  41. Scott says:

    Brutal loss for the Pirates. The good news is that 10 games remain, and 5-5 would clinch a playoff spot (and that’s if the Nationals go undefeated the rest of the way.) Let’s stay ahead of the Reds and at least get one playoff game at home.

  42. Jandy says:

    what can I say? ;)

  43. theplanisworking says:

    I am curious what today’s discussion on this here blog will bring today, in regards to last nights loss. Someone has to be able to step up and fix this.

    We aren’t allowed to criticize Hurdle.
    We aren’t allowed to criticize Bell.
    We aren’t allowed to criticize the players.
    The only one above criticism is Cutch. Everyone else is fair game.

    Last night, Charlie Morton (and his dog) pitched 8 wonderful innings. Cutch provided the huge HR in the 7th, appearing to win the game. Down to their final out, SD came back.

    So will there be discussion today? Or will it just be more of the same………. “thats baseball”, “cant win them all”, “dont you dare criticize anyone”………. etc.

    Maybe a team meeting will help?
    Extra BP?
    Look, I dont have the answers, so I am relying on others to help me out here.
    If the Pirates dont fix this soon, it is gonna get real ugly.
    Like losing to the bottom-feeding San Diego Padres ugly.
    With the Reds upcoming.

  44. theplanisworking says:

    Say a prayer for our teams.
    They need it!

  45. Dom says:

    Is a rubber duck your avatar?

  46. Jandy says:

    I don’t know how to fix it, but I have a question.
    Why wasn’t Charlie left in to pitch? He didn’t seem to be having any issues, and I don’t recall his pitch count being overly high.

  47. Jandy says:

    See my conversation above with The Justice Avevger. Mother Theresa is praying!

  48. theplanisworking says:

    Charlie was at 98 pitches I think.
    Hurdle has faith in Melancon.

    Thats all I got.
    Yeah, maybe he could have stayed with Charlie.
    Tough call, Mom T.

  49. theplanisworking says:

    Less Wine.
    More Prayers.

  50. Jandy says:

    Yeah I agree. I was really impressed with Charlie last night.
    I felt so bad for Melancon. :(

  51. theplanisworking says:

    Hahahahahahaha. No, Dom.

    Its a “Disco Hippo” that Brandie got me.

  52. theplanisworking says:

    Hahahahahahaha. No, Dom.

    Its a “Disco Hippo” that Brandie got me.

  53. theplanisworking says:

    Agreed Jandy.

    Last night, Thunder said (jokingly) we should acquire another bat.
    I agree with him. Halloween is right around the corner.

    I am hoping today to get some real conversation here. We have many good bloggers who have many good thoughts, but I am tired of all the “you cant criticize X”, or “thats baseball”. Just hoping for a little bit more, I guess.

  54. The Gunner says:

    My hat is off to Charles Morton for his fine effort last night.

    Cole will likely stop the slide today. K-dro needs to sit for a few games, he has become an automatic out like a pitcher. Walker has become a problem; CH should play Mercer @ 2B & Harrison @ 3B today. Martin is lethargic, let Sanchez play today. Buck can provide Martin some additional relief. We need a spark to the OFFENSE or this weekend will be brutal.

  55. NMR says:

    These are the times that humble any baseball fan, plan.

    I applaud your effort in discussion, but sometimes the boring answer is the right one.

    The team prioritized pitching and defense. That is what they got. Unfortunately, they matched that with players who are offensively streaky and strikeout prone.

    Three nights ago, Cashner pitcher a gem. Hats off. Two nights ago, Stultz challenged them to hit the ball the other way, something they’ve struggled to do all year. They failed. Last night, Ross was buzzing fastballs over the heart of the plate, seemingly without regard of the hitting zone, and just one person made him pay.

    That is the offense. No amount of BP and players pow wows is gonna change it.

    As a fan, you just hope the good outweighs the bad after 162.

  56. Scott says:

    That’s baseball. Seriously – that’s baseball. The best team in the league is still going to lose 60 times, and some of those will really sting. This happened to be one of them.

    The Pirates have lost 3 in a row. That’s hardly cause for panic. As someone noted above, they are 6-4 in their last 10. That’s hardly cause for panic. Their starters have been pitching great. That’s hardly cause for panic. Based on what we’ve seen this season, I expect the offense and the team to rebound very soon. Perhaps starting in a few hours.

    I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to criticize whoever you want. Of course, others are allowed to refute your criticism. That’s pretty much how a message board/comment section works.

    I criticize Cutch all the time, by the way, for his lack of clutch hitting and the fact that he hasn’t even driven in as many runs as Marlon Byrd. But he sure came through last night.

  57. Tom P. says:

    I would be tempted to give Pedro a day off. He is hitting .125 in the last week and .164 in September, according to He is not the only culprit, but he is not even making contact.

    Teamwise, the Pirates have 11 hits in the last three games. They have scored in 2 of 27 innings. You would think that trend would not continue.

    On the bright side, this may be good preparation for the playoffs. Good pitching on the other side (and the Pirates, too), low scoring games that really do come down to one or two at bats a game. I know I’m not adding much, but the collective wisdom around here is pretty good.

  58. Jandy says:

    I guess that’s pretty much it, then. My heart still hurt for Melancon, who has really been lights out all season.
    And for Charlie, who pitched a gem for naught.

    Let’s hope tonight is the turnaround game we need.

  59. Dom says:

    I read the Browns were going to sign Willis McGahee pending a physical. In 10 games last year, McGahee rushed for a solid 731 yards. If he did so well, why didn’t we make any effort to sign him? He at least belongs in the league as oppose to Dwyer or Redman. Of all the guys we have in our backfield, I don’t feel any one is as good as McGahee.

  60. theplanisworking says:


    many good points.
    But now that the pitching and defense are struggling, the offense is being asked to help out, fairly, or unfairly. I just cant wrap my head around this.

    I do hope that something gets figured out, and soon.
    Maybe benching some players? I dont know…………..

  61. Baywatch says:

    Morning, All! Hope to catch this lunchtime game today. Right the ship, Buccos!

  62. theplanisworking says:

    I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to criticize whoever you want. Of course, others are allowed to refute your criticism. That’s pretty much how a message board/comment section works.

    Scott, it goes beyond this.

    Whenever someone questions a decision by Hurdle, many come out and say…….
    “Clint is a great manager”,
    “Clint has changed the culture”,
    “Clint is damned if he does, damned if he doesnt”,
    “You just have a vendetta against Clint”,
    “What would you do instead”, etc. etc.

    This is what I am talking about.
    A poster yesterday put the following up as his answer for almost everything……….

    “Hurdle 87, Pirates 64″.
    I enjoy that posters posts, but that is the type of discussion-killing that I was referencing to.

  63. 21sthebest says:

    I have no criticism of Hurdle for bringing in Melancon. I know that’s how it’s done. But I wanted Morton to stay in only because they hadn’t hit a ball hard all night off of Charlie. No complaints for taking him out though.

  64. theplanisworking says:


  65. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t really get the ‘we aren’t allowed to criticize….’

    I think people can criticize anyone or anything they want.
    And the nice thing about this blog is that it allows people to post differing opinions or challenge opposing opinions.

    But I blame the players for this recent slide

  66. 21sthebest says:

    After last night, the odds of the Pirates making the playoffs rise to 99.2% and the Nationals drop to 1.4%, per ESPN.

  67. 21sthebest says:


  68. theplanisworking says:

    Thunder, I agree with you 100%.
    Really like this here blog, and posters.

    I thin k you know what I am talking about with my “no criticism” line of thinking.
    I habe witness many times someone will criticize , say Hurdle, and 5 or 6 others will jump in. The feeling I get is that they dont want any criticism at all. That is a bit different than saying “I disagree with you”. Just my one cent.

    And yes, the players are the ones laying the eggs. They need to look in the mirror, and get moving. You can see the disappointment in Cutch’s face, more need to show that fire.

    By the way, do you prefer candy bats. or the rubber props? ;)

  69. theplanisworking says:

    Thunder, I agree with you 100%.
    Really like this here blog, and posters.

    I thin k you know what I am talking about with my “no criticism” line of thinking.
    I habe witness many times someone will criticize , say Hurdle, and 5 or 6 others will jump in. The feeling I get is that they dont want any criticism at all. That is a bit different than saying “I disagree with you”. Just my one cent.

    And yes, the players are the ones laying the eggs. They need to look in the mirror, and get moving. You can see the disappointment in Cutch’s face, more need to show that fire.

    By the way, do you prefer candy bats. or the rubber props? ;)

  70. theplanisworking says:

    And, no matter what doom befalls any Pittsburgh sports team,
    at Least we arent the Browns. Seriously!!

    Cant help but wonder if this move was financially motivated.
    Richardson was guaranteed 20 million.
    Next years pick they receive, will be in the 20-27 range, and will be a whole lot cheaper.
    Just food for thought.

  71. theplanisworking says:

    And, no matter what doom befalls any Pittsburgh sports team,
    at Least we arent the Browns. Seriously!!

    Cant help but wonder if this move was financially motivated.
    Richardson was guaranteed 20 million.
    Next years pick they receive, will be in the 20-27 range, and will be a whole lot cheaper.
    Just food for thought.

  72. The Justice Avenger says:

    I will be there today, too. My wife and thought the same thing…knee jerk reaction last night. If indeed this goes into a tailspin, Karen, I would have never thought that would we see a collapse this late into the campaign. With this magical season…man, that would break all of our hearts. BUT, it is NOT over yet, either. we have seen this team recover from adversity more than a few times this season. I can’t give up, yet. Not this close to the end of the year.

  73. theplanisworking says:

    OK, I got AW’s computer ghost, and I am posting multiples. Either that, or its the Halloween bats……………………….

    I will take this as a sign to go.
    Everyone have a great day, catch on the Buc game thread.

  74. Jandy says:

    I agree, 21, just was curious as to why he wasn’t left in when he wasn’t showing any signs of trouble. And usually MM is spot on. Things just didn’t work out that way last night.

  75. The Justice Avenger says:

    BEAUTIFUL 21! Perfect video.

  76. Jandy says:

    Have a great morning, Hippo Tattoo :)

  77. Jandy says:

    TJA, I feel they will turn it around. Go with high spirits!

  78. Tom P. says:

    To reprise a theme from earlier this year, I think the blog needs to rally like the Americans did after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor….

  79. Jandy says:

    G’mornin Bay!

  80. 21sthebest says:

    What bothered me was that it appeared Melancon kept throwing the ball into what the Padres were trying to do.

  81. The Justice Avenger says:

    Thanks, Mama T.! Will do…

  82. bradthedad says:

    Don’t care much for the ‘good Charlie bad Charlie’ stuff – it seems to somehow trivialize the long tough recovery from very serious surgeries. He looked to me to be very much in command and very confident…great news for the coming weeks. Good news and bad news about Marte – glad he’s back but he’s giving us nothing as he rubs off the rust at a time runs are hard to come by. Gotta do it though.

  83. Karen22 says:

    Nope, not giving up! Just extremely disappointed! We’re in section 318…this time I’m not muffing my foul ball, either!

  84. The Justice Avenger says:

    Well said, Tom. Very well said!

  85. The Justice Avenger says:

    Pens…a classy organization!

  86. NMR says:

    Actually, Tom, thats not correct on Pedro. He’s striking out about 10% LESS than his season average over the last month.

    Hits just aren’t falling for him.

  87. NMR says:


    I hear ya, sister. That was one of those outings by Melancon where you just have to throw your hands up. He was making good pitches, getting weak contact. Unfortunately, every ball seemed to find a nice safe patch of green.

    If I had to guess, that was the type of outing Dejan was thinking about earlier in the year when he was writing about how out-of-this-world Melancon and Grilli were pitching. Those outings happen. To every pitcher.

    To Mark’s credit, he seemed to handle it very well.

  88. Tom P. says:

    OK. Thanks fir the heads up.

  89. Patrick(RI) says:

    The Pirates need to find a mysterious woman (I nominate Brandi or Jandy) to whisper in their ears “spill the wine, take that pearl!” This is War, so to speak.

  90. Jandy says:

    Yes indeed, he did, NMR. He stayed composed. But, like Petey, I could see the pain in his eyes.

    Oh well, today is another game.

    Time to break the spell and WIN!

  91. Patrick(RI) says:

    apologies to Tom P. who inspired this conversation killer.

  92. Jandy says:

    Very much so. :)

  93. Jandy says:

    LOL I love that reference, Patrick! If it would work I’d do it!!!

  94. Jandy says:

    I don’t follow that, 21. The hit that drove in the winning run was hit off a pitch that was low and away…I was wondering how the heck it was hit at all.

  95. Patrick(RI) says:

    Do it! JB seems to fall on deaf ears.

  96. SeanAY says:


    Great column, particularly the brazen Aquaman reference. Am I too nerdy for thinking the “making sense out of the Browns’ front office” was a Martian Manhunter reference?

    Personally, I think Miller helps the offense out tremendously in that he should cut down on the rushed throws and coverage sacks. He’s a) someone that is very good at getting open, and b) someone that Roethlisberger clearly trusts. I guess we have to live with “Ben being Ben,” but ultimately he needs to realize it’s not a failure to check down to the guy five yards down the field.

    Also, thanks for your continuing efforts to beautify the blog with some of that good Ivan Reis art. Next to Capullo, the best in the DC stable (now that JH Williams is gone).

    DK: Reis is great. They’re overworking him.

  97. Milo Hamilton says:

    Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

  98. Jandy says:

    That’s just nasty…

  99. NMR says:

    No problem, and I didn’t mean to nit-pic. Your point is a good one.

    Just eems odd to me that Pedro is struggling the most during the time he’s making the most contact.

  100. Jandy says:

    Can I have Starbucks with that?

  101. Jandy says:

    That’s Petey. He is what he is.

  102. NMR says:

    Hopefully the “good charlie, bad charlie” remains a thing of the past.

  103. Milo Hamilton says:

    Whatever you want. I’ll buy.

  104. 21sthebest says:

    They kept going to right field, and he kept pitching it where you make it easier to hit the ball to right field.

  105. Jandy says:

    You’re ok Milo, I don’t care what Dejan says ;)

  106. Jandy says:

    That I did notice, and Byrd isn’t the fastest fielder out there…but man…that pitch was low and away…don’t know how he hit it out there…

  107. 21sthebest says:

    Well Byrd had no shot. That ball landed just inside the line. And I wouldn’t say that pitch so low and away that it was tough to handle. Looks above the knees to me and hittable.

  108. diehardburgher says:

    Why doesnt Hurdle have a quicker hook, I have no problems with letting Melancon pitch 9th but once he gives up tying run that’s it. Hurdle left Grilli in after the walk the other night and it cost them. This time of yr everything is on the line, a manager should have a very short leash, you just cant afford these loses. Who cares if we beat out Nationals for playoffs but go to Cinci and lose a one game playoff? After this year the Pirates had to have no home playoff games will be a crusher

  109. JohninOshkosh says:

    I have never been in a stand alone Starbucks in my life. I got one at their stand in Target once.

  110. Jandy says:

    Same here, Oshkosh, there’s one in the Barnes & Noble in Logan Towne Centre in Altoona. Or I buy the bottles in Sheetz lol.

  111. Kevin says:

    why is it so pink?? hippos are more grayish purple IMO.

  112. Jandy says:

    Kevin, you silly thing you, Hippo is so happy to be here, he’s tickled pink ;)

  113. Milo Hamilton says:

    I hadn’t either until this spring. I got a gift card for Christmas basically as a joke because I deride Starbucks constantly. The Pirates had an off day & it was too cool & rainy for the beach so we went down to Sarasota to St. Armand’s Circle. There was a Starbucks, I was cold, I had the card in my wallet & voila. While I was there, I hear somebody say “Milo”. I figured no way but it turned out to be someone from home. See that, Starbucks brings neighbors together, even 1,200 miles from home.

    I really liked the coffee, but it was pricey.

  114. AJS says:

    Doesn’t matter if Cole can do te same if no one that was a Pirate prior to August 31 and not named Andrew McCutchen can hit the ball.

    What a pitiful offensive display.

    Teke pointed out after the game that in their last 19 games they have played 10 games against sub .500 teams and scored more than 4 runs exactly once in those games.

    In the other 9 they have 5 games with more than 4 runs. They also give up more runs in these games.

    It speaks to what I thought I had been seeing. the last Cards series aside, this team seems to find a way to beat good teams but goes to sleep on teams like the Cubs and Padres.

  115. Jandy says:

    Good stuff, but yes, pricey, so I don’t venture into Barnes & Noble but maybe once a year.

  116. The Justice Avenger says:

    115 for us. We’ll wave to ya, Karen! :)

  117. NMR says:

    The tying and winning hits weren’t even in the strike zone.

  118. AJS says:

    Did anyone else notice how dejected Cutch looked in the dugout last night? And the night before after he got a base hit he was motioning to the dug out to get up and get moving almost begging for some help?

    That isn’t good. Not for this team, not for Cutch’s future in Pittsburgh.

    This man needs help. This locker room needs to stick together. Three in a row against the Padres hurts. But this team can still come together and take 7 of 10 and go into the playoffs on a high note rather than limping along.

    Pedro getting hot would go a long way. When he is hot this team is explosive. When heis not…well not so much.

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s the kind of correction Martin makes with the pitcher, according to Ray.

  120. NMR says:

    Good lord.

  121. Jandy says:

    You ALL have fun, hear? :)

  122. Nate83 says:

    I can’t speak for other but as far as I’m concerned criticize away. If I disagree I may debate you about it but please don’t ever take that as I don’t think you should criticize. This place would be boring if we just all came here and said how awesome everything was. It can’t always be rainbows and unicorns.

  123. Jandy says:


  124. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m a make it at home or convenience store coffee guy. Coffee flavored coffee as Denis Leary says.

  125. Jandy says:

    SHEETZ coffee …. LOVE it! :)

  126. NMR says:

    Ha, I’m gonna get it…

  127. The Justice Avenger says:

    thanks, jandy. closing up shop and heading over to the yard soon. have a good day everyone. hoping to bring home a winner.

  128. Arriba Wilver says:


  129. NMR says:

    Couple things, diehard.

    Melancon wasn’t getting hit hard. He had good velocity, good movement, and good command. The hits were just falling.

    And second, Hurdle would have to constantly have guys up working in the pen in order to have as quick of a hook as you suggest. That’s a lotta wasted pitches this late in the year.

  130. Jandy says:

    LOL my bad ;X

  131. Kevin says:

    Man, I thought I was depressed yesterday morning… that was an absolute gut-punch last night. Another exceptional start wasted. What the hell is the answer? At the very least, they need to start stringing together hits again. I don’t like the occasional solo HR blast team they’ve become anymore. I mean… I should be used to it. This isn’t terribly different then the pirates have been ALL year. Except usually, they are supposed to win these close games. And not choke after getting 2 outs in any particular inning. It’s like they are actively trying to find new ways to lose.

    I wanted to end this post with a line from Anchorman but I’m just not up to it right now.

  132. Jandy says:

    be safe…later

  133. Jandy says:

    Do the line from Anchorman, it’ll cheer ya up…do it!

  134. Damon says:

    Tony Sanchez is starting today…and you would think he’d start tomorrow too. Martin must need a nice long break…unless he will play 3B tomorrow…

  135. 21sthebest says:

    The winning hit was most absolutely in the strike zone, unless your name is C. B. Bucknor.

    It was well in the strike zone.

  136. Mike Shigley says:

    What no one yet has said explicitly is that the Padres won last night by doing something the Pirates consistently fail to do — they went to the opposite field. The AP wire photo in my local paper this morning of the game winning hit said it all.

  137. Nate83 says:

    Melancon was not getting hit hard. He actually gets out of that inning if Bryd isn’t playing deep to prevent the double. He had a 1.03 ERA. He gives you the best chance to win or get out of the inning only giving up one run.

  138. Nate83 says:

    I guess the encouraging thing to take away from all of this is that the starting pitching has been really good of late. I was worried about that aspect of the Pirates about 3 weeks ago. The way these pitchers have stepped up over the last 2 weeks gives me confidence that if we can just score 3 or 4 runs we have a good chance to win. I have to imagine the offense is better then what they have been showing of late. Hopefully they are saving it up for the playoffs.

  139. John Lease says:

    He couldn’t have done worse than Barmes…

  140. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I have to go into a meeting. Could one of you please re-post this when the game thread goes up? Thanks!!


    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 RUNS ALLOWED by Gerrit Cole in today’s game
    Line is 2.5
    ****Please note this is TOTAL RUNS allowed and NOT Earned Runs allowed****

    Line #2
    Total STOLEN BASES by Pirates Runners in today’s game
    Line is 0.5

    Wild Card Magic Number: 5

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23


  141. Kevin says:

    I agree… SOMETHING POSITIVE. thanks for the silver lining, Nate.

  142. Dom says:

    LINE 1: 50 OVER!!!
    LINE 2: 50 OVER!!!

  143. Damon says:

    Well there I go…thanks!

  144. John Lease says:

    i’m emotionally spent after 3 craptacular games.

  145. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Can’t feel entirely bad for Melancon. He and John Buck did nothing to combat what was clearly Padres hitters looking for stuff away.

    Once is an accident.

    Twice and they fooled you.

    Three and four times….Buck and the Shark got played….It won’t happen again though. Melancon will be fired up next time out.

  146. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Thank you….Buck should not have let him keep going out there after it happened the 2nd time….break a bat for cryin’ out loud

  147. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    always dead on about Pedro NMR…I think he plays today…a daylight homerun festival is just what the doctor ordered

  148. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    bad wheel i think

  149. Ed says:

    Haven’t been around much lately, but expect to be more so in the near future. I have a feeling that this blog and The Trib, in general, will be getting much higher readership in the near future. That other paper wants to start charging $10 a month to read anything on there. Ridiculous.

    Anyway, yesterday’s news, but I was one of the people in attendance of Tuesday night’s “empty seat” game. Perhaps A.J. should be discussing the empty offense of the supposedly new and improved, post waiver wire Pittsburgh Pirates.

    A one hit shutout on Monday by a ham and egger pitcher, score two runs Tuesday, only because the outfielder fell down and score two runs yesterday, only because of the effort of a probable MVP candidate. Absolutely disgraceful.

  150. Jandy says:

    Hi Ed…glad to have you. :)

  151. bizrow says:

    No panic

    100 on the over for both lines

    Thanks Playoffs

  152. Jandy says:

    Well, you guys, we’ll have to agree to disagree, cuz that’s not what I was seeing. But it’s all good :)

  153. Jandy says:

    I feel terribly bad for Melancon. If there’s ONE pitcher who has been consistent, it’s him.

  154. Jandy says:

    BIZ! How was vacation?
    I’ll post below 3 additions for the Asylum, as long as they’re not already on there…look below…thanks :)

  155. NMR says:

    Did Ray say that specifically about last night, AW?

    I don’t know, that looked like exactly what has made Melancon successful all year. The cutter plays when it is moving off the plate to righties, not moving over it.

    I think the result of those three at bats with two outs was exactly what they wanted. They just happened to fall.

  156. Jandy says:

    Biz…this is what I caught while you were gone:

    caspar in a town: He’s posted before but not sure Austinville, OH is on the list…said he was mostly a lurker…hope he posts more often….he’s cool…

    defil21 – another lurker…I know he’s military…born and raised in Washington, PA, now resides in Fredricksburg, VA

    maddog2020, another former lurker…Bar Harbor, Maine

  157. 100 on the Under for #1
    100 on the OVER for #2

  158. bradthedad says:

    I’m probably off base but it seems to me Melancon is leaning more on his fastball lately. Earlier in the year he had a 12 to 6 pitch with speed that was unhittable. Haven’t seen much of it lately.

  159. diehard says:

    Striking 10% less this month still has him striking out 1 of every 3 at bats!

  160. theplanisworking says:

    I posted one on last night’s thread.

    Thats 4.
    Good job, Jandy!


  161. DK,

    I love Heath and all, but the Steelers went 8-8 with him last year in the lineup. Is there really much hope for this year’s team even with his return? I can’t see how his return will spark the offense enough to make this team win any more than last year. Especially since he’ll begin in (at least) an 0-2 hole to start.

    But I do agree…you can see how much he brings to the team by its performance in his absence.

    DK: Not calling 14-2 here. Just saying he makes a huge difference.

  162. Jandy says:

    We make a good team, Hipposter :)

  163. NMR says:

    Good observation, Mike.

  164. NMR says:

    Not at all brad. Great point. Pitch/fx data says Melancon only used his curve once last night.

    Maybe those who are questioning Buck’s pitch calling have a point.

  165. theplanisworking says:

    No, I am just your little helper.

    I bow to you and Biz.

  166. Jandy says:

    Just remember tho, BIZ is the BOSS :)

  167. 21sthebest says:

    It just seemed to me that after two right handed hitters take the ball to right field and Black keeps sending up right handed hitters, Melancon going inside might not be a bad idea.

  168. bradthedad says:

    Not to go all gloom and doom on you but I noticed Buck and Melancon spent an inordinant amount of time on the mound talking before warmups. Hope there aren’t ‘issues.’

  169. Arriba Wilver says:

    No, no, not about last night specifically. Ray wouldn’t dump on his catcher. I’ve read it a couple of places, probably in DK’s column about unsung heroes. That Martin was so good, that he would notice what wasn’t working even during the middle of an at bat and change things up.

  170. Arriba Wilver says:

    And the observation was attributed to Ray.

  171. theplanisworking says:

    Game thread up ————————————->

  172. Jandy says:

    OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0= OO0=

  173. NMR says:

    I can’t argue with that, guys.

  174. Kevin says:

    Trying to figure out who to blame for last night’s loss.. here’s my list so far:

    – Cashner… since everything went to hell when they put him in to pinch-run… and I fully believe that the San Diego manager did it just to #*($ with our brains. Old jedi mind trick – put in the guy who beat you handily two nights ago.

    – Melancon… since as JRay or someone above said, he kept throwing the same pitch to the outside that kept getting stroked to right.

    – Jay Bell… since he is the only reason why the entire team (minus Cutch) is failing to hit right now.

    – Ray Searage… by some crazy reverse logic, since we are pitching so well, there is not as much pressure on our hitters to hit… maybe if we were instead losing 10-0, there would be more demand. Not sure how this makes any sense.

    – Clint Hurdle… because he did what he was supposed to do and put Melancon out there to save the game? maybe he shoulda put Tony Watson out there or someone completely different… brian wilson??

    – Major League Baseball… because Felix Pie was clearly safe at second and should have been called safe or under review been over-turned to be ruled safe. Then, the good vibes continue and maybe Byrd or whomever after him gets a hit to score an insurance run.

  175. NMR says:

    I blame Obama.

  176. Jandy says:


  177. cmat0829 says:

    what to make of cedeno is that he is veteran filler as their regular SS serves his PED sentence this year… he does not belong in any discussion of “Padres with their best years in front of them”.

    The Pads missed big-time with the Volquez trade, IMHO, but they are scrappy and Bud Black seems like a good manager. They need much more pitching to seriously compete…

  178. cmat0829 says:

    good to know you have “no problems with Melancon pitching the 9th” since he has been outstanding!! this year and has been an excellent closer. The Bucs lost the game in a painful way, it’s very rare for this team (check with the Orioles who have much more experience losing this way this year for perspective)…. but this was managed precisely right… Morton got through 8 at just below 100 pitches and you go to your lights-out closer to face the tough part of the Padres order. Didn’t work out.

  179. Fair enough and agreed. Heath is a difference maker.
    I just get the feeling this team doesn’t have enough difference makers. I hope I’m wrong!

  180. DJ says:

    Mike, I said it last night on the blog and have been saying it all year.

    Welcome to the “take it to the opposite field” club.

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