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Final: Reds 11, Pirates 3

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (89-66) vs. Cincinnati Reds (88-67)

Starters: LHP Jeff Locke vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo

Time: 1:35 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. Marlon Byrd, RF
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  7. Russell Martin, C
  8. Clint Barmes, SS
  9. Locke, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates pageRob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and Karen Price are on the scene.

Also, thought I’d share this fun talk I had with Justin Wilson last night about the pitch of the game …

What’s cooler still, as Clint Barmes later told me, the pitch perfectly matched his position. He drew it against a wall for me, essentially a straight line from Joey Votto’s bat to the left edge of the mound. Barmes was to stand at the other end of that line … which is right where the ball bounced for the simple 6-3 DP.

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.


  1. So I’m a beat writer for the Pirates, covering a team that has had 15+ losing seasons. I leave to be a general sports columnist, finding on the way that my fan base continues to be mainly interested in the Pirates (those losers). Then I begin to see the value of concentrating on one sport. What is the most popular sport in the City? Football of course, and the Steelers in particular. Then, what appeared to be a lock-down positive career choice starts to look like a death-wish.

    Not to worry, the Pirates (now lovable) will be waiting patiently. Their fans never tire of hearing about them.

    Just sayin.


    DK: Career ‘death wish’ = quadruple the number of daily average readers compared to any point in my life anywhere?

    Good Lord, how myopic, Stu.

    As for ‘my fan base,’ which I’m fairly certain doesn’t even exist, my own numbers show the following order of interest: 1. Steelers. 2. Penguins (close). 3. Pirates. 4. Pitt (distant).

    That’s just based on my own stuff, not overall.

    If you really think the tone/makeup of blog comments here or anywhere represent anything close to reality, that’ll be as nutty as anything I’ve ever read here.

    Other than that, though, hey, you nailed it!

    • DK definitely has strong opinions, but that is his job by definition. In my opinion, he is not even close to what you describe above. Since you felt the need to post this on two separate blogs, I felt it necessary to post my response below in both places.

      DK has mentioned numerous times his current role as a columnist is his dream role and he wouldn’t trade it for the world. I don’t even for a second believe he is jealous of what the Pirates are doing now. He has said it is never about the winning but instead the people and stories that come out of the winning or losing.

      I can’t imagine he has any concerns of who is and isn’t reading his material. He has reached the position he wants, and more people then ever are reading what he writes because it is high quality and front page.

      • I don’t get the negative response to DK. I guess some people are never happy. What I love about DK has mostly been his human interest stories. Look up a story he did a couple years back on Andy LaRoche. The guy has talent and sometimes he may have a point of view you do not agree with. So what? An old saying is ‘You never make yourself look good by trying to make someone else look bad.’

      • Another point to ponder:

        If DK was doing such a poor job, his readership wouldnt be so high. I havent seen anyone point this out.
        He is doing the job he loves, with quality writing, and because of this, people are reading.
        I guess DK could write gibberish to make some people happy, but I digress.
        Just keep on keepin on, DK. Haters will always hate, regardless of the facts.

        DK: Forget that. Hope you — and everyone — have a chance to check out the Justin Wilson talk above. Fun conversation mostly isolating on the key Joey Votto at-bat.

        • Loved your question…. “Do you feel sharper under the pressure?” Many athletes would duck that question, or give a vague answer….Wilson looked right at you, and said “Yes”.

          Good stuff.

    • Occasionally batters will post an average below the Mendoza Line.
      Occasionally bloggers will post an opinion below the line of poor taste.
      Just Sayin.

  2. BIG THANK YOU to Lad9 for re-posting the line yesterday for me.
    As always it is greatly appreciated.


    Standings will be updated sometime this evening

    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.


    Today’s Pick ‘Em Line
    Total HOME-RUNS HIT by Pirates Batters in today’s game
    1 (EVEN ODDS)
    2 (EVEN ODDS)

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Wild Card Magic Number: 3

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23


  3. Ah, the thread for the Sunday baseball morning links

    JAL’s Rain on the Roof Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Bullpen Gets a Boost in Time For the Playoffs

    Looking at the Trends of Andrew McCutchen Getting Hit by the Reds

    Burnett, Martin Lead Pirates to 4-2 Win over Reds

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates destroy, maim, cannibalize Reds in 4-2 victory that proves they’ll never lose again

    Postgame: Reaction from the Pirates’ clubhouse following 4-2 victory over the Reds

    6 Rumbunter

    Is A.J. Burnett Riding Off Into The Sunset?


    Game 155: Pirates 4 Reds 2

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Rebound Behind AJ 4-2

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 4, Reds 2

    10 City of Champions

    Pirates rebound from Friday disaster to even series with Reds

  4. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Beaver County Times

    Three Thoughts: Cole should be Bucs’ October ace

    12 New York Times

    In the Market for Another Liriano

    13 Washington Post

    Saturday’s Nationals-Marlins game postponed after long rain delay, doubleheader Sunday

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds squander early lead in 4-2 loss to Pirates

    15 Bleacher Report

    Is Francisco Liriano Best Option for Pittsburgh Pirates in NL Wild Card Game?

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Reds Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Lynn puts Cards one win from postseason

    18 PBC Site

    Burnett sets stage, Grilli closes curtain on Reds

    Notebook: Grilli reprises role, earns first save since July


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Nine of Our Favorite Base Stealers, Stolen Bases, and Caught Stealings

    20 Fangraphs

    Worst Final Seasons, Part Three

  5. Despite splitting the first two games of the series I am very encouraged by the outings by both Liriano and Burnett. Combine that with the way Morton and Cole have been pitching and I feel pretty good about the pitching right now.

    A month ago I was more worried about the pitching falling off then the hitting. If the starters didn’t return to the great standard they set for themselves earlier this year there just wasn’t enough offense on this team to overcome that in a playoff series. With those 4 guys pitchng like they have I think it gives them a chance. There is enough offense to get them 3 or 4 runs which could be all that is required to win games.

    If we do play the one game play in against the Reds I don’t see any scenerio that Liriano doesn’t start that game. The Reds struggle against lefthanders and more specifically Bruce and Choo have done nothing against Liriano and Votto has struggles a bit as well.

    Go Pirates!!!! Keep giving us special momements during this very special year.

  6. Beat em BUCS! Locke em down!

  7. Wow, Barmes in the line up again and with Morton going tomorrow I have to imagine he gets the start again tomorrow. I’ve always been a Barmes supporter while still saying Mercer deserves a majority of the at-bats. Mercer needs to get back out there. He will be needed in the playoffs and if he doesn’t get back out there soon when he does get a chance he is going to be pressing to perform and not relaxed.

    I still have no idea why he didn’t get to bat in the 9th on Friday night. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who would have been shaken by the error. However I think anyone would be shaken by being pulled for a Travis Snider pinch at bat and not playing one single inning after the error for 3 games in row.

    • Agree with you, Nate. I sure hope he isn’t in the doghouse now. His BAT is sorely needed in the lineup and I like his approach at the plate.The big faux pas the other night was on the manager for not replacing him with Barmes’ superior glove late in the game. THAT is what we are paying Barmes big bucks for. We already know what he can’t do at the plate!

      • I sure hope an error of this type wouldn’t put any player in the doghouse. It could have happened to anyone including Barmes. Mental errors and not hustling should get you a room in the doghouse. Consistant bad play in the field or hitting should get you a spot on the bench but Mercer has done none of those.

    • I think Mercer was pinch-hit for in the ninth on Friday because the Pirates were trying to win the game with one swing. Not a bad strategy when you know Chapman is waiting if the Reds get a lead. I think Mercer will be back out there in a day or so.

  8. I, for another, am glad to see Jason back in the closer role. But I don’t think he’s back to GRILLIN’ the cheese yet. I think he CUT some last night. It’s a start.

    • ‘I think he CUT some last night. It’s a start.’

      Just excellent.

      And yes cutting the cheese usually is the start if something

      • It ussually gets me an evil look that says you disgust me without even saying one word. To which I almost always reply for better or worse and you knew this would be the worse. To which she replies I’m still waiting for the better.

    • I actually slightly changes my opinion on this since last night and it has nothing to do with the results. It purely has to do with hearing the opinion of some former relievers/pitchers when they spoke about it.

      I still don’t believe it’s any harder to get 3 outs in the 9th then in the 8th but from Grilli’s standpoint he is pure emotion. Getting jacked up is part of what makes him tick. If pitching the 9th does that so be it. I don’t know if Grilli makes more sense then Melancon in the 9th but I think Melancon makes more sense the Grilli in the 8th.

      I don’t know if Grilli can serve any role but closer on this team. Melancon can and it allows Wilson and/or Watson to hadle the 7th if needed or come in for Melancon if he gets in a jamb and is facing a tough right hander.

  9. OUCH!!!
    here are the MLB tiebreaker rules. It hurt my head to read. Gonna need a slide ruler to figure this one out.

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  11. DK,
    I like the videos. Would enjoy more. A video of Barmes Diagramming would have been very cool.

  12. Good call not starting Cumpton…….

  13. Gee, who didn’t see that coming ?

  14. Can Yinz say Gin-Mar Gome-ez @Nat?

    Get Locke outta there!

  15. What the hell is Hurdle doing pitching this guy?? Is he trying to lose?? Absurd to start this guy.

    • He clearly can’t manage. But he’s a nice guy.

    • Really you want to change Gomez’s role with 7 games left in the year. Maybe Stolmy should get his first start in his career during the last week of a pennant race. Locke was the best option. It unfortunately didn’t work out. It clearly is not Hurdles fault.

      • Gotta disagree Nate. I think Hurdle has done a remarkable job this season, but he was wrong here and I said so before the game, not after a 5 run first. It was clear after watching him on Tuesday in person that he has zero command and should take a seat the rest of the year. Should have started Cumpton, and if not him, yes I would have changed Gomez’s role. You can not run Jeff Locke out there and expect to win at present.

        • Lad 9! I guess you have those who do want to return to the days of John Russell and Jim Tracy! What other manager could have taken this team this far in this short of time? Notice that there are never any posts about who others would like as manager?

          Just an observation.

    • Amen, brother. I like Clint, however, how can you start such an reliable pitcher when we are chasing the Cardinals and trying to keep the Reds at bay.

      Then, what about starting the defensive wizard, Barmes @ SS?

      This is bull!

    • I call for a mass pelting of Hurdle with bubble gum. Horrible, horrible decission to start Locke.

  16. Anyone know the Heimlich ?

    • We just learned something about today’s starting pitcher, and it ain’t good.

      • We learned something about today’s pitcher long before today, and it wasnt good.

        Thank goodness I have things to do today.

        After Friday’s gag job, I stated the Pirates arent mentally ready for the playoffs.
        I stand by that statement.
        I just pray they hold off Washington. Seriously.

        Everyone have a great day, root the Bucs on, I am out.

  17. Wow. 5 run 1st. Cripes.

  18. What movies are on this afternoon? Or which teams are
    the afternoon football games? As soon as he walked the
    second one….should have been outta there!

    • Time to cut the grass, thanks Pirates for giving me the afternoon back. Also, expect to turn in early tonight and get some extra zzz’s since the Steelers suck so bad this year.

  19. Imho, they should have warmed up Gomez when he got behind Phillips. On tv, it looked obvious.

    • Yes, I was thinking the same. As soon as it was evident that stinkin’ Locke was in the building, Gomez should have been in. Well before the home run.

  20. Arroyo can be had, but perhaps not with a 5 run lead.

  21. This is looking like a 4-7 home stand. Not just today’s pitcher gagging.

  22. Arroyo has owned Cutch in the past (.043 average). Should be a high hidden vigorish,

  23. I guess conceivably Arroyo could have a worse day than Locke! (Right, Bay, that’s what we call “catching up.”)

  24. Can Morneau hit a curve?

  25. Seriously, why is Jeff Locke still in the dugout ? Should be showered by now.

  26. Time to start throwing some bean balls. Oh I forgot Hurdle doesn’t play that way, and that’s why our team is timid and getting out muscled on the scoreboard and mentally.

  27. Was ANYBODY really interested in a Robby Inch-A-MY-Kowski feature on Billy Hamilton there? The timing of a bull elk in heat!

  28. Their reward for all this will be a 5 day all expenses paid vacation in Cincinnati. Or should I say punishment ?

  29. Cumpton, Johnson, and Stolmy should eat the rest of these innings. The game is over. Save your playoff roster arms. But of course Hurdle will probably use Melancon and Grilli later because he is an idiot.

  30. “I’d rather lose one like this than give one away.” Gary Cooper in “The Lou Gehrig Story” (Just Kiddin’, that was a Bay original!) I mean, really, a loss is a loss. Like losing your virginity to a CPR dummy!

  31. Today is why Mercer’s choke job Friday night was such a killer…I sure hope Locke is not given another start the rest of this season…what a lousy way to finish your last game at home…

  32. Wow…we actually have one run…

  33. Looks like Cumpton should have started this game…

  34. The most frustrating thing about this team is that they can’t seem to get on a consistent winning step forward, two steps back…

  35. I’m hoping that Locke never pitches another meaningful moment in a Pirate uniform.

    Get what you can from him, I’ve seen enough.

    And I’m super glad I didn’t go to see this fiasco.

  36. I hate to say it but this is why Hurdle has a losing record as a manager. A completely idiotic , bonehead decision to pitch Locke in this game. I am glad he had a great first half of the season but ALL baseball experts predicted the first half was a fluke. Turns out, they all were correct.

  37. At least this will be the last time fans at PNC park have to witness Clint Barmes. Hallelujah!

  38. The reason the Reds are a better team than the Pirates is that the Reds aren’t forced to run a guy like Locke out there every 5 games. Yes, I’m generally dismissing the argument that the Pirates should be using someone else instead of Locke, because in reality, the other options aren’t much better.

    You have to give NH and CH a tremendous amount of credit for how they’ve put this team together and managed it. The record speaks for itself against the expectations for this team. However, that doesn’t absolve them of mistake they’ve made in handling the 5-man rotation. They had no backup plan, in case Cole, Morton, and/or Locke fell apart. Considering the unproven nature of these starters, that was poor planning. Actually, they’re lucky Morton and Cole have pitched as well as they have. Can you imagine of either of those guys started pitching like Locke? Maybe they really thought Wandy was coming back, but that’s hard to believe. Ironically, it turns out that getting a SP instead of a hitter may have been the more important need at the trade deadline.

    All tied up with Reds with 6 games left. Really not worried about Nats and really don’t think they’ll catch the Cards. Biggest thing is to get home field for the wild card game against the Reds. Unless they go to a 4-man rotation, they will probably lose the Locke spot in the rotation game against Reds next week. Whole lot of pressure on the other 2 pitchers in that series. Go Bucs.

  39. With all the picking on the “lesser parts,” how about Cutch — MVP voters on the fence, will not be impressed by today.

  40. On a positive note, great job today by Cunpton and now the Pimento…

  41. Stormy’s going to have to work on his grip. It’s embarrassing when one slips like that. :)

  42. Crap…more bad news…Martin left the game due to knee injury…

  43. I was almost hoping they would hit Cutch there, seems to be the only way he can get on base against the Reds. No wonder they keep hitting him, it appears to work.

  44. On a postive note, the Nats lost their first game of the DH with Miami….magic number to two…

  45. Let’s all be thankful that Dusty threw at Cutch in game 1. At least he got on base!

    • irishjim…do you ever have anything POSITIVE to say?

      • I only speak the truth. This team has no sack and will lose in Cincy on October 1. Lucky there isn’t one more week in the season or Washington would pass them.

        • The truth is only relevant to what YOU believe. I can say that I speak the truth as well…so they are only OPINIONS.

        • Jim,
          He does not want truth as an opinion unless it is served with Pirate Kool Aid.

          • All I asked was if he ever says anything POSITIVE. Everytime I see him or you for that matter comment, it’s always negative. You know florida you are a real jackass…

            • Then you can’t read or comprehend what you read. I am complimentary and share a critical opinion when I feel it is warranted. I do not need to clear my opinions through you on this website because you are a complete idiot in denial when someone posts just criticism.

  46. Washington just lost to the Marlins. The magic number for a wild card spot is 2.

  47. Opposite auditions for next year’s rotation.
    Stolmey pitches well and I think is out of options.

    Locke pitches lousy and I think he is also out of options

  48. About Friday’s game-Mercer’s error would not have made any difference, had Pedro
    come up with the ground ball that let the last 2 runs score. That was the difference in the ball game. Don’t blame Jordy for the loss.

  49. How about a little salt for today’s gaping wound…..NFC Central goes south and the Packers lose to the Bengals and the Vikings lose to the Browns. Really?

  50. That beeping sound you hear is the Pirates backing into the playoffs. Look out, they’re coming fast. Or is that fading fast ?

    • I really hope this isn’t the last home game of the year

      • All of this is elevator music. All that matters is Tuesday October 1st. Sure hope it’s here. These fans deserve that much.

    • I disagree about backing into the playoffs. After 162 games, each team is judged on its full body of work. If a team is in the top 5 in its league, it’s in the playoffs. The Pirates are (probably) going to win 90+ games and they deserve to be there. Backing into the playoffs is when, in the NFL, a team is in if it loses, two other teams lose, and a third team wins by 25.

      Are they playing their best baseball of the year? No, but they are at .500 for their last 48 games. They are not the Rangers are something like 2-9, and might miss the playoff all together.

  51. How many times has Hurdle left a pitcher in until it was too late? Personally, I would have taken Locke out after he walked the bases full even though it was the first inning. What good did he think would come of that. Locke has stunk up the rotation since the All-Star
    game, and since this game is so important, Hurdle should have scratched Locke and used someone else, anyone else. The Pirates need a SMART manager. GO,STEELERS!!!

  52. The game that really hurt this weekend was Friday night….I think we all expected Locke to lose this one before the series…

  53. On the post game show I wish Teke would turn around and tell those Reds fans to “Get the F out of here!!”


  54. I still can’t believe Hurdle started Locke in a game of this magnitude. He should have been long gone after his last umpteenth lousy start. I like Clint a lot, but some of his decisions have bordered on insane of late (not replacing Mercer with Barmes at short in Friday’s disaster; never PH-ing Gabby for Mr. ONE RBI Morneau against lefties – ever!; not using his gut instead of the almighty book and allowing his lights-out starter to at least START the 9th…you know – stuff like that).

    Backing into a Wild Card spot indeed. Shouldn’t be this way.

    • Buccos….playing some of their worst ball at the wrong time :-(
      Great news thought….Morneau now has 2 RBI !

    • -if you don’t start Locke today your options are guys who have spend most the year in the minors and haven’t started a game in weeks. So if you do that you probably will go with a bunch of pitchers pitching 2,3, or 4 innings.

      - Jeff Locke’s last 3 starts have been: 5 innings 2 ER, 7 innings 1 ER, and 5 innings 4 ER

      So maybe Clint’s gut told him that you may be better off starting Locke and then going to the bullpen.

      What his gut didn’t tell him was to have another pitching warming up in the pen as soon as Locke throws his first pitch in the first inning.

      It seems there is a lot of 20/20 hindsight about Clint’s decision about starting Locke today. I wasn’t on the blog much yesterday but did anyone offer up an alternative (name of the pitcher) to today’s starter?

      • Gomez, Cumpton, Stolmy – enough pitchers in the shark tank to pick up any one of those not deemed “stretched out enough” after four or five innings or so. Locke’s been Stretch Armstrong all season, and he sure needed help in a hurry. Never should have started him. And I would have pulled him after walking the guy in the first on four pitches.

        • So you would have someone warming up in the pen at the very start of the game? I have never seen that before.

          Or would you have brought someone in cold?

          I think Locke was Clint’s only & best option to start this game

    • I warned you about CH and his “panic decisions” more than a month ago, and now they (the decisions) are magnifying his inability to manage.

      If keeping with his previous normal trend of sending in “limp stick” Barmes for defensive reasons was done, perhaps we would have won on Friday. Then take today and all of Barmes magnificent skills were on full display – one fielding, one throwing error, a pathetic relay to the plate from very short left field that bounced 15 feet short of the plate and was eight feet inside the 3rd base line – off of the plate.

      Someone in this thread stated you have possibly seen him for the last time at PNC in our uniform.

      I hope he’s right

  55. The Pirates are 2-6 in Locke’s last 8 starts. The Pirates are a .500 team recently because of Locke’s starts. They treat this guy like he is a 1st round pick and give him consideration he doesn’t deserve. They did it last September and were proud to say they blew games to give him experience. Now they are risking playoff positioning to give him experience for next year when he will be pitching in Indianapolis if they re-sign Burnett and Wandy comes back healthy. Wait a minute.. can’t replace Locke… Cole will be pitching in Indianapolis.

    Locke will be 90, sitting in a wheelchair in the lobby of an old folk’s home drooling and mumbling ‘alllllll star ALL STAR’

    That’s my Locke hate. As for playoffs, I don’t care about facing the Reds anywhere. I hope that Atlanta secures the #1 seed. Facing Atlanta in the NLDS would be preferred. They have no Tim Hudson or any other good veteran starter. They have 3 young guys and a history of early playoff exits. The Pirates will be in the NLCS against St. Louis or Los Angeles.

  56. Wasn’t able to watch the game live. Plan was to DVR the game and watch it later without knowing the score. Of course, my curiosity got to me, and I decided to check the blog. The first post I see is something to the effect of “Locke should never be allowed to pitch another game in a Pirates uniform.” I haven’t watched the recording.

  57. Marlins coming through big time so far. Up 2-0 in nightcap. Magic Number of 1 would clinch at least a tie with Nats for a WC spot.

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