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Morning Java: Pick your playoff roster

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Today’s TribLIVE Radio show at 2-3 p.m. will mix up baseball, football and hockey, with guests, calls, emails and all that good stuff.

Call me at 412-320-7925.

If you can’t call, email

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’re mobile, try the TribLIVE Radio app.

Hope you can tune in!


>> Gerrit Cole, that lethal combination pitching/hitting machine, helped the Pirates gain on the Reds by gagging the Cubs. Rob Biertempfel is in Chicago.

Decisions, decisions are looming toward a playoff roster. Travis Sawchik also is in the Confines.

Let’s hear from you on this topic, too, which should be fun if only because it just feels so Neil Armstrong, you know. And bear in mind that you can set the roster one way for the wild card, then do a total revision for the best-of-five Division Series. Do one, do both, take them all they through to the World Series.

My most prominent odd men out, if you must know: Travis Snider, John Buck, Jeff Locke.

Here’s a photo gallery courtesy of the Trib’s Chris Horner.

And a video of a fun talk with Neil Walker

And our full Pirates coverage.

And Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

And official game highlights from, which you also could have tracked by the old-fashioned method captured below by Horner …


>> The Steelers are Britain-bound and packing more questions than they’ll likely be able to pass through the TSA. Alan Robinson checks in online.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage., including good words for Le’Veon Bell and Cortez Allen.

Here’s Vikings news from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Here’s the NFL’s United Kingdom site, which is pretty nice.

>> Here’s our full Penguins coverage, including two cuts and a Tomas Vokoun update.

Here are official game highlights from

>> Penn State’s getting time off for good behavior. Chris Adamski reports.

>> Tom Savage faces a far bigger test in Virginia. Jerry DiPaola reports.

>> Updates will be kind of challenging to produce over the next 24 hours. Taking off tonight for Paris, connecting to London, and it all takes a good while.

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. MrB says:

    Smizik beat you to it.

  2. Ghost says:

    C: Bugs Bunny
    LF: Bugs Bunny
    RF: Bugs Bunny
    P: Bugs Bunny
    3B: Bugs Bunny
    CF: Bugs Bunny
    1B: Bugs Bunny
    SS: Bugs Bunny
    2B: Bugs Bunny

  3. crash says:

    The lineup should be this.


    Morneau isn’t driving in runs as a cleanup hitter. Gerrit Cole has as many RBI’s in September as Morneau does. It’s time to give that spot back to Pedro.

  4. War Horse says:

    After 158 games in the NL, the average positive run differentials per game [total runs scored minus total runs allowed divided by total games played] shake out like this:

    St. Louis + 1.06

    Atlanta + 0.83

    Cincinnati + 0.76

    Los Angeles + 0.39

    Pittsburgh + 0.31

    Washington + 0.18

    Arizona + 0.04

    Only these seven teams have won more games than they’ve lost.

    All the other teams in the NL have negative average run differentials per game.

    The five teams with the highest RPG diffs are going to compete in the play-offs.

    While these simple stats do not predict who’s going to win the NLCS, or even a wild card game play-off, they do accurately reflect which teams did well in the standings by scoring more runs, on average, than their teams gave up throughout the season.

    This is not sabermetrical analysis. It’s plain old-fashioned common sense with a few stats thrown in for support.

  5. Brandie says:

    Good one Ghostie!

  6. Tom P. says:

    With 4 games left, the Pirates magic number to host the wild card game is 4 (vs. Reds) and to win the division is 7 (vs. Cardinals).

    With the win yesterday, the Pirates clinched a winning record on the road. They are now 41-36, and they can finish no worse than 41-40. That’s an accomplishment for a team that went 17-64 on the road a few years ago.

  7. War Horse says:

    If you look at September alone, the run differentials on average per game (followed by the team’s won-loss records for the month) look like this:

    St. Louis + 1.48 (15-8)

    Cincy + 1.18 (14-8)

    Atlanta – 0.09 (10-12)

    L.A. – 0.27 (11-11)

    Pittsburgh – 0.57 (12-11)

    Here we see that the two teams with strong run diffs have higher win percentages than the teams with weak run diffs.

  8. SMC says:

    Link to my blog post on what this season has meant to me. Little embarrassed to post it, so many of you have similar stories, but it was so easy to write. So many memories.

  9. John Lease says:

    If the Pirates can get one more game up on the Reds, I’ll be happy.

    But even if they do, they still have to win 2 out of 3 in Cincy. If they only win one, the Reds will have the season series 10-9.

    I think it was on sports center that the Rangers are 16-2 so far this year against the Astros. Almost their entire record over .500 is from pounding them.

    I call them the shams of the AL.

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: First to the Majors Doesn’t Equal Best in the Draft

    Gerrit Cole Continues His Ace-Like Month of September

    Moneyball – The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Version

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates beat Cubs 8-2, jump in front in Wild Card race

    Pennant Race Flashback: September 24, 1979

    6 Rumbunter

    Why We Really Think Neal Huntington Is The Man:…


    Game 158: Pirates 8 Cubs 2

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Tame Bruins 8-2

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 8, Cubs 2

    10 City of Champions

    Great Scot: Pittsburgh Pirates make the playoffs, but could it be more?

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Motor City Bengals

    Congratulations Pittsburgh…From Your First Cousin Detroit

    12 KDKA

    The Fan Morning Show’s Tribute To The 2013 Pirates

    13 NBC Sports

    It’s great to have the Pirates back

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds fall to Mets, 4-2

    15 Rant Sports

    Clint Hurdle Makes All the Right Moves for Pittsburgh Pirates

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Cubs Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    No-hitter just out of Wacha’s reach

    18 PBC Site

    Cole’s surge continues as Bucs control Wild Card

    Notebook: Locke not included in Hurdle’s rotation plans


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Nine of Our Favorite Moments Involving Retiring Players

    20 Fangraphs

    How the Pirates Built a Playoff Team

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Message sent to Steelers young players, ‘Don’t get too comfortable

    Steelers Troy Polamalu is back to his old self

    22 Steelers Gab

    RB Bell To Make Debut Sunday In London For Steelers


    23 London Evening Standard

    Patrick Barclay: England can stomach the loss of Theo Walcott

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Why Real Madrid broke the bank to sign Gareth Bale


    25 Pensburgh

    Can Chuck Kobasew make the Pittsburgh Penguins?

    Penguins training camp 2013: Team split into three groups, hints at future lines?

  13. JAL says:

    Have You Ever Seen the Rain CCR 1971

  14. JAL says:

    Nope, if the go into the weekend 2 up on the Reds they only have to win 1 game. That would guarantee at least a 1 game lead at the end so head to head won’t matter

  15. Jandy says:

    Aaaannndddd it’s been a while since we were honored with a fly-by from the Great MrB :P

  16. Jandy says:

    Good stuff, Tom P :)

  17. Jandy says:

    Love me some Credence :)

  18. Jandy says:

    cool stuff, War Horse.

  19. Chuck Snow says:

    maybe Shams but I wish they were still in the NL central. I believe at the beginning of the year the Astros moving to the AL was part of the rational of the predicted Pirate backslide.

  20. In the words of that famous Pittsburgh nemesis, Al Davis: “Just win, Baby!”

    I have not given up on the Division. The Cubs/Cards rivalry is a good one and the Cubs will show up in St. Louis this weekend. However, it is imperative that the Nationals show up tonight!

  21. Jandy says:

    someone send the memo to the Nationals!

  22. JAL to the rescue!!! His home turf.

  23. The Justice Avenger says:

    Happy Wednesday Morning Everyone! Have to think on Dejan’s question a bit. Another thought I had last night…This may sound crazy, but Cole reminds me so much of Don Robinson and Rick Rhoden…both really good hitting pitchers. Back in those days, those guys were used in “pinch hitting roles”. Now I realize that this is the playoffs and home field positioning is looming here, but….Cole is developing into a full baseball player…not just a pitcher. The guy can hit, too.

  24. kr70 says:

    Travis Synder has been their best pinch hitter of late, John Buck has way more experience and the Reds and Cards kryptonite is left handed pitching, I wouldn’t start Locke but I’d keep him around.(too bad we don’t have a healthy Wandy)

  25. Jandy says:

    He’s a gem for sure….let’s hope it carries over into next season. But I do think he’s the real deal.
    Happy Camel Day, TJA woop woop!

  26. Dom says:

    #6 is a good link.

  27. gregenstein says:

    Coin flip game:
    Catchers-Martin, Buck, T. Sanchez
    IF/OF-Morneau, Jones, G. Sanchez, Walker, Harrison, Mercer, Barmes, Alvarez, Tabata, Marte, McCutchen, Byrd
    Pitchers-Liriano, Burnett, Morton, Wilson, Watson, Melancon, Grilli, Mazzaro, Gomez, Farnsworth

    After the coin flip game, Gerrit Cole replaces Tony Sanchez. It won’t score any brownie points with most here, but I can’t see cutting loose GI Jones. Plus, a catcher never *must* have an off day in the playoffs. There’s enough travel days that I’m playing Russell Martin everyday. I do think Sanchez is the better catcher compared to Buck, but I cringe at the depth if either Sanchez or Martin gets hurt and Buck has been DFA.

    I’m also strongly considering Bryan Morris over Farnsworth and probably make that switch after the wild card round.

  28. NMR says:

    Love that last line, War Horse.

  29. NMR says:

    Exactly right, Chuck.

    One of those details that makes this season all the more impressive.

  30. Nate83 says:

    I persomally disagree about Locke. The Pirates are fortunate enough to have two dominate left handed relievers in Watson and Wilson. Not many teams have that option. There is no need to have a third guy coming out of the pen that is left handed. Especially one that can’t seem to get the ball over the plate right now and has been absolutely horrible at pitching with runners on of late.

  31. Lad 9 says:

    Mikemikemikemike…what day is it?

    HUMP DA-AAAAAY!. I laugh every time.. :)

  32. Nate83 says:

    I agree with your list greg. I only wonder depending on how the rest of the year plays out of Cole doesn’t pitch game 162 agains the Reds I have to think he is on the wild card roster one way or another. He would be on 7 days rest and I have to think he is our best option if for some reason Liriano struggles early and give up 3 or 4 runs after only pitching 4 innings or so. I’m also not opposed to Morton coming in for 1 batter in a key situation to try and get a double play ball.

  33. Jandy says:

    I’m with Nate on this one. Locke’s head is a mess. Get him to a sports shrink before we have another JMac on our hands.

  34. Jandy says:

    LOL cracks me up every time :D

  35. Karen22 says:

    I agree. Locke is TOAST. Thank him for his first half and say sayonara until spring training.

  36. Lad 9 says:

    Couple of things. Since Farnsworth was not on the roster prior to 9/1, he will not be eligible unless you have a DL placement and no one else meets eligibility criteria. And Buck wouldn’t be DFA’d – he would exist in kind of a limbo in which he could be added to the roster for the next round, so you could have Snider instead of him on the roster. It makes sense though in a one game playoff that you won’t need 12 pitchers, especially one who started the day before.

    Good job Gregster!

  37. NMR says:

    Locke’s head isn’t missing his spots, his arm is.

  38. Jandy says:

    SMC a very, very poignant blog entry you have there. Welcome to Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum. You’ll fit right in :)
    Lawrenceville, GA is lucky to have you :)

  39. Jim S. says:

    I enjoyed reading that very much, SMC. Your memories and your stories evoke a lot of the same feelings and passion for this team that so many other lifelong Bucco fans on this blog often express. Thanks for sharing!

  40. NMR says:

    I agree with kr’s logic, that a lefty out of the pen that can go 2+ innings is an asset against those teams. Something Watson and Wilson cannot do.

    I just don’t think Jeff Locke is mechanically sound enough to be that guy right now.

  41. Jandy says:

    The head controls the arm :)

  42. Jim S. says:

    +++ for the quick math, JAL.

  43. Kevin says:

    And I hope they win all 4 games… but again, if they did, the magic number to host the wild card game would only be 3…. since each win is worth 2 points while playing against the reds? and you figure if the pirates and reds both win tonight or even if the reds win and pirates lose, the number will still be 4. And therefore, two more wins and the pirates host.

    Looking alot less likely that the pirates can win the division. They’d have to win all 4 and hope the cards lose 3. What happens if the pirates tie the cards? Is there a playoff to determine division winner or does it go by w/l head-to-head?

  44. Jim S. says:

    You and JAL often add credence to this blog, Jandy! :-)

  45. NMR says:

    It’s mechanical, Jandy. Every guy that struggles isn’t a “head case”.

  46. Kevin says:

    I notice Pittsburgh still has a “winning” record in September even though they have the worst run-diff.

  47. Kevin says:

    right… a 1-2 series loss to the reds this weekend would be a -1… hence we would still be up by 1 win. more likely, the pirates enter the weekend up +1 and then have to win the series to get home-field.

  48. Have to agree with Karen, DK, Jandy and Nate on Locke.

    And nobody seems enamoured with Buck defensively and he hasn’t really hit since we got him.

    But Snider has been effective as a pinch hitter. Jones had one last night, too.

    JHay may be out at some point, too, the farther we go.

    Like LAD said down below, we don’t need to carry pitchers that threw a lot of pitches Sunday in that game Tuesday, if we have to play it.

  49. Jandy says:

    LOL! Why, thank you, Mr. Jim :D

  50. Is Credence any relation to Brandelita?

    She sounds like a nice girl.

    Or is she a he?


  51. +++

    One of the many details such as Locke’s all-star first half, Martin, Liriano, Phoenix Charlie, Cutch hitting .350 after the ASB, Jordy, Pedro, Watson, Grilli, Melancon and the list goes on.

  52. Jim S. says:

    Yep. As Elvis would say, it’s now or never for the Nats.

  53. SeanE says:

    For the Wild Card Game I would leave off all of my starters expcept Liriano (assuming he starts the game) and keep the extra position players…Pie, Snyder etc. No need to fill up 4 roster spots for guys who have no chance of playing.

    As for the NL playoff rounds #1 I would set my roster as follows:


    1.A.J. Burnett
    2.Francisco Liriano
    3.Gerrit Cole
    4.Charlie Morton

    While one could argue that you only need 3 starters for the Division Series since there are 2 off days I would not bring anyone back on short rest. Right now the difference between the top 4 is not that drastic.


    5. Jeanmar Gomez
    6. Vin Mazzaro
    7. Bryan Morris
    8. Tony Watson
    9. Justin Wilson
    10. Jason Grilli
    11. Mark Melancon


    12. C Russell Martin
    13. 1B Justin Morneau
    14. 2B Neil Walker
    15. 3B Pedro Alvarez
    16. SS Jordy Mercer
    17. LF Starling Marte
    18. CF Andrew McCutchen
    19. RF Marlon Byrd


    20. Gaby Sanchez
    21. Josh Harrison
    22. Clint Barmes
    23. John Buck
    24. Garret Jones
    25. Jose Tabata

    Notable omissions and why:

    Tony Sanchez-I went with the veteran but either call is correct.

    Travis Snider- While Snider has had a few key pinch hits I don’t have any confidence in his ability to have useful at bats.

    Jeff Locke-Is it really notable? He is the 5th starter and they are routinely left off post season rosters. If he was pitching well you might consider him for a bullpen spot but with Watson and Wilson he is not needed.

    NLCS Roster:

    If we make it to the NLCS I would add Farnsworth in the Pen and drop Tabata. I like Farnsworth’s experience in the pen. He has been a pleasant surprise. He is also insurance for Melancon who has every sign of being worn out and needing a rest. While he is an exta arm, I am quite concerned with Melancon.

    Jose Tabata-it really comes down to whether you think Marte can stay healthy. If so, one can argue Tabata is not needed. I would rather have the lefty bad in Jones off the bench. If you replace Tabata for Jones there are no left handed hitters coming off the bench. Josh Harrison gives you a lot of flexiblity and is a sparkplug. He can also spell Walker at 2nd against a tough lefty like Kershaw. Then again, you could start Barmes at SS and Mercer at 2b and don’t need Harrison. To me this will be the toughtest call between Jones, Harrison and Tabata. Can only take 2 of the 3. No way I leave off Barmes. I want that defense late in the game. Then again, if you don’t want to keep Farnsworth this is a non issue.

    World Series

    If we do make it to the World Series I don’t know that I would make a change from the NLCS. I am already carring the extra arm in the bullpen with Farnsworth. There will be 4 games in the AL park so a DH will be needed but no need for the extra bat off the bench to pinch hit.


  54. As much as I don’t like his “lollygagging”, I think Tabloid stays all through the playoffs. He can play anywhere in the OF and has hit consistently the entire season.

  55. Jim S. says:

    I was thinking that last night as well, with the way he attacks his at bats. This has always frustrated me about pitchers. A very small number of them must work on their hitting between starts during the season, while a very large % seem to act as though hitting is beneath them. But, when you think about it, that attitude just hurts you as a pitcher. Why not add an extra bat to the lineup on the days you pitch? That seems to be Cole’s attitude, and I don’t understand why it is not everyone’s attitude. They, of all players, know how hard it is to pitch against a lineup with no automatic outs.

  56. Jim S. says:

    But, I think Jandy is pointing to a lack of confidence in Locke right now. I don’t know how he could have any confidence.

  57. Jandy says:

    Yes, Jim S. you get me :)

  58. Jim S. says:

    Excellent post all the way around, Lucky.

  59. Jandy says:

    Groat! Say it ain’t so!

  60. Milo Hamilton says:

    In the case of Farnsworth, the rules are different than they used to be. Anybody on the DL August 31 that is still on the DL when the season ends can be replaced by anybody in the organization. There are at least 4 or 5 of those guys. Just look at the 60 day DL. Farnsworth is eligible.

  61. Jim S. says:

    I think he is “nibbling” because he doesn’t trust his stuff. He feels like if he catches too much of the plate he is going to get rocked. So, smart batters are learning to wait for a strike before they swing at anything from him. He is behind 2-0 way too often.

  62. Karen22 says:

    Cole’s a BEAST!

  63. Karen22 says:

    I don’t believe Locke is a head case a la JMac. He is just worn out and so is his confidence. But he’ll resurrect next season and contribute again, something JMac just could not do despite his potential.

  64. Karen22 says:


  65. Tom P. says:


    You are right about needing a maximum of three more wins to host the wild card game. If the Pirates win and the Reds lose today, the Pirates would need one more win to host the wild card game.

    If the Pirates and Cardinals tie for the division, the playoff game would be Monday, the 29th in Pittsburgh. The loser would play Cincinnati in the wild card game the next day.

    That scenario creates a whole mess of pitching issues for the Pirates. I’ll save that for tomorrow once we know whether that scenario is even likely.

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think he’s worn out, too.

  67. Arriba Wilver says:


  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    Need to be careful leaving all your starting pitchers off the roster for the one gamer. The only ones I leave off are the ones that physically can’t pitch that day. If we go to the 10th in an elimination game & my choices are Jeanmar Gomez or AJ Burnett, I’m using AJ.

  69. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Karen. After Jordy’s error last night, things could have unwound very quickly. Cole had already thrown over 20 pitches in the inning, with the bases loaded, a run in and nobody out. All he did was dial up his fastball a couple more MPH and blow the next 2 guys away. His 29th pitch of the 6th inning was his hardest pitch of the night at 98. That is an elite arm!

  70. Jandy says:

    I really feel for the kid.

  71. Milo Hamilton says:

    That’s the reason that I’d skip Cole’s turn on Sunday if it becomes a meaningless game. I need him in the bullpen Tuesday.

  72. Jandy says:

    Ride the Cole Train!

  73. Jandy says:

    I’m concerned he COULD go the way of JMAC if he isn’t given some help/rest.

  74. Jim S. says:

    I think he is mentally wiped out. He had to be reading the stuff all year about how he was just getting lucky, and was due to regress. It was coming from all over the country, not just Pittsburgh. If you have Cole’s arm, you just go out and keep throwing 98 when people criticize you. You can rely on your amazing talent. But, when you are a fringe talent like Locke, the doubts creep in pretty quickly when things go wrong several times in a row. Then, it is exacerbated when the control waivers. I don’t know which came first, but I think his mechanics and his brain are both off kilter right now.

  75. I agree in theory on that, Milo, but if A.J. threw 100 pitches on Sunday, it would be tough to use him in any capacity on Tuesday.

    Bob Gibson or Bob Friend, yes, but not even A.J. this day and age. He’s toast until Friday unless he’d be used in the pen around Wednesday or Thursday. (I haven’t looked at the schedule, but I’m just chortling what seems to be common practice in 2013).

  76. Tom P. says:

    The Nationals and Cardinals play this afternoon, as do Reds-Mets and Pirates-Cubs. Just didn’t want you to miss it if you wanted to follow along.

  77. Jim S. says:

    But, I also don’t think it is to the JMac level. Locke should be able to step back after the season and realize he did a pretty darn good job for a long time. I don’t know if he is still in the starting mix last year if Wandy is healthy, but Locke is still an option.

  78. Thundercrack says:

    I just realized that Gerritt Cole has won 10 games

    ( if we’re still paying attention to that stat)

  79. Milo Hamilton says:

    Except he’s not pitching Sunday.

  80. Jandy says:

    I said he’s a head case, because you can see it in his eyes. Let’s hope he gets some help.

  81. Jandy says:

    of course we are!

  82. Jim S. says:

    I was thinking the same thing. If you get into a long game, extra starters become long relievers – good long relievers.

  83. Wild Bill says:

    Reasons to be optimistic today:

    Liriano pitching for the Bucs.

    Jordan Zimmerman can be a 20 game winner if he beats the Cards today.

    Matsuzaka has been excellent for the Mets in his last 2 starts, Latos less so.

    Go Bucs!

  84. Jim S. says:

    We pay attention … then we dismiss it, Thunder.

    Just kidding, everyone. We all know there are some wins for a pitcher that are meaningless, but many other times when they were definitely the most important player in the game.

  85. NMR says:

    Well, to be fair, he’s right.

    If one at-bat could describe Jeff Locke’s issue, it would be Jed Dyorko in his last start against San Diego. Locke missed his spot on the inside corner twice. Once six inches inside, once six inches over the plate. The first was taken for a ball. The second was sent 400′ into the left field bleahcers.

    Improved control does Jeff Locke absolutely no good. The walks are NOT the issue.

    Jeff Locke needs improved COMMAND. And he’s not going to get it until his mechanics are right.

  86. Milo Hamilton says:

    Friendly wager Bill, Daisuke doesn’t make it through the 3rd inning.

  87. Brandie says:

    Thank you for the wonderful read. Based on your initials, I dub you So Much Class!

  88. Jandy says:

    hear, hear!

  89. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’d leave Morton off because he pitches Saturday and you still have to be careful with his arm & Cole if he has to pitch Sunday. That’s it.

  90. Milo Hamilton says:

    With one of those spots, I keep the 3rd catcher for the one gamer. Then if you win you go back to something more conventional for the Division Series.

  91. NMR says:

    The smart move, in a one-game playoff, would be to throw Liriano six or seven innings and Cole two or three.

    Does anybody really believe any of the relievers are better than Gerrit Cole right now?

  92. Kevin says:

    This is fun. That is all. I’ve never had the pleasure to pick who I want on my playoff roster. For now, enjoying everyone’s opinion.

  93. Karen22 says:

    Since I will be out of town this weekend and will likely miss all three games against the Reds (bad timing on my annual fall trip to visit a friend) – Flash forward to Friday:

    When does Cutch get nailed and what do we finally do about it when it happens??

    You KNOW it’s gonna happen.

    You also know AJ is on the mound.

  94. 21sthebest says:

    I feel like the answer is somewhere in the middle. He doesn’t strike me as being near the head case that I suspect JMac is just because of the way he handles himself. But my theory is that his mechanics are tough to repeat and that takes mental toughness.

  95. Wild Bill says:

    Could be, Milo. But we hope not

  96. Wild Bill says:

    Could be, Milo. But we hope not.

  97. Karen22 says:

    BEAST, I say! And I’ve been to three games this season and saw three of his wins!

  98. AJS says:

    Farnsworth was with the organization in mid August. I believe that he technically could be added to the roster by simply saying that he was an injury replacement for either Wandy or Fort. Sanchez was also not witht he club prior to September 1. He came back with Locke on the 3rd I beleve. So same rules apply to him as well.

  99. Wild Bill says:

    Sorry about the double.

  100. Jandy says:

    hit them first BEFORE they hit us!

  101. Milo Hamilton says:

    But you gotta remember, I didn’t think the Mets would even win a game. I’m usually a good guy to bet with. :)

  102. Arriba Wilver says:


  103. Karen22 says:

    So do I…he performed over and above expectation the first half and is very much responsible for where we are today. Thank you, Jeff!

    But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone (sing it!). Forward without him…

  104. Karen22 says:

    That’s fair, Jandy.

  105. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Diamondbacks won the World Series using randy Johnson in relief in Game 7. In these situations you use your best guys.

  106. Karen22 says:

    I like that idea, but what if the crazy ump (and many have been downright crazy this season) decides to toss AJ instead of warn him?? Ya never know! Should have tossed Le-what’s-his-name last week – just ask Hurdle.

  107. Yeah, I was being hypothetical since you mentioned A.J.

    I agree with you, though and your Randy Johnson comment. It’s a long off-season.

  108. Brandie says:

    All is pretty good in the world. We are discussing post season rosters and the strong future of our beloved Pirates. Do not know what is wrong with Locke whether it is all in his head, he is fatigued, or both. I wonder what a move to the bullpen would do for him?

    I would keep Tabata for the bat then weortk his a$$ off in the offseason to keep him in shape and work on his defense. Talent gets you part of the way, but it is the willingness and commitment to the little things that takes you all the way.

    Good Morning Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood!

  109. AJS says:

    The starters assuming it is Latos that goes in teh WC:

    The bench:


    i carried Burnett into that game as he would be the next days starter and could piggy back Liriano if things get sideways early. It would be really short rest though so I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense. If Cole were to not pitch the rest of the way I would use him there instead of Burnett.

    After that you replace Buck and Jones with Morton and Cole.

    I hate Buck behind the plate. Look at some of the absolutely putrid performances by the starters lately. Buck is often back there on those days. I trust tony’sD over Buck. I also would rather have Tony’s bat over Buck’s.

    It was a hard choice as to whether to remove Snider or Jones. Really tough. So I turned to pinch hitting. Snider ahs delivered some very key hits off the bench. 3 PH homers. Jones is sub Mendoza as a PH. I hate leaving Jones out as he is one of my favorite Buccos but this aint about favorites it is about results.

    Locke is out for obvious reasons. Dude is toast. Hopefully it is just fatigue and he can bounce back for 2014.

  110. Kevin says:

    OK. Good to know. Thanks ;)

  111. AJS says:

    My lone reservation with Cole out of the pen is that he has a history(ok small sample size maybe) of struggling in the first before he hits his stride.

  112. Jim S. says:

    I don’t recall the last Buc pitcher to come up as a rookie in mid-season and improve so quickly from his first few starts to his last few. Cole certainly has the look of an “ace” now.

    I can’t recall JHay’s last decent at bat. I don’t know how helpful he will be in the playoffs. I hope he gets back to sparkplug status.

    Brilliant decision by Clint/Ray in shutting racheting back the appearances for Justin. He is back to early season form now.

    Jordy’s defense has been alarmingly bad of late. And, to that point, Clint has made more than his share of errors lately as well. We need to tighten up at SS in the field.

    I’m glad Cutch has a few hits the last couple of nights. I was getting tired of Neverett’s Cutch 0’fer update after each at bat. I found that particularly annoying.

    I think this team is loosening up and is poised for a nice weekend in Cincy. They want to atone for last weekend. Just a hunch.

  113. Brandie says:

    You know you’ve come up in the world when you get your very own train! CHOO CHOO!

  114. AJS says:

    I let out a giant groan at Mercer more than once last night. And all this week. He is a more consistent option at the plate but I think when Morton and AJ go you have to with Barmes. Ground ball pitching relies on good infielders.

  115. AJS says:

    As long as you let AJ position barmes of course ;)

  116. Jim S. says:

    I have been to four and have yet to see him pitch! Ugh!

  117. Jandy says:

    both of your posts!

  118. Brandie says:

    I think securing the playoffs is just another task to be checked off in the overall Plan (Where is Disco Hippo when you need him?). Now that the pressure is off in yhast sense, get out and play some ball!

  119. John Lease says:

    + 10 million. I remember years ago Mike Williams had an at bat where he didn’t even pretend to swing, just stood there. It was an outlier then, but not as time went by.

    Morton, one of the worst hitting pitchers ever, has tried to step it up this year. AJ was a decent hitting pitcher when he came up, now he treats it like a joke. It irks me.

  120. Brandie says:

    Always a caveat. As a veteran, AJ needs to put that Barmes clause into his contract.

  121. bradthedad says:

    NMR – I think you have a pitch track thingee (how’s that for a technical term). But watching last night it seemed to me Cole threw a ton of off speed and breaking balls – many more than he did in all of his previous starts.

  122. Jim S. says:

    You’re right about his mechanics. My point about connecting confidence to it was that confident guys throw free and easy, assuming they will get outs. That has to help their mechanics, right? In any sport, when I thought too much about doing something right the mechanics were gone. My best shooting nights in basketball were always when, for whatever reason, I was able to put mechanics out of my mind. Same with golf for me. If I think too much about swing mechanics, I am a mess. I don’t that Locke is that way, but I think his contol issues have to be connected to thinking about being too fine.

  123. John Lease says:

    Latos has some injury, didn’t hear it going out the door, but sounded like an abdominal strain, since July.

    A line drive off the belly button might make that pop?

  124. Nate83 says:

    I wasn’t going to call you out on that Milo. At least you didn’t predict the Pirates losing out with 8 to go and the Nationals winning out.

    Latos said he’s pitching injured. Being up by 2 going into the Reds series would be huge. We would only have to win 1 game to clinch home field for the play in. Really wish we could have the Marte drop or Mercer throw game back. I’m sure we won a few we didn’t deserve as well so it all evens out.

  125. Scott says:

    And the Nationals are the shams of the NL. I saw a stat that the Nats are something like 16-30 against the NL playoff teams this year. No wonder they’re not beating the Cards for us.

  126. Jim S. says:

    Tuesday’s gone …. like the wind!

  127. Brandie says:

    I wonder if he doesn’t trust his mechanics due to issues if fatigue?

  128. Jandy says:

    I’d take the chance…I’m sure it would be a warning…

  129. Wild Bill says:

    Love ya, John. Always putting the other guy first!

  130. Jim S. says:

    Morton has definitely improved his hitting of late, John. Good point.

  131. Brandie says:


    Really. Can you EVER trust Washington to get a anything done for you?

  132. Jandy says:

    happy camel day, Brandecita :)
    woop woop!

  133. Jandy says:

    yeah, where *IS* El Dorko Hippo????

    cleaning the pond???

  134. Brandie says:

    WOOP! WOOP! Indeed.

  135. Jim S. says:

    Hopefully, he’ll have that opportunity this off-season, Brandie!

  136. Jandy says:

    21 gets me too, as does Karen :)

  137. Nate83 says:

    Jones continues to hit well when given the chance. I remember him saying something about Byrd noticing something in his swing and mentioning it to him. Since making the adjustment he said he feels more comfortable at the plate. Too bad Byrd wasn’t on the team a little sooner. Maybe we would have are run producing clean up hitter.

    Morneau has been setting the table with walks and hits with the bases empty but unfortunately nobody has been getting him home on a consistant basis. Martin really struggling of late at the plate except for the home run the other night. Hopefully him and Alverez how looks like he is coming around can start clicking.

  138. Arriba Wilver says:

    On JHay, yes. And to my recollection this has been his pattern. He starts out good, and then gets exposed. I was surprised to see his overall stats compared to Snider by Smiz. Similar, except in OBP (Snider much better). Smiz went with Snider because he’s a left handed bat.

    On Jordy, on the Fan this morning they were speculating that last Friday’s gaffe got in his head.

  139. Jandy says:

    right…both of you!

    Answer is rest…and if needed, sports doctor. he’s a good pitcher, help him to help himself.

  140. Brandie says:

    I hope so. I miss his happy afro.

  141. Jim S. says:

    Yes, we have. I think we are on the positive side of the ledger of unlikely wins this year, Nate.

  142. Milo Hamilton says:

    Jones hit .169 in August & .148 in September. Knocking the cover off it.

  143. Jandy says:

    Oh no, not another head case!


  144. Nate83 says:

    If AJ gets to pitch in this post season I don’t care if he personally walks over to Barmes and picks him up and moves him the position he feels is appropriate. The fact that he will be pitching means that they made it to a 5 game series and anything after that is gravy for me.

  145. Brandie says:

    The afro is more reminiscent of Son Cornelius or Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington, IMO.

  146. NMR says:

    16 sliders and 21 curves, according to pitch/fx data. 40% of his total pitches.

    Good observation, brad!

  147. Jandy says:

    I miss his tattoo-d behind ;X

  148. Brandie says:

    Don Cornelius! Auto correct thinks it knows Soul Train!

  149. Jandy says:

    Taking a break here Loonies, serious business to attend to…later on!

  150. Nate83 says:

    Is he really batting .148 in September? I didn’t realize that. Wow it felt like he has had some hits of late. Really wish I could delete my post because now it just looks stupid.

  151. John Lease says:

    I’ll go with (wild card only)

    Liriano, Burnett Cole(SP)-3


    I can be persuaded to drop one reliever for Harrison as a further bench guy. If Pie could actually steal, I’d could be convinced on carrying him as a pinch runner. I’d lop off Morris before Farnsworth, because Farnsworth won’t walk the stadium.

  152. Brandie says:

    Why not? Blog’s full of em’.

  153. Brandie says:

    Stay out of trouble.

  154. John Lease says:

    Ooh, I forgot Snider. I’d take him before Harrison or Pie, he’d make the 25 and I’d drop Morris.

  155. Scott says:

    I wouldn’t say Locke is a head case, but he definitely has some mental issues. All throughout his struggles, he stubbornly insisted that he doesn’t need to change anything, that it was just bad luck that was doing him in. Somebody on the coaching staff needs to sit him down and get him past this false bravado so he can actually take steps to improve his game (such as being a little more aggressive and not constantly nibbling on the corners of the strike zone, where he may not always get the call.)

  156. bradthedad says:

    Thanks. And to stretch my luck in observation, he got a substantial number of his strikeouts on breaking balls. Out of the bullpen, you want someone who throws strikes and has swing and miss stuff. So I agree with you, Cole makes sense.

  157. Milo Hamilton says:

    In cases like that you reply something like, “I meant Ruppert Jones”. :)

  158. Jim S. says:

    At this point, Jandy, I think we have Cole and Morton on the non-head case side. :-)

  159. Scott says:

    I agree except I would take AJ off the roster. You don’t need three starting pitchers for the play-in game. Two is sufficient. Liriano starts, and if he gets rocked or gets injured, you have a really short hook and bring in Morton or Cole to try to keep you in the game and save your season. I’d go with Cole, assuming he doesn’t pitch in the season finale (and he won’t if the game winds up being meaningless.)

    For the wild card, I’d replace AJ with Pie, who is the team’s best option as a pinch runner. You have to be prepared for every scenario in a one-and-done situation.

  160. Scott says:

    This would indeed be a brilliant move, but I don’t see Hurdle making it. He’s too old-school. He couldn’t even figure out to have Watson pitch to the first batter in the 9th the other day – that only happened because Russell Martin suggested the idea.

  161. Jim S. says:

    I think at this point, Cole’s stuff plays as starter, long reliever, middle inning guy, late inning guy, get one guy out in a pinch guy, closer, extra innings guy. I would not trust him in any other roles, though. :-)

  162. Nate83 says:

    Maybe I could have said I meant Garrit Cole. I’m thinking his average might be a little better over those two months and he probably has more RBI.

  163. Jim S. says:

    If only Russell had suggested leaving Watson in to face the other lefties.

  164. Jim S. says:

    Oh, I left one out: late inning presure situation pinch hitter.

  165. bradthedad says:

    We’re in new territory (and ain’t that a great thing). But once we get to best of 5 and best of 7 and the days off, I don’t see enough work for 4 starters. And based on the 3 we got and what they’ve shown lately, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t want to run them out as much as you can.

  166. Arriba Wilver says:

    It could just be his mechanics. :-)

    Just funnin’ with you, NMR. ;-)

  167. Arriba Wilver says:

    I saw that in JAL’s Link #18. It was a little disappointing. I had thought Clint stepped out of his comfort zone on his own. Hopefully a light bulb went off after it worked so well.

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Weather Channel’s “hurricane experts” look like lost puppies that need a hug.

  169. Jim S. says:

    One thing is for sure. The Bucs need to advance far in the playoffs, if only to prolong the time until which, like it or not, we need to confront the reality that appears to be the 2013 edition of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pirates must not lose the play-in game, if it comes to that. I am simply not ready.

  170. theplanisworking says:

    My Playoff roster:



    Eric B
    War Horse (gotta have one of them for the playoffs)
    Lucky (if divine assistance is needed)

    With all the above knowledge, we will sweep.
    If anyone dares challenge us, DK will throw the “high heat:.


  171. Skip says:

    What specifically does he need to address mechanically?

  172. Milo Hamilton says:

    I threw some fall ball BP yesterday and my arm doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall off today. I guess that’s a plus.

  173. NMR says:

    Confidence no doubt makes the issue worse, Jim, but doesn’t solve the problem.

    You know how scouts talk about prefering a starter with a body like Gerrit Cole? It’s not because big guys inherently have stronger shoulder and elbow ligaments, its because their bodies hold up better over the course of the season.

    I think what you’re seeing in Locke is a lack of stamina. He wore down, and can’t repeat the delivery he had over the first four months.

    He could be as cocksure as AJ and it ain’t gonna change that fact.

  174. theplanisworking says:


    Even if it did……… we would benefit from your knowledge.

  175. NMR says:

    They’ve talked about his release point dropping.

    You know how Liriano supposedly greatly improved his command by going from a 3/4 to over-the-top arm slot?

    Locke has done the opposite. And the results have followed.

  176. Brandie says:

    Are you first base or #1 in the pitching rotation? Either way, we’re golden. RAISE THE JOLLY HIPPO!

  177. Jandy says:

    Ha! Anyone gets in the way, I’ll kick ‘em out of the way with my size 9 wide ;)

  178. Jandy says:

    But..but…it follows me everywhere ;)

  179. Brandie says:

    So when we make typos, is it a mechanics issue or are we head cases?

  180. Milo Hamilton says:

    Guess who’s batting 5th in right field today ? Maybe by the end of the day we’ll be calling you Nate Nostradamus.

  181. Jandy says:

    ya’ll are killin me lol

  182. Brandie says:

    Just let me off the chain and I’ll bite em’!

  183. Jandy says:

    dayum…that’s wild…martin’s suggestion…

  184. NMR says:

    “head case” is a pet peeve. And I’m insufferable to deal with when I have a pet peeve. Ask my wife. On second though, you guys already knew that. :)

  185. Jandy says:

    Spunky!!! :thwap:

  186. NMR says:

    I know personally my mechanics are a mess. Nobody teaches pointer finger pecking anymore.

  187. War Horse says:

    Today’s lineup:


  188. Jandy says:

    That’s interesting NMR, thanks for that info…poor Locke…

  189. Jandy says:

    NMR, it’s all good, when you’re trying to get me, I just get you with a


  190. Brandie says:

    Yikes! Back to the drawing board!

  191. Jandy says:


  192. Jandy says:

    I still have hockey, Jim S. so I’d be ok…but I’d still rather the Bucs advance far…

  193. NMR says:

    As long as Hasis is the third base coach and not Leyva. :)

  194. Jandy says:

    Nah Brandie, he’s still messed up in the head lol

  195. Milo Hamilton says:

    Clint Hurdle sent a message to Rockies fans regarding the retirement of Todd Helton. Classy move from a classy guy. But take a minute to read the comments that follow and what people seem to think of the guy that their team fired. Speaks volumes.

  196. 21sthebest says:

    More wins in October. Pirates or Steelers?

  197. Skip says:

    He still has good velocity and movement on his fastball. I wonder if his exaggerated hip rotation has gotten out of sync and made it more difficult for him to locate.

  198. Jandy says:

    LOL! good idea, NMR!

  199. Jandy says:

    what are the odds? ;)

  200. Jandy says:

    can’t do facebook at work…boo!

  201. Jandy says:

    no Byrd…really…

  202. Brandie says:

    As long as the back of his jersey says Mr. Hasis.

  203. NMR says:

    They say catchers make the best Managers.

    And then there is Mike Matheny.

  204. Jandy says:

    Gotta have that “Mr.”

  205. NMR says:

    Just keep that ignore button handy!

  206. Milo Hamilton says:

    Let’s just say Rockies fans have very complimentary things to say about Clint & many wish the Pirates well.

  207. NMR says:

    Was that before or after Jim Tracy’s message? :)

  208. Jandy says:

    LOL! You’re my buddy and you know it. Besides yinz engineer types always need to pick on somebody :P

  209. Brandie says:

    Clint’s right. Congratulations Mr. Helton. As far as the Pirates are concerned, with all of the ups, downs, and ups, I’m so glad it happened! It finally happened!

  210. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Milo :*

  211. theplanisworking says:

    I am working the concession stand! ;)

  212. theplanisworking says:

    We will win by forfeit!

  213. theplanisworking says:

    Oh Good Lord…………….. :)

  214. Jandy says:

    dayum straight!

  215. Milo Hamilton says:

    (Read slowly) Well ya know NMR, when we re-invented baseball with the Dod – gers we had guys like Todd Helton in mind, NMR.

    The guy was insufferable.

  216. Jandy says:

    He can be as cocksure as he wants, but he still has to throw the ball with his arms and hands ;X

  217. NMR says:

    Nobody going to touch the Penn State news?

  218. NMR says:

    Oh lord, the flashbacks that impersonation just gave me…

  219. Jandy says:

    (Read with a lisp)

    Suffering Soccotash!

  220. theplanisworking says:

    Morning to everyone.

    Glad I could provide a little chuckle today.

    I am outta here…….. will return for the game.
    If I dont burn down the concession stand…………

  221. Jandy says:

    They got some scholarships back. right?

  222. Jandy says:

    later on El Dorko Hippo :*

  223. Milo Hamilton says:

    1. Good for them.
    2. Jay Paterno needs to clam up.

  224. Brandie says:

    I did yesterday. Awesome news! It’s right as this regime had nothing to do with that evil mess!

  225. Jandy says:

    Duct tape is a miracle product…

  226. Jandy says:

    I don’t have a problem with it.

  227. Jim S. says:

    Has Franco spoken? He’s the ultimate authority.

  228. toochca says:


    You beat me to this!!

  229. Jandy says:


  230. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks for posting that, Milo.

  231. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:


    doesn’t tell the whole story, but tells the important one.

    Can’t win if you score less than your competition.

  232. Brandie says:

    He embodied The Suck, only to be out sucked by John Russell!

  233. Jim S. says:

    I did on Saturday as well, Milo. Mine was to 11-12 year olds. So, my lack of velocity these days was not that much of a hindrance.

  234. Brandie says:

    You are a fair woman Jandy. I did not think you would!

  235. Jim S. says:

    Well, he is 1 for his last 1. You can’t get hotter than that. :-)

  236. Nor Cal Stlrfanrtc (Ryan) says:

    Luckily, the Brewers felt the need to take their spot..

    Thank you Brewers

  237. Jim S. says:

    Kill ‘em with kindness, Jandy.

  238. Nate83 says:

    Thanks Milo. Nice to read. Just adds to what I think most if not all of us know about the guy. Truly geniune human being that I think cares about not only his players but tthe city he manages in.

  239. Nate83 says:

    I prefer to go by Natestradamus.

  240. Jandy says:

    Natestradamus it is!

  241. NMR says:

    But you’re forgetting, Franco doesn’t care about this team or about the football program in general.

    If the NCAA just restored the 409 wins, you’d hardly hear a peep out of the fringe. They care about Paterno more than they care about the University.

    DK: I thought yesterday alone exposed that pretty powerfully.

  242. NMR says:

    Saddens me to see the divide within the University continue to grow based on the descendants of a man who would want nothing more than the opposite if he were still alive.

  243. gregenstein says:

    I would do that except you can’t take AJ off the roster and still have him around for the next round. The rules of the regular season do not simply go away. AJ would need to be optioned off to make room for Pie, but he has no options left. So, he would need to be DFA, which would be dumb as then he’d be off the roster the rest of the year.

  244. gregenstein says:

    I like your thinking, but for my taste I’d rather have the extra position players. I like Cole and he’s absolutely one of my 4 starters, but I’d rather have that 3rd catcher (and nice pinch hitter against a lefty).

    I hate to say it, but if Liriano stuggles, the game’s likely over. Still, I could be convinced to keep Cole and drop Farnsworth, and then I’d probably bring Morris up for the next round so that Cole can join the rotation.

  245. gregenstein says:

    If they’re able to skip Cole’s turn on Sunday and use some combination of Brandon Cumpton and Jeff Locke, then I’d be willing to keep him on the roster for the coin flip game.

    But I ONLY skip Cole if they are more than 1 game out of 1st place when they have to take the field.

  246. gregenstein says:

    You can’t take Morton off the roster AND have him available for the next round.

  247. Keith says:

    I say you only need eight pitchers (2 starters) for the play-in game. I’m assuming everyone else will all be in the dugout, regardless. So I load up on position players for the play-in game and then go with (gulp) 10 pitchers for the two series. There are days off between games, so relievers can rest up. If we’re getting shellacked so badly that six relievers are needed per game, give it up! And keep Jones, but try not to use him. Definitely keep Harrison.

  248. Kevin says:

    maybe he needs rest?? maybe Hurdled wants to get both Jones & Morneau some work pre-WC?

  249. Jandy says:

    I have no doubt he needs rest, Kevin. Much agreed.

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