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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Cubs 3, Pirates 2

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (2-0) vs. Chicago Cubs (0-2)

Time: 12:35 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, MLB Network (national), 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. And here’s our Bucco Blog with all the pitching matchups, lineups, etc. Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and Joe Starkey are on the scene for the Trib.

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. Jandy says:

    Thanks for putting this up, Dejan. We know you’re in the Peg, so you’ll be busy enjoying it :)

  2. JAL says:

    JAL’s That’s Life Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    BLOGS and such

    4 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates Deciding On Course Of Action For Jameson Taillon

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Picking Two Pirates Breakout Candidates From Each Level

    Minor League Schedule: Kingham and Cumpton Get Opening Day Starts

    Jameson Taillon Had Second Opinion; Now All Parties Quiet as Pirates Decide the Next Step

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Upon review, Bucs win 4-3

    Pregame: Hurdle on factoring in the ‘human element’

    7 Rumbunter

    Tony Sanchez Walks Off Cubs Thanks MLB Replay Flaws & Disruptions

    The Maturation of the Pirates Charlie Morton

    8 Green Weenie

    It Takes All Night, But Bucs Take 4-3 Victory Home

    9 Saber Bucs

    A Different Kind of Box Score: Pirates-Cubs 3/31/2014

    10 WHYGAVS

    Game 2: Pirates 4 Cubs 3

  3. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Cubs-Pirates Game Preview

    12 Chicago Tribune

    Rest is best for Cubs after loss,0,7702303.story

    13 Indianapolis Star

    Indianapolis Indians looking for three-peat in IL West Division

    14 Pirates Site

    Bucs confident Snider can reach base in No. 2 spot

    15 Chicago Sun Times

    Sanchez, Pirates end 16-inning night as Cubs fall to 0-2

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Heisey’s walk-off avenges Reds’ Opening Day loss

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Matt Garza, Brewers lose pitchers’ duel to Braves

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Strauss: Baseball’s numbers game drives lots of decisions

    19 Fangraphs

    The Top 50 Prospects for 2014 by Projected WAR

    20 SB Nation

    When instant replay fails

  4. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Darrius Heyward-Bey reunites with fellow 2009 draft pick Mike Mitchell in Pittsburgh

    Jarvis Jones rookie year showed positives against the run, struggles in pass rush


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    RSL hit Toronto FC with an early season reality check

    23 BBC Football

    Manchester United: Bayern Munich display restores pride

    24 World Soccer

    Barcelona’s decision to appeal ban should result in lifting of transfer embargo


    25 Pensburgh

    Despres v. Engelland in the Month of March

    Is Dan Bylsma Trying To Get Himself Fired?

  5. mcpitt88 says:

    thanks Jal!!!

  6. TJA says:

    No electronics in baseball! No…No…No. I didn’t want replay when they voted on it and I don’t want it now. I am a purist. I am way too traditional. I don’t like it. That was all. Have a wonderful and happy Thursday, Everyone. And, indeed the Bucs are 2 and 0! Let’s Go Bucs!

  7. theplanisworking says:

    The Bucs won 4-3 last night. T. Sizzle won it.
    I fell asleep around the top of the 13th.

    I did get confused on one part of the game……… bottom of the 13th, Bucs had the bases loaded, no out, Barmes came up. I read he didn’t get a hit, but all 3 outs were recorded. Did he hit into a triple play? I didn’t read anything about a triple play. Maybe someone who stayed up for the game could help here.

    Now, with 2 extra inning games, I wonder what the lineup will look like with a day game today.

    And, alone in 1st place !

  8. TJA says:

    I fell asleep, too, Plan. My wife stayed up…I will have to ask her about this. She just came to bed and said Pirates won in 16. No other details.

  9. Jandy says:

    I went to bed at 10pm I KNEW it was gonna be a long one. Read they won this morning and was happy :)

  10. theplanisworking says:

    2 things from last night’s game……..

    1) Replay seems to be working pretty well, but I read many complaints about it. Are the replays taking too long? People just don’t like replay? I think as long as they get the calls right, and don’t take 10 minutes doing it, it should be ok. Just my one cent.

    2) Somebody (Walter Weatherman???) brought up Grilli looks to not have his velocity back to where it was before the injury last year. Anyone else notice that? He looked fine to me, but could he be compensating for something that just doesn’t feel right in his arm?

    And, let us hope Mr. Taillon gets some semblance of good news about that arm.

  11. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, always a happy thing when you go to bed, and wake up seeing your team won. I bet their will be some tired players today.

    Jandy, if the game would have gone on much longer, you would have been able to see it when you woke up.

  12. Jandy says:

    I’m reading about blown calls even with replay, and the Bucs got burned by one.

    Our set up man and our closer didn’t do all that hot last n ight. Not bad, but not great either. It’s too early to tell if there are issues. It’s game 2. Please.

    Howdy Planimal :)

  13. Jandy says:

    LOL I thought of that too, since I’m up at 4am. Too funny.

    Curve game is at 12:30 today. Josh Harrison is to be there for festivities. Then he has to hustle back to DaBurgh for the game…unless it all gets rained out.

  14. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, I didn’t know about blown calls with replay. I thought they were getting them mostly correct……..

    Not concerned about Grilli and Melancon, but anytime someone mentions a drop in velocity with a pitcher that had an arm injury, it worries me a bit. That’s why I asked if the viewpoint of Grilli was correct to others. I thought he looked fine.

    Oh, howdy Jandimal.

  15. theplanisworking says:

    Boy, he is really going to have to hustle, the Pirate game is scheduled for 12:30 also. That is going to be some major-league hustle.


  16. Jandy says:

    hey friend! Check out JAL’s link #20 above on blown calls…

  17. TJA says:

    If we think about this…the Pirates have played THREE games in the first 2 days!

  18. Jandy says:

    Wait, I got that backwards LOL I guess I need more coffee…the Curve game is 6:30…

  19. theplanisworking says:

    Thinking is not allowed just yet. :)

  20. Jandy says:

    Justice, it prolly FEELS that way to them :)

  21. Jandy says:

    You can tell I’m not thinking…lol

  22. theplanisworking says:

    Was this an isolated call? Or are many calls being called wrong even with replay?
    It’s here to stay, at least for this year.

  23. Jandy says:

    I don’t know that Planimal. But the call on Marte – he attempted to bunt and it was ruled, and reviewed and upheld that the ball hit his bat and was called a foul (strike) – was wrong. never touched him or the bat.

  24. DJ says:

    Home plate ump was the worst. I swear the strike zone moved every inning or two.

    T Sanchez got some inside pitch ball calls in that last at bat that were strike calls to Cutch and others in earlier innings. Maybe the ump decided he wanted to go home as well.

  25. Nice to awaken to a W. We were down when we hit the hay.

    Please. Scrap replay in all sports except for hockey goals.

    Last night’s game would only have been 5 hours without replay.

    Football has been out of hand for years. Leave the human factor in and put away the headset guys.

  26. DJ says:

    The Taillon silence is deafening.

    Expecting the worst and hoping for the best.

  27. TJA says:

    Is there a time we are allowed to think on this blog? kind of like…what time does the “store open”?

  28. TJA says:

    I’m sure, Jandy. Don’t want to wear out the arms too early.

  29. The final result last night would likely have been the same anyhow, since neither side has enough offense, obviously, nor wlll they likely have this season.

  30. Jandy says:

    Amen brother!

  31. Jandy says:


  32. DJ says:

    Really like what Charlie Morton has become since last year.

    Eliminated all of his over analysis demons and just pitching. A quiet assassin on the mound.

  33. TJA says:

    Jandy – YOU are thinking too much!! Stop it!

  34. Jandy says:

    You and me both! Go Ground Chuck!

  35. Jandy says:

    I’m just keeping an open mind until we hear what they have to say.

  36. Jandy says:

    See?? lol

    OK I gotta get some work done…and I need to concentrate. Coffee on my desk and I’m gonna git ‘r done! Check in on yinz in a bit :)

  37. TJA says:

    Me, too. have a good day!

  38. DJ says:

    You’d like to think the Bucs-endorsed medical providers got it right. But despite the technology, not always an exact science.

  39. Wild Bill says:

    Been meaning to ask: what is the meaning of smh? Gets used a lot here and I have no clue.

  40. DJ says:

    Shaking my head.

  41. DJ says:

    I just Google them, WB. You’ll pick up all the urban slang.

    Saw “ftw” from NMR yesterday and had no clue. Thought it was something like “Free the Willy,” which in your case would be appropriate.

  42. GAWTS2009 says:

    SMH means Shaking my head Bill

  43. GAWTS2009 says:

    SMH means Shaking my head Bill

  44. Brandon says:

    Melancon & Grill doing their best impression of Scuds & Orpik -

  45. DJ says:

    HM: Christian Folin to the Wild.

    I thought Shero gave you specific orders to get this guy signed. You’re demoted to WBS, my friend. Say hello to Ebbett and the other hobbits.

  46. NMR says:

    Good morning, Ned PLANders(Simpsons, anyone? ok, maybe that was a stretch),

    Jason Grilli’s fastball averaged 94.07 mph in 2013, 94.25 mph on Monday and 94.02 mph last night.

  47. NMR says:

    JAL Link #14

    Pirates have confirmed that the diagnosis on Monday was different from the original, the issue is in fact his UCL, and they’re planning a course of action.

    See you in 2015, Jameson.

  48. NMR says:

    All the kids are saying it!

  49. Bucs first baseman Travis Ishikawa told Colin Dunlap that he’s a huge fan of instant replay and that it might help everyone to get along better. Well, after last night, we shall see.

  50. Thundercrack says:

    I was a little too drowsy when Melancon was pitching but I plan to keep an eye on him the first few weeks of the season.

    I thought he kind of sputtered down the stretch last season. And in Spring Training it seemed like he only pitched in a few regular ‘prime time’ games. It seemed like a lot of his appearances were in these B games. But I looked at his ST stats and I can’t tell if that is true or not. And I may be mis-remembering a lot of the stuff during this ST.

  51. bpn8pitt says:

    Bowed out around the 11th last night. Missed a lot of good and bad stuff I guess.

    Did catch Watson, guys pretty sick. Morton seemed like Good Charlie. Looks like Stolmy did okay. He’ll be one to watch.

    I’ll be listening today. Hope Wandy can give them as much as he can.
    You guys have a good one. Be good, Jandy.

  52. Jandy says:

    I love the kids :)

  53. Jandy says:


  54. DJ says:


    Rolling on floor upside down with arms in air laughing.

    Just made that one up. Then again, maybe I should Google it.

  55. Jandy says:


  56. Karen22 says:

    Bucs offensive “offense” wasted two stellar starts to kick off the season. Frankie & Charlie deserved better. And both Melancon and Grilli picked up from where they LEFT OFF last year (rather than what they were for the majority of it). We won both games anyway (thank God!), and it’s way too early to raise red flags, but geeeeeeez!!

  57. Bill Born says:

    Polanco gets started tonight-I’m certain we will all be following his progress.

  58. It looks like today’s ball game at PNC Park might well be rained out, so I’m just glad the Bucs found a way to win the first two over the Cubs in extra innings anyhow.

  59. Wild Bill says:

    Jandy? Being good?? smh

  60. Karen22 says:

    Melancon did more than sputter” down the stretch last year…he was scary bad. You aren’t “mis-remembering.” :)

  61. DJ says:

    Let the Glasnow and Kingham watches now officially begin.

  62. Karen22 says:

    Oh – and that plate umpire?! WHOA!! Sure looked to me that he was making a statement about replay with his arbitrary strike zone all night long! Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist or anything, but I’m all-in for electronic calls next! :(

  63. We fans have been warned to expect games like the last two this season since the Pirates plainly don’t have enough offense, although we can always hope that the offense will come alive as the season progresses and the weather gets warmer.

  64. NMR says:

    Let me make sure I don’t lead anyone to believe that surgery is imminent or anything of the sort.

    I just think it will be difficult to make it up to the Bigs if he is out for any substantial length of time.

  65. Karen22 says:

    So far I’m liking Travis Ishi & his approach at the plate. That walk he drew late after an 0-2 count was impressive. He’s also hit the ball on the button a bunch.

  66. Monster Vlad was too busy getting his divorce to post yesterday.

  67. NMR says:

    Um, they did win the games, didn’t they?

  68. A rainout may be a good thing today.

  69. JD says:

    I made it to the end. Barnes bounced into the rare 7-2-3 DP. The Cubs pulled the LF in and had 5 infielders. I can’t remember how the next guy got out.

  70. DJ says:

    Yeah, I think everyone gets the picture.

    Then again, from all the battles waged on this blog over the last week or so over phrasings I can also understand your disclaimer. Ha!

  71. Dom says:

    I don’t like it how the game went so late. We’re not off till Monday. Two games into the season and the bullpen is already worn out.

    All the more reason we should have signed another bat so it will lower the chances these extra inning games become less likely.

  72. Karen22 says:

    The most AWFUL plate ump yet! Something’s gotta be done about this…unbelievable!

  73. Karen22 says:

    That’s what I’m thinking…

  74. DJ says:


    And only 160 more games of this to go?

  75. Arriba Wilver says:

    I know it’s what we do (worry), but the first couple of games of the season you typically are seeing one teams’ best starting pitchers against the other teams” best starting pitchers. And pitchers are traditionally ahead of the batters. (Sure, there will still be a couple of slugfests, but not so much.). I used no stats to back this up.

    Just my 2 cents.

  76. Stuart says:

    Initial Disclaimer:

  77. Thundercrack says:

    I know we used a lot of relievers last night.

    But the team didn’t play last Saturday, Sunday, or this past Tuesday.

    The advantage they don’t have this year is that they can’t send Gomez, Morris or Stolmey down and bring up a fresh arm – for a week or so (or whatever the minimum is)

  78. Shut the Front Door!

  79. NMR says:

    Haha, I appreciate that DJ!

  80. Lad 9 says:

    The real problem was location. He just could not hit his spots last night.

  81. NMR says:

    Every. Single. Year.

  82. Dom says:

    Stolmey Rules.

  83. Lad 9 says:

    Agree. Balking Bob Davidson is a horrible umpire, and has been for a very long time.

  84. NMR says:

    Great comment, TC.

  85. 21sthebest says:

    Well said Jandy.

  86. NMR says:

    No stats? No stats?! NO STTTAAAAATTTTTSSS…*head explodes*…

  87. NMR says:

    I can’t believe they cut Mazzaro. Gomez stinks.

  88. Jandy says:

    Like several have said, it was game 2. Give it a chance.

  89. Jandy says:

    tell me about it!

  90. Stuart says:

    Initial Disclaimer: As someone who could be described as “elderly”, I would like to opine that last night’s home umpire was too old to be calling balls and strikes.

    I have the distinct feeling that instant replay will become a huge issue as the season progresses. The umps are not going to like being found to be wrong so often. I could see a strike coming if a lot of calls go against the umps.

    I wonder if someone will be keeping track of which umpires are reversed more often. And wouldn’t it be worthwhile to compare each umpire’s strike zone (his actual calls) with what the pitch tracks show?

    I see much trouble ahead on the whole issue. Example: how can New York rule foul ball on a pitch that missed the bat by about 4 inches? That was what I saw on the Marte challenge.


  91. 21sthebest says:

    Grilli finished 2013 with 8 consecutive scoreless outings which includes 3 in the playoffs.

  92. DJ says:

    “Stolmey Weathers Storm”

  93. Nate83 says:

    I agree but I’m selfish and want them to play again today and start the season 3-0. They have a day off Monday and then a long stretch of games (something like 21). I would hate to have to throw a make up game in on one of those few days off for the team. I think it may be best to suck it up and get todays game in. Their bullpen is just as used and Morris is available as well as a few other guys that only pitched one inning last night.

  94. JD says:


  95. Lad 9 says:

    That makes way too much sense! What could you be thinking? :)

    How are ya Jandy girl? Good to see ya…. I hung around until the end last night so I am paying at work today,,,

  96. JD says:

    Someone posted that the HP ump had been fired for poor performance, but the union fought to keep his job.

  97. 21sthebest says:

    I know it will never happen, but I’d like to see Armando Gallarago be given his perfect game with the Best Interests Of Baseball clause. If there had been replay then, clearly this would have been a perfect game. Also, all that needs to be done is to eliminate the last batter of the game’s at bat who made the “4th out” after the blown call. No harm, no foul. And I thought Bud should have done this back then.

  98. Good points, Nate. I want them to play, but we don’t want any arms falling off before May. And really, everyone can catch up on their sleep tonight because, if the game starts at 12:30 and there are no rain delays, it can be over by 5:30. Replay will see to it.


  99. Jandy says:


  100. Jim S. says:

    Location seemed more the issue to me last night.

  101. Wild Bill says:

    Stuart, if the replays are making the umps look especially bad, where would their leverage be in a job action threat?

  102. Jandy says:

    Laddie!!!! I would stay up if it were a playoff game, but not game 2 of the new season :)
    I’m busy at work..and peeking in when I can. Take a “power nap” and you’ll be fine ;)

  103. Nate83 says:

    Viva regime!!!!!! There I restored order. No more questioning front office decisions. It’s not allowed. We will take away your club card if we have to.

    They have something like 6 more days to find a trading partner for Mazzaro or they lose him to waivers. In the end I don’t think they get much for him but some teams have had horrible bullpens early in the year so we will see.

  104. DJ says:

    Not so sure, Jandhi. I think that .23 mph drop from Monday to Tuesday may be cause for concern.

    A second opinion on his UCL?

  105. Dom says:


    You look like you’re in your 30s in that photo.

  106. Jim S. says:

    Funny, DJ. I would have said LOL, but I don’t do LOL. ;-)

  107. Did Mazzaro clear or are we still waiting? 10 days, right? Neil said he would probably be traded. There’s got to be a team out there who can use him. If not, it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summer time.

  108. Jim S. says:

    He got hammered really badly, but I thought it was mostly contained to a week or 10-day stretch where everything was dropping in RF from righty batters. San Diego, in particular, tortured him.

    I thought he got it back together by the end of the season, but maybe I’m mis-remembering.

  109. Nate83 says:

    Next Wednesday I believe he will go on waivers if we don’t make a trade. There should be zero chance he makes it through waivers. I have to imagine over half the teams could find a spot on their team for him. He will add nice depth to somebody’s bullpen.

  110. Sorry. Posted at the same time.

  111. Stuart says:

    Their leverage would be something made up that would make them look good while (allegedly) interfering with the “integrity” of the game. Just have the union hire a political “spin Doctor”. I’m sure they could make it sound like Armageddon was coming if it wasn’t stopped.


  112. Jim S. says:

    Style points, my man. Wins is an outdated stat. :-)

  113. Stuart says:

    Dom, the photo is of my great uncle in his NY Yankees uniform.

  114. Dom says:

    I agree.

    MLB seems stubborn in that regard. In the Browns came back in the league, the NFL had no issue giving them their historical stats and records that should technically have belonged to the Ravens. I mean, it’s only sports. Give the man his due!

  115. Jim S. says:

    I commented yesterday that NH had acquired a gently used left arm for when Liriano’s inevitably falls off (you heard it here first), and I have it on good authority that he is scouring the internet for several more on the cheap. Neal’s quote was, “Mr. Nutting said, why pay for an entire new pitcher if you can get a veteran arm with low miles and a good track record for much less? He says they like what they see on the secondary market. INWT.

  116. NMR says:

    Good memory on that San Diego series, Jim.

  117. Jim S. says:

    New theory of roster construction for the Bucs: 16 pitchers and 9 position players. Barmes is the only sub, and he handles all 8 positions.

  118. Jim S. says:

    Please refrain from common sense, AW.

  119. Nate83 says:

    Spin Doctor’s “two princes” still one of my more embarrassing guilty pleasures. I can’t hear that song and not be happy.

  120. bradthedad says:

    Charlie’s made huge strides. Everyone knows his problems with lefties but he consistently got his breaking ball at their back foot. It’s early but dare I say problem solved?

  121. Jim S. says:

    Great take on the challenge system, Stu. What I see quickly developing is it doesn’t matter whether you have challenges left or not. If there is a close play, you just go to the ump and say, “Do you really want to be the umpiring crew that doesn’t take another look at a play that close?”

    This thing could get out of control very quickly.

  122. Jim S. says:


    Great point about Charlie last night. If he can hold lefties to even somewhere around .280 this year (vs. .313, I think) last year, he is going to be so good. He was at the top of his game last night.

  123. NMR says:

    Grilli’s dirty little secret: can’t locate the fastball for squat.

    Shows how much larger the margin of error is for relievers.

  124. Nate83 says:

    Put that in you Sabermetric pipe and smoke it. We don’t need no stinkin’ stats.

    Oddly enough the Pirates are the top offensive team in the NL central.

    Brewers – 4 runs in 3 games
    Reds – 1 run in 2 games
    Cards – 1 run in 2 games
    Cubs – 3 runs in 2 games
    Pirates – 5 runs in 2 games

  125. Nate83 says:

    He has proven he can handle short, second, first and batting dummy.

  126. bradthedad says:

    The way he was busting them inside, he may beat 280.

  127. Jim S. says:

    A few drive by comments:

    * I’m glad they kept Stolmy, and felt that Mazzaro was the odd man out all along. I like that he may be able to start some games this year. Am I allowed to suggest that it was a brilliant trade that brought Melancon and Stolmy for a closer with a busted wing and the great Brock Holt? Or, did the run Melancon allowed last night make it a bad trade?

    * Read a great article on FanGraphs about the defense of Jordy and Barmes. Plenty of great quotes from Barmes.

  128. BigE says:

    Last night showed all the weaknesses of replay: The overturn of a double play that has been a double play since Gen. Doubleday invaded Cooperstown, and the Marte “foul” that clearly wasn’t. The Marte screwup amply illustrates the problem with the system. Haven’t heard an official explanation yet, but it probably had something to do with balls and strikes not being reviewable, the video couldn’t prove he was hit, so the play stood as called. Idiocy! So much for “getting it right” …

    Bad calls break 50/50 during the season, anyway.

    OTOH, I hope that Bob Davidson reviews his home plate umpiring skills after the game. That was the widest strike zone I’ve seen since the heyday of Maddux and Glavine. One “strike” to Cutch was over the white line in the batter’s box.

  129. AJS says:

    Can anyone explain to me why the DP yesterday was reviewable? i thought the rule stated you couldn’t chanllenge “in the area” on a DP?

    Was the fact that the play wasn’t a clean feed and turn supercede “in the area?”

    I’ll admit that it seems like a blatant call taht should be overturnable, but I just thought as the rules are written fro replay it wouldn’t be reviewable.

  130. NMR says:

    And people laughed when I said the Pirates should carry 13 relievers!! ;)

  131. Dom says:

    One of the best songs of the 90s.

  132. BigE says:

    And yes, I know that Doubleday didn’t invade Cooperstown!

  133. Dom says:


    That would explain why it is in black and white.

  134. Nate83 says:

    He mentioned in a column last week that the Braves preached pitch down and away his entire time there. He never learned to trust his stuff inside. It has been a process but he seemed to think he now has cleared the mental hurdle.

    I don’t understand why so many pitchers struggle with this. I know a mistake inside could be costly but only using half the plate in an attempt to get major league hitters out seems as if it would be more damaging. I’m glad Morton and most Pirate pitchers are using the entire plate.

  135. NMR says:

    As opposed to waddling out of the dugout and ranting with a grown man for three minutes before getting ejected?

    We’ve developed quite a skewed vision of “out of control”.

  136. Stuart says:

    I agree, and I think it will come to a head rather quickly. My best scenario: Have a computer make the actual calls on balls and strikes but hire ACTORS to dramatize what the computer called. Those dramatic strike calls by umps would be the only thing I’d miss if the umpires could be replaced on balls and strikes (only).

    BTW you are right about challenges already exceeding the “limit”. Hard to see the whole issue ending well.


  137. NMR says:

    Rob B, the Trib’s esteemed beat writer extraordinaire, honestly argued against replay in his Blog yesterday because he thought it would hurt umpire’s psyche.

    That’s why they pay him the big bucks, folks!

  138. 21sthebest says:

    I think it was out of control last night on the Marte foul tip that wasn’t. They used replay and got it wrong.

  139. NMR says:

    Honest question, Stu. Did you think that Major League Baseball would actually get this thing perfect from the very start?

  140. DJ says:

    Chris Stewart does not get hurt and MLB has its first unscheduled double-header today.

  141. Nate83 says:

    Because it was a errant throw Major League Baseball issued a statement saying that as soon as the throw is deemed as being the possible reason for pulling a player of the bag the play is no longer viewed as a in the neighborhood play but instead as a force play at second which is reviewable.

    I’m not convince Mercer reaches Walkers throw if he keeps his foot on the bag and if he does I’m not sure he could have made a strong throw to first to complete the double play. So I actually think they got it right and that the ump on the field should have called him safe to begin with.

  142. 21sthebest says:

    Phillies 19 runs in 3 games. Record 1-2.

  143. Milo Hamilton says:

    I love the Redskins. RG III & DeSaun Jackson are already in a public spat. Over the number 10. This is going to be awesome.

  144. Jandy says:


  145. NMR says:

    I think Chuck has proven that he’s more than capable of being a good MLB starter, despite his splits, and the curveball location may help.

    But all six baserunners allowed last night were lefties.

  146. DJ says:

    I posted last night about the one other ump clapping when Hurdle indicated he was not going to challenge the Mercer pick-off call by the first base ump. A guess that was a cause for joyous celebration.

    The umps are going to need some broad shoulders. It’s about time, really.

  147. NMR says:

    Metal bats.

  148. Thundercrack says:

    I can’t remember if I posted this the other day regarding replay.

    It will get calls right and will help eliminate on-field arguments from managers and save some time.
    But I wonder if there will also be a good number of plays that are challenged that really shouldn’t —meaning some managers will just want to use a challenge for the sake of using it.

    I’m tired. Can’ remember stuff

  149. 21sthebest says:

    I thought that was unprofessional. I think that was Hirschbeck.

  150. Milo Hamilton says:

    As far as replay goes tne thing you’ll never hear me say is, “as long as they get it right”. If they get it wrong & it benefits my team, I’m good with that.

  151. Milo Hamilton says:

    That’s DeSean Jackson. I don’t need Richard Sherman on my case because I spelled his name wrong.

  152. Arriba Wilver says:

    He’s a prince.

  153. NMR says:

    If we discuss the Hanny trade, we must also discuss the Jason Bay, Jose Bautista, and Javy Lopez trades. Your call, I’ve got all day. ;)

  154. DJ says:


    The umps have seen themselves as beyond reproach for so long it’s going to be a rude awakening for them.

  155. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve heard that there are very stiff penalties for managers if they still argue after the review. I don’t know if that applies to a situation where, say, after the 6th inning and he is out of challenges he requests a review and the umpire refuses. I’d guess so, though, but don’t know.

  156. Nate83 says:

    Is he completely clueless as to why the Eagles let him go? The Redskins may want to reconsider their business model because it seems to fail pretty consistently making the same mistakes. At least Jerry Jones keeps his team consistently 8-8 with his bad decision making. Yet somehow ESPN convinces people every year that division will be the best in football.

  157. Wild Bill says:

    Milo, where’d you see that?

  158. NMR says:

    The game would be so, sooo much better if this old guard of umpires were completely eliminated.

  159. Arriba Wilver says:

    I remember Smiz had a huge issue with the Lopez trade, but I don’t remember what side he was on. ;-)

  160. Wild Bill says:

    Though it’s tempting, maybe we shouldn’t react too much to anything from the first two Pirate games.

    A small sample size is not indicative of anything except that the sample size is too small.

  161. 21sthebest says:

    At least they didn’t review the Jordy play at first base when Jordy thought he was safe. But I thought Bannister condemned Jordy to death with the thumbs down like in Gladiator (courtesy of the Morning Show).

  162. Nate83 says:

    Ishakawa had a really nice at bat to draw the walk that started the last inning last night. I do not think he is the answer but I have to give credit where credit is due. He has shown the ability to have professional at bats and work the count which is something Jones was unable to do for a majority of last year. I actually would trust Ishakawa more then most of the guys right now batting with a player on base with less then 2 outs in a situation where we just need to move the guy up.

  163. Arriba Wilver says:

    And Clint loves that in a player.

  164. Naterosboro says:

    Pitching inside is a philosophy. It kind of goes against the grain in that you’re essentially throwing into someone’s power area (for the most part). Also, you’re more likely to make a mistake out over the plate (trying to get inside), than you are if you’re pitching away (where you’re mistakes will tend to be off the plate).

    But, it makes most hitters so uncomfortable. And that’s why I love it. If you can make a guy uncomfortable in the box, you’ve almost won the battle.

  165. A1C McG says:

    plan i think they said it was something lik a 7-2-3 double play then fielders choice to end the inning. the cubs had 7 infielders and they got the out at home then first, i think walked the next batter then someone hit to short to get the out at second.

  166. Naterosboro says:


    Bob railed on the Pirates for giving up Javy Lopez for essentially nothing. I can’t even remember who/what was included in that deal, but I remember the Smiz was none-to-happy with it.

    And I remember most fans thought it was a non-issue (other than the ones who used it as another peg in the “salary dump” hole).

  167. Jim S. says:

    Where’s Robby Alomar at times like these?

  168. NMR says:

    Not from the earth, of course, just the game.

    Let the record show that I’m not advocating the extermination of old, blind, egotistical umpires.

  169. Arriba Wilver says:

    According to Ian Snell it was rude to pitch inside. ;-)

  170. NMR says:

    Nate, note the winky smiley face. ;)

  171. NMR says:

    How awesome was that!

  172. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, Nate. I just remembered it was an issue for him for a long time. And I like Bob.

  173. Yeah, it’s rude to be out of baseball at such a young age, too.

  174. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, my bad, I just hadn’t thought of that one in a long time. :-)

  175. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think so. We were on game 2 last night, and how many times was the game stopped? A lot more than they said it would. I think it has a chance to be a real mess unless they somehow tighten down how many times it takes place.

    Giving these managers the ability to make appeals for an instant replay whenever they want is already leading to a lot of stoppages, isn’t it? I guess we can say it’s just a small sample size so far. Maybe last night was an anomaly.

  176. chethejet1 says:

    It all comes down to this. if Pedro doesn’t hit we all must quit. I have no reason to think he won’t have a year close to last year. But man RF is really a hole but hopefully Polanco emerges over the second half. The lack of juice at those two positions really puts the Bucs in a tough position. Lots of close games and stress on the pitching and bull pen. It will come back to bite them eventually.

  177. NMR says:

    Wasn’t the game stopped last night just twice?

    And don’t you think the game would’ve been stopped the same amount of times wihtout replay?

  178. Andrew says:

    I was at one of those Padres games when right handers where flaring balls to right.

    Melancon in Sept 2013: 51 batters faced, K 25.5%, BB% 0.0%, BABIP .447

    Sometimes guys just get hit.

  179. Jim S. says:


    Thanks for the ;-)

    Made my morning.

    Now, about that Dickerson for Decker trade …

  180. Andrew says:

    Balk-a-Day is a joke, guy cannot ever find the stirke zone.

  181. Bizrow says:

    What day is it??

  182. Baywatch says:

    Gahr-ohn-TEE one of our boys overslept this morning and JHay will have to play ’til they get there … Who’s got the bagels?

  183. Jim S. says:

    But, if he improves in that one area, don’t you think he suddenly has a shot at an even higher level? I think if he can get to where he is facing balanced lineups (RH/LH), he’s going to dominate a lot of games. I agree that his curve could be the key. He said his focus was on improving vs. LH. I hope it pays off.

  184. NMR says:

    I have no clue what it means to have “professional at bats”, but Jones’ walk and k rates last year were almost identical to Ishikawa over the course of his career.

  185. Baywatch says:

    I was all NOBLE, too, my first one, we really tagged Boneface out over there! HEY, MILO! Mornin’!

  186. Jim S. says:

    I don’t recall the exact number of instances. But, I seem to recall Renteria wandering out several times, and Clint doing the same. I’m just saying, these managers are going to figure out quickly that it is pretty easy to manipulate umpires who don’t want to look silly for not reviewing something.

  187. NMR says:

    Don’t get me wrong, there NEEDS to be changes. As is the case with any completely new rollout of rules and technology.

    But the key is to make the damn changes. No justifiable reason, what-so-ever, that a replay system should not succeed. Just absolutely none.

  188. Jim S. says:

    And, there will be unintended fallout, if you will. Lloyd has been patiently waiting for another manager gig forever. He finally gets another shot, and boom, right before he hits the big stage they eliminate his signature move. That hardly seemed fair. ;-)

  189. Jim S. says:

    Nice single to LF by Pedro last nigt, as well as the long liner to LC that was caught.

  190. Andrew says:

    Not sure where this will land, but that do have heatmaps for umpires here is Davidson strike zone for the 2013 season.

    0.1 equals 10% more than league average. Not sure I have ever seen an a yellow zone as large Davidson’s extend off the map.

  191. NMR says:

    I don’t say this to degrade others at all, but one of the biggest misconceptions in the non-sabr baseball community right now is that “regression” equals poor performance.

  192. Jim S. says:


  193. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, but Clint was only going on Spring Training. :-D

  194. Stuart says:

    Honest answer: No, but they don’t seem to have given much thought to the potential consequences.

  195. NMR says:

    Salary dump. ;)

  196. Andrew says:

    Exactly, you cannot saw a guy off with a metal bat.

  197. bradthedad says:

    Valid point. Bonifacio is one of them and he’s unconscious right now. But I like what I saw to lefties.

  198. Dennis Gallagher says:

    Clint is also still addicted to the setup/closer strategy which does absolutely nothing to help the team win. You have seven relievers and three pitch in game one followed by a day off. So you correctly bring in a new reliever when Morton is removed and he pitches a scoreless inning. Now of course Clint cannot bring in anyone but Melancon who gives up a run, followed by Grilli who gives up another and it seems like we were lucky to get into extra innings after Grilli’s performance. At that point we had four pitchers, one left handed, who had yet to throw a pitch this season. Had the Hurdle strategy been successful we would have been hearing how we have to find work for the other relievers, but of course Grilli would be back on track for the Fireman of the Year, if they still have that. Enough. Use the relievers as common sense would dictate the freshest appropriate arm pitches, period.

  199. NMR says:

    OK, I love the guy, but that the hell is this justification for Snider?!

    “We’re optimistic that the OBP will play out in the Major League level close to what it was in the Minor Leagues,” Hurdle said. “He had the best spring we’ve seen. Moved around in the outfield and on the bases the best since we’ve had him.”

    “I liked the look of it in Spring Training. We’ll see how it plays out during the season.”

    Lose a couple pounds, hustle around the outfield, and get handed a Major League starting role? I know it’s only a couple games and Clint will eventually figure it out, but it is the logic that blows my mind.

    Like I said, absolutely love the guy, but come on!

  200. Jim S. says:

    Andrew & NMR:

    I remember it distinctly because it was like a sudden avalanche of the exact same hit.

    Then, I took a Tums and reminded myself that his WHIP was under 1.0 last year.

  201. Stuart says:

    I picked Travis Snider for my “breakout year” player. He was strokin it in ST. He hasn’t looked good in the two small samples so far. I’m starting to wonder if he is the archtypical 4-A player.

    Just sayin.


  202. Patrick(ri) says:

    I hate overuse of the sacrifice bunt, but I think the game would have ended several innings earlier, if CH had told Cutch to drag one with the guy on third – total shock & speed might have produced awe?

  203. Naterosboro says:

    Musings, musings, who’s got the musings…..

    * It’s only Game 2, but clearly the Pirates didn’t read DK’s “Year of the Bat” column.

    * Not sure why Grilli didn’t rely more on the slider last night. He was locating it much better than the fastball. The hits he gave up to Lake, Bonafacio & Valbuena were all due to poorly located fastballs.

    * It seems as if the Pirates still haven’t learned how to hit a fly ball with a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

    * Maybe we can try the suicide squeeze with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs?

    * Not going to lie, I wanted the Cubs to win that game last night (after they tied it in the 9th). The Pirates didn’t deserve a W. Even though it’s only Game 2 of 162, that performance by the offense should get guys fined.

    * To clarify, the position players didn’t deserve a W. The pitching staff did their job (even with a hiccup from Grilli in the 9th). When you only give up 3 runs in 16 innings, you’ve done good.

    * That said, it is nice to see the team not quit. They could’ve hung their heads after blowing it in the 9th, and then having Rizzo belt 1 out to start the 12th, but they didn’t.

    * My thoughts on replay in baseball so far: I like it. Obviously there are going to be kinks that need to be worked out, but the goal is to have the correct calls made. Even if they go against the Pirates.

    * Baseball “purists” need to “get with the times”. Replay is here, and it’s here to stay. I’m specifically speaking to Steve Blass & Tim Neverette.

    * Let me be clear, even though the umpires strike zone was ridiculous last night, I would never want replay extended to balls and strikes. The zone is what the guy behind the plate is calling. If it’s all over the place, you just have to deal.

    * Pedro Alvarez got a hit last night.

    * Andrew McCutchen didn’t.

    Hope they get the game in today. It’d be a shame to waste all those brooms.

    Have a good day all.


  204. JohninOshkosh says:

    Sorry, Bay. I let you down last night (this morning). I fell asleep with my laptop at my side.

    So: “Up here, Bay!!!!!”

  205. NMR says:

    Thanks, Stu, and I agree with you.

    Unfortunately, I think MLB can’t get out of it’s own way more often than not.

  206. Thundercrack says:

    Clint’s only real alternative to Snider is Tabata. Maybe Decker later on. He probably see the infrequent flashes of production and hopes that something finally clicks for Snider.

    But I feel that Clint will not shed a tear when he cuts Snider because Polanco is ready.

    To me it is just coach-speak.

  207. NMR says:

    Oh absolutely, guys.

    I think Chuck is just now getting comfortable. Wouldn’t surpise me at all to see him take a step forward by being able to focus on lefties instead of mechanical changes and injury rehab.

  208. Bill Born says:

    It will remain-

    Pedro and Pitching.

  209. Jim S. says:

    Is the game on for today? As I see it, Wandy gives us 6, and Morris gives us 3. If needed, JHay pitches all of the extra innings. There’s just no other way. We’re losing arms left and right, people. NH can’t acquire them on the secondary market quickly enough, and the auxiliary cooler Frank conveniently keeps in his office is already stuffed with them. Please rain!

    :-) :-) :-)

    I added a couple of extra smiley faces for dramatic effect.

    And, yes, I’m the guy who first suggested maybe Frankie threw too many pitches for 3/31. I think it is the nature of being a fan that we worry about things like over-work for pitchers. But, I think they have a plan to combat that for starters and relievers. I think it will be ok.

  210. Arriba Wilver says:

    That one about Snider caught my eye, too, in the same way it did you.

  211. NMR says:

    But that’s my point, TC.

    Tabby is the player, right now, that Snider may possibly become. Unless Clint still has delusions of dripping power, that is.

  212. Jim S. says:

    Just a hunch, but I’m predicting the Bucs will score more runs away from PNC again this year than they do at PNC. So will the opposition. I counted a few balls last night to LF/LC by each team that would have left the friendly confines that were “cans of corn” in PNC. Did you notice the frustrated “That’s always a HR in our park” scowl on Schierholtz’s face late in the game when his well struck drive to left fell short of the track?

  213. NMR says:

    Can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not.

  214. Jim S. says:

    I know. Clint’s Snider speech was a load of crap. And, I also love Clint. I think Snider has been preparing a variety of grilled and smoked meats for the Hurdle family. At some point, though, he needs to get it done. Decker is there if he doesn’t. Then, El Coffee.

  215. Baywatch says:

    Yee-Ha! (Cuh-LAP!)

  216. JohninOshkosh says:

    Funny, I’m looking forward to the day a computer calls the balls and strikes according to the strike zone established by the rules.

    Probably, will start out in Japan.

  217. Jim S. says:

    And, to think, one of us was fed up with Charlie in the middle of last season.

    Ok, that was me.

  218. theplanisworking says:

    Ned Planders. I like that.
    But not Ned. He is the next door neighbor nobody really wants.

  219. Thundercrack says:

    I thought about that too John. But how will the computer determine foul tips and hit-by-pitch.
    I think they’ll still need a live ump.

    Actually if they have a computer call balls & strikes I may stop following the sport.

  220. TK says:

    April 2, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    City of Pittsburgh question from an out of towner:

    What is that green domed structure sitting majestically on a bluff overlooking PNC ? A cathedral?'s_Museum_of_Pittsburgh

    Could this have been the building you were talking about yesterday?

  221. Baywatch says:

    Yeah, Nate, I’m with you balls and strikes … but seriously, ESPECIALLY as the game gets into extra innings you start to feeling like you’re playing against DAVIDSON as well as the Cubs. An I’m NOT going to buy you a Primanti Sammich if you guess which one is the more formidable foe!

  222. theplanisworking says:

    Milo said that Davidson was fired before, and brought back.
    I can see why he was fired………

  223. cmat0829 says:

    Let’s be careful to make any conclusions after TWO GAMES… pretty sure Bonifacio isn’t going to hit .800 this season… and Snider has time to put something together.

    Now, it is fair that he hasn’t been able to do this in the past, but with him healthy this year, it’s worth a shot to see what he can do pre-Polanco.

  224. Thundercrack says:

    My guess would be that Clint also knows what he has in Tabata and what type of player he is or could become. And I wonder if his opinion is very high of Tabata.

    Please note I said ‘guess’ and ‘wonder’. Not ‘guarantee’

    It is just my opinion. Not facts.

  225. Jim S. says:

    I saw it tweeted that Bonifacio was 14/24 to start one past season, and he ended up with a .611 OPS. Might be a bit early to hand him the batting title. Please, Clint, don’t walk him to bring up Valbuena again today. That Valbuena is a pain in our butts. They may as well save time and just start him with a 3-2 count every at bat.

  226. theplanisworking says:

    And the back one, also. ;)

  227. Baywatch says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh last night as Robby Imcahowski (or however it’s spelled … just my luck his brother is on the blog) asked his final STUPID question of Tony Sanchez: “What’s the first thing you’re gonna Tweet?” That goofy Sanchez basically pushes him aside and says: “I’m going to get a shower and something to eat!” (I’m getting the feeling that Sanchez is the only guy on the club who has a REAL personality to show us! )

  228. cmat0829 says:

    Too soon, Jim S, too soon to panic. If I were manager, I’d sit Grilli and Melancon today, and of course Pimental is off limits… but Morris, Watson, Wilson are all available and Gomez in a pinch could go. And, assuming Volquez is in Pittsburgh, he is an option as well, given rain forecast for weekend and/or time to bring Cumpton up to cover the Sunday start.

    Given the relievers are out of options, JayHey can go down to Indy to make room for a pitcher if need be for the weekend, then Andino or the other guy recalled to play utility for 10 days.

  229. Naterosboro says:

    I really don’t get the argument that replay is slowing down the game. Seems to me, we’ve just replaced the drawn out manager arguments, with umpires on headsets.

    The key thing for me is, with the replay, they can get the call right.

    With an umpire/manager argument, the call was going to stand no matter what (unless there’s the offchance the argument resulted in the umpire conferring with the rest of the crew and them overruling the initial call), so essentially it’s a spectacle for the fans.

    Rob B. said as much on his blog yesterday (essentially said…at least with the arguments we [fans] have something to watch).

    If this is a reason that “purists” are throwing out to get replay rescinded, I think they need to go back to the drawing board.

  230. Jim S. says:

    Me? Not really. Well, maybe a little. Not only have we had small sample sizes so far. But, the Bucs also play in a pitcher friendly park. They were a better hitting team last year than a lot of people noticed, I thought. They certainly are not a great hitting team, but they are built for their park, which holds down HRs and runs, usually. I’m just saying maybe we should not panic about their lack of runs.

  231. Baywatch says:

    I know! Me, too. That would be like hitting against a pitching machine for sport!

  232. Jim S. says:

    I agree, TC. I think Snyder has to know his job is on the line over the next 60 days, and Clint really doesn’t need to add more pressure to that. I think Snider is the odd man out when Polanco arrives.

  233. Thundercrack says:

    Just looking at the first 2 games, I wonder how many manager arguments we would have actually had on the plays that they reviewed. On some of those plays the manager might not have bothered to argue. So for me, it remains to be seen if it is actually saving time

  234. Naterosboro says:

    I gotta admit, my musings today are a bit jaded.

    Bases loaded, nobody out, and you don’t score a run. I know they’re not the first (won’t be the last) pro baseball team to achieve this feat, but it still shows they’re poor at getting a runner in from 3rd with less than 2 outs.

    I’m not saying you have to succeed every time (and this is especially true in baseball), but it seems like the Pirates don’t even approach league average in this area.

    To me, that’s not excusable.

    But, tis only Game 2 (possibly 3 if they get it in today). They do have time to improve all around.

  235. Jim S. says:

    I’m with you, cmat. I was being sarcastic – partly at myself for suggesting that Frankie was overworked in start #1. Everything will be fine with regard to pitchers, I think.

  236. cmat0829 says:

    LOVE that … today’s interviews of athletes are mind-numbing… the interviewers are mostly brain-dead, asking some version of “how does it feel” questions…and the athletes offer the run of the mill ‘no news here’ answers.

    so any personality, and Tony has that, is most welcome.

  237. Jim S. says:

    POTD, TC.

  238. Naterosboro says:

    I’m not saying it will “save time” just that the time will be used differently. Instead of watching 2 old men yell at each other (they could be middle aged too), we just watch the umps talk to NY on a headset.

    Simple as.

  239. Jim S. says:

    I think every team is good at some things, and not so good at others, Nate. Last year, they were able to overcome their offensive shortcomings by being very good in many other areas. We’ll see if that is the case again this year.

  240. NMR says:

    Oh I agree, Nate (and don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it by oath.)

  241. NMR says:

    Shoot, sorry TC (and maybe Nate? ;) ).

  242. Jim S. says:

    Cards do not have a hit yet with RISP.

  243. cmat0829 says:

    Where is it published that the objective of REPLAY is to SAVE TIME?? I get it, some folks don’t like something new and ‘it’s slowing down the game’ is a convenient reason to hate on this. As I look at it, the objective of expanded replay is to avoid a ‘game-changing’ wrong call without the team having any recourse to the ump getting it clearly wrong on the field.

    Now, I would tweak it a bit… limit the manager to two challenges per game, TOTAL, RIGHT OR WRONG… no more umpires can ask for replay after 7th inning.. you either have a MANAGER based challenge system or you don’t…..

    The manager should think real hard about challenging somewhat meaningless calls early in a game to keep his challenges for the real impact plays…..

  244. JohninOshkosh says:

    It could have been. The building I saw on the shot from the ballpark had a green dome like that. It was probably half way up a bluff. The dome was impressive-almost like a capital or St. Peter’s Basilica. In the forefront near the base of the bluff was a building with cupolas-likely an orthodox church.

    I haven’t noticed it before from ballpark shots. Maybe it is obscured by foliage in the summer.

  245. cmat0829 says:

    I have no problem with each ump establishing his strike zone… prefer it to be within say, a time zone, of the actual strike zone, but…….

    An UMP though has to CALL IT BOTH WAYS, and CALL IT CONSISTENTLY…. if Davidson is blind in one eye so he calls everything outside corner by ‘sound’, then he needs to do it all the time, both teams, all innings, all situations. If he does that, though I still think he sucks as an umpire, I don’t see any reason to gripe as both teams deal with it and adjust.

    But when it is inconsistent, it should be a fireable offense.

  246. Patrick(ri) says:

    Works in tennis. Still have officials (machines cannot keep players from flinging rackets at each other, playing in the nude, etc.). Umps could still enforce rukes, gestculate, or whatever.

  247. Patrick(ri) says:


  248. chethejet1 says:

    That argument that the team is built for PNC is not valid for RF and Ist base. And that is two under performing positions in any ball park. Byrd was a blessing last year and I see why the he got 16 million. He can hit. I don’t know if Byrd could have converted to first base, but man would I love his bat this year. Trade Tabata with 7 million and sign Byrd for 16. Net 9 million for two years is a bargain. Wishful thinking I know, but I wonder if it ever was under any consideration.

  249. Naterosboro says:

    He was calling it the same way against the Cubs too. So they had to deal with it as well. The thing you’d like to see with umps, even if they are going to have a “bad” zone, have it consistent, so the players can then adjust.

    Davidson just seems like a poor umpire (at least from his performance last night).

  250. Patrick(ri) says:

    Not to mention “gesticulate.” Late night.

  251. Jandy says:

    Pssst…Biz, it’s the day before the weekend starts ;)

    I know, I know…what’s the weekend?

  252. Bizrow says:

    Looks like the rain will get here shortly

  253. Baywatch says:


  254. Bizrow says:


  255. Naterosboro says:

    Absolutely Jim. And the Pirates were poor in this area last year, yet were able to overcome (seems like thats a characteristic of a good team; you’re able to overcome your shortcomings to still come out on top most of the time).

    For me, however, this is just 1 area of the game that I don’t think they even need to be “good” at, just be average, and it’ll take so much pressure off of the pitchers.

    I also think it’s 1 area of the game that you don’t need to be incredibly skilled to be “average”. Clint Barmes just had to hit a flyball in that AB.

    There are High Schoolers I could ask to do this.

    And it’s not like the Cubs have a pitching staff full of Cy Youngs they’re parading out on the mound.

    I guess just “nit-picking” on my part :-)

  256. Baywatch says:

    Anybody besides me think it was bush league of Mercer to jump up after getting picked off by the catcher last night, and do that little CHOP-CHOP sign to the dugout – especially when he was clearly out? I was kinda hoping the ump could throw him out for acting like a spoiled brat. Actually his way of dealing with not paying attention like he should! I thought it looked a bit childish on his part.

  257. NMR says:

    And by all means, your opinion was a valid one.

    Took more of a leap of faith than supreme internet baseball scouting to say Chuck would be fine, given his history.

  258. Jandy says:

    Just wow:


  259. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I came home last night in the bottom of the first, and watched all 15 1/2 innings.
    This is a pretty good Pirate team IF they could add a piece or two on offense.
    If only the man that writes the checks would’ve surrendered a few bucks during the offseason…..

  260. NMR says:

    Not you, buddy, somehow your post showed up after mine despite the time stamps (at least on my screen).

    How does a team earn more runs than their opponent and not “deserve to win the game”?

    Seems like a silly premise.

  261. Jandy says:

    Sometimes the heart wins out over the head…when it does, it’s beautiful :)

  262. NMR says:

    Emilio Bonifacio, BABIP GOD

  263. Jandy says:

    Nate himself said he was nit-picking, just agree with him :)

  264. NMR says:

    Extremely well said.

  265. Naterosboro says:

    Here’s something I had a hard time understanding the logic from last night’s game that I forgot to mention in my musings.

    So, after Barmes grounded into the 7-2-3 DP in the Bottom of the 13th, that left the Cubs with a situation of runners on 2nd & 3rd and 2 outs, with Jordy Mercer coming to bat. They then intentionally walk Mercer (RH hitter) to load the bases (with 2 outs) to face Jose Tabata (who had entered earlier in the game as a pinch hitter).

    Why the intentional walk to Mercer? Why load the bases with 2 outs, so that if Wright throws 4 balls to Tabata the game is over?

    I could understand if there were less than 2 outs, but with 2 outs, setting up a force everywhere makes no sense to me (especially in the sudden death nature; Pirates score and the game is over).

    Were they scared of Jordy (who had an RBI single back in the 3rd or whatever…)? It’s not like they walked the RH hitting Mercer to get to a LHP/LH Hitter matchup. Tabata hits RH as well!

    I just couldn’t wrap my head around that decision by the Cubs. I just can’t see the logic, and I was only following along on my MLB At Bat app (on gameday, b/c the video feed was being wonky with me, so not sure if thebroadcast offered any insight).

    Any insight from the Blog’s baseball heads would be appreciated.

    Even as I’m typing, I’m still trying to understand and it’s not happening haha! :-)

  266. Jim S. says:

    What I meant is they have primarily built their team for defense and pitching first because they play in a park that rewards those things the most. I know they have offensive shortcomings, particularly at 1b. That’s a valid point.

    Marlon Byrd is 37, right? I don’t see him as providing much, if any, more value in RF than Tabata, Snider, Polanco this year. He seems to have insisted on 2 years in his contract. I didn’t think that made sense.

    As for 1b, even the owner as much as admitted they would have liked to have added James Loney. They just did not want to add a 3rd year to the offer. I think the wisdom of that is a good one to debate.

  267. Milo Hamilton says:

    It sure is taking its good old time getting here but once it does it’s sticking around awhile.

  268. NMR says:

    Blows my mind that other major professional sports can improve the quality of their product by successfully implenting replay and yet there are so many baseball dinosaurs who believe instant replay is something equivalent to landing on the moon.

    Adapt, or be left behind.

  269. JRay3 says:

    Only rational that I could come up with is that possibly Cubs manager Rich Renteria preferred to have a force at any base as the option.

    Agree it certainly put a lot of pressure on the pitcher to ensure he threw strikes.

  270. Jim S. says:

    Jim DeShaies, Cubs color man, on the broadcast last night: “I think the Cubs may have found something here.”

    Len Casper in response: (crickets)

  271. NMR says:

    Find me one Major League Baseball team with no holes throughout the lineup, Chet.

  272. Milo Hamilton says:

    They decided to pitch to the less dangerous of the two & set up a force at every base.

  273. Jim S. says:

    I was thinking he was pretty inconsistent. It was if he had no confidence in that corner to his left. The same pitch could be thrown 2x in a row, and one seemed to always be a ball and one a strike.

  274. Karen22 says:


  275. Cincy game is delayed.

  276. Jandy says:

    yeah, it’s headed here too, just not flood stages…yet. I so enjoyed the last two days…now it’s gonna rain for 2 days or more.

  277. JRay3 says:

    Will be glad not to see Bonifacio for a little while after this opening set.

  278. Jim S. says:

    I hear ya, Nate.

    Personally, I am trying to learn to live with what Barmes brings, while being mindful of his shortcomings.

    I mentioned it before, but I thought FanGraphs had a really good interview about Barmes and Mercer. Barmes really works at his craft defensively. And, he seems to be a great influence on Jordy.

    That said, the guy just cannot hit. So, I take the good with the bad.

    And, Jordy can hit but he still has a ways to go with the glove, as we saw last night.

  279. NMR says:

    Less dangerous of the two? Against RHP?

  280. Jim S. says:

    I’m calling an 0’fer today.

  281. NMR says:


    I left the game after the 7th and was really surprised when I actually got to see the strike zone for the next three innings or so on TV.

  282. Jandy says:

    Bonifacio just scored for the Cubbies.

  283. Bizrow says:

    Crap, I just got an offer to go back to the plant part time …….

  284. theplanisworking says:

    Maybe we can sell pencils to help out?? ;)

  285. Naterosboro says:

    Just a hunch, but Emilio Bonafacio will hit .225 for the rest of the season……….

  286. Naterosboro says:

    He singled in his first AB! LOL!

  287. NMR says:

    I went partially apoplectic when Hurdle intentionally walked him.

  288. Milo Hamilton says:

    Their perception, of course.

  289. Milo Hamilton says:

    I checked the splits, there’s nothing there either.

  290. Naterosboro says:

    That’s the only thing I could think of too JRay, but it still didn’t really outweigh the fact that if the Pirates score, the game is over.

    And to Milo’s point, if the Cubs consider Jose Tabata the “less dangerous” of the 2 (with Jordy being the other), then the mighty have fallen…

    In fact, if that was the case, I’d make the case that JoeyT shouldn’t be on this roster!


    Yea, I’m starting it early (Travis Snider’s basically the reason…..) Joey T. not helping…….

  291. Arriba Wilver says:

    Right, that was the Germans. ;-)

  292. Baywatch says:

    Two Bombs For T Sanchez today!

  293. Naterosboro says:

    Did Travis Snider steal a crazy amount of bases in his minor league career or something? Why do these pitchers waste energy throwing over when he’s on 1st.

    Hopefully they read this.

    Travis is never stealing (unless it’s a part of a hit and run).

    Opposing pitchers, you’re welcome.

    I’m not going to do this often (and help you out), so take advantage.

  294. NMR says:


  295. Naterosboro says:

    In that 2 game (ended up as 1 b/c of rain) exhibition set in Philly, when the Pirates challenged a “safe” call that got overturned, I remember saying to myself “What took so long?!”

    I guess with all these comments coming out now about problems with replay so far, I guess I know why…….


    Remember, they went extinct……

  296. JRay3 says:

    Pedro gave it a ride, Bonifacio able to run it down.

  297. NMR says:

    Nice, Biz. That’s impressive. Apparently they found out what it’s like without ya.

  298. Lad 9 says:

    They can’t live without you Biz! Hope they make it worth your while if you decide to go back…..

  299. Jandy says:

    Olt with a homer…Cubbies 2-0

  300. NMR says:

    Where is that rain!

  301. Jandy says:

    I think they see him as a target they should be able to pick off, as he’s slow.

  302. Jandy says:


  303. Jandy says:

    HAHA Biz, tell ‘em to stuff it ;)

  304. Jandy says:

    hey hey, it’s Planimal ;)

  305. chethejet1 says:

    Yes speed and defense and pitching is the way to go for PNC. Also it is a park that one can get away with that. But two things are inescapable. You have to pay for top pitching eventually and Wandy and Francisco have very good years, both are gone for more money. I guess my point is this was a year to go all in as getting a 1st baseman. Just throwing out Byrd as a great fit even at 37 for 1st base if he could make the move. He did so much to protect Pedro, give them power at 5 spot and now we are back to dic*** around with a bunch of nobodies for who knows how long.

  306. NMR says:

    Hahaha, I thought the same thing. They also checked back another guy that never runs last night like nine times.

    Odd scouting reports for the 1st year manager.

    Unfortunately he got the meme about Pedro facing James Russell.

  307. Jandy says:

    Don’t forget, JHAY is scheduled to be at the Curve for the pre-game festivities!

  308. Milo Hamilton says:

    I hope someday to be a consultant.

  309. JohninOshkosh says:

    Three times in his career.

  310. Arriba Wilver says:


  311. Florida Steeler says:

    If Wandy continues to top out his fastball at 87 or 88, you won’t have to worry about him being in demand and leaving. His best years are behind him.

  312. JohninOshkosh says:

    At the factory I worked at years ago we called the retirees who came back to work “Double Dippers.” Dipped from the pension and dipped from the wages. Usually divorced guys where ex was getting half the pension. lol.

  313. Karen22 says:

    OK – this is NOT possible…it’s just NOT! Next time, just hit him. UNREAL!!

  314. Arriba Wilver says:

    I even liked Bedard’s post-game interviews for that reason, and he had no personality. On the other hand, in Robby’s defense, Tony probably tweets more than any other Pirate (if not more than any other baseball player), and has since he started in the minor leagues. So, there is that.

  315. Naterosboro says:

    It was the fact the offense was so bad last night that just had me jaded (and that bases loaded, nobody out, not scoring thing put me over the top).

    At that point, I wanted the game to end so that the Pirates pitchers could stop trying to hold the team in it.

    Basically, if you’re not going to do your jobs, we won’t do ours!


  316. Milo Hamilton says:

    Emilio Bonafacio has 11 hits. The Pirates have 15.

  317. JRay3 says:

    Bonifacio after that double to go 2-2 is now hitting .786 this series.

  318. Jandy says:


  319. Jandy says:

    So instead of telling Robby to *&^% off, Tony sidestepped him. Good call on his part :)

  320. Milo Hamilton says:

    That’s actually no different than the last 3 years.

  321. Naterosboro says:

    The Cubs showing JuanD no love on his 1st start back.

    Shame on them.

  322. Karen22 says:

    Do we even have 3 runs in us? UGH! Wandy looks pretty shaky.

  323. Jandy says:

    Jordy, Wandy, Marte up next…any predictions on who gets on base?

  324. Karen22 says:

    He was a non-roster invitee…egad.

  325. JRay3 says:

    Always has been about location and ability to throw multiple pitches to change things up with him. Never was or will be a power pitcher.

  326. Dom says:

    Wandy’s ERA is down to 9

  327. Dom says:


  328. Dom says:

    Come on clouds, make it rain!

  329. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes, I think a lot of these issues have to do with the first year manager.

  330. Dom says:

    I knew i should have went with Wandy

  331. Jandy says:

    Wandy the only one with a hit. GO figure…and Meatball Snider strikes out too.

  332. Milo Hamilton says:

    It is fair to point out that he’s topping out where his averages have been. Whatever the case, they’re getting some comfortable swings against him.

  333. Bizrow says:

    Once it starts, I think the game is over

  334. Jandy says:

    Some good news for the Penguins:

    Head coach Dan Bylsma has made it official: defenseman Paul Martin will be in the lineup tonight against Winnipeg after missing the last 18 games with a broken hand.

    “The doctors said it was up to me. I said I’m ready,” Martin told reporters following morning skate. “Felt good the last couple days skating. (Playing) is the next step.”

    per the Penguins’ website

  335. Jandy says:

    He also practiced on the first PP

  336. Jandy says:

    Wandy walks Barney with pitches

  337. JohninOshkosh says:

    BTW, appreciate the link, TK. Thank you.

  338. Johnny Roseboro’s Son,

    1/ Jordy Mercer batted over .400 against lefties last season
    2/ The walk gives a force out at any base, thereby inhibiting an infield hit that would score the winning run, and giving all infielders a shorter throw

  339. Steelag70 says:

    I know it’s early in the season, but it just amazes me how ALL of our big guns can come out of the gate sputtering. This is a pathetic offense right now. Sure glad we didn’t waste any prospects or money on improving our offense (rolling eyes)…

  340. JohninOshkosh says:

    What else would he walk him with ? :)

  341. Chuck H says:

    This Bonifacio is not human-he hits everything thrown by our pitchers. If he hits all pitchers this way, he just might hit .800.

  342. Jandy says:

    LOL! 4 pitches.
    I need something to wake me up MORE COFFEE!

  343. Jandy says:

    Beginner’s luck ;)

  344. Naterosboro says:

    I would love for umpires to start calling more balks on LH pickoff moves.

    They constantly go over the 45 degree line, yet are NEVER called on it.

    The LH pickoff move, where they lift their leg like they’re delivering to home and then throw over is 100% the definition of a balk, it’s deceiving the runner. They already have natural movement on a straight ball, we have to reward them with being allowed to balk?

    Just more jaded thoughts from a former RHP.

    If I ever have a son, he won’t be using his right arm for the 1st 10 years of his life.

  345. Jandy says:


  346. Karen22 says:

    The Pirates need something to wake them up, too. Man, this is Chinese water torture.

  347. JohninOshkosh says:

    Tuffy Rhodes of the Cubs once hit 3 home runs on OD.

    Bonifacio will become Bonifacio once again soon enough.

  348. Naterosboro says:

    Andrew swinging for the fence with 0 on to lead off the 4th (down by 3 runs mind you) and he hits a 92mph fastball down the middle as a can-o-corn to CF.

    Who’s the hitting coach again? Hurdle?

    Let’s simplify things for the next few innings and just make good solid contact. Sound good?

    Alright…BREAK (clap)!

  349. Jandy says:

    it’s not fun, that’s for sure.

  350. Arriba Wilver says:

    At least the 3rd base fake move is outlawed. I always thought that was unfair.

  351. Steelag70 says:

    Hammel looks like an All Star against this lineup….

  352. Dom says:

    This is what happens when the opposing pitcher is the brother of Cole Hammels.

  353. Milo Hamilton says:

    Well, they can make Jason Hammel look like a good pitcher.

  354. Naterosboro says:

    Wind blowing in, in a pitcher friendly (for the most part) park, and the Pirates hitting a ton of flyballs.

    It’s only Game 3, It’s only Game 3, It’s only Game 3….


    Still would like to see some sort of sense of urgency out of the men with the bats.

  355. Dom says:

    I think it’s best to concede the loss and let Wandy finish the game so the bullpen gets a break.

  356. theplanisworking says:


  357. Baywatch says:

    OK … I’m out running errands (Thank You, Trib App!). If the score has gotten one run worse by time I get home … a visit to the mound by BAY Searage!!

  358. theplanisworking says:

    Sacrificial Lambo? ;)

  359. Naterosboro says:

    I guess Tony Sanchez got his subscriptions to Playboy and Cosmo before the season.

    Haven’t heard anything about his throwing in awhile.

  360. Arriba Wilver says:

    Do they look bored?

  361. Naterosboro says:

    Suck on that Bonafacio.

    Go sit in the dugout for a change.


  362. Nate83 says:

    Rough start to the season offensively. Pirates are already fortunate to win the series. A sweep would just be a bonus at this point. I’m concerned at how many pitches Wandy is using the day after they had to use 7 pitchers.

  363. theplanisworking says:

    It’s ok.
    It’s only game 3.
    The Bucs thought the game was 7:05 tonight. No biggee, they won 2 last night.

    Keep our eyes on the prize.
    Juan D’s arm didn’t fall off.
    Pray for rain…….. and good news for Jameson T.

  364. Nate83 says:

    He won’t go much over 100 pitches if even that many. He is coming off arm problems and it’s his first start this year. We will be fortunate to get 6 out of him. Morris will probably have to go 2 innings today.

  365. NMR says:

    Are you watching?

  366. Naterosboro says:

    Kind of. After Andrew flied hit the ball to CF, on a ball he should’ve at least hit pretty hard (for his standards), he just tossed the bat and jogged to 1st.

    Neil Walker pops out on a pitch he should’ve made better contact with, and just kind of grimmaces.

    Granted I just checked in on the TV feed for those ABs, but, didn’t look much different that last night.

    There’s something to be said for “slow & steady”, but there’s also something to be said for “We’re facing the damn Cubs pitching staff!”

  367. Steelag70 says:

    Sure would be nice to have AJ in the rotation about now….

  368. JohninOshkosh says:

    Never, ever concede the loss. “We shall go to the end. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall defend our North Shore.”

  369. NMR says:

    Good gravy….

  370. Arriba Wilver says:

    At least for me, if he wants to be a twitter fiend, those questions probably aren’t out of line.

    (I am not related to Robby and have nothing against Tony).

  371. JohninOshkosh says:


    Cosmo? Really?

  372. JohninOshkosh says:


    It’s coming.back, baby.

  373. Naterosboro says:

    From Neverette before they went to commercial:

    “The Pirates have not had more than 4 men come to the plate in an inning, and have gone down in order in 3 of the last 4.”

    Against Jason Hammel.

    Year of the bat my …………

  374. Steelag70 says:

    NMR…what’s the problem?? All I stated was that it would be nice to have him in the rotation. Geezzz

  375. JRay3 says:

    Over/Under on how many times we hear that or the good thing we did not sacrifice prospects or open the wallet for a hitter this season?

    Think it is obvious the Pirates really did not want AJ back, and I truly believe after reading DK’s column a lot of players on the team are not losing sleep over him not returning either. Enough for me.

  376. Arriba Wilver says:

    Can’t say that till we see Edinson pitch. :-D

  377. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t like instant replay. Don’t like it in football either.

    So what exactly does left behind mean?

  378. Jandy says:

    your good gravy!

  379. Naterosboro says:

    LOL! I have no clue. Just comparing T.Sanchez to that of 1 Rube Baker. You may remember him? Played for the Indians for a time, and had throwing issues.

  380. Steelag70 says:

    I forgot…we are not allowed to have differences of opinion regarding the roster on these blogs….

  381. Jandy says:

    And I liked him ;)

  382. JRay3 says:

    Looks like Wandy has started to settle in as he retires his seventh straight.

  383. Dom says:

    I guess that’s a wrap on Wandy. Not a bad day IMO. He ended the game with a 4.50 ERA.

  384. Jandy says:

    OK…the Cubbies scored the first three innings, no one scored the next three…so the Bucs score the last 3….it sounds good…

  385. Milo Hamilton says:

    Not too bad for Juan D.. Three runs in 6 innings & the first run scored when a grounder harmlessly rolled past where the shortstop has been standing for 150 years.

  386. NMR says:

    The Pirates just back back-to-back 6 inning, zero run performances followed by a quality start from Wandy.

    I can’t imagine how miserable it must be to watch sports with that kind of mind set.

  387. Arriba Wilver says:

    There’s something to be said for 2of 3, too. Not suggesting they take the day off. But suggesting Andrew and Walker don’t care? Really?

  388. 21sthebest says:

    “I would love for umpires to start calling more balks on LH pickoff moves.

    They constantly go over the 45 degree line, yet are NEVER called on it.”


  389. NMR says:

    Ehhhh, in that specific case you can probably get it out early. ;)

  390. theplanisworking says:

    And, his arm did not fall off.

    Gotta look for the bright side.

  391. Arriba Wilver says:


  392. 21sthebest says:


  393. Naterosboro says:

    JuanD done after 6. Now 1 of the 2 Pirates with a hit today is out of the lineup.

    Tabata pinch hits and strikes out.

    Maybe we should’ve let Wandy hit for himself, and then pinch ran JoeyT if he got on?

    Let’s get creative here.

  394. NMR says:

    As I was about to complain about the same thing to my wife last night, the next batter hit one directly into a shift that ended up saving a run.

    I learned my lesson.

  395. Jandy says:

    Tabata and Marte strike out swinging…

  396. Andrew says:

    And he didn’t curse out the shortstop.

  397. Arriba Wilver says:

    Are you saying that was a failed defensive shift?

  398. Steelag70 says:

    Actually NMR my mindset is quite the opposite. I just happened to make a statement of opinion and immediately get attacked for expressing it. I happen to like Wandy, but I am concerned about depth in the rotation especially with the Taillon issue. That’s all…I am certainly not impressed with Volquez..never have been. I have never attacked your statements, so please show me the same respect.

  399. Arriba Wilver says:

    Definitely something that needs to be looked at over the course of the year, and not a game-by-game, play-by-play basis. ;-)

  400. NMR says:

    And to rub salt in the wound, Roberto Hernandez and Jason Hammel were the two guys I wanted to go after before the Edinson Experiment was announced.

  401. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think it’s fair to point out both. I’ll handle the ones that cost them. :)

  402. Naterosboro says:

    Not saying that at all (so if it came off that way, get it out of your head!), but it all kind of seems ho-hum to me at the moment.

    “We started this way last year” “Only the 3rd game, we’ll come around” type of thing to me.

    Where’s all this fire I hear the team had in spring training? Did it just burn out when the calender hit March 31? Or perhaps it’s still at Pirate City along with the bats?

    I think they turned back into pumpkins.

  403. NMR says:


    I definitely understand the knee-jerk reaction, but man, that’s a loooot of evidence to dismiss.

  404. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just funnin’, as you know. ;-)

  405. NMR says:

    No fair.

    You’re far more convincing than I am.

  406. JohninOshkosh says:

    WSCR in Chicago had an interesting discussion about how fans should get pass that whole “He didn’t get the win. Has nothing to show for it” type of thinking with the starting pitchers. They were referring to Jeff Samardzija’s OD start. All GM’ s and scouts care about is that they pitched beautifully until removed.

    It was a pretty interesting discussion.

  407. Naterosboro says:

    It’s Fausto Carmona. Was, and it always will be.

    No matter what birth certificates say.

  408. Naterosboro says:

    For all wondering about the Volquez experiment, he’s pitching right now.

  409. Jandy says:

    Got Olt to fly out.

  410. Milo Hamilton says:

    No. I’m all for positioning your fielders where the batter usually hits the ball. I also think you can go a bit overboard trying to show everybody how smart you are. Sometimes, fielders are standing so close they can shake hands with each other.

  411. Jandy says:

    Then gives up single to Barney

  412. Patrick(ri) says:

    Fell asleep. See I haven’t missed much (in the game, that is). Sort of like an NBA game, take a nap and catch the last 2 minutes(although you will miss lots of offense ).

  413. Jandy says:

    Strikes out Baker

  414. Dom says:

    Are the Buccos planning on skipping Volquez’s start in the rotation?

  415. JRay3 says:

    Encouraging first inning of work for Volquez. Kept the ball down had good velocity, baby steps with him.

  416. NMR says:

    Speak of the devil!!!

  417. bpn8pitt says:

    Ha. Got like 3 texts. “Your boy Volquez is in the game now…”

  418. JRay3 says:

    Don’t believe so, this would be a bullpen day for him anyways. Imagine he still starts on Sunday.

  419. Andrew says:

    He could pitch an inning today and still pitch Sunday, depends on if he comes back out.

  420. NMR says:

    I still catch myself typing “Mike” instead of “Giancarlo” at least half the time. I’m with you, man.

    Only Diddy gets to play this game. (My goodness, I’ve been watching too much TV)

  421. Milo Hamilton says:

    If you listen to the Pirates & their minions, they’d have you believe they won 94 games last year because they played their 3rd baseman in short rightfield sometimes. They also struck out more guys than they ever have. Strikeouts are the best shift of all.

  422. Dom says:

    On just two full days rest? Since the Buccos have monday off, i assume they could just skip his start as everyone else would have gotten five days off.

  423. NMR says:

    How’d I get your number, anyways? ;)

  424. Arriba Wilver says:


  425. JRay3 says:

    Did not see Cutch’s start coming after the way he hit in spring. Really thought he was going to come right out the gates making noise, rough series for him.

  426. Nate83 says:

    Can Volquez pitch out of the bullpen??? check.

    Good we got that out of the way so when he fails miserably as a starter we can just switch him and Stolmy. This really isn’t all that difficult. 94 wins here we come.

  427. JRay3 says:

    Cole makes his first start tomorrow, Liriano does get moved up to Saturday keeping him on five days rest, the next pitcher would be Morton who would have to go on four days rest as he just pitched yesterday.

    Volquez is the guy unless they plan on calling somone up from AAA.

  428. Arriba Wilver says:


  429. Nate83 says:

    He did he got a hit in his first at bat. His OBP is still something just below .400.

  430. Steelag70 says:

    I agree. There were some interesting discussions regarding the importance of ST stats. I guess the camp that claimed they were unimportant can claim that as evidence. :D

  431. Dom says:

    Why is Sanchez goign in for Ishikawa?

  432. Jandy says:

    I prefer he KNOCK that Baker out ;)

  433. Jandy says:

    That’s your boye Volquez ;)

  434. Dom says:

    That’s why.

  435. JRay3 says:

    LHP came in for the Cubs. And Sanchez promptly with the PH double.

  436. Steelag70 says:

    Nice stroke by Gaby…

  437. bpn8pitt says:

    wondered who included the xFIP :)

  438. JRay3 says:

    Really have to like Tony Sanchez’s bat and how it plays.

  439. Jandy says:

    AHA! Sanchez hits Sanchez in :)

  440. Andrew says:

    Offense has a pulse.

  441. Baywatch says:

    Tony Marone! And I’m doin’ the Mashed Potato!

  442. Dom says:

    And that’s why you take Tony Sanchez #4 overall in the draft!

  443. Steelag70 says:

    I really like the potential of T. Sanchez….kid can hit it seems…

  444. Jandy says:

    Bonifacio grounds out :)

  445. So far, it seems as if the Pirates are too pooped to sweep the Cubs today.

  446. Jandy says:


  447. Milo Hamilton says:

    It boggles the mind that they’re short in the bullpen the 3rd game of the season. With a day off.

  448. Steelag70 says:

    And the real Bonifacio please stand up?? lol

  449. Jandy says:

    Woah Castro strikes o ut :)

  450. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think he’s saying you’re old. ;-)

  451. Steelag70 says:


  452. Jandy says:

    Anyone know what time the game is tomorrow? I want to see Cole pitch

  453. Baywatch says:

    More than anything, I find Tony Sanchez’ personality refreshing. Everyone else gives you what seems like the TRAINED, very measured response. I’m tempted to say he brings INTELLIGENT LIFE to the clubhouse … but I won’t.

  454. Jandy says:

    But then, it’ll prolly be rained out…

  455. Jandy says:

    And Volquez retires the side. 1-2-3

  456. Bizrow says:

    7:05, but you are probably right

  457. Milo Hamilton says:


  458. Karen22 says:

    As long as it’s not only three! Extra innings should not be in our future today! ;)

  459. Baywatch says:

    AND, I might add … a year or so ago I unfollowed him on Twitter, after following his Tweets for a day or two. Struck me as being VERY immature. But I think he and me BOTH may have matured since then! I’m gonna follow him again! (Cue in that “I Will Follow Him” oldies song here)

  460. JRay3 says:

    Volquez throws two shutout innings and 21 of his 28 pitches went for strikes. Very nice first showing.

  461. Arriba Wilver says:


  462. Dom says:

    Jose Tabata!!!

  463. JRay3 says:

    Tabby with a liner to center to get things started nicely in the Pirates half of the 8th.

  464. Patrick(ri) says:

    Don’t do it Clif!

  465. chethejet1 says:

    As much as I like Marte, he is just to streaky for me. I am hoping Polanco can bat leadoff when he comes up.

  466. Dom says:

    Now since he remained in the game will that mean Morton will go on four days rest?

  467. Milo Hamilton says:

    How idiotic was that ?

  468. Andrew says:

    Bunting here was dumb, and bunting with two strike even dumber.

  469. Patrick(ri) says:

    Arrgh!!! He is just the only one of your big three making serious contact.

  470. Bizrow says:

    I really dislike bunting

  471. Patrick(ri) says:

    Clint, of course.

  472. pattonbb says:

    That was all Marte. Zero chance Clint called for a 2 strike bunt.

  473. Milo Hamilton says:

    Pitchers & stinky guys should bunt. That’s it, that’s the list.

  474. 21sthebest says:


  475. Dom says:

    Up to Pedro

  476. JohninOshkosh says:

    Which team ? No access to game right now.

  477. Andrew says:

    I think they said he missed a sign, but the concept of bunting here is just dumb, and Harrison was on deck.

  478. Baywatch says:

    Enter Schlitterbum!

  479. Florida Steeler says:

    I don’t think anyone ever thought that Marte was in the gifted class in high school. But, he can hit!!!!!

  480. JohninOshkosh says:

    Never mind, the blog crew commented on it.

  481. Arriba Wilver says:


  482. Steelag70 says:

    Come on Neil….

  483. Baywatch says:

    +++ Just gonna take awhile before his instincts outgrow his intelligence. Probably a poor leadoff choice at this point … but who else you gonna call? GHOST BUSTER!

  484. JohninOshkosh says:

    Everybody pop a top on an ice cold Schlitter.

  485. Dom says:

    You’d think the cubs would bring in a lefty

  486. Steelag70 says:

    The Schlitter is full….

  487. Karen22 says:

    What a waste, Petey!

  488. Baywatch says:

    Tried to pull an outside pitch, looked to me like … bleh.

  489. Patrick(ri) says:

    Maybe he did not like his chances at 0-2, after trying to execute the sacrifice?

  490. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m guessing only his mom thinks that. ;-)

  491. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hope Veras is getting loose. Here’s a tip – DON’T SWING.

  492. Andrew says:

    That entire play made my day.

  493. Jandy says:

    thanks guys

  494. Jandy says:


  495. Patrick(ri) says:

    I like to watch Walker play baseball. Except, perhaps, when batting from the right side.

  496. Milo Hamilton says:

    Same for Strop. He doesn’t like to throw strikes.

  497. Jandy says:

    ARGH! haircut appointment. STINKS! I’ll check in later…GO BUCS!

  498. Steelag70 says:

    Let’s go Bucs….last chance here….

  499. Milo Hamilton says:

    26 walks in 57 innings last year. Wet ball, poor footing, don’t help him out.

  500. JRay3 says:

    Walker does his job and gets aboard, now somebody just run into one.

  501. Patrick(ri) says:


  502. Milo Hamilton says:

    You’ve got to be kidding.

  503. Milo Hamilton says:


  504. NMR says:

    Manager of the Year, folks…

  505. Andrew says:

    The worst part about close games is Hurdle’s late game decisions, and like Hurdle.

  506. Milo Hamilton says:

    Gaby – no sac bunts since 2011. SMH.

  507. Patrick(ri) says:

    Have a series kid. A HR keeps the stewart away.

  508. JRay3 says:

    Do not understand that at all…you have one of your power bats up there and a guy who has 5 sacrifice bunts in his 7 year career, wow.

  509. Dom says:

    That’s it, seasons over.

  510. Andrew says:

    Well, the Pirates can’t be the 2012 Orioles and win all the one run games.

  511. Patrick(ri) says:

    And the Cardinals have some really good pitchers!

  512. JRay3 says:

    And just 5 total in nearly 2000 plate appearances.

  513. Milo Hamilton says:

    And even if it works he’s bunting him up for Tony Sanchez & Jordy Mercer. There’s a better chance of Gaby knocking him in with a double.

  514. Florida Steeler says:

    Never happen–Stewart is already in Hurdle’s book and we ALWAYS go by the book.

  515. Karen22 says:

    Pathetic performance by the “offense.” And what’s with the STUPID BUNTS????? Really bad game. Bleah.

  516. T.S. says:

    Why is Hurdle so friggin’ enamored with the sac bunt? And Gaby Sanchez, no less. WEEEEAAAAKKKKK.

  517. JRay3 says:

    Well there were a couple of positives from the first loss of the season. Wandy returns to the mound and gives six serviceable innings. Volquez able to get two shutout innings in and kept the ball down while pounding the strike zone. Bats picked up a little later in the game, but on the whole will need to pick it up.

    Still a series win, far better start than losing two of three to the Cubs followed by getting swept in LA to start ’13.

    Look forward to seeing Cole take the ball in the opener of the series with the team most think the Central is chasing in the Cardinals.

  518. Steelag70 says:


  519. NMR says:

    Does any other sport do so many dumb things simply because that is the way it has always been done?

    I’m sick of giving Hurdle credit for being willing to change. It is his freaking job to do the right thing, not what has been done for 100 years.

  520. Steelag70 says:

    I was under the impression that they were comfortable with Gaby getting AB’s vs righties and lefties..if so, then let him hit!

  521. JRay3 says:

    They have been saying that all spring, having him up there to bunt does not in action make me believe management believes its own words.

    Add to that the fact Ishikawa played all three games started by a RH and maybe this non-platoon starts to sure look like a platoon.

  522. chethejet1 says:

    same issues as to the offense even though it is much better than the last number of years of the NH regime. Do you really think any real contender puts Lambo at first base? This is a franchise that needed to address that position and so far has failed to do so. DK was correct in that Nutting has to lead and make the call when it is appropriate. While I can understand that the Pirates/NH didn’t want to give Loney a three year deal, but too many decisions are financial to the point that it is not a reach to make a decision that is baseball first. Polanco playing here now was the correct baseball decision. Wandy Francisco and my guess Martin won’t be here next year. The time to be aggressive was this off season.

  523. Hopefully, the Bucs won’t be too pooped to take at least 2 of three from the Cardinals at PNC Park this weekend, weather permitting.

  524. 21sthebest says:

    Well we’re ahead of last year’s pace after 3 games!

  525. NMR says:

    Apologist… ;)

  526. Steelag70 says:

    I honestly believe that NH truly wanted to upgrade with a quality LH platoon at 1B. However, I think he was caught off guard with how the 1B market developed this winter though…hence Lambo moving to 1B….

  527. I still would have bunted Gaby Sanchez . . . to move Walker into scoring position and to stay out of the double play.

    What’s harder to get: a sac bunt and a base hit, or two base hits?

    And after the bunt failure, Tony Sanchez went right ahead and hit into the double play.

    I agreed with the sac bunt try.

  528. NMR says:

    Played all three games, and did absolutely nothing that Gaby cannot do.

    Ishikawa took a couple walks and made contact. That’s it. Gaby can do that, in fact, he’s done that even better than Ishikawa over his career.

    But I know I know, Clint, Ishikawa’s at bats were “professional”.


  529. Steelag70 says:


  530. NMR says:

    What a surprise…

  531. 21sthebest says:


  532. Karen22 says:


  533. NMR says:

    Don’t get me wrong, Ishikawa held his own. I’d be more than happy if he continued while actually being able to hit the ball out of the infield.

    It’s the logic, or lack of, that kills me.

  534. NMR says:

    After hearing his justification for Travis Snider, I have no doubt that he’s giving Ishikawa at-bats for no other reason than a couple weeks of Spring Training.

    Absolutely assinine.

  535. Steelag70 says:

    Agreed….they also may be hoping Lambo lights it up at AAA and will stick with Ishikawa in the mean time.

  536. Milo Hamilton says:

    Although sometimes there’s a reason certain things have been done the same way for 100 years. I’m all for finding a better way but baseball is in a tug of war right now. Not between old school & new school. Between new fresh ideas & people that just want to show how smart they are.

    All that said, pitchers & stinky guys bunt.

  537. Jim S. says:


  538. NMR says:

    I have no doubt.

    But nobody said they HAD to roster a left handed 1B. Already, in the first three games, we’ve seen a lack of bench options and a worn down bullpen.

    Two 1B that cannot play anywhere but 1B hamstrings Hurdle late in the game, and they’ll be lucky to get a couple Grade C prospects for Vin Mazzaro, a perfectly good bullpen arm.

    Huntington obviously shares part of the blame for this as well.

  539. Justin Smoak hit another homerun last night.

    3 games, 2 doubles, 2 homeruns, 7 RBIs (3 right-handed against a lefty), 6/13 with a BB

    Wonder how long it will take for our 1st base tandem to reach 7 ribbies?

  540. Jim S. says:

    I hate when managers assume everyone CAN bunt because everyone should be able to bunt at this level. Gaby looked really uncomfortable on the first bunt. Pull it off right there.

    Also, did he have Starling trying to bunt with 2 strikes the previous inning? Why do managers do this, especially with a position player that hit .280 last year and had an XBH every 10 or so at bats? I guess the more logical question should have been, why do managers think this makes sense?

    Hits have been hard to come by. We need all 27 outs. We gave 2 away right there.

  541. NMR says:

    “I’m all for finding a better way but baseball is in a tug of war right now. Not between old school & new school. Between new fresh ideas & people that just want to show how smart they are.”

    Wow, I’ve been trying to find words for exactly what you just said all winter. I could not possibly agree more with this. Half the writers at FanGraphs do more harm to than good.

  542. Bunt failed, and Tony Sanchez hit into a double play.

    Gaby Sanchez is not Cutch. I would bunt him again.

  543. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree with the bunts criticism, but, Hurdle always goes by the book? That’s just not an accurate statement.

  544. NMR says:

    And I’m sure guys of that type are in Front Offices as well.

  545. Jim S. says:

    So, Volquez is going Sunday still? 2 days rest after 2 innings? Seems unorthodox.

  546. Arriba Wilver says:


  547. NMR says:

    Why of course! Why didn’t we all think of that!

    Infallible evidence, Groat. Well done.

  548. Nate83 says:

    NMR you can Ugh all you want but I’m with you on the Gaby and Ishikawa topic. I think Gaby should be getting a majority of the at bats and I do not think Ishikawa should be on the team but he is so I’m going to evaluate him appropriately with no biased. In my opinion he is taking good at bats. He doesn’t look overmatched and making the pitcher throw more pitches and waiting for a mistake is never a bad thing. There is no way he should have started all 3 games but he hardly has been the biggest issue offensively these first three games.

    When it’s all said and done he will be much closer to his career numbers then a productive baseball player. However in the meantime I haven’t seen anything that makes me think he is hurting this team while Lambo figures it out or a trade is made. I don’t think he will get more then 100-150 at bats and he won’t be much more then a vague memory a couple years from now.

    For what it’s worth his career numbers are not all that dreadful. He hits about .260 and gets on base at about a .330 rate. The problem is he has never been more then a 150 at bat type guy in his career and I don’t think he will be for the Pirates this year either so I’m not sure why you have so much angst towards him. He is serving the same role he has for other teams in his career.

  549. According to radio guys, the 2-strike bunt was NOT called by Hurdle, and Hurdle went to talk to Marte after he attempted that.

    Blass felt Marte did that on his own.

  550. Baywatch says:

    Well put, JRay … the voice of reason is needed!

  551. Jim S. says:

    It is frustrating, isn’t it? Giving outs away when we are struggling to score. Asking guys who can’t bunt well to bunt. Asking good hitters to continue trying to bunt with 2 strikes.

  552. NMR says:

    Managers like Hurdle still have no idea about the value of an out.

  553. Baywatch says:

    … AND a first baseman! And anyone else who can hit the ball!

  554. NMR says:

    It is Hurdle’s fault for putting it on in the first place.

  555. Baywatch says:

    Yeah, I saw it on TV, they showed Banny & Clint both talking to Marte afterward.

  556. theplanisworking says:

    Good point, Jim.

    When your team is struggling for hits, you do NOT bunt, and give away 2 free outs. I understand certain situations determine that you bunt, but not all the time.

    Oh well, Bucs 2-1 so far. Much better than the 1-5 that started off last year.
    Missed my boy Volquez and his 2 good innings.

    It the game gets rained out tomorrow, I humbly suggest some BP in the tunnel under the stands where players can warm up. ;)

  557. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m going to turn down the lights tonight and wear black. At this rate we can only be 107-55.


  558. Milo Hamilton says:

    And I completely respect that. No matter where you come down on this the point is the players have to execute.

  559. Jim S. says:

    Actually, I think Clint has proven to be more and more flexible as time has gone on. I think the one blind spot is the sac bunts. He just likes them, and it will hard to convince him otherwise, apparently.

    But, as I have said before, that is about .001% of his job. I’m pretty comfortable with the 99%+ rest of how he does his job, usually.

  560. NMR says:

    You’re correct, Nate. Ishikawa has not explicitely hurt this team.

    But every spot on the 25-man roster has value, and I’ve seen nothing that says Gaby couldn’t do what Ish has. Therefor, one of them is completely wasting a spot.

    I certainly don’t blame Ishikawa himself for that, but it is a mistake nonetheless.

  561. Nate83 says:

    That’s great Groat, Morneau hit something like 9 homeruns and had a bunch of RBI’s the month before we got him. I really don’t understand what your point is. I still haven’t seen anywhere that Smoak was actually available in a trade. If Seattle got him in a trade instead of us I could see your point. If Morrison had that start I could see your point.

    Smoak has batted .234, .242 and .238 the last 3 years and has never hit more then 20 home runs in his career. Are you suggesting a Jose Bautista career path. If so you need to quit you job right now and become a GM because your future stat recognition skills are amazing.

  562. Baywatch says:


  563. NMR says:

    AW, do you think this game or last game was the start of the Collapse 3.0?

    I’ll hang up and listen.

  564. Jim S. says:

    I would have some pitchers bunt in some situations. That’s about it.

  565. Looked to me as if Hurdle knew EXACTLY the value of not giving up 2 outs with one swing . . . .

    . . . . which Tony Sanchez promptly did by hitting into a double play after Gaby’s bunt failure.

  566. Jim S. says:

    Ok, then. Well, I hope the message to him was DO NOT EVER SACRIFICE W/O MY APPROVAL AGAIN!

  567. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hurdle says Marte bunted on his own with 2 strikes. Also says Gaby had bunt sign on 1st pitch, not on the 2nd. Any more room left under that bus ?

  568. NMR says:

    So if Clint Hurdle starts Gaby Sanchez at shortstop tomorrow and he makes an error, it is still Gaby’s fault?

    I think it is the Manager’s job to put his players in a position to succeed, which means knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

    I cannot think of any reason to even have a Manager if that is not the case.

  569. Jim S. says:

    But, he was automatically giving away 1 out for the hope of 1 base.

  570. NMR says:

    Leadership 101

  571. Stolmy Pimentel would be so much better if he wore his hat straight.

    Look how bad Pedro Alvarez is when he wears his hat over his ears.

  572. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nate, Smoak’s been Groat’s boye.

  573. NMR says:

    I don’t even know why we bother, Jim.

  574. Thundercrack says:

    Sorry, I don’t buy your logic on that one NMR.

  575. Thundercrack says:

    1) I am a big proponent of players being held accountable. If they screwed up then I don’t have a problem with the manager making it known…if asked about it. I don’t think the manager should go out of his way to make it known.

    2) Don’t you guys know? Clint can do no wrong. You are not permitted to criticize him.

  576. Jim S. says:

    The more I think of it, the point you keep making about wasting 2 roster spots with guys who can only play 1 position really is ringing true. I was hoping Lambo would do well because he at least gave us the possibility of RF, as GI Jones did.

  577. Andrew says:

    The only other time a bunt should have been considered in the last three innings of that game was when Pedro was up and the shift was on, but his bunting ability is most likely on par with Gaby’s so most likely not the optimal strategy.

  578. Arriba Wilver says:

    Really? Gonna criticize Hurdle on leadership? Sure, bunting, but leadership? I’m guessing he was asked, and if he lied he’d been criticized for lying. I don’t know, but maybe, just maybe, he was trying to send a message. These guys ain’t rookies.

  579. Steelag70 says:

    Agreed Jim….

  580. Jim S. says:

    Wow! Sounds as though their signals are difficult to grasp or something. Our 12 year olds miss signals all the time, but I figured a bunt sign could be mastered by the time they hit the big leagues.

    I would still like to hear why Clint is so enamored with the bunt, especially when some of his better hitters are at the plate.

  581. NMR says:

    Criticized by who?

  582. That one out:

    1/ puts the tying run in scoring position
    2/ assures (without an unusual play) that Pirates have 2 chances to get ONE HIT TO TIE THE GAME

    Otherwise, it takes 2 hits to score the run.

  583. Milo Hamilton says:

    Happy 90th Birthday Doris Day.,,20801233,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines

  584. NMR says:

    Do you believe that Marte and Gaby would’ve been bunting on their own?

  585. Jim S. says:

    I’ll bet you $100 right here, right now that they don’t win a game over 100. :-)

  586. Arriba Wilver says:

    Certainly by “under the bus,” but if I interpreted that or “leadership 101″ I apologize. I took leadership 101 to be agreeing with Milo’s comment. Maybe in error.

  587. Thundercrack says:

    I bet she can’t bunt either

  588. Arriba Wilver says:


  589. theplanisworking says:

    Can she hit without bunting?

  590. Nate83 says:

    And that will be the eventually solution but there is no way they could have put Lambo on the opening day roster. If they would have went with just Gaby on the roster to play first base and he would have went 1-12 against right handed pitchers these first 3 games and all the games would have just been 9 innings so all the relievers were not needed there would have been people getting there pitchforks ready.

    On the bright side Barmes can now play first and he can play multiple positions so they can now get rid of Ishikawa.

  591. Thundercrack says:

    I was following the game on Gamecast at the point.

    No I don’t believe they were bunting on their own. At least not in the beginning of the at bat.

    But it seemed to me that you were saying that Marte’s mistake of bunting with 2 strikes was caused by Hurdle putting it on in the beginning of the at-bat. If the bunt sign ain’t on with 2 strikes then Marte shouldn’t be bunting. It doesn’t matter what the sign was earlier in the at bat.

  592. Jim S. says:

    I think you are right, AW. Hurdle had to tell the truth there. I assume Gaby and Marte will own up on their own. I don’t know if Marte does English interviews after the games yet or not. But, neither of those guys will side step responsibility IMO. So, why should Clint? He’d end up looking silly.

  593. NMR says:

    Sorry, I didn’t write that clearly.

    That was in response to this comment from you:

    “I’m guessing he was asked, and if he lied he’d been criticized for lying.”

    Who was going to criticize him when nobody but the players in the clubhouse knew what really happened?

  594. Milo Hamilton says:

    Well Thunder you know what they say, que sera sera.

  595. NMR says:

    No, it does not take two hits to tie the game, Groat.

  596. Nate83 says:

    I was going to ask if he was directly asked about the bunts and that was his reply. If that is the case then I’m completely fine with the answer. There is no reason for him to take the bullet and be perceived as making bad decisions.

  597. Jim S. says:

    I like some guys bunting for hits as a surprise strategy, on occasion. But, I’d limit that to very few guys.

    And, I can’t imagine ever having a guy sac bunt with 2 strikes if he isn’t a pitcher with about .080 batting average. I just can’t imagine a manager doing the imaginary math in his head and thinking somehow that makes mathematical sense.

  598. Jim S. says:

    You have to amend it to “might” put the tying run in scoring position, Groat. As we have seen, often times it leads a pop up or strikeout that just gets us closer to the end of the inning with nothing gained.

  599. theplanisworking says:

    Marte with a surprise bunt.

    That’s what I can come up with, Jim.

    Players that should never bunt:

    That’s all I got, which is not much. ;)

  600. NMR says:

    I was saying exactly that.

    Putting on the bunt was the wrong call in the first place. Never should’ve happened.

    And even accepting that it did, Hurdle had two different players botch the same exact situation within innings of one another. In any other sport we’d say that shows a lack of preparation. Baseball should be no different.

  601. NMR says:

    But only because of that bum Volquez.

  602. NMR says:

    But they WERE bad decisions, Nate.

  603. Andrew says:

    If the 3rd baseman is back and have speed and some bat control go ahead and drag one down the line. But runner on first no outs, you have to be successful like 70% of the time to break even, not sure how anyone can think Gaby Sanchez will get one down 7 out of 10 times.

  604. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, he pitched his one good game for the year today … and wouldn’t you know it … we still lost. He’ll never pitch well in games we win. I just know it.


  605. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t see how Marte bunting with 2 strikes -without the bunt sign being on – is Clint’s fault.

    And I thought that was what you were saying.

  606. The Gunner says:

    Not to be confused with Boots Day

  607. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, that’s a valid point, I guess. Who would know. But I have seen him criticized for taking positions that people didn’t think were credible.

    So, to my original point, my educated guess is he has had these private discussions with these guys before, it is covered in their practices and training and that apparently hasn’t worked since they’re still doing it. So, he’s trying a different tact. I think after 3 years he has earned that benefit of the doubt. He doesn’t have a history of throwing people under the bus, and, like I said, these guys aren’t rookies.

  608. NMR says:

    Typical Pirate Management.

    Ruin a perfectly good opportunity to sell 40,000 tickets by having their prized offseason free agent make his first appearance unannounced.

  609. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I only think bunting for hits has merit in the hands of someone who has worked on it a lot and has blazing speed. If Marte actually worked on it a lot, I’d be ok with him giving it a shot early in the season. I think he can beat a lot of them out. Plus, I do think if the 3b has to pinch in on him, it makes that 5.5 hole easier to find for him.

    Other than that, someone I trust to get it down as a complete surprise with maybe nobody on base toward the 3b, or a drag bunt down the 1b line by a Polanco – those I can live with.

    But, I think you hit the nail on the head, Andrew, which I also said – Don’t ask a guy to do something he cannot do because of some notion that everyone should be able to do it by the time they reach the big leagues.

  610. NMR says:

    You are certainly correct on that, AW.

    After three years, he absolutely deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    Even if I agreed with Milo’s comment, it didn’t deserve some all-encomposing reply about Hurdle’s leadership skills.

  611. NMR says:


  612. Thundercrack says:

    I bet that place was electric when he ran in from the bullpen.

  613. Arriba Wilver says:

    But he didn’t make them. You really think he did it to take the heat off him? Clint?

  614. NMR says:

    Jim, I don’t know if it has been apparent on TV, but the Cubs have been playing Marte a couple healthy steps into the grass.

    Very well could’ve been doing that last year as well, but I definitely took notice Monday and Wednesday after thinking about what you’ve been saying.

    Who is the Cubs equivalent of Frank(HI!)? ;)

  615. Jim S. says:

    I agree, Nate. They took a calculated gamble when the Loney thing fell through. Sometimes those work, and sometimes they blow up in your face.

  616. Arriba Wilver says:

    I hadn’t seen your 4:48 comment, so ignore that last one. ;-)

  617. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t want him to bunt at all. But, the fact that it didn’t work helps make our point. Sac bunts are not a sure thing.

  618. NMR says:

    Where is the Indianapolis Indians Game Thread?

    I want to be sure to analyze each of Lambo’s at-bats via box score updates.

  619. Jim S. says:

    Protecting a 2 point lead with 3 minutes left in an NFL game. Your team may have scored every time it had the ball and your QB could be 30/35 passing on the day. Suddenly, you have to assume the defense that could not stop you all day will shut you down if you try to pass. So, you run 3 straight times into an 8 man line for 4 yards, punt, then lose. Yeah, I think all pro sports are similar in this regard.

    Going into a defensive shell with a 1 goal lead in the NHL.

    Milking the clock rather than continuing to try to score in hoops.

    As long as something usually works, coaches and managers assume it works 100% of the time.

  620. National Mart of Records,

    Because YOU think they were bad decisions does not make it FACT that the bunts were bad decisions.

    Other, extremely intelligent and knowledgeable followers of the sport agreed with the bunt call.

    Despite what you desire, your opinion is not universal. Leave some room for alternative views.

  621. Justin Smoak has 14 Total Bases in 13 At Bats.

    There’s Lambo’s goal for you to shoot for and analyze.

  622. NMR says:

    Right, because I’m the only one sharing that opinion.

  623. theplanisworking says:

    Was Smoak one that needed a QO ….. which would have meant surrendering a draft pick?
    I can’t remember who was who this offseason.
    Or the multitude of “stinks”.

    Help me out here.

  624. Arriba Wilver says:

    This is a nit, but I think you’re making this over complicated. They aren’t doing it because they think it works 100% of the time. They are doing it playing the percentages. I don’t like coaches/managers who go by the book all the time. I think Lloyd did that. But not Leyland and Clint. I’m not sure what the alternative is to playing the percentages usually, but going gut in key situations. Gut all the time?

  625. JohninOshkosh says:

    Watching some of the White Sox game.

    You could literally light a bonfire in every section of that stadium. It is almost completely empty. I know the weather is bad but man oh man.

  626. NMR says:

    Smoak is the failed 1B from Seattle with the .229 career average and sub-400 slugging percentage in 2000 career plate appearances.

  627. Justin Smoak, like Mitch Moreland of Texas and Adam Lind of Toronto, needed no Qualifying Offer or draft pick forfeiture.

    They were guys mentioned for BMTIB to pursue in filling the void at 1st Base since the time that Garrett Jones was released. Their names were mentioned even moreso when James Loney chose to resign with Tampa Bay, leaving the Pirates with the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at 1st Base.

    I keep mentioning Justin Smoak because: Seattle has 3 other 1st Base possibilities, making it more logical that a deal could have been worked out . . . . . and because I have liked him and touted him for quite a long time, for a couple of years. 2 and 3 years ago I was loudly calling for the Pirates to pick up either Chris Davis or Justin Smoak. Davis hit 52 homeruns last season, so he is no longer available.

    Smoak has started strong, so I just like to mess with people and repeatedly bring him up. Some people, like Wide Receiver Nate, go apoplectic when I do. Gotta protect that Pirate Front Office.

  628. NMR says:

    And fwiw, I’ve asked TC to state and explain his opinion on Marte’s missed bunt call and AW do the same regarding Hurdle’s post-game comments. BOTH changed my innitial opinion on the matters.

    You may very well be a joy to have a beer with while watching a game, but on the internet I find you to be overbearing and my reaction is to return the treatment. It is a character flaw that I admit to having, but I resent you claiming that I do not allow others to share their opinions when that is not true. I learn stuff from guys and gals here every single day. I wouldn’t come back if that wasn’t the case.

  629. NMR says:

    At least you admit to trolling. I can respect that.

  630. Thundercrack says:

    There is no way that Justin Smoak starts off that hot if he was facing the red-hot starting pitchers of the Chicago Cubs

  631. JohninOshkosh says:

    When I was just a little girl
    I asked my mother
    What will I be
    Will I be pretty
    Will I be rich
    Here’s what she said to me

    Que sera, sera
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future’s not ours to see
    Que sera, sera
    What will be, will be

  632. Arriba Wilver says:


  633. NMR says:

    Or Pirate shifts.

  634. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, guys.
    I do remember Seattle having a ton of 1B, and I thought one of them was a QO candidate.

    Seems logical that a team with a glut of 1B could possibly make a trade.

  635. Thundercrack says:

    I believe the Mets have chosen Lucas Duda as their starting first baseman.

    Have at it.

  636. Indy postponed. Lambo watch set back at least a day.

  637. The Pirates have chosen Mike Carp, but he isn’t on the team.

  638. NMR says:

    Except that Seattle doesn’t feel Corey Hart is healthy enough to play the field and Logan Morrison is an outfielder they’d have to replace if they moved him to first base.

    People THOUGHT the Mariners would have a glut of 1B but so far that is not the case. Happens all the time once the games start.

    New opportunities should eventually emerge.

  639. theplanisworking says:

    Guess I will have to settle for reruns of Honey Boo Boo Boo Boo Boo. ;)

  640. NMR says:

    Let me add that I was one of those people, fwiw. Sometimes you can’t predict what a Manager is gonna do.

    Like keeping two lefthanded 1B that cannot play other positions. Or hit, for that matter.

  641. Nate83 says:

    None of those guys have been traded. None of them. Not a single one. You can’t miss out on something not available. Furthermore the next report about the “BMTIB” mentioning any of those guys will be the first. They have commented on Loney and Morales indirectly when talking about QO free agents.

    This is not defending the front office. I think they dropped the ball on first base but you are making things up including Justin Smoak being a good baseball player.

  642. Nate83 says:

    Groat I do not enjoy debating baseball when someone actually admits they are saying things just to get others going. What is this high school? I do not mind opposite views then mine but I know you know enough about baseball to know its silly to use 3 days of Smoaks stats to make your point when there is 4 years of stats showing he isn’t that good.

  643. 21sthebest says:

    Justin Morneau is batting .385!

  644. As do I. That’s what makes my frequent mentioning of Smoak’s stats “tongue-in-cheek.”
    The sample size is so small. Or do you really think I believe he will have 550 ABs and 550 Total Bases?

    I have touted Smoak for 2-3 years, because I do think he still has promise and “upside.”
    We mentioned him here frequently as a platoon partner for Gaby recently because Smoak has switchhitting stats similar to Neil Walker.

    I threw the stats out there because NO ONE could think Smoak or anyone will keep that up.
    You, however, whenever I say something tend to want to argue with me about whatever I raise. You have mentioned I “ripped” on Travis, when all I have done is disagreed with him.

    Don’t take yourself so seriously, Wide Receiver Nate. Enjoy baseball.

    I’m going to keep mentioning Justin Smoak. Whether BMTIB mentioned him or somebody else is immaterial . . . . . they dropped the ball BIGTIME by not improving this club offensively and leaving a hole as big as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at 1st Base. Nothing tongue-in-cheek about that failure. I AM ripping on BMTIB!!

  645. Jim S. says:

    Isn’t it a sofff .385, 21?

    And, Groat, I was with you all winter on Smoak. I know he’s not great. He’s probably just a little better hitter than GIJ, and that’s what I thought made him attainable for the Bucs – that, and the fact that Seattle was collecting similar players at an alarming rate for awhile there.
    But, he was also hitting in a very tough park in Seattle for a few years, Nate. I think he’s better than Travis Ishikawa or Gaby vs. RHP. Can we at least agree on that?

  646. Jim S. says:

    Their equivalent was Jim Hendry, but they finally fired him.

    Theo, I guess, would be the guy with Frank’s job title now. But, he kind of has a clue.

  647. Jim S. says:

    Camptown ladies sing that song … Du-da, du-da.

  648. Nate83 says:

    Jim I definitely agree with that. I would rather have him then Ishakawa. I have said they dropped the ball. But can we all agree that Seattle hasn’t traded any of those guys they collected. We all speculated including myself that they would trade one of those guys. They haven’t so maybe they never wanted to trade them. Their GM is crazy who knows what he has planned.

    As I said if you want to debate why they didn’t trade for Morrison a guy who actually was traded I’m all for that. Seeing what he was traded for I actually think they should have. He is a player with upside that actually was traded and would have been a nice option to add to the mix. The best thing that could happen for the Pirates is for Smoak to be consistent and Morrison to become expendable.

  649. Nate83 says:

    Groat in respect to Travis you are not debating baseball with him. You have literally told him how to do his job and told him what he should and should not write about. You state a lot of things as fact instead of opinion and then call out others for doing the same. Then you use hyperbole to make a point while dismissing other opinions that actually are using fact.

  650. Jim S. says:

    Yes, Nate. I’ve said a million times that NH probably kicked the tires on Smoak and found the asking price to be too high. And, that’s ok by me. I was just making the point that we didn’t want him to bat both ways. I think NH/CH are quite content with Gaby hitting vs. LHP 100% of the time. So, providing career #’s in all at bats for Smoak really isn’t relevant. We could do the same thing for Gaby and say he is a mediocre hitter, when we know he is far from mediocre vs. LHP.

    Smoak would be there to hit RHP, and I think he did that well enough last season in a lot of at bats to be a much better option than we have at present. But, if the ask was too much, or if Seattle did not feel it could allow him to go, so be it. You can’t have what is not available, as you say. I didn’t think he was the cure for all our troubles, just an upgrade. I don’t think you and I are all that far off from one another on that point.

  651. Nate83 says:

    Jim, I appreciate the response. Ironically I don’t think Groat and myself differ that much on the topic either. I guess we will just have to agree to agree.

  652. cmat0829 says:

    Was travelling yesterday so had to DVR the blog and ‘watch it’ this morning…just two thoughts:

    1) I thought it puzzling that both Marte (with 2 strikes) and Gaby were bunting yesterday. Clint’s explanation that both bunted without signs to do so makes me feel better, because it was wrong in both cases to bunt in my opinion (Marte should’ve bunted but can’t with 2 strikes and Gaby has no business bunting there). Don’t understand why Clint would get ANY criticism for stating the facts that the players bunted without signs to do so there…facts are facts. Anyone watching the game knew that when he and Banister both talked to Marte right after he came back to the dugout….. these players aren’t little leaguers, after all… and player accountability is what most of us have been asking for for years…… now that we get it, some choose to criticize Hurdle…. don’t get it.

    2) Everything I have read about Justin Smoak is that the Mariners don’t feel like he has reached his potential and they want him to have that success in Seattle… he was the key in the trade they executed with the Rangers a few years ago and the Front Office wants something to show for that. So, my opinion is there is a WIDE BERTH to criticize this front office for lack of action at 1B this winter, but specifically, you can’t trade for a player that isn’t readily available and to me there are no signs Smoak was actually available.

    Ike Davis? Yes, he was most assuredly available and still is. I wouldn’t touch him with a 500-foot pole, however. And most definitely not for the asking price that Alderson of the Mess was asking for, reportedly.

    At the moment I’m content giving Ishi a shot, his approach at the plate seems very professional to me….and to see if Lambo can become Rambo again in Indy…. but if I’m Neal I’m speed dialing Alex of the North to see what it takes to pry Encarnacion away from the sure-to-be-in-last-place Blue Jays….

  653. cmat0829 says:

    Interesting to note that Mike Carp was a teammate of Mr. Smoak….

  654. cmat0829 says:

    One other point on 1B…. I’m really starting to be of the mind that I either want NH to ‘go big’ or ‘stand pat’ at 1B. I just can’t get excited about all the names being bandied about — Carp, Smoak, Moreland, Davis, Lind, Morales, etc. In my opinion, not a single one puts the Pirates safely over the top…. so I’m open to suggestions (I’ve proffered Encarnacion above) on who ‘go big’ trade targets should be for 1B for the Bucs…. Headley of the Padres? Would Cuddyer of the Rockies work for anyone? Billy Butler of KC?

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