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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Brewers 4, Pirates 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (6-5) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (9-2)

Time: 2:10 p.m.

Site: Miller Park, Milwaukee

TV, Radio: Root Sports, ESPN Deportes (national), Fox Sports Wisconsin (Milwaukee), 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 is 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. Bizrow says:

    I see Brad Lincoln has been outrighted by the Phillies and Jeff Clement has retired

  2. JAL says:

    JAL’s Snoopy vs The Red Baron Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Probable Pitching Chart

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: How Good Would Gregory Polanco Have to Be to Justify Super Two Status?

    Prospect Watch: Four Hits, Including a Homer For Gregory Polanco, Heredia Hurt

    Super Two and the Impact on Gerrit Cole and Gregory Polanco

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Late-inning weirdness leads to 3-2 Pirates loss

    7 Rumbunter

    Brewers Drop Pirates, Cue Edinson Volquez Happy Music

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Lose 3-2 As the Fundamentals Elude Them…

    4/12: Vic Willis, Little Poison, Tom Sisk, X-tra Innings, Mad Dog’s Pickoff, Jack’s Trip-Trip-Triple Killing…

    9 SB Nation

    Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman suffers fractured right thumb in loss to Braves, out 4-6 weeks

    10 D Rays Bay

    Drafting by Revenue

  3. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Brewers Game Preview

    12 Chicago Tribune

    Cubs lose to Cardinals; Veras loses closer role,0,619474.story

    13 New York Times

    A Rapidly Shifting Philosophy of Infield Play

    14 Pirates Site

    Mercer transitioning to everyday role

    15 Delaware News Journal

    Phillies send reliever Brad Lincoln to minors

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds’ offense remains dormant in second loss to Rays

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers’ win streak hits eight after clutch plays in eighth

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Miklasz: Patience is paramount with Cards’ offense in transition

    19 Fangraphs

    Explaining Danny Salazar

    20 ESPN

    Qualifying offer system is a mess

  4. Brandie says:

    Been out of town for a few days. Here is to the Buccos winning today to salvage something from the House of Horrors!

  5. Andrew says:

    Pirates Lineup:

    T Sanchez

    Have seen the Brew Crew’s lineup anywhere but rest assured it will be full of hackers.

  6. Andrew says:

    Have not*

  7. theplanisworking says:

    The legend of Travis Ishikawa continues to grow.
    And here many of us were worried about Gaby’s platoon partner.
    At this rate, Gaby will not get 100AB’s this year. Total.

  8. Thundercrack says:

    Pirate Prospects has a nice article on Lambo and the adjustments he is making. It also made me realize that playing winter ball isn’t always what it is cracked up to be

  9. Arriba Wilver says:

    Heard an interesting point yesterday on the telecast—the Central Division starting rotations that we face only have 2 Southpaws. And that’s who we’ve played so far.

  10. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    The less Gaby Sanchez comes to the plate the better.
    Unfortunately…..Ishikawa is not going to hold his own for long.
    This team needs more offense but the powers that be have said a great big NO.

  11. Lad 9 says:

    BRANDIEEEEEE! Welcome back.

  12. Matt hoffman says:

    Good grief, is Polanco hot or what? Can’t wait to see him in Indy! Haven’t been to a single game yet in Indy.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hey, Matt.

  14. Bizrow says:

    The club is moving Matheson (sp) to third base?

  15. bpn8pitt says:

    #20, excellent read, JAL. On the qualifying offers.

    As was mentioned on here by a poster, fascinating what Pirates do with Liriano and Martin in that regard.

  16. JAL says:

    Brewers lineup

    CF: Carlos Gomez
    SS: Jean Segura
    RF: Ryan Braun
    3B: Aramis Ramirez
    1B: Lyle Overbay
    2B: Scooter Gennett
    LF: Logan Schafer
    C: Martin Maldonado
    SP: Kyle Lohse

  17. Karen22 says:


  18. JAL says:

    Mathisen–announced that move during ST

  19. Karen22 says:

    I’ll drink to THAT!! :)

  20. JAL says:

    Thought i was good too

  21. Karen22 says:

    Weird, huh?!

  22. bpn8pitt says:

    Tim Williams post on Super Two also very interesting.

  23. Bizrow says:

    Thanks, I just heard it on the pregame show today

  24. Baywatch says:

    “Brandie! You’re a FINE girl!”

  25. Baywatch says:

    I understand the Brewers can PITCH, too! Ask Ian Snell!! :-(

  26. radio wave says:

    If you have access to, on their news page, they post starting lineups for all games.

  27. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just had an Otter Pop (Sunday tradition) and ready to watch the Buccos give a nice beat down on the Crew.

    Go Bucs!

  28. Brandie says:


  29. Brandie says:


  30. Brandie says:

    Tipsy Temptress!!!

  31. JohninOshkosh says:

    Wish the Buccos had Segura.

  32. Thundercrack says:

    Looks like we will be listening to the Brewers broadcast on the way home.

    I’ll miss Greg Brown

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    Lyle Overbay Alert.

  34. Arriba Wilver says:


  35. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I’m guessing the Brewers won’t lose another game this year.

  36. Arriba Wilver says:

    Should be an interesting day at the Masters. A 20 year old tied for the lead, and a bunch close to the lead. Not even counting someone who may get hot and join them.

  37. NMR says:

    Pedro has to hit the ball into the seats in order to buy a hit this year.

  38. bpn8pitt says:

    So its mid June, where does Polanco hit in the order?

  39. Arriba Wilver says:

    20 year old Jordan Spieth leads Masters on his own after his second hole.

  40. Arriba Wilver says:

    That didn’t last long. Kucher just tied him.

  41. bpn8pitt says:

    Well, I think Marte needs to be moved out of the leadoff spot.

  42. JRay3 says:

    Chris Stewart can’t get here soon enough, no excuse for that poor a throw by Sanchez, that’s litle league.

    Fundamentals have gotten away from this team.

  43. NMR says:

    Tony should have a 1B mitt waiting for him in his Indianapolis locker.

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    He’s proving the Pirates concerns are legitimate.

  45. JRay3 says:

    Great play by Morton who has to do it himself to get out of inning.

    Another good effort by a starter this series and just not getting much help offensively or defensively.

    Hope things turn in Cinci.

  46. NMR says:

    Keep it simple? Swap lefty Snider with Lefty Polanco in the 2-hole.

  47. bpn8pitt says:

    Early on, this team has had a lot of inexcusable plays on D.

    Martin is invaluable to this team. A year ago, I was cursing the signing.

  48. Andrew says:

    So that is what the 0.3% of strikeouts that aren’t outs look like.

  49. The Gunner says:

    Oh my God, NMR, Sanchez is just awful defensively

  50. NMR says:

    And at 26, I think it is completely reasonable to question whether or not he is a big league catcher. This isn’t going away.

  51. NMR says:

    When he came up last season I had to give him the benefit of the doubt considering he was being compared to Russell Martin, but man, just watch him compared to the opposing catchers.

    I’m far from a scout, but the difference is usually easy to see.

  52. The Gunner says:

    Maybe TS is a better fit as a DH

  53. bpn8pitt says:

    I know he’s hitting well, but what’s polanco like with plate discipline?

  54. Karen22 says:

    Extremely disappointing series against the hated Brewers. Volquez, shockingly, is the lone bright spot. Warts popping out all over the place.

  55. NMR says:

    But once we see how Polanco handles the first month or so of big league pitching I think leadoff may be the spot for him.

    Starling’s contact issues seem to be getting worse.

  56. NMR says:

    Off the charts.

    Struck out as much as he walked against AA pitching, which is super rare.

  57. NMR says:

    I’ve read that some scouts still question his pitch recognition against breaking balls, though. For what that’s worth.

  58. Karen22 says:

    Bad News Bears today…Egad!!

  59. Andrew says:

    That throw was awful (as was the one to right center) and anything more like that he should not in the majors. But lets not go overboard, this team employed Ryan Doumit behind the plate and helped Barajas get extra year credited to his pension.

  60. NMR says:

    It’s odd, Gunner. I read about prospects a good bit and Sanchez seems to still get good grades. Not sure if he’s a guy who has better “tools” than performance or if guys have just missed on him big time.

    Either way, the Yankees SECOND best catching prospect is legit and near big league ready. Obviously with Brian McCann in the fold for five years, seems like a pretty good call to make.

  61. The Gunner says:

    Volquez has become the ace of the staff

  62. NMR says:

    And those teams were awful, Andrew.

  63. Andrew says:

    That 2012 team had good couple months. I have seen the same things about Sanchez, metrics consider him a good pitch framer and blocker but throws like that are deal breakers.

  64. Arriba Wilver says:

    As well as reasonable to have given him one more shot at Indy to work things out. I agree, though, it’s uphill at this point.

  65. bpn8pitt says:

    Jordy, do you need it put on a tee?

    Those last two inning were some brutal baseball.

  66. Andrew says:

    Pirates offense has been making some marginal pitchers look like top of the rotation stalwarts.

  67. Jimmy Brown says:

    Welcome BACK to the House of Horrors!

  68. NMR says:

    I’m telling you, man. Biggest hole on this team is shortstop.

  69. bpn8pitt says:

    Yup. In some hitter friendly parks no less.

  70. NMR says:

    Very much agreed. My worry is that this isn’t mechanical, but mental.

    The light could turn on and he could be perfectly adequate. Or more of this could continue.

  71. bpn8pitt says:

    Not sure what they are going to do either. The line for Stephen Drew will be long after June. Not sure he’s the answer either.

  72. NMR says:

    I won’t argue that I could be grading on a curve that isn’t quite “fair”.

    But I’m a huge believer in teams that are strong up the middle, and a Pirate team with Jordy Mercer and Tony Sanchez as starters absolutely cannot be considered a good one.

  73. Brandie says:

    Is this regression to the mean? If so then we gotta get a whole lot meaner!

  74. The Gunner says:

    The BMTIB better do something at catcher since Martin won’t be back.

    Oh my God, I can’t believe Overbay is still around! I swore at him so many times when he played here.

  75. NMR says:

    All they can do is go back to Barmes, and that may very well be an improvement.

    You can get away with not having offense at shorstop, but you MUST be the defense to make up for it.

  76. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, definitely, I think it’s mental. Remember he was “major league ready” defensively coming out of college. ;-)

  77. Andrew says:

    I agree with the strong up the middle and if both Mercer and Sanchez continue to struggle defensively I honestly do not think they will be starting for long, this is a team that went out, identified, and paid for both Barmes and Martin.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    I wouldn’t consider Lohse a “marginal” pitcher.

  79. bpn8pitt says:

    The Crews playing well, but man, some ugly stuff in this series.

    Going to enjoy the Reds without Dusty. Later guys.

  80. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Completely ridiculous to watch the Pirates roll into Milwaukee and get swept by that band of goofs!
    It just helps to remind me of the complete lack of movement the team made in the off-season which burns me up more every day.

  81. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe he was. Seems to be a big regression going on with him

  82. Andrew says:

    I mainly meant making pitchers, Hammel, Peralta, Lohse, look better than they are. Lohse at this point is a low walk, inning eater, but striking out nine and almost going the distance. I just looked most Ks last year for Lohse 7, twice.

  83. J Walter Weatherman says:

    The Pirates and Brewers have essentially the same talent level; I’d put the Reds at their level too, with only the Cards as a step higher in the division (due to superior pitching). It’ll be a slugfest in the division this summer. At least one good team won’t make the playoffs.

  84. theplanisworking says:

    1) But it is early!
    2) But no other team improved either!
    3) Polanco and Taillon, errr, oops, will be here in June!
    4) In Neal we trust!! ;)

    Yes Daquido, the regression this offseason was/is bad.
    Not throwing the towel in yet, but man, the way this weekend played out.
    Milwaukee was ridiculed by posters this past offseason…… no 1B, Pitching a joke, etc……… but the House of Horrors was resurrected the past 3 days.

    But, what can you do?

  85. NMR says:

    The same Milwaukee team that swept the defending World Champions in Boston?

  86. NMR says:

    And a Manager who has already benched Mercer when the games mattered.

  87. NMR says:

    Yep, we’re in for some fun baseball.

    These Brewers remind me of the 2012 Pirates. Plenty talented, but with litttle to no depth.

    The Crew will compete as long as everybody keeps playing at their level and don’t get injured. So, yeah.

  88. theplanisworking says:

    But, if what you say is true about no depth, they might falter down the stretch, even with no injuries.

    And, the offseason acquisitions the Brewers made were better than the Pirates offseason acquisitions. But it is early. The WC spot might come down to a war of attrition this year.

  89. Florida Steeler says:

    The pitching always had question marks, no shortstop, no first baseman,and play two months of the season without a right fielder. Plus, the bench for offense is beyond putrid.
    Why not Steven Drew???

  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    Seems like a pretty objective view, JWW.

  91. Arriba Wilver says:

    Travis Snider .289 BA, .789 OPS. Right fielder.

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    This 20 year old in the Masters is faltering a little, and Bubba is getting stronger, but that kid will be around for awhile.
    Blixt may be back in the picture, too. Some very dangerous holes right now for the leaders.

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, they are probably the hottest team in baseball right now. But I wouldn’t give them the Central Crown yet.

  94. Thundercrack says:

    Besides Garza who are the additions by Brewers that have made them so good?

    To me the jury is still out on Mark Reynolds.

  95. Chuck H says:

    To Brandie- You can’t win if you don’t hit and the Bucs are back into their old habit of not hitting with RISP. Of course,
    today, they didn’t have many on base to drive in. GO, BUCS!!!

  96. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bubba with 3 shot lead with 2 holes to go.

  97. NMR says:

    @plan – absolutely correct regarding faltering, as we unfortunately know all about.

    @TC – I mean, saying that the Brewers offseason acquisitions were better than the Pirates is basically saying that Garza is better than Volquez.

    Which is true.

    I personally don’t believe it was nearly enough, and actually a pretty terrible decision considering the Brewers lack of starting pitching depth and Garza’s recent inability to stay healthy. But he is a more talented pitcher.

  98. 21sthebest says:

    If Miguel Jiminez is 50, I’m 29.

  99. Arriba Wilver says:

    We had this discussion before here about this, but it seemed to happen after he got hit in the face twice, second time breaking his jaw. But today is all that matters now.

  100. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hit in the face with a baseball, not a fist. ;-)

  101. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bubba’s getting emotional already. Probably one of the reasons I like him.

  102. Chuck H says:

    This Pirate team, with players performing like minor leaguers, both offensively and on defense, is not going to end the season with as good a record as last season. Now, the pitching is going downhill-maybe they are waiting for some run support. Anyhow, let’s hope we’re not starting another 20 years of losing seasons.

  103. A horrible play by Sanchez certainly did cost the Bucs today. But then, so did the lack of offense during that whole series versus the Brewers.

  104. Florida Steeler says:

    Do you really think that will last more than three weeks???

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know, but you were talking about not having a right fielder for 2 months. Just adding some facts.

  106. Thundercrack says:

    Just saw the replay of Tony Sanchez’s bad throw. The throw was bad but I thought Travis I should have caught it. He looked like he was close to the ball. He’s gotta do everything to make sure the throw doesn’t get by him

  107. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Plan – You and I both know the Nutting Regime sat on their butts like lazy tourists all winter.
    Neal Huntington could’ve grown a beard as long as long as ZZ Top before he made any kind of move.
    The result?
    A lashing and then some in Old Milwaukee.
    Disgraceful….And I blame the whole nine yards on the Nutting Regime.

  108. chris says:

    I think comments on Sanchez are going overboard. Playing twice a week doesn’t get you into routine. That is why Chris Stewart was acquired. This board seems to be a what have you done now kind of board. Let him continue his success in AAA and bring him up next year to play every day. Fans like to throw players under the bus just to have something to talk about. What about Cutch dropping the fly ball, or the entire offense being non existent this series. Settle down, and see how the year plays out before stating who sucks and who is legit.

  109. JD says:

    Wow! News flash today. You & the plan dissatisfied with the Pirates. You 2 guys are so predictable. You both suck.

  110. JD says:

    Chris, you are right. Many “quick to judge” posters on this board. They definitely have the “glass half empty” view of the world.

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re comparing him to Cutch?

    There are legitimate concerns regarding his defense. Ask Neal. He has them.

    It sure isn’t his hitting,

  112. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Yeah…What a shame.
    People suck that want the Pirates to spend a dime and improve.

  113. theplanisworking says:

    JD the Troublemaker (wanted to make sure you were capitalized there……………….)

    If you would have read my post, which you never, ever do, because that wouldn’t accomplish your goal of troublemaking, you would have seen I said I was NOT throwing the towel in on anyone yet. I merely said their play was bad this weekend. Also, I put up a funny/sarcastic post of what was bantied around this offseason.

    Man, you are just so predictable on your attacks against those you hate. Plus, the only one su**ing is you, killjoy.

    Pathetic, you are.

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