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Morning Java: April panic

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

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>> The Friday column from PNC Park offers a whole lot of cautionary, deep-breath-type material regarding the local baseball club. If you’re the type to panic in April, by all means avoid.

Here’s what Tony Watson had to say, decidedly un-panicky:

The game story, by beat man Rob Biertempfel, focuses on Edinson Volquez’s seven efficient innings and Josh Harrison’s huge home run.

And here’s a a bit from the hitting hero:

Blogginess from the scene: Easy to see Jordy Mercer’s pressing. It’s hard not to pull for the kid, and he and I had a lengthy chat before this game. I’ve no doubt his head’s in the right place, but you also sense that he wants very badly to impress in his first real opportunity to be the shortstop. That rally-starting single last night might be the ticket. … Very reminiscent of Andrew Lambo in the spring. But Lambo is rebounding quite nicely with Indy. … Asked Clint Hurdle if Volquez had improved his fastball command, his deception or both, and he gave an interesting answer: ‘The command came, and then we put in some things for the deception.’ How could that be, I wondered, since the second would surely affect the solidified delivery? ‘Look, Johnny Cueto put in a Tiant twist out of nowhere, and it worked. No one asked why.’ That’s a reference, of course, to Red Sox legend Luis Tiant, who would famously twist all the way around to second base as part of his delivery. … Would love to see advanced fielding stats illustrating the bases cut off by Starling Marte in left. Wouldn’t be easy, though. Some runners don’t even think about the extra base, I’ll bet. … Jose Tabata scored lots of points with the Pirates for that crazy catch in Cincinnati. Went absolutely full bore. When I asked Jose if his head hit the wall first, he answered, ‘Whole body.’ Know what that tells me? He might not have had any idea how close he was. … Oh, and then Jose goes out as a pinch-hitter last night and doubles. … In a clubhouse hallway well after the game, I mentioned the famous Bob Robertson bunt/homer tale from 1971 to Hurdle. Thought I might have to explain. Nope. Man knows his Pirates history.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> The Penguins’ and Blue Jackets’ coaching counterparts are probed by Josh Yohe on another off-day for this Stanley Cup playoff series.

Penalty-killing is a playoff priority, by Yohe.

R.J. Umberger set to return … in more ways than one, by Craig Merz in Columbus.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page, our Chipped Ice blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the team’s official site.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> Our weekly chat will be today at noon, right after an 11:30 visit with TribLIVE Radio. I’ll remind: The chat will move to Tuesdays at 1 p.m. beginning next week.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

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.

 
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