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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Reds 2, Pirates 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (9-13) vs. Cincinnati Reds (10-11)

Time: 12:35 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, MLB Network (national), Fox Sports Ohio, 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 and Travis Sawchik 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. Baywatch says:

    Anybody wanna talk baseball now? :-) I think when we were ESTABLISHED losers it was more fun to talk about them, as opposed to now when they’re PLAYING like losers! Does that make sense?

  2. You all may have heard today of the passing of the world’s oldest ballplayer in his native Cuba: Conrado Marrero at 102. Marrero played briefly for the old Washington Senators during the 1950s. May he rest in peace.

  3. NMR says:


  4. Baywatch says:

    Another day of no Martin. Wonder what gives?

  5. Tom P. says:

    I know this is heresy to some, but does anybody else think that Pedro should not bat fourth? I know we want him to bat fourth, but he does not do well there. Maybe put Ike Davis fourth for two weeks and see what happens.

  6. Baywatch says:

    Tom, I’ll raise you one. I say we don’t play him against lefties. How many YEARS are we gonna run him out there vs. lefties? I think the day is past where we say Pedro is the future of the team, he’ll learn to hit them. I also think they need to send Marte back down to Indy until he can learn to make contact! The dude has options!

  7. Tom P. says:

    I just looked at the lineup on Apparently somebody agrees with me today. Gaby is fourth and Pedro is fifth.

  8. Nate83 says:

    Martin looked to be injured after his slide to win the game on Monday. He played Tuesday but didn’t seem to be moving all the great. Maybe He sat out yesterday and decided to take his suspension today.

  9. I don’t think you’ll see either, Bay. Marte is around .250 with his average and remember the proverbial “small sample size”.

    But Pedro is another question. His sample size is much larger for what you’re talking about.

  10. Baywatch says:

    I vote Tom for Bench Coach! Or Lineup Card Coach, at the very least!

  11. 21sthebest says:

    I thought he looked gimpy crossing the plate standing up on Saturday as well.

  12. Nate83 says:

    I think this is a big start for Cumpton today both personally and for the team. I think we will need a pitcher to step up and replace Wandy for a while maybe even the rest of the year.

    Cumpton seems to be a good bet to put up quality starts consistently. I don’t think he will give you dominate performances but he can be consistent and give them a chance to win which is more then Wandy had been giving them.

    From a team standpoint losing 6 out of 8 at home would be difficult especially with the Cards coming up next. A win would be a nice springboard into the next series before they finally get a day off.

  13. NMR says:

    Well, he already has two homeruns – including a game winner – against lefties this season, so unless you have someone who can do better than that I presume it’s best to keep him there.

  14. Tom P. says:

    Today’s Lineups:


    CF: Chris Heisey
    1B: Joey Votto
    2B: Brandon Phillips
    RF: Jay Bruce
    3B: Todd Frazier
    LF: Ryan Ludwick
    C: Devin Mesoraco
    SS: Zack Cozart
    SP: Tony Cingrani


    LF: Starling Marte
    2B: Neil Walker
    CF: Andrew McCutchen
    1B: Gaby Sanchez
    3B: Pedro Alvarez
    RF: Jose Tabata
    SS: Jordy Mercer
    C: Chris Stewart
    SP: Brandon Cumpton

  15. NMR says:

    I guarantee if we all looked into the crystal ball last December and saw that Pedro cut his strikeout rate by 10% in the first month of 2014 we’d be confident in saying his batting average would be over the Mendoza line.

    The hits aren’t falling right now, but he’s doing everything else absolutely fine, if not better.

  16. 21sthebest says:

    Walker 0-9 the past two days batting second. I’ll have to check but it looked to me like he’s seeing less fastball batting second.

  17. scapper says:

    Every time he makes an out to center or left, I see the positive in that. It’s coming with him. He’s been a somewhat slow case, but he’s going to put it together. Just wish it wasn’t going to be for the Yankees, the Phillies, the…

  18. Baywatch says:

    I’d platoon Pedro. Even JHay would give us more of a chance with a lefty on the mound. Wonder how many years Gaby had to go, not hitting righties, before he was viewed as straight platoon?

  19. Andrew says:

    Bay, I generally agree that Alvarez has shown little ability to hit LHP, but I cannot disagree with NMR at this point, from a plate discipline standpoint Alvarez is doing about everything well and at better rates than anytime in his career.

  20. NMR says:

    Josh Harrison is a career .242 hitter against lefties. You only platoon guys when you have a substantial replacement, and theres no way to spin Josh Harrison as that.

    Pedro and Gaby aren’t comparable because of their handedness. Gaby can’t hit 75% of pitchers, Pedro can’t hit 25%.

  21. NMR says:

    Huntington needs to get him some lineup protection.

  22. NMR says:

    There’s a very good chance Pedro will not end up with a 20% K-rate, as he currently stands.

    But there’s also an absolute certainty that he will not end up with a .143 BABIP, as he also currently stands.

  23. Yeah, his BA is fine.

    Oh, I forgot, that’s an old stat. We don’t look at it anymore.


  24. Nate83 says:

    I am personally very encouraged by what I’ve seen from Pedro this year. Personally this is the first year I’m saying Pedro is the future of the team (knowing full well he won’t be here past 2016). He is doing everything right at the plate. The balls will start finding holes or dropping in and he will be more then adequate.

    Marte is lost but I don’t see a scenario where he is sent down. His value on defense and speed can’t be duplicated by anyone you call up. If he went down to AAA he would continue to strike out. It’s who he is. He won’t continue at this rate. It is absolutely amazing he has a .255 average with that amount of strike outs. He has 24 hits on 60 balls in play. He has struck out 33 time (1.5 per game) this year. Last year he struck out almost exactly 1 time per game.

    If he reduces his K’s to last years rate he’s probably batting .290 and he has more walks this year. He will be fine. Not ideal for a lead off hitter but still very valuable as a total package.

  25. Baywatch says:

    If Pedro can only NOT hit 25 percent of pitchers, he must be a really good hitter to be batting, what .186 now, and never above .240? Either that or my math is terrible … OR BOTH!

  26. Nate83 says:

    You mean somebody better then Cutch :) If the Reds are pitching around Walker to get to Cutch right now they need to have their heads checked.

  27. Baywatch says:

    I agree, he has made strides this year, despite his stinky batting average thus far. I see him going with the pitch more. Hopefully, it will fall into place for him better. But no more than he’s seeing left-handed pitchers … well, I was going to say it wouldn’t hurt for him to sit those days. But it’s still practice for him, too.

  28. Nate83 says:

    Just personal opinion but I do not want to watch any Pirate game that involves Harrison starting instead of Pedro no matter what the pitching match up is unless it’s simply to give Pedro a day off. We should just forfeit if that is a strategic move.

  29. So Tony Cingrani gets to be Cy Young today? Cueto, OK, he’s a good pitcher. But Alfredo Simon? If we don’t crush this guy……..

  30. Andrew says:

    Pedro for his career strikes out almost 40% of the time against lefties, so a platoon should be an option but I’m not sure the Pirates have the personnel for it.

  31. Reading says:

    I would let Marte be Marte. Cut him loose. Green light. I think he Ks so often because trying to be a good leadoff hitter he lets good hitable pitches go by that he would normally hammer (except for the fact he’s batting leadoff and is under mental pressure to work the count, etc.), falls into a negative count hole, and then swings at a two strike low and away slider. Move him out of the leadoff spot if you want somebody there who sees 10 pitches each at bat, but I would green light him.

  32. Baywatch says:

    I was exaggerating about JHay platooning with Pedro, but not from the standpoint of our percentages going up with Pedro on the bench vs. lefties in general. Again, that being said, I see the progress in Pedro’s approach.

  33. Jim S. says:

    Bingo, Andrew! I was reading all the comments down, one at a time, and I think everyone was just about saying it but not quite saying it until you did. I think Bay is right that we should look at sitting Pedro against some, or maybe even most, LHP. But, we don’t have a back-up 3b that thumps them, as NMR said.

    With 12 of 25 roster spots being taken up by pitchers today, teams don’t have the benches they had in days of old.

  34. Jim S. says:

    Good call, Tom. Now, give me tonight’s lottery #’s.

  35. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    The Pirates “non-hit” parade continues, and the result is an astonishing seven games out of first place with a week left in the first month of the season.
    This problem was quite clear last year but they made up for it with great pitching and defense.
    You almost have to play a near perfect game in those two aspects to offset the severe lack of offense.
    I have no idea what the answer is…..And apparently I’m not alone.

  36. NMR says:

    Great points, guys.

  37. Jim S. says:

    Unfortunately, Lucky, this guy may be the real deal. Only gives up about 6 hits per 9 so far in his career, or something ridiculous like that. Strikes out well over a batter an inning. He does walk some guys, and does give up some HR. I think we need an instance or two where he walks someone right before someone else takes him deep.

  38. NMR says:

    First time all year I got truly frustrated with this team was last night, Lucky. Thought for sure after that first inning that they’d be able to get to Simon easily.

  39. Jim S. says:

    I mentioned that the other day on Travis’ blog, Reading. I don’t know whether it is true or not, but whatever he is doing isn’t going real well right now.

    I always thought he continued to have a high BABIP because he generally hits it hard when he hits it.

  40. 21sthebest says:

    Travis Sawchik @Sawchik_Trib · 47m
    I asked Martin on Tue. if he was injured on slide. He brushed off question &noted he is always dealing with aches/pains….was in lineup Tue

  41. Jim S. says:

    Wasn’t his pitch count at around 30 in that first inning? Amazing turnaround.

  42. Jim S. says:

    I think the on/off switch on your sarcasm meter accidentally got set to “off”, Nate. :-)

  43. Jim S. says:

    +++, 21.

  44. We did have 5 walks last night to go with the 6 hits, so, looking at the box, there was some opportunity.
    I didn’t see, hear or follow the game at all, so you guys would know better.

    Like Daq said, seems to be a pattern developing and we’ve got to avoid it.

    At least it’s not a Sunday lineup.

  45. NMR says:

    People say this over and over but is there any actual proof?

    The guy strikes out too much because he cannot hit breaking balls.

  46. Bizrow says:

    I think when Martin takes his suspension, they will have to make a roster move to bring up Sanchez for that game.

  47. NMR says:

    Biggest disappointment has to be Jordy Mercer. Guy is just killing the bottom of the order.

    Pirates were foolish not to pounce on Stephen Drew at a discounted rate this winter. Hard to see the lucking into an opportunity like that any time soon.

  48. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    No question Mercer is off to a bad start.
    It didn’t help getting spiked courtesy of Martin Maldonado.

  49. NMR says:

    Just as he started to get a few to drop, as well.

    To his credit, he’s fielded his position well better than I expected.

  50. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, it’s an upper-lower body injury, that happened in his sleep. Wait, that the NHL’s injury rules.

  51. NMR says:

    FWIW, his first pitch strike rate and overall rate of pitches in the strike zone have fallen by about 4% this year.

    When pitchers learn that a hitter will swing at anything, they’re obviously less inclined to throw them pitches in the strike zone.

    I think we’re seeing the league adjust to Marte before our eyes.

  52. 21sthebest says:

    Routine plays he hasn’t messed up on either end. But I think his lack of range and lack of arm strength mitigate the lack of errors.

  53. TJA says:

    Important game today. Need a win before heading on the road to face the Cardinals and O’s. I still believe they can turn this around…I really do…but that being said: We have a month under our belts…is/are these the issues we see during this summer at PNC?

  54. NMR says:

    I agree with that very much. Guy is still visibly inferior in both of those categories.

    I guess as you said to me yesterday, baby steps.

  55. NMR says:

    I’ve been thinking about that the last couple games, TJA.

    We know this team goes through stretches like this. Did it even last year. We also know this team can go on incredible runs of success, as well.

    I keep falling back on the fact that they are absolutely better defensively than we’ve seen. That will improve, and will be a big boost. I also feel like conditions have played a role in the pitching staff’s wildness. Anyone at the park last night would attest to that. The offense is what it is, but there is clearly a lot of room for improvement there as well.

    Just all gonna depend on whether or not they can put it all together.

  56. Patrick(ri) says:

    Yup. Until he no longer leads the majors in whiffs, he should not lead off!

  57. Patrick(ri) says:

    ++ consistency is the test of a veteran and good team. This now a veteran team . . .

  58. 21sthebest says:

    I’m just not sure he’s capable of improving in those areas though.

  59. NMR says:

    Very, very good point.

  60. Jim S. says:

    And, we’ll probably never find out exactly what it was.

  61. 21sthebest says:

    Not sure who you could send down for 10 days or how long you’d carry 3 catchers.

  62. Baywatch says:


  63. TJA says:

    Good points, NMR about the stretches both ways…wins and losses. We know all team go through this….the Brewers and Cardinals will, too. And, your other point about their “D”….they are a much better team than what we have seen. That has been one item that has jumped out at me….the number of errors.

  64. Pants-n-at says:

    I’m not a fan of Marte’s approach at the plate. His pre-pitch movements at times are so much that it doesn’t appear he’s ready when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. JMO

  65. TJA says:

    Wow….really is a good point, Patrick.

  66. NMR says:

    At 27 years old? Ain’t happenin’. Pipe dream.

  67. Jim S. says:

    Then, it’s his move now. We’ll see.

  68. Pants-n-at says:

    And I was one of his biggest critics last year

  69. theplanisworking says:

    No, team seems a little bit more testy/less forthcoming with media this year. Not criticizing, just Hurdle seems a little bit less open….. see Brewers fight/suspensions.

  70. Patrick(ri) says:

    Strike out. Walk back. Sit down.

  71. NMR says:

    Right on cue…sheesh.

  72. Jim S. says:

    He’s a big dude. At 27, if he isn’t nimble, it would be tough to become nimble.

    That makes it imperative that he catch everything he gets to and not make any bad throws.

    Or, move to 2b or 3b, where he could get by without quite as much range.

  73. Baywatch says:

    That’s OK, Marte! Keep taking gut pitches and we’ll wait for your leadoff replacement! Sheesh!

  74. Reading says:

    Not watching on TV, but a five pitch, no swing, K for Marte. Come on Man!

  75. 21sthebest says:

    Agree NMR. That’s why I didn’t think he’d even be taking baby steps.

  76. Jim S. says:

    Right on cue. Trying to put some distance between himself and GI Jones, and whomever else might have designs on that K title.

    I was surprised to see that the Pirates are actually about 10th in the league in strikeouts on offense, as a team. They are 25 behind Miami, I think. Whole lot of whiffing going on.

  77. NMR says:

    Inexcusable effort.

    Cingrani is a one-pitch pitcher: fastballs. If this kid can’t hit lefty fastballs right now we have a serious problem.

  78. tdb1977 says:

    Walker has at least doubled the amount of pitches that Marte saw. Really working the count and making Cingrani work.

  79. Reading says:

    I don’t have any metrics to back up my earlier post about taking the reigns off of Marte, but this is a guy who deposited the first MLB pitch he saw on the fake train tracks in Houston. Get Sanguillen to work with him on swinging the bat, and the Pirates will be in business.

  80. NMR says:

    Ha, I suppose that was more of a comment relative to the extremely low level of expectation I placed on him after watching balls hit his glove like it was made of brick last summer.

  81. Jim S. says:

    Cingrani is throwing a lot of pitches. Walker must have really worked him.

  82. Nate83 says:

    I knew NRM was joking. I was supporting his opinion and that is why I put the smiley face.

  83. tdb1977 says:

    Up to 21 already with only 1 out.

  84. Baywatch says:

    If he doesn’t have his CONTACT swing repaired by the June 22 Super 2 Status Date, they should send him to Indy to get it fixed, and YOU KNOW WHO takes his roster spot!

  85. Patrick(ri) says:

    Hope is that this just a mental issue. Why not try making him the 4th OF for a week or two– pine might be a motivator, with the specter of Indy in reserve?

  86. NMR says:

    The wind was awful in my section last night so we made our way down along the first base line.

    One thing that really stood out to me from that point of view was how long Marte’s swing has become. Loads the bat up so much that it’s practically pointing at the pitcher.

  87. tdb1977 says:

    I guess looking at strike 3 is going to be the out of choice today. Come on Gabby, take the bat off your shoulder and swing!

  88. Pants-n-at says:

    But…even in the losses last year, it was predominately due to lack of offense. The pitching thus far is the biggest disappointment. They have to pick it up

  89. NMR says:

    Pedro starting to pull the ball on the ground again. Ugly.

  90. Patrick(ri) says:

    Walker is having a fine season. Don’t know what kinds of grades he got at Pine Richland, but he is a really smart ball player!

  91. Naterosboro says:

    With regards to Marte, I think you have to get him a day off or two. He’s a young hitter in a horrible funk. He’s certainly not the 1st, and he certainly won’t be the last. His confidence at the plate has to be close to zero right now. This is where Clint and the hitting coach have to earn their money.

    I think Starling comes out of this for the better, but he is killing them at the top right now.

  92. tdb1977 says:

    It might be ugly…but got a run on the board with 2 on still. Take a run anyway we can get them right now.

  93. TJA says:

    Or as Satchel Paige once said: “THROW STRIKES…THE PLATE DON’T MOVE”

  94. Jim S. says:

    I just saw you made almost an identical comment to me right before I did, tdb. Reasonably intuitive minds thinking alike, maybe.

  95. 21sthebest says:

    I always thought referring to a lack of consistency was a polite way of saying someone (or a team) stinks.

  96. Reading says:

    Going by what MLB at bat shows, but did the clean-up hitter really look at five pitches and struck out looking? The clean-up hitter? Is everybody looking for a walk?

  97. Baywatch says:

    +++ WITH a little saliva!

  98. Jim S. says:

    As seems to be the case so often lately, are we going to give that run right back?

  99. Baywatch says:

    Much agreed, Nate!

  100. Baywatch says:

    Sheesh, Louise!

  101. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, today might have been the day except Clint probably didn’t think Lunchie was a good match for the lefty.

  102. tdb1977 says:

    After hitting Ludwick with a pitch, Cumpton gets out of the 2nd with a fly out to right and a double play. Bucs back to the dish.

  103. Jim S. says:

    There you go, Straight out of Cumpton!

  104. Naterosboro says:

    Jim, love that nickname. Not sure if you coined it, but you were the first I saw refer to him that way a few days ago.

  105. Naterosboro says:

    Does anyone else find it ridic that we have had two backup catchers this season, both supposed to be defensively sound with questions about their bats, and both are/were hitting and have had trouble handling the defensive side of the game?

    Hopefully in Stewart’s case, it’s just a matter of him getting back out there after the injury.

    Sanchez? Someone forgot to renew his Hustler subscription…or the Pirates aren’t paying him enough to afford it. Gotta have those ski lifts remember…

  106. cmat0829 says:

    Damn, someone better tell the Mets’ Sandy Alderson and Phillies Ruben Amaro,, Jr., both were competing to sign this guy for their roster this season.

  107. Naterosboro says:

    Ok, after seeing Heisey just rob Marte of [at least] a base hit….

    is there any thought that the Pirates may just be on the wrong side of the Baseball Gods at this point? It seems like they’re not playing terribly, they just can’t catch a few breaks.

    Hopefully this evens out soon.

    There are some seasons where the Baseball Gods just rain down on you.

    I hope this is not the case.

  108. 21sthebest says:

    Last night was colder than the game we went to last week. I think you went to the same one when we killed the Brewers. But the wind last week was ridiculous and we froze. I’m behind the plate. Last night was cool but without the wind, no problem.

  109. Naterosboro says:

    Even though it was foul, Chris Stewart with another horrible throw (to 1B).

    Perhaps he needs to go back to Bradenton to get “stretched out”.

    Those 40-60ft. throws can be tough…..

  110. 21sthebest says:

    I think they’re playing terrible the past few series.

  111. cmat0829 says:

    They are good points, but two things I haven’t read (and apologize if it’s been said but I haven’t seen it):

    1) The Bucs face few LH starters, so this is probably pretty low on the ‘WTF is wrong with the Pirates’ list.
    2) Pedro is streaky, it is real easy to get negative and then seek out actions that if you think through them, really don’t make a ton of sense (i.e. play Harrison and not Pedro) when he is in a trough…. can we revisit this same discussion when he is mashing HRs in a few weeks??

    I think, if you follow the EYE test, there is little doubt Pedro 2014 is improved in many things that will eventually pay off in the #s.

    Now, ALL of that said, I have no issue with sitting Pedro vs. the elite lefties, just not against all lefties and not taking him out of games late vs. LH relievers.

  112. cmat0829 says:

    I agree, I am more positive than most, but last night was miserable to watch. But today is a new day. I did shower, just not sure I ‘showered well’.

  113. Milo Hamilton says:

    Spring training seems unusually long this year, can’t wait for opening day.

  114. Bizrow says:

    I think you can bring someone up for one day, the problem is who has options to be sent down

  115. Nate83 says:

    The Gods where kind on Monday when Phillips played that blooper like a little league player and the throw home took a horrible bounce. However they have been unlucky with all the HR’s given up and late leads given up.

  116. cmat0829 says:

    pretty sure Tony Sanchez coined that nickname, but i could be wrong.

  117. Karen22 says:

    LOL! Pirates pounded the ball in spring training…I’d like to forget opening day altogether.

  118. cmat0829 says:

    I was just wondering where Milo was and we could use his pithy input right about now. I think you said yesterday that you needn’t look too far past our pitching stats to explain our results to date. Last season we won a lot of this stink bomb games with little offense because our pitching was so good.

  119. cmat0829 says:

    THREE pitches to Pedro in EXACT SAME spot. Pedro swinging for 3run HR to right and that’s what you get when you do that.

    Would prefer a nice ‘let it get deep, take it the other way’ approach on at least one of these strikes.

  120. Karen22 says:

    Two on, no outs…meekly down after that. Guess the Pirates got their one run early. Cumpton has to throw a shutout.

  121. tdb1977 says:

    Cingrani is over pitches heading into the 4th inning.

  122. dennis says:

    up 2-0 Gaby took 3 straight, the last one right down the middle.

  123. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m not familiar with the notion of a starting pitcher stringing together zeroes like this. Is this permitted under the rules ?

  124. cmat0829 says:

    my guess is they will NOT call someone up for one day… Stewart will have to start and play the whole game, just as he would if Martin was sick or unable to play in the game for health reasons. They have an emergency catcher and they’d just hope Stewart didn’t get injured.

  125. Baywatch says:

    Ride one outta here, Jordache!

  126. Patrick(ri) says:

    Like a bus to Indy?

  127. Milo Hamilton says:

    Brandon Cumpton reminds me of Rick Reed.

  128. hockeymonster says:

    Really hope fleury stays in the net when the Reds pull their goalie.

  129. Patrick(ri) says:

    Wasn’t he Leyland’s favorite call-up spot starter.

  130. Bizrow says:

    Humbly nominated as POTD :-)

  131. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks Biz! Thought of it all on my own too :)

  132. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ended up having a pretty decent career.

  133. Milo Hamilton says:

    They do know they’re going to need more than one ?

  134. Nate83 says:

    They do now.

  135. Florida Steeler says:

    Pirate offense is non-existent again.

  136. Florida Steeler says:

    ha-ha–great post

  137. Patrick(ri) says:

    Familiar ugly ring to this game.

  138. TJA says:

    Too early for a “players only” meeting after this contest? I will say…that is where AJ was good. Who has taken that role this year? Gotta stop the bleeding.

  139. Milo Hamilton says:

    AJ was good at taking the ball and striking out 10 or 11 guys every game. That’s where his value was. All that other stuff is elevator music.

  140. Dom says:

    Terry Polo files for bankruptcy.

  141. TJA says:

    I’ll give you that, Milo. Good point.

  142. Patrick(ri) says:

    Feel bad for Cumpton. He deserved a win (even a raise for plunking all those Reds).

  143. Dom says:

    Whatever happened to Eric Bowser?

    Does he still post here?

  144. cmat0829 says:

    Where the ‘Fock’ did she put all that movie money? Did Jinx-y Cat swindle it away from her?

  145. cmat0829 says:

    He still may get a W, have a little faith…. Cumpton has done an outstanding job today…. just as he has in almost every start he’s made for us…. Wandy can take his time with his inflammation.

  146. Dom says:

    On a depressing note, that cat is probably long gone…

  147. Baywatch says:

    I know he’s getting old now, but I could see Tom Hanks in “The Brandon Cumpton Story!”

  148. Patrick(ri) says:

    With only 2 hitters in the line-up who are functional, it is tough to keep the faith.

  149. Baywatch says:

    Old fan out there for the stretch in his brown sport coat and turtleneck! Love it!

  150. Patrick(ri) says:

    Ditto for the guy who used to diss his wife — also did some really sharp stuff. IMHO.

  151. Baywatch says:

    Cump gettin’ all his dugout hugs! Uncle Ray packed some cotton under his lip and said: “Take Wandy’s locker!”

  152. Milo Hamilton says:

    Look at the bright side, at least we’ll only be tied for last.

  153. Baywatch says:

    Such an optimist you are! LOL!

  154. cmat0829 says:

    its like UGA and Ralphie the Buffalo.. Jinx-y Cat is never gone, we just have Jinx-y Cat XIV

  155. Andrew says:

    I see the Pirates are on their way to stranding a small battalion on the bases.

  156. cmat0829 says:

    it’s taking all i can muster at this point to think positive… this homestand not a bright moment for this team

  157. Dom says:

    Huh? I don’t understand. Who in the right mind would badmouth his wife?

  158. Look at the bright side. We only have one guy in AAA who is hitting over .400. And one in the majors over .300. And he’s only had a few AB’s and he’s an all-field catcher.

    Cutch is at .299 though.

    Small sample sizes.

    He who we don’t speak of until June has 20 RBI, also.

  159. Jandy says:

    LOL! You tell ‘em Monster mash!

  160. Pants-n-at says:

    Was about to write that myself

  161. Jandy says:

    His wife is a trooper, she laughs it off :)

  162. You better go jump in again.

  163. Jandy says:

    same ‘ol, same ‘ol

  164. Now, Andrew, you know there is no such thing as clutch hitting or hitters.

  165. We won several 1-0 games. Those have been going the other way for a couple weeks.

  166. TJA says:

    Man. this is WAY too much like the past 20 years, prior to that special 2013 season.

  167. Jandy says:


  168. Reading says:

    Well, that was fun. Always gratifying when an ex-Pirate delivers a key troll hit to win the game.

  169. TJA says:

    How are we feeling this afternoon about the Pens and Game 5? Just wondering?

  170. Milo Hamilton says:

    They are last years Nationals.

  171. hockeymonster says:

    Dammit fleury!

  172. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m focusing on the Browns week 1.

  173. Are we allowed to mention AA players without everyone thinking we want them called up tomorrow?

    Stetson Allie sitting at .291 after 15 games.

    5 HR, 13 RBI and only 13 K’s.

    Hit 2 dingers last night, one of which was a granny.

  174. TJA says:

    Wow….interesting point, Milo. Had not thought of that.

  175. Breakthestreak says:

    The McCutcheons ( er, I mean what used to be called the Pirates when they actually fielded more than 1 pro hitter) lost to the Reds again today. Can. Marte be THIS bad

  176. cmat0829 says:

    Bright sides, anyone? Tough for me to find any, but I guess what I’ll go with is this is a much-needed early wake up call for this team. They tasted success in 2013, but they need to continue to get better to have any in 2014. It’s across the board, and it’s about accountability. At this point, Clint is like one of those old-time variety show plate spinners, it almost doesn’t matter which one he chooses to attend to, eventually they all come crashing down anyway.

    The only way to get this turned around is to for each player to step up their contributions.

    I’m usually not one for lineup gimmicks ,but I wouldn’t hate it if Clint rolled the dice some, either. And my first move would probably be to take Marte out of the leadoff spot. I guess I’d go with something like:

    Walker 2B
    Snider RF
    Cutch CF
    Davis 1B
    Martin C
    Pedro 3B
    Marte CF
    Mercer SS

  177. Milo Hamilton says:

    Absolutely you can. Just remember that players, whatever the year, can’t begin their major league career until at least June 1st. Unless they stink of course.

  178. cmat0829 says:


  179. Reading says:

    The era of the insurmountable one run deficit is back.

  180. Florida Steeler says:

    The Browns are going to be a much improved team if they get a quarterback. The guy they hired is a very good, young bright coach that will discipline appropriately. Word is they are trying to pry the backup qb from the Redskins–forgot his name but looked good when GGIII was hurt.

  181. The Pens aren’t the only team in town who’ve stunk lately, as us Pirates fans can only too plainly see.

  182. I didn’t say free anybody. Just trying to look on the bright side that we possibly have some sticks in the minors being groomed.

    BTW, he that we don’t speak of until late June was 0-3 last night.

  183. Milo Hamilton says:

    Kirk Cousins. If not him they’ll draft one. Johnny Football’s traveling road show maybe ?

  184. TK says:

    Cumpton pitched okay, 3HBP aside.

    New lineup:

    Tabata RF
    Mercer SS
    McCutchen CF
    Davis 1B
    Alvarez 3B
    Walker 2B
    Marte LF
    Martin C

  185. Milo Hamilton says:

    I guarantee that was met with a huge sigh of relief from the powers that be.

  186. Florida Steeler says:

    I hear no, but, then, they all play games this time of year.

  187. chethejet1 says:

    Bucs are not hitting and the pitching isn’t lights out. that is a recipe for mediocre baseball. Bucs lineup just can’t produce without Pedro banging it. Ike can help, but Marte is killing this team and Mercer is so punch and judy. I expected more from him. We will know more by the end ofMay if this is a wildcard contender or not.

  188. Florida Steeler says:

    They love the ot from Auburn and feel if they get him, will have the best offensive line in division and maybe the conference.

  189. GAWTS2009 says:


  190. Arriba Wilver says:

    A Browns optimist??????????

    NOW I know why you are so critical of the Pittsburgh teams. ;-)

  191. twentytwo22 says:

    Gotta love Dan Z on the post-game show, on one hand he cited the contributions of Marlon Byrd and how he transformed the look of the Pirates lineup and then on the other hand doesn’t know if Polanco will really impact the lineup that much because he’s just one guy.

  192. Baywatch says:

    Suckage. Hair on fire.

  193. Baywatch says:

    I don’t think we could split a series of ROLEY BAT now.

  194. Baywatch says:

    LOL to the THIRD POWER!

  195. Reading says:

    RBIs are an overrated metric. Getting a hit when a guy is in scoring position is completely fortuitous. No skill involved. Solely based on what somebody ahead of you does. RBIs (or RBI, as enlightened broadcasters and sports anchors say) are completely irrelevant to winning or losing games. Just like batting average. A .300 hitter is just a lucky .205 hitter. No, we certainly don’t want any overrated RBI guys or .300 hitters on the Pirates.

  196. cmat0829 says:

    This is a real interesting stretch for this team and organization. They stand 9-13 and that is the record they really deserve at this point. Lots of season left and they can certainly right the ship…. but what if they have a tough road trip… say 1-4 in STL/Baltimore ….they’d be hobbling back to PNC at 10-17 and the hole would be getting dangerously deep. Mostly because this team – and offense – aren’t really built to go on a Dodgers-like tear, but more built to win each series, slow and steady climb.

    4 days ago, I was in the ‘not panic’ crowd, making myself feel better by saying, the Brewers are scorching, let’s just win this series vs. the Reds and go from there. But now, after a pretty dismal series defeat, while I’m not in the ‘panic’ crowd, I am in the ‘getting antsy’ crowd.

    The problem with any offensive moves (most notably recalling Polanco and the most bold idea, upgrading at SS) is that absent the pitching getting it together, those moves won’t put the Pirates in the postseason and the costs might be high for making those moves now. (Arbitration earlier for Polanco, giving up draft pick for Drew)….

    OK, I’ve talked myself off the ledge… nothing a series win in StLouie won’t cure… so let’s go bucs.

  197. Arriba Wilver says:

    I know when Bay goes negative we are getting into trouble. ;-)

  198. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, this series moved me to antsy, too. Luckily, my hair isn’t even getting warm yet, though. ;-)

  199. Reading says:

    In fact, I only want to see players whose sole mission in life is to look at pitches and walk. Too many bad things happen when you swing the bat. Looking at pitches forces a guy to throw more pitches, which has the desired effect of winning by default once the 91 pitch threshold is reached and the bullpen must be used. Then, and only then, can the bats be unleashed against an inferior starter wannabe.

  200. Want some lighter fluid?

  201. Thundercrack says:

    It seems to me that there are too many players on ‘both sides of the ball’ who are underperforming.

    The first month of the season isn’t over and I am willing to give them to the end of May for a better analysis/determination of the talent on the team. In this division they may win 90 games and not make the playoffs.

    Not happy, but my hair ain’t on fire

  202. Chuck H says:

    I’ve been saying that all season. Pedro is a definite auto out against lefties.We are not doing him any favors by
    playing him against lefties either. Almost every time, he flails after the outside and low pitches.

  203. Baywatch says:

    Talking catatonic schizophrenic right now!

  204. Baywatch says:

    End of May!! Gah!! You must have the slow heartbeat of Erik Bedard!

  205. Thundercrack says:

    I think I may throw a baseball harder than Bedard.

  206. Chuck H says:

    They say that the San Diego Padres are the worst team when hitting with RISP. I can’t see how they could be worse
    than our Bucs in that category. We had a few chances with RISP on Thursday, but couldn’t produce. Compton pitched OK, but also was the cause of the loss by hitting one too many batters. Mercer is a disgrace at the plate this year as is several other Pirate SLUGGERS. Marte definitely is not a lead-off man either. If I can see what is wrong with our team,
    why the H— can’t Pirate management see it also??? We traded for Davis, and now he has quit hitting, too. Let’s try a new manager, for starters!!!

  207. Bizrow says:

    I still hope, but am starting to get that “expect” feeling back.

    Just makes you realize how magical last season was.

  208. Baywatch says:

    Why was I born????

  209. Bizrow says:


  210. Florida Steeler says:

    Know what Arriba,
    I only speak the truth about the Pirates and Pens. You, on the other hand, pretend how good they are.

  211. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nah, it has to be spontaneous combustion.

  212. Milo Hamilton says:

    Guess who just hit a homer for Indy ?

  213. Baywatch says:

    I used to warm up Bedard. Caught him with a pair of pliers!

  214. Andrew says:

    Adam Hyzdu?

  215. Milo Hamilton says:

    One down, nine to go – Bennett Serf.

  216. Eric Bowser says:

    I attended today’s afternoon game and as usual, didn’t leave impressed with the approach by the Pirates at the plate. Who gets a 3-0 count and strikes out the way he did like Jordy Mercer?

    Starling Marte looks lost at the plate in person like he does on television.

    All Brandon Cumpton does is pitch good baseball. He’s a keeper, Wandy…. good-bye.

    Pedro Alvarez looks to be way too late on fastball, saw a few that he couldn’t come close to getting full extension.

    Cannot wait for Gregory Polanco….

  217. Andrew says:

    I would say Lasting Milledge, but he is Japan.

  218. Andrew says:

    is in Japan

  219. Baywatch says:

    Starling “The Real Deal” Marte? Steve Pearce?

  220. Milo Hamilton says:

    When he came here Neal said he was a 5 tool player. He had no tools. He was slow, lousy fielder, couldn’t hit, no power & no arm. It was amazing, a no tool player in the major leagues.

  221. Karen22 says:

    So when do the Steelers start?

  222. Milo Hamilton says:

    I don’t know if you heard, but Polanco hit another home run tonight. :)

  223. Baywatch says:

    He just had more tools as a punk.

  224. Andrew says:

    Former #9 overall prospect, playing for the Tokyo Swallows at 27.

  225. Milo Hamilton says:

    Next AB – singled, stole 2nd & scored. Currently hitting .418.

  226. June is a hot month. He should enjoy the Burgh in June.

  227. Eric, you took some flak for saying Polanco didn’t need to prove anything. You should enjoy him coming up in June (saving the Bucs 15 mil) and sparking the Bucs’ offense.

    Speaking of not being ready yet, Lambo is still well over .300, too. But, he had his chance in meaningless ST.

  228. Speaking of HR’s, Milo, another one for Allie in the first tonight, a 3-run shot, # 6. Now 16 RBI and hitting .304 with the always small sample size.

  229. Milo Hamilton says:

    You have seriously corrupted me. :)

  230. Baywatch says:

    Might be a good time to point out that Polanco might not figure it out right away either!

  231. If I were a betting preacher (I’ve heard of cussin’ preachers and cheatin’ preachers) I’d bet on him figuring it out way before some have.

    But you are correct, sir.

  232. Baywatch says:

    Mickey Mantle was HORRIBLE his first couple months. And it took Sandy Koufax about 4-5 years of wildness before he finally figured he could throw a lot less hard and still be smoke people.

  233. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Looks like another rousing rendition of that brilliantly quiet Pirate offense.
    Get a run or two….And hope for the best!
    The Lumber Company they are not.

  234. Thundercrack says:

    Are you suggesting that they bring up Lambo?

  235. No, they wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

  236. Milo Hamilton says:

    He who shall remain nameless just doubled in the go ahead run in the 9th inning. Now hitting .420, why didn’t they walk him ?

  237. Milo Hamilton says:

    Larry Parrish is the Mud Hens manager.

  238. Bizrow says:

    Come hell or high water, the nameless one will not be here till super two timing is done.

    That being said, at our current rate, who is trade bait at the trade deadline>

  239. A better question would be who isn’t. I can name about 10.

  240. Baywatch says:

    Pay him the $15-20 million and bring him up, already! :-)

  241. Reading says:

    Dodgets 2 Phils 1 in top if 5th. Phils have men on 2nd and third, two out. M. Byrd at the plate. First pitch, right center field gap shot double. Phils 3 Dodgers 2.

  242. Reading says:

    If only Byrd had shown more patience at the plate, the Phils might have had bases loaded.

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