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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

First pitch: Pirates-Blue Jays

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (12-18) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (13-17)

Time: 1:35 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, CTV SportsNet 1 (Canada), 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog. 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. Karen22 says:

    How ’bout some starting pitching today PLUS offense PLUS a Pens win?? Not asking for much on a drippy Sunday, am I?? Oh – and score a goal, Sid!

  2. radio wave says:

    Had tix to the game, but staying home. Have to build up my cheering energy for the Rangers later. Would be nice for the Bucs to get the hattrick over Toronto today. And a little more help from the Reds too. And I still can’t believe my rockets aren’t in a game 7 today because they give up a 3 pointer with .9 on the clock. Unreal.

  3. Bill Born says:

    Look for Marte to respond to batting 5th today-

  4. theplanisworking says:

    Would be nice to get a sweep today!
    Toronto seems to be just what the Bucco doctor ordered.

    May this be the start of a long winning streak!

    Also, may you all have a Happy Star Wars Day!

  5. bpn8pitt says:

    Not sure what to make of last two wins. I’m glad they won, but those are two losses against a decent bullpen.

  6. Lad9 says:

    At the best ballpark in America, sitting in the Bow Tie Bar with the family, and having an adult beverage while looking out over the Allegheny. Ahhhh, life is good today. Go Buccos!

  7. Lad9 says:

    To you same Plan. Hug a wookie!

  8. Jandy says:

    Have fun, Laddie! Say “Hi!” to Frank for me ;)

  9. Lad9 says:

    Hey Jandy! Will do. And Frank says “Hic”. :)

  10. Jandy says:

    LOL! ;)

  11. Brandie says:

    Already watched a Star Wars movie to celebrate the day.

  12. Brandie says:

    Great day all!!!

  13. cmat0829 says:


    Pirates Lineup:

    Harrison RF
    Walker 2B
    Cutch CF
    Pedro 3B
    Marte LF
    Davis 1B
    Mercer SS
    Stewart C
    Volquez P

    Clint rolling with JayHey to spark the offense and give some production in RF… Marte bounces up to 5th… Mercer back in there, maybe last night’s big double gets him going… Stewart an automatic out in the 8 spot.

    Obviously the move down in the order has jump started Starling… as much as his speed SHOULD play at the top of the lineup, if Marte can keep his good approach at the plate going, he is a much needed big bat in the middle to help out with our issues with RISP…. seems to me we should NEVER move Marte back to leadoff.

    Now, that leaves a very open question as to who should bat leadoff… and the short answer, come June something, is Gregory Polanco. With Marte going well, a lineup of say…… Polanco – Walker- Cutch – Pedro – Marte – Davis/Gaby – Martin – Mercer/Barmes has a nice flow to it. And I think Marte relishes the opportunity to drive in runs vs. having to try to set the table….. Polanco has the approach, low K total, speed, etc. to be a better fit in the leadoff spot than Marte…. and there is no other option really, unless we are going to start Harrison at SS every day, which would not be good for our pitching staff.

  14. Lad9 says:

    BRANDIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Let’s go Bucs.

  15. radio wave says:

    Glad t sanchez is out.

  16. Brandie says:


  17. The Gunner says:

    Maybe the Jay Hey kid will keep the RF seat warm until Polanco arrives – nice triple!!!

  18. radio wave says:

    Nice start.

  19. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I’m admittedly not a Jay Hay fan, but I’ve got nothing right now. Obviously can’t do any worse than what was going on in RF.

    Marte’s approach has been very good.

    Still wondering if the idea is to put Polanco (he needs a nickname) in the lead off spot when he comes up.

  20. The Gunner says:

    I hear what you are saying. You gotta admit that, at this point in time, Jay Hey is definitely a better option than Snider or Tabata.

  21. bpn8pitt says:


    I have watched every minute if this series. How the hell they won two games is amazing.

  22. radio wave says:

    Time for another comeback.

  23. Steelag70 says:

    And looks like the REAL Volquez has returned…

  24. The Gunner says:

    Uh oh – I knew someone was going to open that can of worms

  25. scapper says:

    Is that Mike Tomlin in the first row behind home in the baseball hat? I’m embarrassed that I actually care but I can’t stop trying to figure out if that’s him.

  26. Andrew says:

    Remember that inning last night when Liriano gave up 4 runs and couldn’t finish the inning.

  27. Karen22 says:


  28. Brandie says:

    Don’t you mean obviously?

  29. Steelag70 says:

    Nice bounce back inning by Volquez…

  30. bpn8pitt says:

    That kid Jose Abreu is killing it.

  31. bpn8pitt says:

    The standard is the standard.

  32. El Coffee is his nickname and Twitter handle.

  33. Jandy says:

    Brandie is better at this than am, but I’d call Polanco, the “Plank”

  34. Steelag70 says:

    Yes he is…would sure look good in a Bucco uniform right now…

  35. Jandy says:

    It doesn’t matter how well Volquie pitches if he has no run support. Jeez my knees, the guys just …

  36. Steelag70 says:

    No worries yet folks….it’s not the 6th inning yet. ;)

  37. bpn8pitt says:

    I would like to see the Pirates get in on these Cuban players. Gotta be a SS there.

  38. Steelag70 says:

    Nice catch Starling….

  39. Steelag70 says:

    I just don’t see the Buccos ever spending money like that.

  40. Good one. Can’t do much with that last name.

    Gregory “ThePlanIsWorkingOvertime” Polanco

  41. bpn8pitt says:

    Oakland did on Cepedes.

  42. Jandy says:

    Nice catch JHay!

  43. Jandy says:

    haha love that one!

  44. The Gunner says:

    Lunchbox may have had trouble with that one

  45. Jandy says:


  46. Steelag70 says:

    McGowan is looking like an ace against us today…smh…

  47. Jandy says:

    Nice petey!

  48. Steelag70 says:


  49. Steelag70 says:


  50. Patrick(ri) says:

    This is the type of situations people lusted after Davis for. Be nice if he could stumble into one.

  51. bpn8pitt says:

    Honestly, I think Davis may be just another Garrett Jones that can’t play the OF. We ‘ll see.

  52. Steelag70 says:


  53. Patrick(ri) says:

    I don’t think he is as good. And we have him for2-3 years?

  54. Karen22 says:

    Obviously I mean obviously. ;)

  55. Steelag70 says:

    Hurdle and Sofield tossed…

  56. Andrew says:

    That was not a strike, even in todays expanded zone.

  57. The Gunner says:

    uh oh – Clint & Sofield just got tossed. Maybe this will spark the Bucs.

  58. Steelag70 says:

    But NH got the deal that he wanted…

  59. Steelag70 says:

    Let’s hope so Gunner…they need SOME kind of spark…

  60. Patrick(ri) says:

    Can’t see how it can hurt.

  61. Lad9 says:

    This guy behind the plate was awful at first base last night and is worse behind the plate. Not surprised those two got tossed.

  62. Steelag70 says:

    Yep…the real Volquez is back…

  63. Jandy says:

    I think Volquez is a victim of this umpire’s skewed vision of what constitutes a strike. But hey, that’s just me.

  64. Jandy says:

    stop already!

  65. bpn8pitt says:

    No, it wasn’t a strike. But when its two on, two out and your down by 3…1 for your last 26 ? Wasn’t happy Mercer left his bat on his shoulder….but ump has been inconsistent.

  66. radio wave says:

    Shut it off last night. Do I hang in today?

  67. Why did those guys get run? Gameday doesn’t say. :(

  68. Karen22 says:

    Yeah it was – according to the box on TV. Right at the knees.

  69. Steelag70 says:

    Why is it never ok to post comments on here that are in the “negative” category? Two straight starts for Volquez giving up 6 runs….not consistent with strikes…

  70. Steelag70 says:

    Double and a HR..

  71. bpn8pitt says:

    Yes. Blue Jays bullpen is as bad as our defense and starting pitching.

    But Mcgowan doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.

  72. Steelag70 says:

    Nice leather Jordy…

  73. bpn8pitt says:

    Nevertheless, anything close with two strikes…

    Little league is always looking for umpires. Changes your opinion on things, trust me…

  74. Lad9 says:

    Arguing ball/strikes for Sofeld. Hurdle got ran because he wanted to. He was worked up

  75. Jandy says:

    Maybe because you’ve said that several times already. Negative once in a while is fine by me, ask anyone. I’ve indulged in it myself a time or three…

  76. bpn8pitt says:

    Low strike, Lucky. Sofield said something coming off the field. Then Hurdle came out…Then Tomlin. :)

  77. Patrick(ri) says:

    Goodness, watching Meet the Press is more exciting than watching the Pirates offense. Cannot wait for the 8th.

  78. bpn8pitt says:

    Oh my! JMR. :)

  79. Jandy says:

    See, that’s my beef with that inning Volquie gave up 3 walks then a grand slam. Some of those pitches were right at the knee…across the plate….then on our buys, all of a sudden, same friggin pitch is a strike. smh
    That doesn’t happen, it’s a totally different ballgame and Volquie isn’t being lambasted by everyone …

  80. Steelag70 says:

    Didn’t know there was a limit… :D

  81. Jandy says:

    Jordie is slumping, he doesn’t need this clown behind the plate to make it worse…lol

  82. The Gunner says:

    Stick a fork in them for today, Patrick – THEY’RE DONE!!!!

  83. Jandy says:

    LOL, Steelag, I’m fine…but man…

  84. Jandy says:


  85. Jandy says:


  86. Patrick(ri) says:

    It is fun to get a look at Sadler, though.

  87. Any kind of comment is fine. Anything that isn’t personal, and you’ve done nothing of the kind.

    If anything, the place would kind of benefit from some balance in that regard.

  88. Steelag70 says:

    This season may be ’89 all over again…then hopefully a following repeat of ’90-’92 but with better outcomes. ;)

  89. Jandy says:

    Hey Dejan, was that an unbold reaming??? if so… :P


  90. Jandy says:

    That was a good inning :)

  91. theplanisworking says:

    You rang?? ;)

  92. The Gunner says:

    Sadler looks pretty good so far. He’ll probably go back down when they bring Locke up.

    Then another rehab start for Wandy – hope it goes better than the last debacle.

  93. Jandy says:

    About time you answered lol

  94. bpn8pitt says:

    Jandy, in regards to Volquez

    I just don’t see what his “out” pitch is. And even some of the outs he has got today, have been hit HARD. Its been like that in even his good starts. I think his BA against is high.

    That was their one significant offseason move. I just don’t get it. Sorry, girl. Hope your boy Crosby scores today.

  95. Jandy says:

    Not sayin Volques is the next savior, he isn’t, not even by a long shot…but man, that umpire sucks!

    As for what the powers that be picked up (or didn’t) during the off-season, well, that’s been hashed and rehashed here, and after Dejan jumped me up ^^, I’m not saying anything ;)

    Sid, if he’s isn’t playing hurt, then shame on him.

  96. Breakthestreak says:

    Marte- What the heck is he swinging at. 2 balls out of the strike zone. If you don’t know what a strike in your 3rd year in the pros, when will you learn. Never!! Sad waste of talent

  97. theplanisworking says:

    Hey, the dog wanted to walk all the way to Pittsburgh!

    I am mobile, my internet is not. :D

  98. bpn8pitt says:

    Totally fair.

    I just think in this day in age of video, ipads etc. Yea, Searage can make some changes to a guy but at the end of the day the talent of that player is still gonna matter. Guys get figured out.

    Good players make adjustments and the great ones don’t have to.

  99. Jandy says:


  100. bpn8pitt says:

    Harrison swung at one earlier two ft above his head.

  101. Jandy says:

    Pirates have to make the most of what they have…the FO won’t be paying for greatness ;)

  102. bpn8pitt says:

    I’m telling on you to NMR tommorow. :)

  103. Andrew says:

    You don’t walk your way off the island.

  104. Jandy says:

    trying too hard?

  105. Jandy says:

    Hey! Dejan just ripped me for squashing negativity. The Boss is bigger then NMR ;)

  106. bpn8pitt says:

    Anyone read Jason Kendalls book?

  107. Andrew says:

    Bpn, Volquez used to have a good change up I’m not sure if it works as well with his sinker, even this year he has gotten an average amounts of swing and misses with his curve, but overall he just hasn’t missed enough bats. Which has been an issue for the entire Pirates’ staff, outside Liriano.

  108. Jandy says:

    Not I

  109. Jandy says:

    C’mon Lurch, show these guys how to pitch!

  110. Jandy says:

    Dang it, JHay would have caught that ball!!! >:<

  111. The Gunner says:

    Looking like it’s back to Indy for Lurch

  112. bpn8pitt says:

    Agree. I don’t know what the stats say but it seems the walks and errors are up from this time last year.

    They won the series but I still have no faith in the pitching.

    Think we see Locke tommorow.

  113. Jandy says:

    or not…

  114. Jandy says:


  115. The Gunner says:

    Maybe you’re right

  116. Karen22 says:

    YES…I’m all for dumping the home plate ump…if MLB really wants to get it right, the incredibly inconsistent calls on balls & strikes cost way more games than the replayable calls.

  117. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    That’s a good one. I do believe I’ve seen the reigning MVP swing at balls out of the zone as well.

    But what does he know.

  118. Jandy says:

    LOL Gunner, I said or not…in response to my post of show these guys how to pitch lol

  119. Jandy says:


  120. Jandy says:

    So Ryan, what you’re saying is, this game, they all suck?

  121. Patrick(ri) says:

    If Volquez had gotten that 2nd pitch to Snider , he might still be in there! Ump is really bad.

  122. Jandy says:

    thats’ what I’m saying! :)

  123. Jandy says:

    2nd trip, trip, triple or JHay ;)

  124. Jandy says:

    I hope that didn’t break a bone in Walker’s foot or ankle

  125. The Gunner says:


    Seriously, Jay Hey needs to be the everyday RFer vs. Lunchbox/Blabata

  126. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Hey Jandy, referencing the negativity in here, which I did the other day, seems to be the same old complaints. It’s beating a dead horse. NH this, Bob Nutting this.

    ..let’s put the blame where it belongs, on the players.

    Pirates have holes in RF, SS, now catcher and the starting pitching isn’t where it was last year.

    The offense is what it is, one hitter that will hover around .300 and others that are inconsistent, at best.

  127. Jandy says:

    After watching this game, I heartily agree Gunner! Did you see that hustle too? Perfect slide :)

  128. Jandy says:

    Ryan, i agree, but seeing the same thing typed 3 or 4 times in less than an hour is rather…boring…

    These guys definitely are NOT playing to their potential. Time to get their collective heads out of their azzes.
    But for Dejan to single me out, well, that’s not cool. Simple as that.

  129. Jandy says:

    But yeah, Petey just meekly grounded out, leaving 2 on and squashing a comeback UGH

  130. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I didn’t see where he singled you out.

    And here I thought I was the troublemaker…

    Perhaps I didn’t scroll up far enough.

    But yea, it’s the same thing over and over…..old real quick

  131. The Gunner says:

    If Jay Hey’s defense in RF is average (or slightly below), he is still an upgrade vs #s 23 & 31

  132. Brandie says:

    Tough day at the old ball yard. You are right…a nickname for Polanco is hard. Last name kind of reminds me of Plink from The Price Is Right. First name we could shorten to Greg…The Incredible, Edible Greg!

  133. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    That’s Polanco

  134. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Crap, I forgot what that was about…..

    Disregard my ignorance

  135. Jandy says:

    scroll up, and I wasn’t even being mean…lol

  136. bpn8pitt says:

    I’m not gonna argue about payroll.

    But wake me up when the Pirates hand out 100 million dollar deal, Ryan.

    And remember you said that when Pedro, Cole and Cutch are traded or leave.

  137. Steelag70 says:

    No, you were not being mean Jandy. :)

    In all honesty, I thought Dejan was agreeing with you….

  138. Jandy says:

    I don’t think so, Steelag, but it’s ok, I like him anyway :)

  139. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    No. I’m saying the pitcher always has the advantage. Batters guess at location sometimes and can’t figure out what pitch they’re swinging at.

    Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

    Whether they are a rookie or a vet.

    I’m amazed at how many hitters never bat 1000.

    A slider or change up will make ANYBODY look bad.

    It’s how the game goes. Next AB or even next pitch, could be totally different story.

  140. Brandie says:

    Terrible Umpiring aside, Buccos must do more on their offense to take the game out of the imps hands.

  141. Bring on the hockey thread!

  142. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Because 100 million dollar deal equals championships, I forgot.

  143. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Pedro will be gone when he becomes a FA.

    Do you want to give $100 million for a .200 ?

  144. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I agree with Steel on this one Jandy, I don’t think he was riding you on this one.

  145. And pitch better.

  146. Jandy says:

    If it was that easy, a high average wouldn’t be .360. It would be closer to 1000 lol

  147. bpn8pitt says:

    I got nothing. Even though they won 2 of 3, I feel like I watched a lot of bad baseball this weekend.

    Go Pens. Be good Jandy.

  148. Jandy says:

    OK I’ll pipe down then :)

  149. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I’ll take 2/3 every single time.

  150. Jandy says:


  151. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    No you won’t

  152. Jandy says:

    and yes

  153. Jandy says:

    and YES!

  154. Jandy says:

    I still think Volquez got shafted lol

  155. Jandy says:

    Oh, and JHay was a bright spot indeed

  156. Jandy says:

    Just for now… ;)

  157. Chuck H says:

    No sweep–in fact, the bats are asleep today. Only 3 hits off a no-name pitcher with a big ERA. C’mon management, get some bats up here. It won’t kill you to make some necessary moves. That grand slam off Volques really hurt. The Bucs should do that more often. GO, STEELERS!!!

  158. bpn8pitt says:

    Someone will.

    17 of the last 18 World Series winners were in the top 15 of payroll.

    I don’t like it when people say spending equals success, like you said. But it sure as hell helps.

    And the numbers DO support that since the Marlins in 2003.


  159. Jandy says:

    see ya on the Pens’ thread bpn

  160. Andrew says:

    I’ll take 2/3, this isn’t college football, there aren’t any style points. I think there was some promising offensive performances, but starting pitching must get better if the Bucs want to get back into it, have to miss some bats.

  161. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    So let them sign him for that amount.

    If he hits his weight, then fine.

  162. Steelag70 says:

    Agreed Jandy…I have always liked JHay..he does bring energy to the game…

  163. Stuart says:

    Jandy, don’t let it bother you. There are 3or4 posters with “steel” in their handles. Never heard a positive statement from any of them. You also don’t hear from them when “our” team is winning. They seem to be waiting for bad thing to happen for some kind of personal validation.

    BTW, I think that DK just likes to see a fresh face once in a while, which is OK to.

    Let’s go Pens!


  164. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Stu, and I’m fine. If I let things posted on here bother me, I’d have gone the way of Drew and other a long time ago lol.
    I enjoy a lot of yinzers on here, it’s not gonna be that easy to get get rid of me ;)

  165. Stuart says:


  166. Karen22 says:

    Well…it’s up to you, Pens, to save the day!

  167. Chuck H says:

    Cubbies play tonight. If they win, the Bucs will be where they want to be-in the celler. They’ve been trying to get there since they started out so great. Too many automatic outs and too many wild swingers on this team. GO, Steelers!!!

  168. twentytwo22 says:

    The last time they faced Cain they killed him.
    They own Hudson.
    Lincecum is a ghost they see through.
    F the giants.
    2013 swagger

  169. Milo Hamilton says:

    The starting pitching stinks & the defense is worse. I’ll never be able to even begin taking these guys seriously until I see once through the rotation with quality starts & no errors. No errors scored but Mercer has to make that play right before the grand slam. If you’re going to hit .160 at least make a routine play.

  170. Milo Hamilton says:

    Oh, I saw Jim Leyland at the game today & he looks like retirement really agrees with him. Smiling signing autographs & posing for pictures. Really was the highlight of the day.

  171. And your perfect record is ruined now.

  172. Milo Hamilton says:

    I had a couple losses in spring training, but as we all know, those don’t count. :)

  173. 21sthebest says:

    I saw him last week. Your seats must be near me? 115?

  174. Chuck H says:

    I’m a bit confused about promoting a player to the major league team from the minors. If the Pirate management waits until June to get help with the offense, they may be hopelessly mired in last place. Polanco and Lambo have got to better than what they have playing now on this team of automatic outs, and now , with the pitching problems getting worse, I suspect it’s because of no run support, the situation has become almost hopeless. Ike Davis was acquired to provide offensive strength to the team, but he is batting below the Mendosa line. Should have kept Jones-at least he hit a homer once in a while. And look at Justin Morneau’s batting average now that he’s with another team. Pirates just can’t seem to do anything right. GO, STEELERS!!!

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