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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Pirates 3, Nationals 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (19-26) vs. Washington Nationals (24-22)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog. Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and I 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. cmat0829 says:

    ** NEWS — Pirates DFA Wandy, activate Martin to serve suspension, meaning Martin will be in the lineup tomorrow night. Also means Tony Sanchez will be deactivated, perhaps for a 2-day reliever and then for Cumpton or Locke to take Wandy’s next spot.

    1. Denard Span (L) CF
    2. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
    3. Jayson Werth (R) RF
    4. Wilson Ramos (R) C
    5. Ian Desmond (R) SS
    6. Tyler Moore (R) 1B
    7. Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
    8. Nate McLouth (L) LF
    9. Blake Treinen (R) P

    1. Josh Harrison (R) RF
    2. Neil Walker (S) 2B
    3. Andrew McCutchen (R) CF
    4. Pedro Alvarez (L) 3B
    5. Starling Marte (R) LF
    6. Ike Davis (L) 1B
    7. Jordy Mercer (R) SS
    8. Chris Stewart (R) C
    9. Edinson Volquez (R) P

  2. NMR says:

    Thats just not a very good lineup being trotted out by the Nats.

  3. Don’t forget the next Cy Young on the mound.

  4. cmat0829 says:

    That young Nats pitcher has PLUS PLUS stuff… sinker that goes to 98mph… so this could be a tough one…

  5. cmat0829 says:

    On the Wandy front, there really is nothing to opine to much about , one way or the other. At the time, the trade was a good one.. Bucs needed starting pitching help and Wandy was one of the best available at the time. Wandy got hurt and never recovered. Prospects to Houston inconsequential, as is the cost for Wandy.

    Should not be praise for the team eating the remaining salary nor criticism for them in any way for how they handled Wandy. Nothing to see here, but a baseball decision made the appropriate way.

    Now, I await the slew of pitchfork prose about how Nutting is cheap because they will replace Wandy with a young rook earning $500K….

  6. Mike Shigley says:

    Interesting stats to date:
    Pedro Alvarez is third in stolen bases (just two behind Andrew McCutchen)
    Gerrit Cole is second in batting average.
    Neil Walker is the homerun and rbi (tied) leader on the club.

    And, how on earth is Josh Wall an improvement over Phil Irwin?????????????

  7. cmat0829 says:

    its not the Orioles that’s for sure.

  8. Milo Hamilton says:

    They’re all on the DL. Zimmerman, Harper, LaRoche, Gio.

  9. cmat0829 says:

    guessing that NONE of US is even nearly close enough to either Wall or Irwin to objectively opine about that. The scouts must see something in Wall and conversely aren’t seeing it in Irwin. Nitpicking we are if we are kvetching about moves like this…. but fire up the pitchforks

  10. Bizrow says:

    • • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

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    471 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
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    • 5/22/2014 4:43 PM

  11. cmat0829 says:

    Gio could be down for a while… maybe the PEDs are wearing off…. we will need the help, the Nats pitchers this weekend (outside of the rookie who I have no idea) are all plenty good.

  12. Mike Shigley says:

    Not pitchforking — just asking. If your WHIP is so high in the minors, why would we expect an improvement that would warrant him taking a spot on the 40 man roster?

  13. Wasn’t Irwin up for a day for emergency long relief earlier this season? Now, he stinks enough to be DFA’d for Wall?

    I agree with Mike on this. How is Wall an improvement? He stinks.

  14. cmat0829 says:

    no clue, but since i’m not a baseball scout, i’ll just defer. we are swapping one struggling RHP for another, maybe change of scenery?

    on the hitting side, someone probably once asked the A’s why they’d sign Brandon Moss, who failed miserably with the Pirates… what was in his stats that the A’s would think he’d now be near the league lead in RBIs….. not comparing Wall to Moss, but if you want to know why teams claim other team’s castoffs, that is why..they are hoping something will click.

  15. cmat0829 says:

    this just in — irwin stinks too.

  16. Who stinks more, that is the question?


  17. Ghost says:


  18. Good man, my spirited friend. You picked that up.

  19. Arriba Wilver says:

    Is that last sentence necessary?

  20. John Lease says:

    They haven’t eaten it yet. There is always hope some team wants a bite of that wormy apple.

  21. John Lease says:

    One down. Now, if only Volquez can get thru an outing without giving up 2 or more homers, maybe there will be some hope.

    Or if not, he can take a powder too, and take Liriano and Morton with him.

    Just run Cole out there every single start. And I’m only kidding slightly.

  22. John Lease says:

    You always eventually remove my and Bob Moose’s hometown of Export PA Biz.

  23. cmat0829 says:

    every word i type is not only necessary but a vital part of daily discourse…. nah, can’t keep a straight face as i type that.

  24. Thundercrack says:

    If Cumpton is the person who takes Wandy’s spot in the rotation,

    I really wish that his first start here is a great one.

    If I can’t have that wish, I almost wish that he gets rocked in his first start….just so I can watch this blog blow up.

  25. cmat0829 says:

    I’d be bummed if it wasn’t StraightOutta… more so than Locke he has earned it. Saw that NH said they were “split on Locke or Cumpton” to get the rotation spot…. not sure I like hearing that. Cumpton should be the clear #1 choice. I know they may want another lefty in the rotation, but that may happen soon enough if Edinson can’t turn the lights on.

  26. Bizrow says:

    Not on purpose

  27. Bizrow says:

    Heard NH on the radio, he said he did not want either Cumpton or Locke to feel like they had to pitch with “their hair on fire” ;-) He has to be reading this blog and or following you, TC :-)

  28. Arriba Wilver says:

    I would start doing it on purpose now, Biz.


  29. Mike Shigley says:

    Makes sense.

  30. Arriba Wilver says:

    Maybe TC IS Neal.

  31. Baywatch says:

    I buried Paul.

  32. Hope it’s Cap’n Hook Hurdle and it’s a quick one tonight. Can’t dig a hole against a rookie with an 0.77 ERA.

  33. SteelerMI says:

    For all of the Pirate fans not in Pittsburgh- late change – game is on MLBN tonight

  34. rvfcprez says:

    Thanks for the info! I can watch the game in real time instead of the MLB.TV delay!

  35. tdb1977 says:

    Volquez first pitch was high and outside for a ball. He needs to be DFA’ed IMMEDIATELY! ;)

  36. tdb1977 says:


  37. JohninOshkosh says:

    Looks like a pleasant evening in Pittsburgh, PA.

  38. Eric Bowser says:

    Pirates spend lots on the procurement of pitching talent via the draft but I guess that’s not a topic anyone cares to discuss in Pittsburgh or at least that I’ve seen discussed.

  39. Eric Bowser says:

    Another throwing error for Pedro….

  40. That’s his 10th of the season. You can’t tell me he wouldn’t make a good first base candidate.

  41. tdb1977 says:

    When playing baseball…when you hit the ball, your suppose to take off for first base, no matter what. Thanks Nate for standing in the batters box thinking you hit a foul ball.

  42. Eric Bowser says:

    Not thrilled with his defense this year but figure he’ll want to stick to 3B because he’ll make more money playing there than 1B/DH.

  43. Carlos Danger says:

    That was AWESOME. The way he turned to the home plate umpire to ask him what happened afterwards. Classic.

  44. cherokee23 says:

    Mclouth was watching his bat wasn’t he? It flew outta his hands. Was funny though watching him with umpire

  45. Carlos Danger says:

    I believe you are correct. There was a lot going on with that swing. A whole comedy of errors.

  46. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thomas Plekanec gives Regis the goalie radio interview from “Slap Shot.”

  47. Carlos Danger says:

    Did I hear the pens were interested in Regis for the GM position?

  48. Andrew says:

    I’m pretty sure Regis is behind that rumor, if you a minute or two this is a classic article concerning his tenure with the Whalers.

  49. My sister’s husband in Maryland roots for the Nationals, since he’s a native of DC and works for the Department of Education in our nation’s capitol, and the Red Sox since he grew up in Boston, so I have two other baseball teams beside the Pirates to follow and take an interest in, so I won’t be suffering over the Pirates that much this season, although I’ll be following tonight’s game on the MLB Network.

  50. Carlos Danger says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I was not endorsing the idea. I just read that somewhere and mark madden mentioned it too. I think that decision would create more distrust amongst the fan base. The new GM has some work to do. Did you hear Rossi say today that Neal asked for a trade mid-season?

  51. Carlos Danger says:

    You are lucky because I think it might be a long season for those of us (me included) who only follow the buccos.

  52. Carlos Danger says:

    My bad for going off-topic on the pirates blog, but figured there would be some other pens fans here also.

  53. Bizrow says:

    Ok, me, I always eat and sleep better when the Jolly Rodger is raised

  54. Steelag70 says:

    Nice to see the OTHER teams’ SP imploding first…lol.

  55. Bizrow says:

    My late wife was a Bosox Fan, my Dad grew up in Minnesota, but pretty much there is only one score I am interested during the season.

    1-0 Good Guys ;-)

  56. Carlos Danger says:

    Definitely doesn’t hurt anything. Penn Dark while watching the pirates also aids in sleep.

  57. Andrew says:

    I wasn’t suggesting anything. I find it worrisome that the biggest names making the rounds are Trivial Pursuit champion Regis and a player agent, there are far better options, I think Eric had a good list awhile back.

    I heard there was rumors about a player requesting a trade, I hadn’t seen any specific names. I think stories of discontent to leaking out are going to be par for the course.

  58. Carlos Danger says:

    I agree. Again I wonder how much of this is just a PR thing. Madden said that Neal denied the rumor, and he believed him. Maybe they want to trade him and released that to minimize the fan backlash? Just spitballing here.

  59. Andrew says:

    Well hopefully the Pirates can get to Treinen, with the rest of the 2nd and then the 3rd turn through the order.

  60. Carlos Danger says:

    That might have been a wise challenge. Hope it doesn’t come back to bite us.

  61. Bizrow says:

    No, TC is much taller ;-)

  62. Bizrow says:

    Reminded me of the silly NFL rule that you must control the ball if you hit the ground, heck he took 2-3 steps

  63. As of tonight, the Pirates’ starters are only 5-20, and the last team to sport that dubious a mark at this time is the 1962 NY Mets, although the Bucs are thankfully hardly in that position.

  64. Andrew says:

    Who knows at this point, Neal is not well liked in much of Pens fan base, and not without cause. I think there will be rumors for just about everyone outside Malkin and Crosby.

  65. JohninOshkosh says:

    I can’t believe the poor succession plan the Pens have-or more precisely-don’t have. They had to know prior to the playoffs, this contingency was a possibility. Few coaches of merit would want to enter a situation with the GM position in flux. This delay in naming a GM may cost them dearly.

    Every company I ever worked for had succession meetings, usually a few times a year. Pretty much knew what direction the company was going if the head guy left or passed away.

  66. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Three questions for the unruly mob here. I await your replies…..

    1) When did Marte turn into Tabata?

    2) At what point is Ray Searage no longer a genius?

    3) Can we officially call the 2009 draft a debacle now?

  67. Locke not making a case tonight for his return to the rotation.

    5 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 5 walks, 4 K’s on 85 pitches. ERA up to 4.06

    That’s the kind of line you’d expect on the ML level, not AAA.

  68. cherokee23 says:

    Matte–when he signed big contract. LOL

  69. Searage has a pass until mid-season. (reverting to the mean).

  70. JohninOshkosh says:

    1. 03/31/2014.
    2. Now ?
    3. Yes.

  71. Patrick(ri) says:

    If need be, rotate Josh around the field to keep him in the game. He is really making a difference.

  72. Bizrow says:

    1 – I think Marte is suffering from the big contract syndrome, I respectfully ask us to give him time.
    2- Sometimes, Hello McFligh? They don’t get it. Searage knows his stuff.
    3 – Was that the draft with overspending on 100 high school pitchers and over spending? If so, my answer was 2009.

    Hey 2-1 Bucs

  73. Bizrow says:

    I’m hoping its Cumpton

  74. Andrew says:

    Marte is the Pirates 2nd most valuable player this season, he was never going to be another McCutchen.

    Searage just wasted all his powers on Volquez and forgot about everyone else.

    This off-season will tell us about Sanchez’s future, but yes that draft is looking barren.

  75. Patrick(ri) says:

    Parlanco who?

  76. Patrick(ri) says:

    No “r”ghh!

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    Do they give gold gloves to subs?

  78. Carlos Danger says:

    I agree. Does anyone think that bylsma will still be here next year? I know that ownership allowed the coaching staff to look elsewhere, and it would be up to the yet-to-be-named GM to decide the pens future coach, but is there any chance? The reason I ask is I bet my buddy in Florida $100 that bylsma would be gone after the latest playoff loss. Not saying it was his fault, just saying $100 is $100.

  79. Lad 9 says:

    Jay Hay is getting it done. That was a special play. Make me eat my words #5!

  80. Bizrow says:

    The stick is lacking

    But what a great catch

  81. Andrew says:

    It has only been a week, the GM is not really all that involved in the draft, I think it is better to take a little time then make a rash decision.

    I was pretty unimpressed with the interviews with the owners, a lot of empty platitudes, “grit and character,” and focus on non or minor issues, Simon Despres was given a chance and he got beat out by a 19 year old.

    But it has given us a lot blog topics.

  82. Bizrow says:


  83. Steelag70 says:

    Volquez gets credit tonight…he is in a good groove. J-Hay….the anti-Brandon Inge….

  84. Andrew says:

    Guy had been given an opportunity and making the most of it, his line leading off .342/.410/.628 10 runs scored in 39 PA.

  85. Arriba Wilver says:


  86. Bizrow says:

    On a championship club, his role is super-sub.

    Every team needs one of those.

    And he was pretty much a throw in with the Graybow/Gorzelanny trade

  87. Andrew says:

    They gave Colton Cain and $1.1 million bonus, that might be what Biz is thinking.

  88. JohninOshkosh says:

    Isn’t the GM the point man of the draft ? I’m just asking.

    I would love to see a team give the middle finger to the Commish and his Milburyian minions. Hire Sheryl Sandberg away from Facebook ! :)

  89. Arriba Wilver says:

    Actually, Penn Richland’s Neil Walker is the second most valuable position player.

  90. Arriba Wilver says:


  91. Bizrow says:

    OK, under spending on Sanchez, overspending on high schoolers

    And something like Tony is already at the ML level defense wise

    I remember looking at that draft a few years ago, and the only real whiff was Trout, but again, that was a few years ago

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m with you, Lad. Have not been a fan, but he is making me eat my words.

    Good for him.

  93. JohninOshkosh says:

    I need a smart ass emoticon. Still think Marte has the tools to be a very good play. I don’t really know about Searage-maybe he was given too much credit last year and is now getting too much flak. I don’t know about the draft but, man, five years now-criticism is certainly warranted.

  94. Andrew says:

    From my understanding I think he delegates resources and responsibilities. Most of work should be down by now and there is still the hockey operations staff in place and if the GM is not involved in the day to day scouting he should not have final say over picks. I remember reading that the development staff had to beg Shero to take Tristan Jarry.

  95. Bizrow says:

    Well, a nail bighter

  96. Thundercrack says:

    At this rate when Polanco comes up he’ll be our starting left fielder

  97. tcb says:

    They will continue to struggle if Alvarez and Marte don’t start driving in some runs. Lot of lob’s from those 2 tonight.

  98. Arriba Wilver says:

    John—I visited a local office and home furniture consignment shop yesterday just to check it out. Didn’t expect to buy anything. On the wall was a probably late 60’s, early 1970’s black and white framed photo of Ann-Margret. If it was $10 I wouldn’t have gotten it, but I checked the price—7.63, including tax. It is now mine. But it’s a little unnerving. She seems to always be looking at me. ;-)

  99. Bizrow says:

    Pitching, all about pitching

  100. The Gunner says:

    Not a good performance by Locke, Cumpton deserves the opportunity this time!

  101. JohninOshkosh says:


  102. Lad 9 says:

    Definitely AW.

  103. Stuart says:

    Do we need a super sub?


  104. Bizrow says:

    Yeah, I think so, JHay might not total 20 dingers inn his career. That is 2b material at best

  105. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    So….. Is everyone cool with Volquez now?

    How close was Tony Watson to being sent down here?

    Polanco called up yet?

  106. Arriba Wilver says:

    Watson is still da man.

  107. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    There is NO WAY you bench Marte for JayHay.

    Love what he’s doing right now and he’s taking advantage of his opportunity, but he’s a sub player.

    At best, starting 2b, are we in favor of starting him over NW?

  108. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    As with me, still not a regular starter, but glad he’s doing well

  109. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Just checking…. Got hairy there for a second.

  110. Andrew says:

    Nationals have been trying to give the Pirates a extra run all night, finally took advantage.

  111. The Gunner says:

    Jay Hey drives in an insurance run!

  112. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Agree Biz

    Super sub are very important to winning ball clubs

  113. Patrick(ri) says:

    Hasn’t he hit one dinger and two off the top of the wall in the last three or four games? I think you under value his stick. Ripped a ice single as
    I write this.

  114. Patrick(ri) says:

    Story of the early season.

  115. Andrew says:

    This isn’t good.

  116. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Not undervalued, he currently has 2 HRs and 5 (I think) RBI’s.

    He took one to the wall last night, but was robbed of a double off the wall.

    WTP at best.

    Yes, it was a nice single and appreciated.

  117. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:


  118. Arriba Wilver says:

    Wasn’t responding to you, Ryan, just commenting on the game.

  119. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Lol, fans booing a 1-1 count

  120. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I’m still allowed to respond….

  121. T.S. says:

    21 bad innings in 6 minor league seasons for Phil Irwin.

    Including this year’s numbers:
    30-18 record
    445 1/3 inn
    395 K and 88 BB
    3.25 ERA
    1.123 WHIP

    Yeah, DFA him. Hope he comes back to bite Neal Huntington in the ass.

  122. Arriba Wilver says:

    4-0 walk to lead off the ninth. That’s not good in anybody’s book.

  123. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    So, 2-2, tying run up, top of the 9th…

    Andy wife decides to hold a conversation with me.

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sure are. Just wanted to make it clear I didn’t see yours when I posted mine.

  125. The Gunner says:

    This closing situation with the Bucs sure leaves a lot to be desired

  126. Arriba Wilver says:


  127. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I really like MM’s cut fastball, but I like his curveball even more

  128. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Eh, I can’t tell from the mobile app.

    Well timed post by us I guess

  129. Andrew says:

    I like the cutter, but he seemed not to have command of it tonight, moot point now.

  130. Dave G says:

    Just your typical slide-off victory.

  131. Baywatch says:

    From Pizza Hut, Tyler, TX … Raise it! And Up HERE, Everybody!!!

  132. In honor of Buggee’s visit today,

    Etch It!

  133. Lad 9 says:

    Raise it! Some good OF defense tonight, timely hitting, and pitching good enough to stifle a crippled National’s lineup comes out to a 3-1 win. Enjoyable game.

  134. Now Volquez buys himself some more time.

  135. pattonbb says:

    ….fear the Bones….

  136. Baywatch says:

    Merry Christmas, You Old Building & Loan!!!

  137. Andrew says:

    Had that 2013 feel, total opposite of last night.

  138. That was some game saving catch by Andrew McCutchen! And Volquez won only the 6th game by a starter, and Harrison was brilliant in the field and good at the plate. And let’s hope we’re not asking too much of the Bucs to continue playing this well from now on.

  139. Arriba Wilver says:

    Despite his recent outings, prior to tonight,he’s been better than people give him credit for. Seems like people decided on him in the offseason.

  140. Well, at least the bullpen, overworked as it has been lately, has a 14-6 record while the starting rotation is now only 6-20.

  141. Thank you, Jimmie Baywatch.

  142. Only 1 HR tonight. He can hold down #4 for a while.

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nice job by Edinson, when it was sorely needed.

  144. Baywatch says:


  145. JohninOshkosh says:

    C’mon Rangers! Win this one in OT for radio wave!

  146. JohninOshkosh says:

    Cool tweet from Mets beat guy, Anthony Dicomo. Said Mets clubhouse erupted after Rangers goal.

    Love to hear stories of local teams supporting each other.

  147. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! And the Habs just won! Wow.

  148. Bill Shaner says:

    Born and raised Burgh guy now live in St. Louis. Big DK fan

  149. Ghost says:

    If the Pirates turn this year around, maybe tonight’s effort by Volquez (and Harrison) was a turning point.

  150. cmat0829 says:


    I’ll own up… earlier this season I posted that JayHey needed to be JayDFA… and boy was I wrong. He is a supersub and no one associated with the Pirates is indicating he is anything but that…but he can play defense pretty well every where he plays, he hustles and he gets the bat on the ball for the most part. Good for him, and good for the Bucs. He can play most of the games in RF until Gregory comes on up.

    Really not sure why everyone is so, so, so negative about Marte. Yes, he looks bad in more than a few at bats..but he is a very good outfielder, has power, and will keep working on that ‘swinging at balls way outside and low thing’.. pretty silly for anyone to be calling for him to be benched, etc. Geeze.

    Professional outing from Volquez tonight. Good for him and good for the Bucs. Time for Morton to get his first W tomorrow night.

    Will be good to have Russell back tomorrow night… one thing we mostly have not talked about is the impact of having Martin injured for so long this year… he was a huge impact to the rotation and the team last year, is some of this starting pitching funk due to Martin being out?

    I will continue to think that Ike Davis is perhaps best suited for the 2 spot in the order… he is patient, good eye for the strike zone and seems to be able to go to all fields….and he has become more of a singles hitter at this point…. If I were filling out the lineup card, for now, I’d go with Harrison – Davis – Cutch – Walker – Martin – Pedro – Marte – Mercer.

    20-26, 1.5 games behind Jim Bowden’s juggernaut Reds… 7 games behind the ‘free fallin’ Brewers…

  151. Craig Coons says:

    I was a follower of Dejan when his blog first started at the Gazette.I was Maz in Iowa…from Muscatine Ia.I recognize several names…Baywatch,Arriba,JAL etc

  152. Craig Coons says:

    Just wanted to add Muscatine to the Bizrow list

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