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Final: Pirates 4, Nationals 3

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (20-26) vs. Washington Nationals (24-23)

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 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:

    Tonights Lineups:

    1. Denard Span (L) CF
    2. Anthony Rendon (R) 2B
    3. Jayson Werth (R) RF
    4. Wilson Ramos (R) C
    5. Ian Desmond (R) SS
    6. Greg Dobbs (L) 1B
    7. Zach Walters (S) 3B
    8. Nate McLouth (L) LF
    9. Jordan Zimmermann (R) P

    1. Josh Harrison (R) RF
    2. Neil Walker (S) 2B
    3. Andrew McCutchen (R) CF
    4. Ike Davis (L) 1B
    5. Russell Martin (R) C
    6. Pedro Alvarez (L) 3B
    7. Starling Marte (R) LF
    8. Clint Barmes (R) SS
    9. Charlie Morton (R) P

  2. cmat0829 says:

    Well, Clint must be reading my posts on this blog, he has finally dropped Pedro Alvarez out of the clean up spot…. I think he’s half right… Pedro needed to drop to 7th but Ike should go to 2nd and Walker to cleanup… but we’ll take this first move……

    Great to have Martin back in the lineup, really improves the team defensively and offensively…..

    Barmes in there as we expect a lot of ground balls and he still clearly is the better defensive option at SS…with Jordy continuing to struggle with the bat, makes sense to go defense tonight in support of hard-luck Cholley.

  3. 21sthebest says:

    Rudy Owens called up by the Astros and will make the first start of his Major League career tonight.

    What incredible timing.

  4. cmat0829 says:

    good for him, hope he wins.

  5. cmat0829 says:

    Grilli activated from DL, Sanchez optioned to Indy. Hurdle says no circumstances would entail Grilli pitching in the 9th (um, what about if Pirates are ahead 9-1???

    Good to have Grilli back… but would think if we need a closer, it might be Bryan Morris (duck for cover)

  6. The Gunner says:

    Surely you jest about Morris being the closer!

  7. Patrick(RI) says:

    “all call for Phillip . . .”

  8. cmat0829 says:

    that is not my opinion 24/7 tweeted that after talking to Hurdle.

  9. cmat0829 says:

    and dont call me Shirley

  10. Bizrow says:

    Also reported on the FAN a bit ago, Melancoln and Watson will not be used.

  11. Patrick(ri) says:

    Just running a little test to see just how old Gunner is.

  12. chris says:

    Pedro being moved out of the 4 hole will only benefit this team. Hits better in 6 spot plus ike davis is on base machine so i can see this happening a lot, cutch walks, davis walks right behind him and we have men on first and 2nd. martin drives cutch in with base hit and alvarez………well at least we have scored already.

    On the other hand we are all looking forward to the promotion of polanco, but that will take away our leadoff man who has been on fire lately. Leadoff has been a struggle for years on this team, so when J Hay goes back to the bench player who will be best fit for the leadoff role. I am not seeing it. Polanco possibly, same as cutch when he first got up here, but I see polanco batting right behind cutch for the next 4 years.

    In a perfect world, I would have J hay at short and learn to deal with the defensive struggles, but anyone who knows baseball knows this would never happen because that’s not how major league teams work. That is why at the deadline, if we are still in it this year, trade for a speedster shortstop such as Gregorious and get short and leadoff man in one trade.

  13. Mike Shigley says:

    Off message, but to reprise the excoriation Dejan took for his Nutting myth vs. reality column: Yes, the Pirates opening day payroll was 28th in the league. However, they were only 27th in the league in revenues in 2013, earning only $11 million more than the “last place” Tampa Bay Rays. Or, to put it another way, the Pirates put 44% of their 2013 revenues toward 2014 opening day payroll, 22nd in the majors. The median, however, was only 48%. To look at it another way, the Pirates had the least 2013 revenue of any team in their division: $23 million less than the Brewers, $24 million less than the Reds, $61 million less than the Cardinals, and $96 million less than the Cubs. So much for trying to predict revenues based on the supposed size of the local “market.”

  14. Mike Shigley says:

    I forgot to include my sources: Deadspin for payroll and Forbes (via Statista) for revenue.

  15. Patrick(ri) says:

    I recall a Mgr from the dark side who would rotate guys all the time. Wonder if he would give a different position regular rest , nearly every day? Of course Harrison still might not play every day, but he would not hit the pine for a week if he went 0 for 4. Worked for Tony and he had the guts to give Pujols a day off, far more often than Cutch gets.

  16. Carlos Danger says:

    I hope that the change in batting order provides some sort of positive result, but it just seems like they are rearranging the deck furniture on the titanic.

  17. Bizrow says:

    Any idea how much Root Sports made on the PBC?

  18. Carlos Danger says:

    That is a great question. I have always been curious.

  19. toochca says:

    I like Wilson as a closer, personally!

  20. Bizrow says:

    Lots of talk about finances lately.

    How do deals work with minor league clubs? I’m assuming the PBC throws some cash to the clubs, but any idea how much?

  21. Carlos Danger says:
    Seems to say only the salaries are paid by the PBC. But I agree, I feel like there would be a stipend paid as well.

  22. Bizrow says:

    If the average MLB teams pay 48% of their income to MLB salaries, where does the rest of it go

    Other than for TJ surgeries this year ;-)

  23. Carlos Danger says:

    Judging from the bills we received from the hospital after my dad’s bypass surgery, that should just about be the other 52%.

  24. Andrew says:

    I know in other leagues, the NFL and NHL, the players share of revenue in fixed in their respective CBAs. Players get a certain percentage depending on the source, in the NFL it is like 55% national media revenue, 45% percent of local club revenue. In Baseball the amounts aren’t fixed.

    I assume the rest of the revenue goes to operating cost, debt service, and then the almighty profits.

  25. The Gunner says:

    Obviously Patrick, if you remember that phrase, we must be around the same age

  26. Andrew says:

    I generally agree with you, I think lineup shuffling is overrated, but I like this move. Putting a tougher out behind McCutchen theoretically should mean more pitches for him to hit and increase his chances of coming around to score when he is on base. I wrote in the morning thread that Alvarez has come to bat with the most baserunners on in the NL, and has not being scoring those runners.

  27. Carlos Danger says:

    Baseball always has to be difficult. No cap, no fixed amounts, etc. When does the labor agreement end? And is there any chance of wholesale change in attitude from the owners? I wouldn’t want to see a strike but would like to see a lot of things change. Just tired of, well, just tired of this.

  28. Andrew says:

    I like the Davis, Alvarez switch, I don’t get Marte 7th.

  29. Maz in Iowa says:

    As much as I like to see Cutch at first(BB)…it would be nice to see Pedro to “at least” get a double or heaven forbid… a HR.Sheesh how long between extra base hits??Maybe Cutch would see more decent pitches

  30. The Gunner says:

    Pedro has been stinking real bad as of late. If anyone is overdue, it is #24

  31. Maz in Iowa says:

    Oops didn’t see the line up

  32. Carlos Danger says:

    I hope it works. Really I do. But I’m not convinced that any change in batting order will help us when our pitchers are last in ERA according to fangraphs. Going to take more than a superficial move to help us. In my humble opinion.

  33. 21sthebest says:

    “If the average MLB teams pay 48% of their income to MLB salaries, where does the rest of it go.”


    Player development (minor leagues) – for the Pirates, this was 20% of costs in 2008, for example
    Team operations
    Ballpark and game operations
    Marketing and public relations
    General and administrative
    Interest expense

    In 2008, these non player payroll related costs totaled $85 million or 59% of revenues.

  34. Carlos Danger says:

    Thanks 21. Just curious where you found that info? Not questioning, just curious.

  35. 21sthebest says:

    The audited financials were leaked to the public Carlos, in 2010. Deadspin still has them for 6 teams.

    I like your name, btw. Has a nice ring.

  36. Patrick(ri) says:

    I was just suggesting a way to get Harrison in the game — in all cases, leading off. He seems to be providing at least a decent alternative, no matter whether he plays RF,LF, 2B, Ss or 3B.

  37. Patrick(ri) says:

    Per Brown /Walk discussion of disproportionate errors behind Morton: perhaps due to the fact other starters pitches are flying out of the park?

  38. The Gunner says:

    I think Harrison will eventually end up @ SS once Polanco arrives

  39. Maz in Iowa says:

    And Morton walks a couple in the 1st!*sigh*

  40. Carlos Danger says:

    Thanks man. Anthony wiener made it famous due to his various indiscretions. But I thought it sounded awesome. We are only similar in our online names. Just to minimize any backlash. It was between this and Ron Mexico (Michael Vicks pseudonym) but liked this one better. Pretty much cause it didn’t involve a case of herpes. I mean Anthony weiner is a terrible human being. It was a tough call.

  41. Maz in Iowa says:

    Whenever I see Brandon Moss/Joey Bats crank another another HR I cry a little to myself….can’t help myself

  42. Arriba Wilver says:


  43. Arriba Wilver says:

    No way Harrison ends up as the regular SS on this team.

  44. cmat0829 says:

    So very nice to have Martin back…

  45. cmat0829 says:

    Pedro: just HAVE to swing at fastballs on the outside corner with 2 strikes… any ball in play (most any ball in play) scores a run there… he is not a hit for average guy, so he has to become an RBI guy… and RBI guys don’t hopelessly look at strike 3 with runners on base.

  46. Andrew says:

    If baseball wants more offense they need to reign the strike-zone in, it has become too larger, especially the outside corner to lefties.

  47. Andrew says:

    Certainty I was talking about the lineup, the team definitely has much larger issues.

  48. The Gunner says:

    Then based on Pedro’s 2014 performance, maybe he becomes the regular @ 3B

  49. Andrew says:


  50. cmat0829 says:

    Yes, thank for the voice of reason on JayHey. Let’s just enjoy him for what he is…. a utility contributor… have no problem with him getting 2 starts a week or 3 starts every two weeks, at 3B vs. LHP and in RF. He is not suited for SS, but can play it in a pinch.

    Just can’t believe some of the same people dissing the Ike Davis move as a fix for 1B and in the same breath putting Harrison as the solution at SS. I personally want someone like Alexi Ramirez from White Sox… he can hit leadoff and play SS every day… I think the Sox would part with him, he makes a lot of $$.

    Think about this lineup:
    Ramirez SS
    Polanco RF
    Walker 2B
    Cutch CF
    Davis 1B
    Martin C
    Pedro 3B
    Marte LF

  51. cmat0829 says:

    and until they do, hitters just have to swing the bats. I can see balls way out of the zone, but the one Pedro took was a strike.

  52. cmat0829 says:

    Moss is quite the surprise..he looked every bit as lost as Travis Snider (or Jeff Clement or Andy LaRoche or or or ) when he was in Pittsburgh and now he is an RBI machine.. good for him.

  53. cmat0829 says:

    Ground Chuck gets the inning-ending Double Play… 2-0 good guys, going to bottom of the 3rd.

  54. Parrothead says:

    It doesn’t matter where they bat Pedro. Runners in scoring position keep finding him and he keeps stranding them.

  55. Keith says:

    I look forward to JHay becoming the 1990s Tony Phillips. After Polanco is called up, he would play everywhere, lead off 75% of games, and spell Walker, Barmes/Mercer, Alvarez, and all three OF. The other leadoff option would probably be Polanco, whomwould otherwise bat second. I would think it would only last this season, but I like the look of it.

  56. Carlos Danger says:

    Agreed. At least give a defensive swing. Foul them off til there is something he can hit. I know it is easier said than done. But can’t be get caught looking. Unacceptable in my humble opinion.

  57. The Gunner says:

    The BMTIB will never go for Ramirez’s price & besides, he is soon to be 33 years old.

  58. cmat0829 says:

    that may be, i’m open to others on the SS list… just putting Alexi up there because he is obtainable… and because of the $, we can avoid giving up major prospects…and God knows we can afford Alexi, especially in 2015. And yes he is 33 but I only want him for this year and next. Then he can decay and fade away.

  59. cmat0829 says:

    Davis is the ‘hit collector’.

  60. cmat0829 says:

    Pedro in the 6th spot with his first HR since Cinco de Mayo… .4-0 good guys.

  61. Patrick(ri) says:

    Pedro has “easy” power, if there is such a thing. Effortless smash to dead center.

  62. 21sthebest says:

    Oh I forgot about that guy.

  63. Patrick(ri) says:

    Ditto for the one Martin bitched about and the the Nationals guy got upset about. This ump is above the norm I have seen.

  64. Lad 9 says:

    I think I need to lay that bit of base running at the feet of Coach Leyva, who has gotten surprisingly little flak in this space this year compared to last.

  65. Carlos Danger says:


  66. cmat0829 says:

    what context? Marte running on the bunt? not clear if that was coach or player… would appear to me the Bucs were just trying to sacrifice and Marte went on his own. I know there are those out there that LOVE to bag on Leyva, but I don’t think this one is your best example.

    He also correctly halted Barmes there in that inning..

  67. The Gunner says:

    What the Bucs really need is to invest in is starting ptiching as opposed to a 33 (?) year old shortstop. And, please, no more Volquez type signings.

    PS – glad to see Pedro finally cranked one; how long has it been since his last dinger?

  68. Maz in Iowa says:

    Polanco a HR and 3 more RBI(43)….still the top of the 4th

  69. Andrew says:

    Cannot complain about the defense behind Morton tonight.

  70. Carlos Danger says:

    I love the sounds of what is going to be a large part of the PBC for years to come. I realize it is hard to project production from AAA to the major leagues but this sounds almost can’t-miss. If only taillon wouldn’t have been injured so we could have 2 things to watch/ complain about.

  71. cmat0829 says:

    May 5 was Pedro’s last dinger. I definitely want a starting pitcher too, just saying in response to the JayHey for SS frenzy, I prefer they really fix the position… If not Alexi, I’m open to other suggestions.

  72. cmat0829 says:

    3 very good at bats from Davis tonight… 2 hits and just stung that one to left center… after running the count to 3-1.

  73. DJ says:


  74. Andrew says:

    We might have Super Two to complain about for several years to come, which isn’t a bad problem to have.

  75. The Gunner says:

    I don’t see the BMTIB spending big money for an established big league SS. They really need to aggressively pursue a contract extension with Russell Martin, but don’t hold your breath on that one.

  76. Lad 9 says:

    It is his job to stop Marte from going. First by giving him specific instructions prior to the at bat, and then by getting him back to the bag after the bunt. Marte is not blameless, but I put it more on the coach. And I am NOT a Leyva basher.

  77. Brandie says:

    Good to see the team is alive tonight! Hello LAAAAAAAADDDDDDD NIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

  78. 21sthebest says:

    It looked like they put on safety squeeze to me. If that’s the case, 100% on Marte for running on a misplaced bunt.

  79. Arriba Wilver says:

    Gotta be careful, Lad. Cmat see’s every negative comment as an attack.


  80. Lad 9 says:

    BRANDIEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Good evening!

  81. 21sthebest says:

    Actually, you’re supposed to go on contact. Really good play by Zimmerman.

  82. The Gunner says:

    Now this game is starting to get interesting. Will the Bucco bullpen save the day??

  83. Andrew says:

    Not sure what the other options are but I don’t like Morris here.

  84. The Gunner says:

    Brown & Walk just mentioned Morris has inherited 7 baserunners & 5 have scored.

    Nice wild pitch by the jibronie.

  85. Lad 9 says:

    He can have at it AW. I don’t take many shots and I didn’t even consider this one, but what the heck. And I have coached enough third base to know at least something about it.

    And it was not a safety squeeze. They were bunting to get the runner to second and stay out of the DP, and the coach should have told Marte to hold. Charlie is way too shaky a hunter to squeeze anything but a toothpaste tube.

  86. 21sthebest says:

    I was thinking safety because of how late Charlie squared around.

  87. Andrew says:

    He is just not very good, throws hard, lacks control, and just doesn’t strike many out, to make up for the walks, but for some reason the Pirates like him in tough spots.

  88. Arriba Wilver says:

    Preaching to the choir, my friend.


  89. The Gunner says:

    I am not a fan of Morris. Now it looks like Grilli will be closing tonight. Better tighten your chinstrap, Andrew!

  90. Anybody chortling for Wilson to close tonight?

    Just got home. How goes it?

  91. Bizrow says:

    I think it was ruled a passed ball

  92. The Gunner says:

    Wilson was already in the game. Morton scuffled thru 5 2/3 innings.

  93. The Gunner says:

    Jay Hey does it again!!! Can you believe it???

  94. Bizrow says:


  95. Reading says:

    Mr. Everyday!

  96. Andrew says:

    I don’t get work up over much, it is only sports, but I find Morris pitching in tight spots very aggravating.

  97. The Gunner says:

    If you are faint of heart, you better not watch the Bucs.

  98. Arriba Wilver says:

    I hope Rob King doesn’t make any mistakes tonight.

  99. Andrew says:

    I’ll second that.

  100. Baywatch says:

    Woo-Hoo!! Up HERE, Everybody!! Wife just texted me my RTJR

  101. The Gunner says:

    What mistake has he made lately?

  102. Bizrow says:


  103. Saw that. Looks like he struggled.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    See this morning’s thread.

  105. Jason Grilli hasn’t pitched since April 15. So what does he do tonight? He saves it for Charlie Morton when Josh Harrison makes a great catch of Ian Desmond’s long drive to end it! Whew! Once again!

  106. Jim S says:

    They take their worst bullpen guy and put him in the toughest spots – repeatedly. But, every team does it. They think the 9th inning is some mystical place that only a few guys can get through without wetting their pants. But, the 7th or 8th inning, with the bases loaded and one out, leading 4-1? Sure, throw your worst reliever in there.

  107. Reading says:

    Would really like to see the Pirates light up Strasburg tomorrow as sort of a belated payback for his 14 K debut several years ago. Also great if Cole was the true pitching star tomorrow.

  108. Jim S says:

    I’ll take the win. That’s about all I can say about that. The starting pitching is undependable, although we’ve had a couple of decent outings in a row and Wandy has been replaced by a guy who has a chance to keep us in games. So, there’s that.

    The bullpen is so shaky right now – almost to a man.

    4-0 lead at home should be an easy win. But, like I said, I’ll take it. I just think it will be hard to sustain a winning streak with all of these close games.

    Need Cole to go lights out for about 8 tomorrow. Give Watson another day off. A nice 6-1 lead with GC departing after 8 would be sweet. Let Gomez finish it. Probably too much to hope for.

  109. Baywatch says:

    I like your thinking, Jim!

  110. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Nice win by the Pirates tonight.
    I wasn’t overly impressed with Grilli….One walk, almost more…And two balls to the warning track.
    Once again…Who would’ve thought Josh Harrison could be the most exciting Pirate by late May?!

  111. Ghost says:

    The Pirates organization pegged Harrison as ulility player. I’ll stipulate that they are the pros and probably know what they’re doing. That said, does anybody — especially we fans — really, truly know exactly what we have in Josh Harrison?

    He’s only had 600 MLB at bats. He’s never been played at one position long enough to master it. Infield-throw mechanics and outfield-throw mechanics are markedly different. Same with learning how to play the angles specific to each position. I politely dissent from those who have been saying Harrison does not have a good arm or good range. I think he might have both in him. It’s just that he’s been bounced all over the place, and also has spent a lot of time on the bench. He’s about the same age Brian Giles was when Giles finally got a chance to be an every day player and stepped it up. But with Josh, I don’t think there are any whispers in the background.

    I don’t know what we do when Polanco comes up. But as long as Harrison continues his Yasiel Puig act, I say we gotta find a place to play him.

  112. Ghost says:

    “I don’t know what we do (with Harrison) when Polanco comes up.”
    Polanco, obviously, starts in RF.

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