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Morning Java: Anyone like Ike?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column is about the only thing that matters to the 2014 Pirates. Or has ever mattered, really, if you want to get technical.

Here’s my talk with Ray Searage on that particular topic:

And a Q I had for Neal Huntington, too:

Francisco Liriano’s struggles multiply, as the Pirates never come close to completing a four-game sweep of the Nationals. Rob Biertempfel has the game story. And for some idea of how hard Liriano took that, check out how he can’t even finish his answer when I asked how frustrating this must be:

Brandon Cumpton’s big chance begins tonight in the big city, by Karen Price.

The growing science of tracking positional defense, by Travis Sawchik. This was in Sunday’s Trib, actually, but thought it was worth a shout this morning. Good stuff.

Blogginess from the scene: Get this: Since May 6, Major League Baseball’s only hotter hitters than Ike Davis — now 22 for 54 (.407) in that span after two more hits yesterday— are Yasiel Puig (.417) and Miguel Cabrera (.409). If only Davis had been acquired in the offseason, then the Pirates might have done SOMETHING IN THE OFFSEASON, right? … There’s no safer bet in the history of civilization than someone in the New York media today asking Davis if he’s succeeding because he’s had all the pressure of playing in the Big Apple taken from his shoulders. They love this meme, even if there isn’t a sliver of proof to support it. Makes them feel like they’re really tough reporters and all. Some of the same folks who went running for cover every time John Tortorella sneezed. … Josh Harrison, Neil Walker and Davis went a combined 7 for 12, but Andrew McCutchen and a lost-looking Starling Marte came up completely empty at Nos. 3 and 5 spots. Nine men stranded for those two. … I asked Huntington why Cumpton has tended to struggle with opponents the second or third time through the order, and he candidly responded, “One thing we’ve stressed with Brandon from the beginning was the importance of his secondary stuff. He’s always had good velocity, but you don’t see too many starters get by with just a couple pitches.” In particular, the Pirates want to see more of his slider and especially the changeup, though the latter lags out of the two. … How is a player judged to be interfered with on the basepaths when his plant foot was on the grass? … Chris Stewart is no Russell Martin. … Nice to see the place filled up on a routine Sunday afternoon. The Pirates need more of this to create genuine urgency toward weekday sales.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery, including this brazenly self-promotional shot by our Chris Horner below. Check’s in the mail, bud!

Here’s Nationals news from the Washington Post.

Here’s Mets news from my friend Adam Rubin at ESPN New York.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> Daniel McCullers hopes to be more more than just another Snack. Mark Kaboly reports. And here’s a bit of the talk those two had last week at rookie camp:

Feeling former Steelers’ pain, a column by Joe Starkey.

I’ll be with the football team this week, as OTAs begin Tuesday. The plan is to write Thursday and Friday columns from the South Side.

>> Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page and our Steel Mill blog.

>> Latest on the Penguins’ GM search. Rob Rossi reports.

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

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> If you missed the Subway Final Word last night on WPXI-TV, I had quite the festive time with Biertempfel, Mark Madden and Bill Phillips.

>> Happy Memorial Day, with appreciation to our service men and women past and present. And to everyone, thank you, as always, for reading.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

 
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