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Morning Java: Football hotline

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will open with your calls, and the topics, as always, are up to you. My mind is on the Steelers this week with the opening of OTAs, but there’s plenty enough going on with the baseball and hockey teams, as well.

So do it. Call me at 412-320-7925.

Feel free to email sportstalk@tribweb.com if you can’t call. But I’d really rather hear from you.

At 2:30, I’ll be joined by Alan Robinson, the Trib’s Steelers beat writer, to discuss his two exclusives in our paper today.

And at 2:45, we’ll have more wit and wisdom, albeit a bit more emotional than usual, from our @SuckMeter.

To listen, just click the link up top. If you’re mobile, try the iPhone version or the Android version of the TribLIVE Radio app. Both are free and insultingly easy to use.

>> Ben Roethlisberger isn’t losing fingernails over his contract, by Robinson. At least not yet.

Ben also addressed several other topics, as you’ll read, including the makeup of the offense and, after being asked by one annoying guy, how the running game will be affected by a year-older Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount:

Markus Wheaton’s messed-up-finger situation is more messed up than we knew, by Robinson.

Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones are the new bookends on the 3-4, but how ready are they? Columnist Joe Starkey asks.

The weekly chat represented my coverage of the first day of OTAs. No shortage of football stuff in there, plus some Pirates and Penguins.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page, our Steel Mill blog and our photo gallery.

>> The bullpen hiccups for the Pirates, by Travis Sawchik in New York.

Jason Grilli closes in on being closer again, by Sawchik.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Mets news from ESPN New York.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

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

Here’s our Subway Final Word panel on James Neal’s future:

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

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

>> 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.

Comments

  1. DJ says:

    On record early last year predicting Le’Veon Bell would become a great player.

    Nimble feet in tight quarters, excellent hands and great body lean / yards after contact. What’s not to like?

    If stays healthy, will be a beast before year is out.

  2. Ghost says:

    If Cutch were a Steeler, what position would he play? Built like Antonio Brown or Santonio Holmes, but probably would be a fine corner or safety, too. Though he’d love to do it, would never let Todd Haley use him as a scat bat.

    And if Troy P. were a baseball player… Yasiel Puig who?

  3. JoeyBats says:

    Steven Adams…….OKC Thunder…..tie the NBA Western series last evening 2-2 as OKC defeat San Antonio Spurs.
    .
    Steve plays 25 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block.

  4. Wild Bill says:

    Verducci at SI.com has a very useful article today about baseball’s pace of play, which is bordering on the ridiculous. It took the Pirates and Mets 3:43 to play a nine inning game last night, and I might have watched half of it, because I happen to also have a life to live.

    So many things could be done to improve speed of play, but the first priority is leadership from the top that realizes the goose laying the golden eggs can actually be killed by boredom. Golf is finding out that one of the reasons people play less golf today is that they don’t have four hours to devote to it. Baseball better soon realize the same thing.

  5. Wild Bill says:

    The Habs refuse to believe that they are supposed to be done, and chase Lundquist on the way to a touchdown last night. That’s called “character”, Pens!

  6. Wild Bill says:

    The Pirates wanted He Who Must Not Be Named to learn to handle some adversity on the way to the majors, and he now has some – went 0 for 5 last night and is in a slump.

    The good news is he can slump and still be hitting .345, which most of the Pirates can also do, because, well, they’re major league ready.

  7. Thundercrack says:

    I thought that was a good article too WB.

    Keep the hitters in the box, the pitchers on the mound, and limit all these damn trips to the mound by the catcher.
    There is no need for all these meeting between the catcher & pitcher. There isn’t that much strategy. Go over that stuff in the dugout. And a hitter shouldn’t be allowed to step out of the box unless there is a runner on base and he is getting signs from the third base coach.

    Interesting that Verducci and Milo share the same thoughts about shifts: have a rule that there has to be 2 infielders on each side of second base.

    I don’t mind the shifts……at least not right now

  8. Pucknutz says:

    Ya Bill, that one really dragged on and on last night.
    About the 6th, someone (don’t recall who) had a 12-14 pitch at bat. Fouled off a ton. No problem there, fight em off till ya get one ya like. ( did not , grounded out). But….every single pitch….stepped out and played with the batting gloves like they really needed adjustment.

  9. JAL says:

    JAL’s The Lemon Song Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zyhu2ysqKGk

    Lemons Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Probable Pitching Chart

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/probable-pitchers

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Along With Gregory Polanco, Who Should Be Promoted Soon?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/first-pitch-along-with-gregory-polanco-who-should-be-promoted-soon.html

    Prospect Watch: 17 Game Hitting Streak For Reese McGuire

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/prospect-watch-17-game-hitting-streak-for-reese-mcguire.html

    Why You Shouldn’t Expect to See Josh Harrison as the Pirates Shortstop

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/why-you-shouldnt-expect-to-see-josh-harrison-as-the-pirates-shortstop.html

    With His Improved Offense, Is Neil Walker Due For an Extension?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/with-his-improved-offense-is-neil-walker-due-for-an-extension.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates MiLB recap: 5/27/14

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/5/28/5756538/pirates-milb-recap-5-27-14

    Pirates, Neil Walker have not discussed extension since 2010

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/5/27/5754502/pirates-neil-walker-have-not-discussed-extension-since-2010

    7 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Mets Down Bucs With Timely Hitting

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/05/28/pittsburgh-pirates-mets-bucs-timely-hitting/

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Can’t Find Clutch Hit, Fall 4-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/05/bucs-cant-find-clutch-hit-fall-4-2.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates 50 Games Later

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/05/27/pittsburgh-pirates-50-games-later/

    50 Cent Throws Horrible First Pitch

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/05/27/50-cent-first-pitch-video-hilarious/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Mets 4, Pirates2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2014/05/mets-4-pirates-2-2/

  10. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 NY Times

    Mets Hammer Out a Victory

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/sports/baseball/mets-hammer-out-a-victory.html?ref=sports&_r=0

    12 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Mets Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20140528_PIT@NYM/pirates-mets-preview

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Cubs can learn from Giants’ experiment with Barry Bonds

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/27713666-573/cubs-can-learn-from-giants-experiment-with-barry-bonds.html#.U4W_XFcsqDI

    14 KDKA

    MLB Network Analyst Sean Casey: These Pirates Look Familiar

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/05/27/mlb-network-analyst-sean-casey-these-pirates-look-familiar/

    15 Pirates Site

    Pirates can’t capitalize on chances, fall to Mets

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_05_27_pitmlb_nynmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Hurdle plans to ease Grilli back into closer’s role

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140527&content_id=77066856&notebook_id=77066708&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Loss to Dodgers gives Reds season-high losing streak

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/05/28/dodgers-loss-gives-reds-four-game-losing-streak/9657889/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Yovani Gallardo saves the day with walk-off double

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/yovani-gallardo-saves-the-day-with-walk-off-double-b99278573z1-260871111.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Lynn blanks Yankees

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/lynn-blanks-yankees/article_56839f23-d0d7-502c-9160-4747e9dcfa7a.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Oakland’s One Hit Wonder

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/oaklands-one-hit-wonder/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    How to Celebrate a Game-Ending Error

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23695

  11. JAL says:

    On the road this week so just baseball links this morning

  12. Jandy says:

    Safe travels, Joe!

  13. BillyBaduka says:

    +

  14. Dom says:

    Mark Madden said DK will be on his program today for round two of the Polanco debate. Does anyone know what time?

  15. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Morton must put foot down today. Nice to see Marte come through last night. Perfect example of a game that is just lost in baseball periodically…force at 3B to end a game isn’t something you see too often.

  16. Dom says:

    Any predictions who you feel will be a great player from this draft class?

    It’s hard to not like Shazier with his speed and I feel Tuitt was a steal. If I had to pick a late round steal from this year’s draft I’d go with Shaquille Richardson. He has the size and decent speed.

  17. buggee says:

    THAT was a fun hockey game last night (Habs vs. Rangers)! Sadly I don’t see the Pens anywhere near that level of play. Also can’t wait to see the next one in the Kings/Hawks series. Chicago will be bringing it for sure. Fantastic hockey out west!

    Eddie Volquez ramped it up to 98 last night? What is he, like 25 again? Interesting outing but crappy result. Oh well, smack the shuttlecock on the feathers and…

    RAISE IT

    (beach volleyball anyone?)

  18. Baywatch says:

    This reminds me of the time Tim McCarver says he went out to the mound for a conference with Bob Gibson, and Gibson waved him off, saying, “The only thing you know about hitting is you can’t do it!”

  19. Greg says:

    How do you guys feel about Botterill becoming full time GM? Are you cool with it? Also, what do you think about trading Paul Martin. I hate that guys like Nisky and Orpik will most likely be let go for nothing. For a team lacking in depth and needing a retooling, I’d rather trade Martin now rather than get nothing for him and letting him walk. Plus, I think he’s one of the few players who value is at a peak right now and could bring back 3 solid pieces.

  20. Baywatch says:

    Eddie Van Halen Thomas Alva Edinson! Morning, All!

  21. Dom says:

    Put his foot down? I missed the game last night. What do you mean by that?

  22. buggee says:

    ++++++++++++++++++++

  23. NMR says:

    Edinson Volquez threw the second fastest recorded pitch of his career last night, clocking in at 99.38 mph.

    His fastest topped out at 99.55 mph and was thrown on September 28, 2007.

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    Verducci is my new hero.

  25. Jandy says:

    buggee, sure is some great hockey. Too bad it’s not by our boys.

    Bikinis for volleyball!

  26. Nate83 says:

    A little concerned by the walks last night but overall he kept them in the game. I think he has given us about what you would expect out of a 4/5 starter on a good team. Not a bad signing so far. Fingers still crossed going forward.

    Unfortunately for the Pirates 5.5 million doesn’t buy much of a starting pitcher. They will need their pitcher heavy drafting strategy to produce major league pitching in order to remain competitive through the prime of the elite outfield. Any available money will need to be spent on the infield in 2016-2019 which is a commodity that you can get at a more reasonable price in free agency or through trade.

  27. Thundercrack says:

    I listened to a podacast of Michael Kay interviewing Sandy Alderson yesterday.
    They really pressed him on why the Mets payroll is $85 million – - even when they have their own stadium and own their own network.

    Apparently Alderson said earlier in the year that as the attendance rises so will the payroll.

    I don’t care one way or another about the Mets, but what a mess. But I do like Alderson and Collins.

    My guess is that the Wilpons lost a TON of money with Madoff.

  28. bpn8pitt says:

    Gotta be Bryant, right?

    Just glad to see he has some speed to go with the size.

    Blanchflower, too. Thought Steeler TEs were disappointing last year.

  29. Jim S. says:

    I think if they actually enforced some of the pace of game rules (time between pitches, etc.) that would help. And, I agree about all of the stepping out of the box.

    I actually was watching a game in the past week (can’t remember which team), and the announcer was an ex-pitcher. He said that he thinks a big thing that has slowed down the game is the fact that all of these new stadiums cut out most of the foul area. His theory is 6-8 balls per game fall in the first 5 or so rows of the seats along the RF/LF line. He said that has added a ton of pitches and time, when they used to be outs.

  30. Milo Hamilton says:

    All he had to say was that they’re paying down debt and then the media would all follow in lock step.

  31. Jim S. says:

    Morning, Bay! Tough loss last night by the Inventor, Thomas Alva Edinson Volquez.

  32. NMR says:

    Non-baseball debt?

    Dejan deserves better than that, Milo.

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ain’t that the truth, Milo.

  34. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just trying to help the guy out.

  35. JohninOshkosh says:

    RIP Maya Angelou.

  36. NMR says:

    Hey dude, happy belated Memorial Day, and thank you – as always.

  37. Jim S. says:

    It didn’t help that the guy pitching for the Mets, Niese, who I read is among the worst in MLB this year at allowing hard hit balls, had the “at ‘em” ball working all night – as he has all season. Cutch crushes a ball two feet short of a HR in CF in the 1st for what seems like about the 10th time this year. Then, Russ absolutely hammers a liner right at the LF with Gaby running on 3-2 to, ironically, stay out of the DP … only to be doubled off at 1b by the unlikeliest player on the field (LF).

    The stats guys say the MLB batting average on line drives is somewhere around .660 every year. The Bucs hit at least 4 lineouts to OF last night. The 9th inning was brutal. It could have easily been different, both on JHay’s and Tabby’s balls. Ugh!

    Gomez was beyond brutal.

    Vic Black looked really good. Wish we stil had him, warts and all.

  38. NMR says:

    Just think that in three weeks, Taillon should be coming up to replace Volquez allowing him to shore up the bullpen.

    98 mph with swing and miss change/curve combo would look awfully good in the 7th, 8th, and 9th right now.

  39. NMR says:

    Watch Black’s next outing and you’ll probably change your tune, Jim. Such is Vic Black.

  40. Jandy says:

    Truly a legend. RIP

  41. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t miss Vic Black at all. I think he’ll always have issues with his control.

  42. Thundercrack says:

    I really wonder if there used to be 6-8 foul pop-ups caught each game…back in the old days

  43. bpn8pitt says:

    Thanks.

    Tough one last night. Hope we get tonight before this West Coast swing.

  44. Milo Hamilton says:

    I wonder how the proposed AT&T takeover of Direct TV will affect the Pirates ? Would they want to divest themselves of the three ROOT channels after everything is final ? Face it, they’re only doing this to get the NFL package. Could be a new opportunity there.

  45. ++++++++++++

    He throws way too many pitches, even to a free-swinging team.

  46. bpn8pitt says:

    9th inning was nuts. Lot of hard hit balls. Thought Tabata’s ball was down.

    Good defense last night. Actually looked like ML ball.

  47. JohninOshkosh says:

    Serena Williams out at Roland Garros.

    In a completely unrelated story, French law enforcement more vigilant at stopping steroid and HGH distribution.

  48. Milo Hamilton says:

    Why not a reality show where washed up rappers try to become a major league pitcher ?

  49. DormontGeorge says:

    I think you are using sarcasm, NMR, and I hope you know Taillon is out for the season?

    Sarcasm often gets lost on me.

  50. 21sthebest says:

    I thought we let him off the hook primarily by letting some fastballs down the middle go by.

  51. Jim S. says:

    I watched the end of the Brewers game last night. Anyone who has watched the Pirates-Brewers over the last handful of years knows how dangerous Gallardo is with a bat in his hands. As I watched him come up to pinch hit, I just knew he was going to crush one. Sure enough, he smacked it off the wall in LC to drive in the winning run from 1b. That is the kind of season it has been in Milwaukee this year. Pitchers pinch hit and get game winning doubles!

    They had blown a 5-0 to fall behind 6-5 going to the bottom of the 9th, when Jonathan Lucroy got a 2 out, swinging bunt to tie it.

    Strangely, I heard last night that Braun has not hit a HR at home yet. That won’t last.

  52. Jim S. says:

    It always amazes me when guys who have probably never thrown a baseball in their lives agree to go to the mound and throw out the first pitch.

  53. Jim S. says:

    That would be a good guess, TC.

  54. JohninOshkosh says:

    Carly Rae Jepsenesque….only not nearly as cute.

  55. Jim S. says:

    I know he has control issues, but I don’t like giving up on 98. Reminds me a bit of Hanny before he got it together. There could be a couple of good years there. His curve was knee buckling last night.

    You know me. Prospect hoarder.

  56. Dom says:

    Pittsburgh native Sean Lee is out for the year:
    http://espn.go.com/dallas/nfl/story/_/id/10990605/sean-lee-dallas-cowboys-injured-otas

    Perhaps we made the right decision by choosing Worilds.

  57. Jim S. says:

    I wondered about that, too, TC. Seems like a lot.

    Right after he said it, the next 2 pitches were fouled into the first few rows of seats on the RF line. Made him look like a genius. Wish I could remember who the ex-pitcher was who said it. It was one of those nights where I flipped around to several games after the Bucs were over.

  58. Nate83 says:

    They have been lucky but the important point is they blew a 5-0 lead and are definately showing signs of regression. The Cards will be ahead of them soon and the Brewers will need their offense to be even better then it has and stay healthy to battle for a wild card spot.

    Big game for the Pirates today. They worked hard to inch closer to .500. If they lose today they slip back to 6 under again with 4 games coming against the suddenly hot Dodger pitching on the road.

  59. NMR says:

    More wishful thinking than sarcarsm, George. What could’ve been.

  60. With Polanco’s current “slump” and BA drop, will the chirping (word used in place of “chortling” for AW) stop for Polanco?

    Not from me, as he could go 0-5 and still make a difference in the game with his defense, like Marte did a few times last season.

    Can’t wait to see those 3 in the OF together and have a potential triple come up every time he’s at the plate.

  61. Lad 9 says:

    I think I heard on the Fan this morning that At&T has the option to squash the deal if DirectTV and the NFL don’t renew Sunday Ticket by the end of the year. They also said that it was likely that a deal will be reached. Clearly, that is AT&T’s reason for the deal. You had that one nailed, Milo.

  62. Dom says:

    I know it is very early but I heard Bryant underperformed at rookie camp.

  63. bpn8pitt says:

    Yeah, I heard his route running is very rudimentary.

    But I hope he can be enough of a threat to stretch the field at times, maybe on 3rd and 5 free up enough space to get Heath or Antonio underneath.

  64. buggee says:

    My lumpy furry taba-choy body would NOT look good in a bikini JandyLion. Yours on the other hand… We’ll just allow our imagination to take hold of that imagery!

    Really looking forward to developing hockey news. Can’t wait to see how this team is constructed going forward, from a top-down perspective!

    Heading back to the Phils for another mission trip soon–hope to meet Manny Paqueo. Will trust this home-away-from home blog… with this loveable community of nutcases to keep me in the loop of everything relative and germane to life itself; Pittsburgh Sports!

    RAISE IT, and then give it another yank higher bucco!

  65. Jandy says:

    You Pot Stirrer, Revvie ;)

  66. Jim S. says:

    Kudos to Penn State for all the good they do with THON, Uplifting Athletes, Lift for Life, etc. My sister and her family are residents near campus in State College. There are a lot of charitable endeavors going on at PSU and the surrounding area, and it has always been that way.

  67. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m just hoping there’s a trigger in the deal that allows the Pirates to renegotiate if things change.

  68. Jandy says:

    Safe travels buggeeee!!!!

  69. bpn8pitt says:

    Dejan, bought my USA soccer shirt last night. Been reading up on the World Cup, watching a lot of the specials on the team.

    I’ll be really surprised if they get out of group play, but I think they can make it competitve.

  70. NMR says:

    Exactly, 21.

    Jim, take two pills and call the doctor if the condition persists. ;)

  71. Jim S. says:

    I think we need the game today, Nate, as well as 2/3 in SD, and then we could lose the 3/4 I expect in LA and still have a 5-5 tip.

    I don’t see the Bucs overaking St. Louis. Their pitching is now kicking in. If that is the case, we almost have to overtake Milwaukee to have a shot at WC. We are not that far out of the WC, but there are a bunch of teams we need to (Clint) hurdle to get there.

  72. Ditto. That’s a rough place to travel to anytime.

    Get ‘em all saved and let’s wind this thing up!

    :o < preaching emoticon

  73. Jim S. says:

    I think Volquez might be a lot more useful in the pen than the starting rotation.

  74. 21sthebest says:

    I was all for promoting Pedro about 2 weeks before he actually came up and I wanted Polanco up a couple of weeks ago. But then right before his promotion, Pedro went into something like a 1 for 19 in Indy. I thought that was a mistake. Promote a player when there should be no doubt about their confidence level. An 0-5 from Polanco wouldn’t bother me but if he went into any kind of a slump like Pedro did before being promoted, I’d wait until he had a couple of good games.

    I hear you on the defense Lucky. But confidence at the plate trumps defense in this case for me. But who are we kidding anyways? He’s not coming up until around mid June.

  75. Jim S. says:

    I think Redus was using a “Hurdle-ism,” Dom. Clint sometimes says that when we absolutely need a shutdown performance by a starting pitcher, which we do today.

  76. bpn8pitt says:

    Agree. They just cant afford to blow these next 8 games.

  77. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking they are now going to ride this slump out in Indy for a few weeks, Wild Bill, and he’ll be ready to come to Pittsburgh just about the time the slump ends. ;-)

  78. ++++++++++++++

    Great point, Jim. Let’s move him there now and get Sadler or Locke or Worley in the rotation and see some of that pitcher-drafting come to fruition.

    I know Locke and Worley haven’t set the world on fire in their last couple starts, but Volquez would make a nice replacement for Morris in the 7th or 8th.

    So much good pitching still a couple years away and Taillon coming back next year at mid-season. A lot to look forward to if we can weather the storm.

  79. bpn8pitt says:

    Im hoping Worilds is a late bloomer…Curious he hasnt signed an extension though. I know its probably pending but I figured it would have been wrapped up by now. Guess they still have time before St Vincents though.

  80. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    I just mean he needs to pitch well and not let this thing get spiraling out of control again. Pretty nice defensive work by Tejada late to keep the threatenting bucs from breaking through for a few more…play to end the game wasn’t routine and there were guys on. Not much to complain about even in the losing effort besides just not sneaking one of those through for the “timely hit”

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think it means he’s major league ready. He’s facing “adversity.” ;-)

  82. For sure. Fun to gripe about it, though. Makes as much sense to gripe about that as griping about the national debt, but it’s more fun.

    And I hear you on the Pedro thing. Like someone said the other day, Pedro had been solid until that pre-call up slump and so has GP. But it would be tough bringing him up in the middle of anything. He has so many more tools than Pedro, though, he’ll be an asset even if he hits .270 or so.

  83. Thundercrack says:

    Why do people think Volquez would be good out of the pen?
    Who knows if he could be a reliever? I don’t think he’s ever done that before.

    And this is the first time all season that he’s thrown really hard.
    I’m not sure he has the control to be a reliever

  84. Jim S. says:

    I like Volquez on the team now. But, I don’t see him lasting the year as a starter. I think he has value for 3-4 innings at a time.

    BTW, do the Pirates ever get a starter not named Cumpton through the 5th inning in under 90 pitches any more?

  85. 21sthebest says:

    Regardless, he should be promoted either June 9th or June 19th (I have tickets for these games).

  86. NMR says:

    “Who knows if he could be a reliever? I don’t think he’s ever done that before.”

    Name the last starter who COULDN’T become a reliever.

  87. Wild Bill says:

    Sounds about right, Jim.

  88. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    i agree…not much doing on that fastball besides heat…he appears to have a nice cutter that he severely under-utilizes

  89. Jim S. says:

    Relievers are pretty much all failed former starters, TC. That’s the usual progression.

    My thinking on Volquez is that it seems to me he loses a lot of effectiveness after he has been through the order once or twice. I like the arm, but only in smaller doses.

  90. Wild Bill says:

    Thon remains the largest student run charitable event in the nation. $13,343,000 plus this year, $114 million since 1977 when Thon began. A great PSU tradition!

  91. 21sthebest says:

    Volquez’ WHIP at 1.187 ain’t too shabby. Don’t see any reason to move him to the pen at this point but I’m skeptical for some reason with how he’d do in high leverage situations. Don’t see many relievers going 3-4 innings at a time these days.

  92. 21sthebest says:

    I had dinner with my mother-in-law Monday night. Guess I’m ready for the Majors.

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    The last starter who couldn’t become a reliever?

    Juan D.

    :-)

  94. Lad 9 says:

    I hear ya. That would be a game changer, although weren’t we told that this was one of the best deals in MLB by Frank? :)

  95. Jim S. says:

    +++

  96. Andrew says:

    Verducci is a good writer and he is correct about the pace of play, I’m not sure massive rules overall is necessary, just enforce the current rules. My off the cuff theory is that the slow down and increased rest is so pitchers can recover better and maintain velocity later into games while throwing all out every pitch, I is just a thought.

    And sorry the illegal defense thing makes him sound curmudgeon, the internet if riddled with Verducci’s failed theories. He is going to have to show something more than it is harder to get a single, especially since league wide BABIP has hovered around .300 for over 20 years and the BABIP on grounders is currently at its second highest mark since they kept track of that split in 2002.

  97. Andrew says:

    If there was another good starting option, I’m not sure there currently is, Volquez would be good in a bullpen role. The Pirates have a bullpen, outside Grilli, full of RHP with control issues, but they cannot strike guys out, I think Volquez would be more effective than Bryan Morris has been in high leverage situations.

  98. Dom says:

    That’s not very kind. I bet she’s a nice woman.

  99. Andrew says:

    Showalter intentionally walked the go ahead run twice in that game, he really has a habit of over managing.

  100. Andrew says:

    No clue were the Penguins are going with their GM search, the Capitals said they wanted a new face from outside the organization then hired a guy who has been in the organization since 2000.

    I’m not sure Martin has much trade value, he has a year left and isn’t exactly underpaid, I don’t think he would bring back three solid pieces.

  101. NMR says:

    My thoughts exactly, Andrew.

  102. Jandy says:

    Yeah, YOU :P

  103. Naterosboro says:

    They can certainly make it competitive. If the defense can somehow keep teams to 0 or 1 goal they have a shot.

    But, with that said, they have no chance making it out of that group, barring an all out collapse from Portugal, and the conquering of the US nemesis that is Ghana.

    Germany’s coming out. That leaves 1 other spot for 3 teams to fight for.

    The US will be lucky to leave Brazil with a point.

  104. Jandy says:

    Awww Dom, there you go being cute again :*

  105. Jandy says:

    +++

  106. Naterosboro says:

    Speaking of the World Cup…

    Dejan, will you be heading to Brazil to cover the world’s biggest sporting event? Or is it only weird & outdated summer & winter sporting competitions that the Trib has you cover?

  107. Dom says:

    Interesting article about issues with the 2022 Winter Olympics:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/olympics-fourth-place-medal/does-anyone-want-to-host-the-2022-winter-olympics-195531135.html

    Evidently only two cities are left in the biddings for the games. This shouldn’t be shocking as I am a little surprised anyone would want the games in their town. There are stadiums in Beijing and Athens that are deteriorating. They’re used once and then never again.

    It doesn’t end there. Montreal lost $1 billion hosting the games and just finished paying off their debt eight years go. I can’t imagine any of the cities make a profit off of these games.

    Why would someone want the games in their city? Would you really care that your city was showcased for two weeks and then forgotten about? Is it really worth going hundreds of millions of dollars into debt?

  108. bpn8pitt says:

    Id like to see them exact some revenge on Ghana. Even that’s a tall task, though.

    I’m not too upset about Donovan being left off the team, although if they were going to do that, go younger, why bring Kyle Beckerman? I don’t know … hope they steal one.

  109. What the article conspicuously omits is that the IOC essentially shut the U.S. out of the bidding for all kinds of petty reasons. When that happens, with all due respect to legendary cities like Stockholm and Krakow, that’s the pool you get.

  110. Milo Hamilton says:

    Things have gotten very quiet on the Penguins front. Methinks something is about to happen.

  111. Dom says:

    Oh, I had no idea.

    Why did they do that? Do they want to spread the games around to other countries?

  112. Not doing the World Cup, though it’s very much on the bucket list.

    As for the Olympics, the enormity of the ratings, nationally and abroad, would seem to suggest there’s plenty of currency and acceptance for the sports involved.

  113. Naterosboro says:

    Great book. Remember reading it in 9th or 10th grade.

  114. Andrew says:

    I think Portugal is overrated, obviously better than the US, but overrated. They finished second in an not great qualifying group and then didn’t really impress against a top heavy Sweden in the playoff. Yes they have Ronaldo, but a backline of Pepe and Burno Alves is more likely to go a man down then put in a stout performance.

    No clue what to expect from Ghana.

    European teams are notoriously bad when the World Cup is outside Europe.

    I can see a path out of the group but also leaving Brazil with maybe a point.

  115. Dom says:

    It was certainly a better book than movie but I guess that can be said for all movies based on books.

  116. Naterosboro says:

    That sucks for us soccer fans. Oh well, there should be more world cups coming up, so we can look forward to your coverage of that event 1 day.

    And sorry for the potshot at the Olympics. Just my personal dislike for the event coming out. Nothing against you covering that event (so I guess my beef is with your bosses……)

  117. Naterosboro says:

    The problem is the US offers so little going forward. Yes, Portugal’s back line is shaky, when facing an opponent who is dangerous attacking and can put them under pressure.

    Ronaldo running at our back 4 is something I don’t want to think about…..

  118. Dom says:

    I sure hope that none of my tax dollars were used to pay for any of the previous Olympics in the US. If they were, then I’m glad we’re going to miss out on them in 2022.

  119. Andrew says:

    Portugal is a great counter attacking side, I’m not sure they are good attacking side, they struggle against teams that sit deep and attempt use their game against them, they had some pretty insipid results in qualifying against the likes of Northern Ireland and Israel.

    The US defense needs to clone Geoff Cameron and I agree the US attack doesn’t bring much to the table, Altidore has regressed as a player.

  120. Dom says:

    US soccer fan?

    That’s an oxymoron if there ever was one.

    Just kidding around of course. I wonder if soccer in the US doubled or tripled in the last 15-20 years or so. I know plenty of soccer fans now and really none when I was a kid.

  121. bpn8pitt says:

    Read a good article awhile back on why players like Dempsey, Bradley returned to MLS to play as opposed to the European leagues. Guess the taxes over there are ridiculous and they werent making the money they could have made here.

    But I could see Klinsmanns side of it too. Wanting those guys to play the better competition.

    I really would like to see US win one and tie another and move on, but I guess thats too much.

  122. buggee says:

    hard to break through the layers of Catholocism there LNK, so it goes to Whom it’s supposed to go bruddah.

    It’s nice to be just a tongue sometimes.

    no naughty thoughts from the peanut gallery either

  123. Jandy says:

    You guys both rock!

  124. buggee says:

    Hiya Greg.
    Not in agreement with trading Martin. He’s uber-stable back there, as well as smooth and chilleh. in fact, methinks Martin needs to be extended for 2 more years as transitional for the top blue-line talent down below.

    Pens need to cinch onto Nisky too. This guy has really blossomed.

    As much as I hate to say it, trade Letang (though it would break Me Lil Wifelett’s heart–but then maybe that’s why I say to trade him).
    Seriously though, it’s time to get what can be had for Letang. He’s an injury-risk, but he’s also a major talent. -Reasons to keep Letang: PP generalship, highly active defensive mobility, excellent forward puck movement, plays a positionally-sound game, mans the point well on PP’s.
    Reasons to trade Letang: Limited trade clause kicks in soon, pretty good chunk of salary cap, injury riskiness, limited physicality, and he’s very pretty (according to Me Lil Wifelett), and Real Man’s Hockey aint about Pretty Boyz.

    I can think of a slew of teams that would benefit greatly with Letang’s services. Most out west. Far away from the Metro division. Maybe in the KHL (so he wouldn’t come back and burn the Pens).

    It’s gonna suck to see Orpik roll–been with than man from when he was drafted! But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. The only Pixburgher that will be happy for him to be moving on would be the boards at the Con.

    Stick all dat in ur pipe and give ‘er a puff!

    What’s the score of the Pirates’ game…?

  125. buggee says:

    “Apparently Alderson said earlier in the year that as the attendance rises so will the payroll.”

    Man duzzat sound familiar!

  126. Greg says:

    Appreciate the feedback guys. I know Martin is our best defenseman but thats also the reason I think his value is so high. What team wouldn’t want a solid, steady top 2 defenseman who can run a PP and elevate everyones game? I just think if you want to get younger, you explore the options out there rather than let him walk for nothing after this season. Even if you extend him for another two years (which he will probably want 4), you have another 35 year old getting a big contract.

    I just think we need that classic older defenseman for forwards trade. Maybe that guy is Letang, but I would certainly listen for offers on Martin. I think hes worth a young top 9 forward with upside, a prospect with top 6 upside, and a 2nd round pick. Very close value to Neal except Neal might net you slightly better prospects because of the term on his contract.

  127. Jim S. says:

    Get yourself a vuvuzela. Your boss will have no choice but to schedule you at the World Cup.

  128. Greg says:

    They say its best to make big announcements on Friday’s…..

  129. Greg says:

    Does a new GM automatically mean that Boterrill is out? Ideally, I’d like to keep him as the cap guy regardless of who is hired..

  130. To assume that, Greg, you’d have to look around the NHL and see other openings for a GM. I don’t see that. Botteril is a guy with good knowledge of all facets of the job, and he’s widely seen as someone on the upswing. Staying here wouldn’t hurt that, even in a secondary capacity.

  131. Greg says:

    Thanks for the insight! In that case, I would almost be happier bringing in a new guy who has the best hockey/scouting knowledge. a.k.a. the ever-hard-to-define-good-drafting-record guy……and keep Botterill on board to handle the finances, then you have the best of both worlds.

    All that to say, maybe I’m knocking Botterill’s hockey knowledge, in which case maybe he should have full reign.

    My head is hurting. No wonder Mario doesn’t come out from his cave.

  132. DJ says:

    InTuittion tells me Tuitt, Dom.

  133. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

 
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