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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Pirates 4, Cubs 2

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (30-34) vs. Chicago Cubs (26-36)

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 Karen Price are on the scene for the Trib.

And here, if you missed it this morning, was Clint Hurdle’s monthly visit with TribLIVE Radio’s Ken Laird and Guy Junker:

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. OK, Gregory!

    You get on. McCutch drives you in.
    You get on. McCutch drives you in.
    You get on. McCutch drives you in.

    And, catch the ball!

  2. Jim S. says:

    Jenifer Langosch is reporting Adam Wainwright was sent back to St. Louis for an MRI on his elbow. So, it’s not just the Bucs. That man throws a lot of curve balls. Hasn’t he already had TJS 2x? Or, just once?

  3. Tom P. says:

    I took the liberty of re-posting Maz’s lineup from the last thread and adding the Cubs’ lineup.


    LF: Chris Coghlan
    CF: Justin Ruggiano
    1B: Anthony Rizzo
    SS: Starlin Castro
    3B: Luis Valbuena
    RF: Nate Schierholtz
    C: John Baker
    2B: Darwin Barney
    SP: Jason Hammel


    2B: Josh Harrison
    RF: Gregory Polanco
    CF: Andrew McCutchen
    1B: Ike Davis
    C: Russell Martin
    3B: Pedro Alvarez
    LF: Starling Marte
    SS: Jordy Mercer
    SP: Brandon Cumpton

  4. I want to ease people’s minds here:

    There is no truth to the rumor that Bob Nutting is selling Neil Walker’s liberated appendix on Ebay to compensate for Neil still being paid while taking 2 weeks off to recuperate.

    Actually, Seven Springs is listing Neil’s appendix on Ebay.

  5. I hope Brandon Cumpton pitches Ruggiano inside tonight.

    If he hits him, Ruggiano’s head might explode.

  6. NMR says:

    Make it stop!

  7. NMR says:

    Haha, excellent.

  8. Nate83 says:

    I think just once but could be wrong.

  9. Nate83 says:

    Ruggiano’s sound like an Italian dinner. I would like some ruggiano with a meatball on the side please. His name makes me hungry.

  10. Nate83 says:

    Well it’s a vestigial organ so he may be dissappointed with the return he gets. Maybe if he can get Walker to sign it and make get it certified as being item 1 in a series of 1 it will increase it’s value.

  11. JRay3 says:

    Well played.

  12. Bizrow says:

    Tornado warnings in the burgh till 9 pm, we’ll see what happens at PNC

  13. Baywatch says:

    Cubs came in here on a nice little hot streak. Maybe Polanco can make all the difference tonight! :-)

  14. Brandie says:

    Isn’t Polanco the game that is played on The Price Is Right?

    No wait…that’s Plinko. I will get this right someday.

  15. Maz in Iowa says:

    Gerrit Cole (shoulder) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday

  16. Jim S. says:

    Mozielak says there is no tear. It is more like “tennis elbow.” So, that sounds like good news for him.

  17. 21sthebest says:

    I would like to order the ruggiano at Maggiano’s.

  18. Jim S. says:

    I would also add that he may be the best pitcher in MLB right now.

  19. Maz in Iowa says:

    I hope this alleviates the fears of some people before they throw themselves off the Clemente bridge

  20. Jim S. says:

    I heard the Penne Primavera at Ruggiano’s is to die for.

  21. Nate83 says:

    All good signs so far concerning Cole. I definately feared losing him more then Liriano for any amount of extended time not only for short term reasons but long term as well. Liriano production really can be duplicated by the next pitcher in line the problem is we needed him to be better then he was as part of any stretch of good games that put us in any conversation involving playoffs.

  22. Jim S. says:

    Is Bob Barker still on that show, Brandie?

  23. Dejan,

    I agree with you so very often. I don’t know whether that is bad for me or bad for you!

    However, I just listened to your rant about Twitter and Polanco’s coming out game last night.
    You said it was not about attendance, then said that if the Pirates had not given away tickets to military, the attendance would only be 21,000. Sounds like you are criticizing the ticket buyers to me.

    I turned off your Geraldo Rivera expose halfway through. I couldn’t take your non-criticism criticism of Pittsburgh fans.

    1/ There was no 18-hour window to buy tickets for most of Pittsburgh. I watched the post-game on Root, where Hurdle and others did not announce the call-up, then turned off the TV. I would wager most “fans” did not know of Walker/Polanco until morning.

    2/ Many in Pittsburgh have a LIFE and plan other things prior to “waiting to see what the evening brings.”

    3/ Those who live by the tweet, die by the tweet.

    4/ One game does not a baseball season make. One Gregory Polanco start, which many would have enjoyed but could not make on such short notice, does not a “non-fan of Pirates or Polanco” make.

    5/ I noticed the military personnel were not given the worst seats in the house. Not everyone wants to go to PNC and sit in the boonies or stand in the Rotunda. Maybe the seats fans attempted to purchase were not available.

    Maybe you redeemed yourself in the last 5 minutes of your rant. However, your lede 5 minutes drove me away. Take 2 aspirin!

  24. Brandie says:


    Thanks for spreading the good word.

  25. Jim S. says:

    They still better have close to a sellout … Oh, wait …

  26. Arriba Wilver says:


    That’s above my pay grade.

  27. Brandie says:

    Sounds like a tough day today Groats N Honey.

  28. Brandie says:

    Drew Carey now for the last three or more years.

  29. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Brandie.

    I really only liked Bob in Happy Gilmore.

  30. Brandie says:

    No problem Jim-Jam!

  31. Jim S. says:

    We lost last night. And Gregory Una Paloma Polanco only got the 1 hit. But, it was fun watching him fly around the bases when he thought Cutch’s bomb was staying in play. And, he got down to 1b on that grounder to Barmey at 2b. Even the Cubs announcers talked about him having no business making that play so close except for ridiculous speed.

  32. Baywatch says:

    Everything is a SETUP for more Brandie nomenclature!! :-)

  33. JRay3 says:

    Being reported that Mitch Keller the Bucs 2nd round pick is flying to Pittsburgh tomorrow and has agreed to terms and will forgo attending North Carolina to begin his pro career. Bucs moving fast on a lot of their draft picks. Have to like the new system in the regard it gives these kids an extra couple of months of baseball which can not hurt in their development.

    Big in the fact that it was said he would be an over slot arm to sign and he might be most talented player the Bucs drafted.

    In an updated Top 20 Pirates prospects this afternoon – Cole Tucker was #9 and Mitch Keller was #11.

  34. Lad 9 says:

    Vestigial is something that has no apparent or predictable function. Think Derek Bell and you are there AW. :)

  35. Brandie says:

    You have to admit Hold Me Closer Tiny Plancer was inspired oh Bay Charles.

  36. Lad 9 says:

    Wow, that is good stuff. Thank you JRay!

  37. Brandie says:

    Or Randall Simon.


  38. Maz in Iowa says:

    Thx JRay3

  39. Lad 9 says:

    BRANDIEEEEEEE! Tiny Plancer may be unbeatable btw. Awesome.

  40. JD says:

    DK should just post his columns on twitter and stay away from that place. All it does is get him riled up. Too many yahoos there. He seems to take the pulse of Pittsburgh from those nitwits.

  41. Nate83 says:

    Plinko is easily the best game on the show. They could make that it’s own game show with much bigger prizes and I would watch it for at least a couple days before getting tired of it.

    I was just at Cedar Point and they had a Plinko like game at one of the roller coaster (The Maverick). People paid 5 dollars for 2 chances to land in the go to the front of the line slot. I think there was something like 15 slots.

  42. Brandie says:

    Thanks J Ray Tre!

  43. Nate83 says:

    It’s the only think I remember from my Anatomy class.

  44. Brandie says:

    I call Groat Groatmeal or Totes My Groats as well.

  45. Lad 9 says:

    By the way Jim, I can now reveal why Polanco was called up Monday night. Contrary to popular belief, it was not because of Neil’s appendix. Nor was it because the Super Two (wouldn’t that be a great name for a well endowed adult film star btw) date passed. No, it was because my daughter is moving to Indianapolis for a one year internship this weekend, and I just made plans to visit and see the AAA team play, The next day – boom, GP is in the Burgh. Co-inky-dink? I think not. The baseball gods have spoken to me, and I am properly humbled. :)

  46. Nate83 says:

    Wow Tucker at #9. I don’t remember were they placed Meadows last year but it seems to me he was something like #8. That seems a little high for Tucker. Maybe his position makes him more valuable.

  47. Lad 9 says:

    LMAO. You make me smile. Thank you.

  48. Nate83 says:

    Simon has value. He once hit a sausage with a bat which was hilarious. More value then Matt Diaz, Jeremy Burnitz or Lyle Overbay for that fact alone.

  49. Brandie says:

    This message from The Church of Lad The Dad and the Fanbase That’s, Win Or Lose, Always Mad…The Loonies!!!

  50. NMR says:

    Clemente won’t get the job done. Gotta go with Liberty.

  51. Brandie says:

    Friendly amend that to Barry Bonds Ginormous Dome then.

  52. Brandie says:

    The Love Groat I’ll throw in for free because I like you.

  53. Bizrow says:

    Coming down pretty hard here in Beaver County, but this weather is coming from the south west I think

  54. Wild Bill says:

    Raining like he// here at PNC. Murphy’s Law in full effect for my wife and me so far.

  55. Bizrow says:

    Watching the news, Wild One, the line of heavy storms seem to have passed to the east, but there still is the potential for PNC to get hit again, the guy said 60-90 minutes.

    Where are you sitting? The only thing I do not like about RF seats is limited cover when it rains, but I have a picture of my oldest granddaughter, she was maybe six months old, calmly drinking a bottle of milk under the RF stands while the first in a while Yankee/Bucco game got thunderlighteninged out, that was 2008 if my math is right.

  56. Wild Bill says:

    Cool story, Biz. We are in 223 (upper level, 3rd base side) tonight, and right field bleachers tomorrow.

  57. bpn8pitt says:


    17 years old. 6′ 4.

    Staying at SS, I don’t know. Kids got a lot of filling out to do.

  58. Bizrow says:

    It looks like a little pocket of thunderstorms are behind the front. A good bit of green to get thru though, hey, might be a while, but I betcha they will play tonight.

    Its not like you have to go to work tomorrow, right ;-)

  59. Wild Bill says:

    Exactly, although the beer bill might increase.

  60. Carlos Danger says:

    I always like the game The Old Man on the Mountain. Or the song that they played during the game. As a kid I used to watch that show regularly while staying at my grandmas house. Very fond memories of that show in general.

  61. Bizrow says:

    Guessing 60-90 minute delay

    So you have earned a win or two ;-)

  62. Brandie says:

    Hopefully you are treated to some excellent professional baseball Untamed and Mrs. Untamed William.

  63. Baywatch says:


  64. Baywatch says:

    Well, if Groat’s a jogger, we could all go, “Love Groat … soon will be making another run!”

  65. Cmat0829 says:

    Hello all. Just boarded my four hour flight from Detroit to Phoenix. Was planning on the mlb audio to get me thru the flight so hope the weather subsides.

    Just quick scrolled thru Travis’ blog. Was confused as the posts were pitching panic but hard to follow if we were griping about missed opportunities or speculating who might hs available. Quick read: nothing of value will be available until the deadline. Never is.

    What is available is not better than Worley or Pimental.

  66. Cmat0829 says:

    As to missed opportunities we just as easily could’ve had josh Johnson instead of Volquez. That would have been amazing in a bad way.

  67. cherokee23 says:

    I agree. Seems like he’s always referring to a “small vocal minority”, but then spends days, weeks or more talking, blogging, tweeting about it

  68. Wild Bill says:

    Starting to look like its gonna happen, but excellence is a whole other matter, Brandie.

  69. Baywatch says:

    8:40 start time they are tweeting now.

  70. Brandie says:

    “The Love Groat, promises something for everyone.”

  71. Brandie says:

    One can hope…St. Gregory hits 3grand slams tonight. Starting pitching tosses a perfect game. Let’s make it happen.

  72. Brandie says:

    Thanks Willie Bays Hays!

  73. Maz in Iowa says:

    Yeah thanks Baysquatch

  74. Josh Bell with his 8th HR and RBI # 39. Also .309 BA

    FREE Josh Bell! (to Altoona)

  75. Brandie says:


    Going to see the Curve on Saturday.

    Got another raise too.

  76. Lad 9 says:

    Way to go Raisin Brandie! You rock!

    Lucky, time to convert Josh Bell to 1B?

  77. JRay3 says:

    Well Cutch has gone from 4 HR’s to 10 HR’s in a hurry.

    When he gets going he is capable of putting a team on its back.

  78. Yes. Sooner the better, Lad.

  79. Congrats Brandie Big Bucks!

    (Your new Mafia name)

  80. The Gunner says:

    Convert Bell to 1B ASAP!

  81. Lad 9 says:

    Completely agree. Ring my bell el el, ring my (Josh) bell. Today’s musical interlude by one hit wonder Anita Ward. And speaking of one hit wonder careers, the Pirates currently have three in uniform. Who are they?

  82. The Gunner says:

    Gotta get that offense going now!!! Marte and Mercer need to set the table for Jay Hey & #25

  83. Lad 9 says:

    Oops. Now 4 career one hit wonders after that at bat.

  84. The Gunner says:

    Polanco needs some RBIs!!

  85. Florida Steeler says:

    Gaby needs to play every night. Ike Davis is, yet, another failed trade by Neal. The guy is awful.

  86. JRay3 says:

    To be fair the strike zone on him tonight has been awful at best.

    Not saying I wouldn’t be in favor of Gaby getting a little more playing time as well.

  87. JRay3 says:

    Pirates pitchers certainly want to take ownership of the inside part of the plate.

    With it comes a lot of HBP.

  88. Florida Steeler says:

    You are correct–some of these young umpires are really bad behind the plate. Who is this guy??

  89. Cumpton, Polanco, Morton, Clint Barmes

  90. Lad 9 says:

    Lol. Nice Lucky. . Cumpton and Polanco correct. The other two are Tony Watson and Jeff Banister.

  91. JRay3 says:

    Very nice job by Bucs offense to take it to Hammel even with him getting the benefit of one of the largest strike zones I’ve witnessed in a MLB game.

  92. Chuck H says:

    Who in the h— is this home plate umpire? The first 2 pitches were nowhere near strikes to Barmes. That’s another runner left on 3rd.

  93. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    Now JHay is hurt. Who do they have in AAA that can play middle infield if needed?

  94. jay says:

    What’s up w ph for jayhay

  95. jay says:

    How…what happened

  96. Thundercrack says:

    Robert Andino?


  97. JRay3 says:

    Nice needed quick inning of work for Cumpton who has rebounded to post a couple of zeroes after Bucs retake lead.

    Hopefully this is him stating to settle in. Heart of Bucs order, keep adding on.

  98. Thundercrack says:

    The Bucs signed their 8th round draft pick for $125,000

    Wasn’t it just a few years ago we were signing them for $1 million +

  99. JRay3 says:

    Chase D’Arnaud?

  100. JRay3 says:

    Hurt ankle and/or knee running aggressively back into first to avoid being doubled up.

    Hopefully not too serious.

  101. JRay3 says:

    The Yanks and Red Sox sure got their way getting these new draft rules implemented huh?

    And to think the Bucs signing Josh Bell really added to that ire.

  102. JRay3 says:

    Cutch is in some sort of zone right now.

  103. The Gunner says:

    Oh my God, the choices you guys mention leave quite a lot to be desired.

  104. Thundercrack says:

    I know they said Polanco went on contact. Fine

    But if it was Marte who just did that our hair would be on fire


  105. tcb says:

    Base running continues to be a problem. UGH.

  106. JRay3 says:

    Just tough luck for the Pirates that half inning. Ike stings a ball right at drawn in 2B….ball bouncing over wall cost Cutch a RBI, and even Martin gives ball a ride and nothing to show for it.

    Oh the game of baseball.

  107. Cmat0829 says:

    John McDonald. Lol.

  108. Chuck H says:

    I thought Marte was the only one to get picked off on a line drive with less than 2 outs.

  109. Cmat0829 says:

    Yep. If polanco was going on contact I will question that strategy. But in this case I’d be a-ok if Clint took one for the rook in post game analysis. No idea what it is but with no outs I don’t think going on contact was right call.

  110. Andrew says:

    Can anyone explain the purpose of sending a runner on contact in that situation? There was no double play to prevent?

  111. Cmat0829 says:

    What the hell Pedro????? This is approaching Steve sax area.

  112. Cmat0829 says:

    It’s the wrong call with no outs and meat of order up IMHO. ESP with infield in. Makes zero sense.

  113. Matt Hague plays first and third but not middle infield.

  114. Forgot about Banister, Lad. Good one.

  115. radio wave says:

    I have copied this from twitter. I can’t believe someone did this.
    Jim Rosati ‏@northsidenotch · 11m
    Someone spent $26,100 on Polanco’s jersey from last night. I mean, kudos to you for being able to do that.

  116. Lad 9 says:

    Don’t forget the immortal Blake Davis, who is blowing out the other two in BA by hitting .265. Too bad we ran off Ivan DeJesus.

  117. There’s always Brent Morel, .218 and Michael Martinez, .229

  118. Thundercrack says:

    I question whether that was the call. Announcers are guessing

  119. JRay3 says:

    Pedro airmails one, Ike can’t hold get a tough liner and Cumpton does not cover and now Bucs need to get five outs to escape this inning.

    Fundamentals just disappear in stretches at times. Unreal.

  120. JRay3 says:

    Credit to Cumpton for making pitches when he absolutely needed to, huge K there.

  121. J Walter Weatherman says:

    One player who hasn’t lost fundamentals is Martin. Outstanding defensive work tonight. Cumpton throwing a ton of worm-burners.

  122. JRay3 says:

    Highly encouraging to see Marte get the stick going again after being sit down. Showing some plate focus, now just to carry that over to the bases.

  123. JRay3 says:

    Perfect execution of the hit and run by Mercer who has a 3-3 day going.

    Bucs continue to pound out hits on Hammel who entered the game with some impressive numbers on the season.

  124. Cmat0829 says:

    Yes. First mercer and now Marte rediscovering the swing. Ike next?

  125. tcb says:

    Keystone cops could not run the bases worse than these guys. Unreal.

  126. JRay3 says:

    Seriously? Just scratch my head sometimes.

    Team just trying to give this away.

    Shows team has zero faith in Barmes, and even so there is a better chance of him getting a hit than trying to get caught in a run down on pop up to catcher and sneak in runner from third.

  127. Wild Bill says:

    The mental and physical errors in this game have not been pretty to watch.

  128. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Tagging up on a routine popout to the catcher seems like a perfectly reasonable decision. It’s almost like someone is purposely teaching this team bad baserunning.

  129. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    Marte is testing my patience.

  130. Bridger says:

    Brandon “straight out of ” Cumpton

  131. twentytwo22 says:

    The Pirates are trying to re-invent baserunning.

  132. JRay3 says:

    This falls both on the players and coaches. Team just looks lost and confused at times.

  133. tcb says:

    I don’t blame that one on Marte.

  134. Cmat0829 says:

    There just has to be some accountability doesn’t there? It just can’t be ignored

  135. Rock Ain't Dead says:


  136. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I blame Rene Gayo.

  137. JRay3 says:

    Well at least Justin Wilson looked very sharp with a needed 1-2-3 inning to try and restore order.

  138. Thundercrack says:

    I like Leyva a lot. But he’s got to be yelling at Marte to tag up.

    But that play may show that Marte has very poor instincts for the game. No amount of at-bats in AAA may not fix that

  139. Cmat0829 says:

    Accountability for players AND coaches

  140. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    I do.

  141. Andrew says:

    Remember the Dodgers series were they kept sending runners with 2 outs, and were thrown out all four times. I don’t understand what probabilities they are working off of, currently the 2nd worst base running team in the NL.

  142. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Is it a requirement to wear a necklace while playing major league baseball?

  143. tcb says:

    What am I missing? Mercer is the one who tagged up and would have been DOA at 2nd if Marte had just stayed at 3rd. I cannot blame Marte this time.

  144. Thundercrack says:

    Walk said it they threw home no one was covering first

  145. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    He’s so fast but he has trouble reading plays.

  146. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    Hat trick for Crash. Having loads of trouble with the curve ball tonight.

  147. tcb says:

    Having trouble with the home plate ump too.

  148. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    I think that started his decay tonight for sure.

  149. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    Watson = Nasty

  150. tcb says:

    True dat. 20 straight scoreless innings for Tony.

  151. Andrew says:

    First out at 3rd base, what is this?

  152. Cmat0829 says:

    A mess

  153. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    That’s what a cut fastball does to lefties.


  154. JRay3 says:

    Back end of bullpen continues to pitch very solidly so there is that.

  155. Reading says:

    Mastering the art of turning baserunners into outs.

  156. Lad 9 says:

    Raise it! Far from perfect, but all that counts is a W. Cutch is scorching!

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