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Morning Java: Oh, the hamstrings!

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday chat begins at 1 p.m., right here on the blog, but you can begin submitting entries as soon as you see the post. It usually goes up around 11 a.m. All topics welcome.




>> And the U.S. is off and running. Or off and limping and dragging and reaching for the water bottles, as was painfully evident in this otherwise wonderful result vs. Ghana. I have more on that in the video above.

While below, we have, of course, John Brooks’ winning header:

Here’s the official World Cup 2014 page and the U.S. Soccer page.

And here’s the cover of our sports section this morning, led by the same story I’m sure pretty much every major sports section in America chose:

Chuck Noll was ‘the greatest coach of all time,’ per Ben Roethlisberger, by beat man Alan Robinson.

Mr. Noll’s funeral arrangements.

Ben expects Latrobe will be all about learning, by Robinson.

Could the Steelers soon dump the 3-4? Robinson examines.

Receiver to watch in the three-day minicamp that opens this morning on the South Side: Justin Brown, by Mark Kaboly.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page, our Steel Mill blog, and our photo gallery commemorating Mr. Noll’s life.

Our Subway Final Word panel on WPXI-TV opened with this segment on Mr. Noll:

>> Gregory Polanco’s superlative start gives the Pirates hope, by Travis Sawchik.

Here come the Reds for a three-game series.

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

Here’s Reds news from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> James Conner at linebacker for Pitt? Lawrence Timmons told him it was a good idea, by Jerry DiPaola in Harbor Creek, Pa.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pitt page and our Pitt Locker Room blog.

>> The vid below has nothing to do with anything, but it’s also the greatest thing ever:

>> 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. Maz in Iowa says:

    The announcers were questioning the shape that Klinsman had the American team in.However it was very humid and both teams were wilting.Bad hammies did seem to be a problem.You have to hope there might be a bit of recovery by the time they play Portugal.

  2. JAL says:

    JAL’s Cloud NineMorning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7svkki14zbk

    Cloud Nine The Temptations
    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

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014draft

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Best Thing That Happened to the Pirates Last Off-Season

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/first-pitch-the-best-thing-that-happened-to-the-pirates-last-off-season.html

    Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Stays Hot; Two Draft Picks Off to Good Starts

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/prospect-watch-josh-bell-stays-hot-two-draft-picks-off-to-good-starts.html

    Top 10 Pitchers: Do A.J. Morris and Nick Kingham Have a Shot at Pittsburgh This Year?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/top-10-pitchers-do-a-j-morris-and-nick-kingham-have-a-shot-at-pittsburgh-this-year.html

    Top 10 Hitters: Could Josh Bell Be in Line For a Promotion Soon?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/top-10-hitters-could-josh-bell-be-in-line-for-a-promotion-soon.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    The Pittsburgh Pirates: OBP machines

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/16/5815096/the-pittsburgh-pirates-obp-machines

    Pirates: Statistical notes for an off-day

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/16/5815194/pirates-statistical-notes-for-an-off-day

    7 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Series Preview: Pirates vs. Reds

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2014/06/series-preview-pirates-vs-reds-2/

    8 Green Weenie

    6/16: Clutch Kiki, Big Poison, Bonus Baby Groat, Kevin Young, Casey & El Toro, More…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/06/616-clutch-kiki-big-poison-bonus-baby.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Hot Pittsburgh Pirates Can Still Improve

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/06/16/hot-pittsburgh-pirates-can-still-improve/

    World Cup fever? Win $500 bucks from RetailMeNot.com and Rum Bunter

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/06/16/world-cup-fever-win-500-bucks-from-retailmenot-com-and-rum-bunter/

    10 City of Champions

    What Do We Make Of The 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates So Far?

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/06/16/make-2014-pittsburgh-pirates-far/

  3. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Minor League Ball

    Prospect of the Day: Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2014/6/16/5812588/prospect-of-the-day-gregory-polanco-of-pittsburgh-pirates

    12 CBS Sports

    Reds v Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20140617_CIN@PIT

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Cubs pinch-hitting pitcher Travis Wood delivers game-winner in 13th

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/28126122-573/cubs-pinch-hitting-pitcher-travis-wood-delivers-game-winner-in-13th.html#.U6Ad5tREPv8

    14 Reviewing the Brew

    It’s time to move Wang

    http://reviewingthebrew.com/2014/06/16/time-move-wang/

    15 Pirates Site

    New crop of prospects taking center stage for Bucs

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/new-crop-of-prospects-taking-center-stage-for-bucs?ymd=20140616&content_id=80035798&vkey=news_pit

    Cutch tabbed as National League Player of Week

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/pirates-outfielder-andrew-mccutchen-tabbed-as-national-league-player-of-week?ymd=20140616&content_id=80064460&vkey=news_pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds’ Billy Hamilton seeks inside-the-park home run

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/06/16/billy-hamilton-seeks-first-inside-the-park-home-run/10625127/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Peralta stays calm as Crew rallies for win

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/wily-peralta-stays-calm-as-crew-rallies-for-win-b99292331z1-263393291.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards’ bullpen gets the job done

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-bullpen-gets-the-job-done/article_9c9b9756-6fc9-5476-b28d-e2d51c95da17.html

    Bird Bytes: The blurry future of Carlos Martinez

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bird-bytes-the-blurry-future-of-carlos-martinez/article_61356924-4c1e-5f8e-aec9-18c00daba0a1.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Tony Gwynn Was Always in Control

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/tony-gwynn-was-always-in-control/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Baseball Therapy: What High School Has to Do with Tommy John

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23901

  4. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Marcus Gilbert wants to stay with his collegiate teammate Maurkice Pouncey in Pittsburgh

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/6/16/5814414/steelers-contracts-salary-cap-marcus-gilbert-maurkice-pouncey

    Lawrence Timmons is embracing the role of mentor for the Steelers young linebackers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2014/6/16/5814392/lawrence-timmons-has-been-embracing-the-role-of-a-mentor

    Justin Brown just waiting for his chance

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-minicamp/2014/6/16/5813876/steelers-wide-receivers-depth-chart-2014-justin-brown-minicamp

    Steelers red zone woes could be fixed in 2014

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/6/16/5813816/steelers-red-zone-stats-2013

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Ghana 1 United States 2 – Stats & Post-Match Projections

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/ghana-1-united-states-2-stats-post-match-projections#.U5-aKdREPv8

    23 BBC Football

    Ghana 1 USA 2

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/25285120

    World Cup 2014: Wayne Rooney will cope with drama – Gary Neville

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27879498

    24 World Soccer

    USA 2 Ghana 1

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/news/usa-1-ghana-0

    25 Pensburgh

    2013-14 Season in Review: Kris Letang

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/6/13/5805522/2013-14-season-in-review-kris-letang

  5. Thundercrack says:

    Yesterday I contacted a member of the local media and asked if Pedro Alvarez makes himself available for pre or post game interviews.

    The answer: No, he does not.

  6. TJA says:

    Gasp! I watched the World Cup last night….and actually, really enjoyed it. And to boot (no pun indented) my nephew in Florida is going to a college in North Carolina on a full soccer scholorship this fall The kid is pretty darned good. I am a die hard baseball fan…is soccer in my future as a “new” sport to follow? Gasp! LOL! :)

  7. Dom says:

    I watched the first 30 minutes of the game yesterday, which beat my old record by 29 minutes.

    This has to be increasing in popularity greatly since I was a kid. Maybe 20 years from now, this will compete with the other major sports in America.

  8. Jandy says:

    Pot stirrer! :D

  9. I agree with you. I didn’t see the players from Ghana running more in the second half. They were forechecking more, that’s true, but that was more due to the situation in the game than to better preparation.

    Obe thing I noticed, though, was how fit Germany was, despite playing in Salvador at 1pm, which is just a tad colder than Hell during Summer. Even before Portugal lost a man, Germany was running circles around them. They chose to prepare very nearby — even building their own training center from scratch! — and held training sessions in all conditions, including in conditions they were going to face during the World Cup. They’re going to be a tough out for any team.

    As a matter of fact, I think if the US doesn’t beat Portugal, the second berth of Group G will hinge on who loses to Germany by less goals.

  10. The Czar says:

    Great win for the USA. Klinsmann again was superb with the substitutions! Great coaching.
    The cramps is bothersome since they are supposed to be in top notch shape.
    What will happen when they play in a hotter and more humid Amazons stadium next?
    Regardless great start and building some momentum and confidence.

  11. Dom says:

    Anyone know the back story of the octopus on Google that is deciding between Belgium and Algeria?

  12. Naje says:

    And this is because…???

    1. His 15 errors (a whopping 14 of which are throwing errors…think there’s an injury? or a bad case of the yips?)
    2. His inability to provide anything remotely resembling consistency in any facet of his game?
    3. His prodigious power that we see a couple games here, a few games there?
    4. His ego?

  13. Dom says:

    Thanks!

  14. Naje says:

    They are in top notch physical shape. But, add in the fact that they are competing at the highest level of their sport… and only 5 of the 23 players have competed in a World Cup and you have a situation where these guys are playing way above the normal pace/stress levels that they’re used to, and throw in the very hot, very humid conditions and you have what you saw last night.

    Altidore’s injury came on a full sprint and a sort of awkward motion to head the ball down to himself. His left leg was planting at the same time he was trying to head the ball down and doing this running at full speed for a chance to beat his defender to go at the goal. It was awkward and his hammy responded with a resounding, “No. Can. Do.”

    It happens… the nerves, the emotion, the huge stage… tip-top fitness doesn’t always prepare you for that.

  15. The Gunner says:

    I think Pedro is pretty introverted. Let’s hope tonight he’ll start a hot streak – he is way overdue.

  16. NMR says:

    I think you need to take a deep breath.

  17. Nate83 says:

    I honestly don’t think it’s any of those. When he’s going well he doesn’t really seek the spotlight. He’s a pretty calm guy who doesn’t show a lot of emotion. Obviously if he hits a game winning HR he going to have to talk just like Tim Duncan has to talk when something happens that forces it but he isn’t going to seek it out. Unless major league baseball requires him to make himself available I have no issue with him doing whatever he is comfortable with.

    That being said he has to get better and it has to start with those throwing errors. He has already surpassed his throwing errors for last year. He and the coaches have to figure out why. I really don’t know about the hitting. He seemed to be making some good strides earlier this year but it didn’t show in the results. It very possible this is who he is.

  18. NMR says:

    TC, you’re one Blog post away from being cited as a source in the Beaver County Times.

  19. NMR says:

    Why are you even giving this guy enough credit for discussion? Complete joke.

  20. Arriba Wilver says:

    What guy?

  21. You have to notice that Paul earned its fame after a few predictions had gone right. :)

  22. Tom P. says:

    When Walker comes back, what is the likelihood of Harrison being a late-inning replacement at third base?

  23. Thundercrack says:

    Jandy, I just answered the challenge.

    :-)

  24. Thundercrack says:

    LOL

  25. Jandy says:

    Geno Malkin is/was the same way. He hid for couple seasons until he got the confidence to speak publicly.

  26. Jandy says:

    lol

  27. Jandy says:

    And you did very well! :D

  28. Nate83 says:

    I don’t know Tom. Late inning replacements are usually made for defensive purposes. I know Alverez leads the league in errors but he has made more then those 15 errors in plays with his glove that I don’t think Harrison could have made. They probably wouldn’t be errors on Harrison because they wouldn’t be considered routine plays but I think it would hurt the team overall.

    The unfortunate think for the Pirates is if Pedro had fielding errors with the glove (which he only has one) in most cases they would be singles. 90% of the time his throwing errors end up being doubles. His glove work has been excellent in my opinion.

  29. Thundercrack says:

    I read that Tony Gwynn couldn’t kick his addiction to chewing tobacco —which they believed caused (contributed to) his cancer

  30. NMR says:

    Well done, buddy. Well done. ;)

  31. Nate83 says:

    Because I am extremely naive and believe that everyone that post something wants to have a discussion about it.

  32. Nate83 says:

    I heard that yesterday as well. He had two operations on his cheek. Hopefully some good can come from that and maybe some high school, college and pro players that chew will stop or for that matter any person.

  33. NMR says:

    Very, very sad.

    And kudos to Major League Baseball for trying to curb usage and visibility. I picked up the habit at 16 because that’s what ballplayers do. Or did.

    Snuff is exponentially worse than PED’s in terms of impacting youth.

  34. 21sthebest says:

    And I had forgotten that he was drafted into the NBA. He still holds the career assist record at San Diego State where he attended on a basketball scholarship. Started to play baseball there his sophomore year.

  35. Jandy says:

    I think Naje is frustrated with Petey. But I’ve accepted that Petey is what he is. And I’m ok with Petey.

  36. Nate83 says:

    I think it is more likely he just gets starts at third if Pedro continues to struggle. Especially against left handers and maybe even a few other pitchers that Pedro projects to struggle against. Pedro’s approach looked so good early in the season but he has started regressing over the last week to trying to pull everything a swinging at balls out of the zone and away.

  37. Nate83 says:

    He also had 53 stolen bases one year. Great athlete that slowly morphed into the player we saw in the 90′s which was a tremendous hitter but hardly the ideal body type for an outfielder.

  38. Nate83 says:

    Chad Billingsly out for the year. Joe Kelly out longer then expected. Wow baseball is turning into Hunger Games. You just have to outlast everyone else and stay away from injuries. The Pirates have had injuries hit them hard but except for Taillon hasn’t lost anyone for the year. Well I guess they lost Wandy but that version of Wandy wasn’t contributing.

    Billingsly will hurt the Dodgers more then people realize. Great locker room guy and solid starter that went out and gave his all every game. They don’t have many players showing up daily at this point.

  39. JohninOshkosh says:

    Fallon’s cold open send up of Abba and Miami Vice was equally funny.

    That guy and his writers have mad crazy comedy chops.

  40. Maz in Iowa says:

    Big weak for the Buccos.Walker “might” throw and hit some today.Cole will throw a simulated game on Wednesday(big thing will be how is feeling Thursday).

    Francisco Liriano could resume throwing Tuesday. So far, Hurdle said, Liriano has been limited to cardio work.

    BTW Weiters of the Orioles is having TJ surgery too…..not just pitchers with this problem

  41. JohninOshkosh says:

    Also, just saw this from yesterday.

    Get well, Reverend John. (Lucky). Thoughts being sent out to you!

  42. Jandy says:

    ++++

  43. Maz in Iowa says:

    Duke Welker just had TJ surgery a week or so ago.Not a major leaguer,but a flame throwing reliever that could have helped the Pirates

  44. NMR says:

    Billingsley is scary because his setback comes off TJS.

  45. Jim S. says:

    USA with a big win over Ghana. I was in the air most of the day, so I have only caught highlights. Great individual effort by Clint Dempsey for the first goal. Dempsey can always be counted to step up. He’s going to have a challenge now with a broken nose. That was a nasty shot he took. But, he’ll be out there competing. Now, Altidore … I think his tournament may be over.

    Great goal by Brooks to avoid the tie. Just a kid. Huge goal.

    Germany literally toyed with Portugal, but Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo are not going to want to be embarrassed twice in a row. And, they will look at any loss to the USA as embarrassing. Should be fun.

  46. War_Horse says:

    The Pirates are 15-8 since Pedro Alvarez was moved down the line-up from 4th on May 23rd. (He batted 5th in one game and 7th in another.) He is hitting .280 in the same period (26 for 93 AB) and has raised his average from .212 to .235. But, at the same time, he has hit only 3 HRs, the last on June 3rd, and his RBI total is only 8 with 11 runs scored. I don’t see any game-winning hits. The real force behind the dramatic improvement in the won-loss record has been the outstanding hitting of Cutch, Polanco and Marte, not to mention Harrison, Martin and Walker, and the somewhat better pitching.

    Pedro’s throwing is a problem. His 15 errors (all but one of them on throws) have cost the Pirates three lost games since the start of the season. That is, the errors let in runs that won the games for opponents. The dates were April 12, May 11 and, more recently, June 15th. With two outs the other day, Pedro fielded a ground ball and made a poor throw to first that Ike Davis was not able to scoop up. Two runs followed from that. (The official scorer ruled it a hit but it clearly was not.)

    The question may legitinately be asked: Is Pedro losing more games for the Pirates with his glove than he is winning with his bat?

    It is my totally unscientific opinion that Pedro is muscle-bound. His training and practise have been directed more at slugging than at throwing accurately. When he winds up to throw the baseball, his muscle memory is in conflict with muscles that have been trained primarily to hit. Look at the difference between Pedro’s build and McCutchen’s. Or Walker’s, or Marte’s, or Polanco’s. He appears to be overdeveloped, like Barry Bonds became at San Francisco. (I saw Bonds play outfield when he was so muscle-bound he could barely bend over to pick up a ground ball and throw it.)

    I may well be wrong.

  47. Stuart says:

    Lucky, we need your presence! Get well soon.

    Stuart

  48. Jandy says:

    ++++

  49. Jim S. says:

    Big series for the Bucs. That loss on Sunday was frustrating. I got my wish to watch the game on Father’s Day with my wife and kids, and everything was going great. Worley was dominant through 7. Then, the Pedro misplay, the seeing eye hit by Furcal, and you just knew Casey McGeheeheehee was going to kill us. He ties it, then wins it.

    I was stunned by the 9th inning for the Bucs. Bases loaded, 0 outs, 3-1 count on Russ Martin. How do you not score even one run there? Maybe it started with the fact that no matter where every pitch to him was located in that at bat, he insisted on pulling it. It seemed like he cut the playing field down to about 5% of the area right around 3b. Martin hits best, as most guys do, when they use the entire field. That was painful.

    The bullpen gave up 11 runs in less than 9 innings in Miami, while the starters only allowed 4 runs in 22 innings. I was not expecting to say this week that I am getting comfortable with the starting pitching again while the bullpen scares me a bit. I think the bullpen will be fine, though. Just a bad patch, I think. I hope.

    Cutch still being Cutch. Polanco … oh my.

  50. NMR says:

    There he is.

  51. Nate83 says:

    His agility is great. He has made tremendous plays in the field with his glove ranging both direction. I personally do not think his body type is an issue. His off season workout is tremendous and at least 2 years ago he went with Cutch for 10 days with a training coach that works with some of the best athletes and puts them through very intense workouts. I’m not sure if he did this again last year but he looks to be in good shape. He is thick. He will always be thick because that is the body type he was born with. His fitness over the last two years is better then at any point during his career.

  52. 21sthebest says:

    Pedro had 7 days. 5 games, 21 at bats. 4 for 21 with 3 walks. I think his approach has gotten better as the season has gone on. The past 28 days show .281 .347 .449.

    I think what’s missing mostly are the bombs and I’m still concerned that he’s trying to go the other way too much. It’s kind of a delicate balance, IMO.

  53. Maz in Iowa says:

    Josh Bell is up to .322 (hits in 7 of 8 games) and due for a promotion to Altoona soon.Maybe it’s just me,but I’m thinking they might want to put a 1B glove in his locker and let him try it out.They have Meadows and Barnes for depth in the next few years too.However they have nobody at 1B in the near future (unless you consider Hague who is almost 29).JMO

  54. JohninOshkosh says:

    Where’s Milo ? Haven’t seen him for awhile either.

  55. Nate83 says:

    After that video a Dave Chapelle interview on Fallon popped up. I didn’t know he had decided he wanted to be a celebrity again. Funny interview. I always liked Chapelle. It was odd for him to just disappear at the height of his fame. He gave up a lot of money but did what he thought was appropriate for himself which I respect.

  56. Nate83 says:

    I think that is very possible Maz. I wouldn’t expect them to throw that at him right after they call him up but he could be working his way through the system quickly if he continues the way he been going since the injuries. Maybe get 40 games under his belt at a level and if he seems to have it figured out that would be a good time to see if he can stick as a first baseman.

  57. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    All youknow about him is what he’s sold you

  58. Maz in Iowa says:

    They have moved Mathisen and Jacoby Jones to 3B and SS.I see no reason not to move him…since they draft “best player possible” and have a huge hole at 1B.After all Polanco was a pitcher when they first looked at him as well.

  59. 21sthebest says:

    With all the things that went bad in that game, what is sticking with me is Hughes’ wild pitch and how poorly Martin tried to block it.

  60. Jim S. says:

    I have been away for several days, and didn’t know Lucky was ill until now. Get well, Lucky!

  61. NMR says:

    Worried Polancopalooza may have left a poor taste in his mouth.

  62. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, that was not one of Russell’s better games. It happens.

  63. 21sthebest says:

    That should haves said a lousy 7 days.

  64. Jandy says:

    I don’t know that he is ill, exactly, Jim, he said he had to go into the hospital for some tests, and one is a heart cath. He just knew something wasn’t right. But do send prayers for his speedy return :)

  65. Jim S. says:

    I believe the thinking is a guy who is a good athlete can pick up 1b relatively quickly. I know that angers some fans, who think 1b is difficult to play because it is a position where you are so involved. It is an important position, but that doesn’t make it a difficult transtion. It is similar to leaving an OF in CF during his development, as well as keeping a guy at SS for as long as possible.

    I’d also like to see Bell start splitting his reps between OF and 1b once he gets to Altoona. If the bat keeps improving, he may have a fairly quick path to Pittsburgh as a 1b. So, I think that may very well happen. We’ll see.

  66. cmat0829 says:

    I am not a soccer fan per se, but have been following the World Cup. Caught some of the Germany rout of Portugal. I’m sure Ronaldo is plenty good, but in that game he was a non factor in every way. Got the ball a few times, when he coughed it up to the Germans, he just stood there, sulked, pouted, didn’t bother to run or get back into position, etc. if that is the type of ‘teammate’ he is, then let’s hope the US gets a goal up on this team and watch Ronaldo pout the rest of the way.

    Not impressed at all.

  67. Jim S. says:

    Agreed. I like when Milo is around. He has a way of restoring sanity when it is needed.

  68. cmat0829 says:

    Let’s not make this more than it is. Throwing issues ARE NOT PHYSICAL. His ‘muscles’ aren’t getting in the way of his arm motion…. as Clint said, it is focus, repetition, etc. It has to be mental at this point, much like Steve Sax, Mackey Sasser etc.

    It’s time for Pedro to do what it takes to knock off the absolute joke his throwing accuracy has become. No one else knows but Pedro. Time for him to be accountable, make every effort, and GET IT DONE. If not, he doesn’t get to play 3b for us next year. 1b move will be in motion.

  69. Jim S. says:

    Thanks for the update, Jandy! Will do.

  70. bpn8pitt says:

    I had read for months how the USMNT had taken on a variety of new approaches to fitness. Everything from core training, new cardio methods, hydration. Even monitoring diet and sleep electronically.

    http://edge.si.com/edge/2014/06/04/tackling-climate-change-usmnts-final-world-cup-training

    I dont understand, all the critics this morning, pointing fingers at their preparation. Everything I had read and seen, said it was unlike anything the previous teams had gone through. It was one of the reasons Donovan was not on the team, from my understanding.

    But its 2014. Fat people on Twitter like to criticize people who get cramps in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and apparently know how to deal with humidity in South America better than guys who spent 4 years training for it.

    Smh.

  71. 21sthebest says:

    I’ve heard Huntington say basically just that Jim. That the time to convert a player to first base is around the time they get to Triple A. So assuming Bell gets to Altoona this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bell converted to first base during the winter.

  72. NMR says:

    I’m increasingly convinced that line drive batted ball data is a bunch of hooey, but the numbers say his LD% has just about doubled over the same period where he seems to be pulling the ball more. Batting average has jumped, as well. Thinking your point is making more and more sense.

    The lack of home runs jump out, but power numbers are inherantly spiky. He’s just three home runs off his combined pace over the past two years. That’s one hot series.

  73. Jim S. says:

    Ronaldo is definitely in a funk. And, as you say, he tends to pout. I hope it lasts for one more game.

  74. NMR says:

    I don’t want Bell trying to learn a new position while transitioning to AA pitching. His bat will take him where he’s gonna go. Focus on that, especially during a big jum.

  75. Jim S. says:

    Very sad news about Tony Gwynn. What a hitter. Faced Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, and Pedro a combined 323 times in his career. They struck him out 3 times. Enough said.

    He had 5.5 stitched into the tongue of his cleats to remind himself where he needed to hit the ball.

    RIP, Tony!

  76. Jim S. says:

    ++++. There is plenty of time to learn 1b if that is his future.

  77. JohnS says:

    I don’t really believe that being overdeveloped is a problem for Pedro. There is a long history of guys not being able to throw. Look at what happened to Blass he went from a very effective pitcher to a guy that had no idea where home plate was. Steve Sax routinely threw balls into the stands from second base. Guys get “blocked” and struggle to find consistency.

    Sometimes if a 1B can pick you up by making a few good plays that can help steady a guy.

    If this team is going to get back into the race they will need Pedro to be as good as he can be.

  78. Dom says:

    Bummer. If he doesn’t amount to anything, Tony Watson will be the only Major Leaguer from the 2007 draft.

    It’s safe to say that draft’s grade would be an F.

  79. bpn8pitt says:

    Im probably pretty guilty of this myself, but I think we have started to get too wrapped up in having an All Star or potential All Star at every position.

    I think I would rather see Bell moved for some decent pitching if possible.

    They did have Sid Bream and Gary Redus at first base not too long ago. You can get away with what they have there now, provided other areas are strong and the pitching is better.

    Just a different take….#propsectlove Mariska hargitay be with you

  80. NMR says:

    Hahaha, this is hilarious.

  81. bpn8pitt says:

    Agreed 1000%. Hilarious.

  82. 21sthebest says:

    Agree on the power number numbers. Feels like yesterday Cutch was stuck on 4.

  83. bpn8pitt says:

    Bad knee. Been a problem for awhile. Some think its worse than being reported.

  84. DemonDachshund says:

    Because when something bad happens, it MUST have been preventable and it MUST be someone’s fault. Thus sayeth the internet.

    You could also say that people exerting themselves to the fullest in the middle of hot and humid conditions are likely to have issues regardless of their preparation. But then how would you get attention on Twitter?

  85. hockeymonster says:

    Was wondering same thing.

  86. hockeymonster says:

    ditto

  87. JohninOshkosh says:

    Exactly. I don’t have AC in my house. Doing the dishes is a struggle in the heat and humidity.

    Those guys are some of the fittest guys in the world. All you have to do is peruse Twitter and the internet for five minutes to see that they are being aggressively marketed to women.

    The heat and humidity gets the best of us. I don’t think American conditioning is an issue at all.

  88. NMR says:

    Summary: Throwing issues are mental, not physical, SO MAKE THE CHANGES YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO MAKE RIGHT NOW, DAMNIT.

  89. bpn8pitt says:

    Chapelle’s show was one of the funniest ever. Agree Nate.

    ” I plead the Fiz-if…”

  90. NMR says:

    And I’m guilty of pointing that out like literally the day he started to go bonkers.

  91. Maz in Iowa says:

    Part of the reason he was left off was Klinsman wanted the team to go in another direction.Klinsman wanted more fire in his team and Donovan was a bit too reserved….plus he was a step slower.BTW don’t shoot me….this is just what I have read,NOT my opinion!

  92. Andrew says:

    This x1000.

  93. Jandy says:

    I love his dry wit….c’mon Milo…git yer butt back in here….

  94. cmat0829 says:

    not sure it’s all that hilarious, that a major league 3b can’t come within 20 feet of the target all too frequently. I’m just saying that it comes a time for the player to either solve the issue or face the consequences. 14 throwing errors in like 60 games played or thereabouts is a joke. Not a hilarious joke, but a joke.

    It’s not muscles. doesn’t appear he has elbow problems like Zimmerman has in Washington. So therefore, it has to be mental. Unless we conclude that Pedro physically, for some reason, is incapable of throwing accurately. that to me is a joke, that there is something physically impeding this.

    I think more than anything I’m tired of the excuses, not from Pedro himself because he doesn’t ever say anything, but from everyone else. His throwing is not acceptable at a major league level. if he can’t get it under control he can’t play 3B. Period.

  95. Jandy says:

    No AC?? seriously??? Not even the stick-in-the-window kind???? I’d die!

  96. Jandy says:

    maybe he needs glasses?

  97. Andrew says:

    Donovan has no one to blame but himself, he took a sabbatical during World Cup qualifying, that my fly in African Federations with the likes of Kevin Prince-Boateng. He was not in good form and he was never the most technical of players, his game relied upon pace and ability to run for 90 minutes, he doesn’t have that ability anymore.

  98. cmat0829 says:

    bad knee but even worse attitude. If I were him I’d try being a better teammate…it may be that his knee is a real issue and he can’t play to his potential… but pretty sure I saw him just standing around, talking to the refs, pouting most of the time. Again, not impressed. If you can’t play, then go to the bench and let someone play who will go 100% and play within the team structure. But not sure why I’m getting so worked up about SOCCER, lol… maybe I’m getting sucked into it… darn it, DK, you have converted another…..

  99. The Gunner says:

    Jandy

    You are correct, Peter is what he is. I had hopes he would evolve into somewhat of a Willie Stargell, Dave Parker or even a Bobby Bonilla type but, it is clear that won’t happen………..at least while he is in Pittsburgh.

    I do think it is possible, if the BMTIB gets the right offer, he could be traded sooner rather than later.

  100. cmat0829 says:

    On a completely new topic, what has happened to Justin Verlander? Did I read correctly on the ESPN crawl that he has given up at least 5 earned runs in 6 of his last 7 starts? WOW.

  101. Jandy says:

    Gunner, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded.

  102. NMR says:

    Find one person that has exscused his throwing issues, cmat.

    What was hilarious about your post was the cognitive dissonance in acknowledging his throwing issues are mental and then demanding he GET IT DONE.

    You’re doing it wrong.

  103. JohninOshkosh says:

    I saw Chapelle back during the height of his fame. Blew the place away.

    He was reminiscing to Fallon about the first time he met Kanye West. Before Kanye was even famous. Kanye was on his phone and all Chapelle could hear him say to his friend about his whereabouts was, ‘I’m dope and I do dope sh*t.” Was so entertaining how Chapelle retold the story.

    He lives in rural Ohio now. I like that.

  104. NMR says:

    I’ll be honest, Bell is the first guy I would offer up in any major trade.

    He’s never gotten exceptional reviews from the prospect guys I trust, and I think he’s still floating a bit on that $5m bonus hype.

    What he’s done in the last month or so is the first that I think is actually top prospect worthy, and there’s no denying he has been really, really good. But the guy isn’t gonna add value in the field or on the bases, so he basically has to mash. And while he hasn’t put up poor numbers in the past, they haven’t been exceptonal.

    I worry that upper level pitching will blow up those holes in his swing and because of that ouldn’t lose sleep over getting value for him now.

  105. bpn8pitt says:

    Yeah, I saw that too cmat. How his ERA his gone up every year. And they just gave him a new fat contract not too long ago.

    Guess he’ll have to re-invent himself a little, if its not to serious physically. Im thinking if he cant blow it passed guys anymore, that ball park is gonna get him good. Ball flys out of there. Went to a game there a few years ago. One of those 4 hr long AL games with 20 runs and no pitching what so ever.

  106. 21sthebest says:

    Really, mash? What if he puts up similar number to Adam LaRoche’s career numbers? .266 .340 .474.

  107. Jandy says:

    We’re family here.

  108. Maz in Iowa says:

    Re:Bell….With only playing 15 games in his 1st year(injury) and the fact he is about to get promoted to AA after 850 at bats says he is learning very quickly.He has struck out only 35 times in 245 ABs this year.Has an OBP of .375.Pretty good stats for a power hitter.Even after missing a year because of injury he’ll be in AA ball before he’s 21.Might be good trade bait,but he is probably a better option than Davis/Sanchez will be in 2 years when both will want 6 million apiece.

  109. War_Horse says:

    There is an awful, ugly rudeness in the air today. I thought posts on DK’s blog were meant to be polite, even in disagreement. Those who take the low road of abuse in their posts are arrogant people who take themselves way too seriously.

    ARROGANT arəg(ə)nt/ adjective: having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

  110. Bizrow says:

    From what I’ve read, they are leaving him in too long, and he gets lit up in the 6th or 7th innings

  111. 21sthebest says:

    You spelled “Biz” wrong Jim. :-)

  112. Maz in Iowa says:

    Oh yeah his BA is .322 ..9 HRs….15 2B……..3 3B….42 RBI….892 OPS.Time to promote him to Altoona

  113. Maz in Iowa says:

    He’s already 21.My bad

  114. Vinny Giardina says:

    Like flipping a coin? :)

  115. Nate83 says:

    It is true that he has given up runs later in his outings but the bullpen would be doing the same thing and they just gave him a 180 million dollar contract. I don’t think their intention is to get 5 or 6 solid innings from a guy they gave that much money to and then sit him down to watch the game. The Tigers can’t win in the playoffs without Verlander going 7 or 8 innings.

  116. likeabugonarug says:

    The blow dryers on the boat was hilarious.

    Kevin

  117. Nate83 says:

    He has a huge farm. He has a really unique sense of humor. I imagine the way he was talking to Fallon is exactly how he acts all the time. I never feel like he’s putting on a show but instead just being himself. Maybe that’s why he didn’t like putting on a show and left it leaving behind 50 million dollars.

  118. Jandy says:

    but you fixed it :)

  119. Dom says:

    Think they could have him skip a start or two?

    What if this the downward spiral that ends his career? Detroit is on the hook till 2020 for $180 million!!!

  120. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know what excuses you’re referring to cmat.

    ” His throwing is not acceptable at a major league level. if he can’t get it under control he can’t play 3B. Period.”

    Okay. What can we do about it?

  121. NMR says:

    Yes, mash.

    That Laroche line is a good bit above current MLB average for 1B (.255/.330/.437), but even Laroche has been worth about 12 WAR ovr 11 seasons. You really, really have to hit in order to provide value at 1B.

  122. NMR says:

    Good to see War Horse still hasn’t found a mirror in his house.

  123. Thundercrack says:

    Tigers bullpen!!!

  124. Nate83 says:

    Hypothetically lets say Verlander never approaches anything close to what he did in 2011 and 2012 ever again and Cabrera does start to break down after 3 or 4 years. How does a team even with as deep of pockets as the Tigers have overcome that much money being committed to those two players?

    I have to think I would rather be a fan of a large market like Boston or even Texas. They always have a high payroll but do not get buried in long term contracts for aging free agents. They will sign a guy to 3,4 maybe 5 years but rarely go much beyond that. Boston’s most risky contract right now is Pedroia but that is for 8 years 110 million which is 13.75 per year and he’s a second baseman which should age a little better and maintain his value.

  125. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m Rick James, B****!

  126. Nate83 says:

    I enjoyed the “wrap it up” box. He can take the simpliest thing and make it funny.

  127. Arriba Wilver says:

    :-D

  128. Jandy says:

    Bahahahahahahahaaaa!

  129. The Gunner says:

    Maybe the BMTIB has already told him they are shopping him & that is part of his mental problems.

  130. NMR says:

    They should replace Verlander with Joe Nathan. Oh wait!

    #analysis

  131. Arriba Wilver says:

    I can see a bunch of people in Detroit with their hair on fire.

  132. Dom says:

    You have a disturbing imagination. ;)

  133. NMR says:

    Agreed. Challenge the kid.

  134. Maz in Iowa says:

    I saw that Sherzer threw his first complete game a week or so ago.This from a guy that turned down $144 million.That is insane!

  135. Maz in Iowa says:

    And it’s not even “Devils Day”!

  136. Dom says:

    Someone asked DK who he felt was responsible for adding Andrew McCutchen to the system and he said Ed Creech.

    I remember reading an article on PP by Wilber Miller who claimed to have met Littlefield in a café. Littlefield claimed that the scouts more or less twisted his arm to draft Cutch. Apparently Cutch wasn’t the guy DL wanted.

  137. The Gunner says:

    Promoting Bell now sounds good to me. Unless the BMTIB has plans to trade him shortly to get some starting pitching help.

  138. Dom says:

    If DL wasn’t responsible for drafting Cutch, that means at most responsible for obtaining Neil Walker, Paul Maholm, and possibly N. Morgan as the only starting position players and starting pitchers.

  139. Maz in Iowa says:

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

  140. cmat0829 says:

    ok, i got your points on how tough it might be for Pedro to fix his throwing issues. As to excuses, I guess I’m referring to anyone who tries to posit a ‘reason’ for the throwing issues…muscle mass, etc. or the Pirates announcers who refer to ‘wet baseballs’ and ‘lack of grip’..to perhaps Hurdle himself who hasn’t taken any action to this point that I can see. But I get it, thanks for the lively back and forth on this topic.

  141. cmat0829 says:

    that’s our lineup until Neil returns it seems, though I’m aching to see someone’s name other than Ike Davis in the 4 spot. Not sure why but just not loving Ike in that spot.

  142. The Gunner says:

    that’s too simple, Jandy……….or is it??

  143. Dom says:

    Our lineup has improved greatly over the past few years. There are really no holes in that lineup at all.

    Is NH to credit for this?

  144. Maz in Iowa says:

    I believe Walker will bat cleanup when he returns.Martin stays at 5th.Toss up for 6th with Petey/Ike

  145. Nate83 says:

    It’s a solid line up top to bottom because most of the line up hits for decent power and can hurt you with extra base hits. A few players have improved their walk rates which has increased the overall team OBP. They don’t have the consistancy that some teams have. All players go through slumps but Alverez, Marte and Martin have more drastic ups and downs then most players.

    I don’t know how much credit NH can get for the line up. The more consistant hitters (Cutch, Walker, Polanco?) are not players he drafted or traded for. He has been aggressive signing or trying to sign some of those players to long term contracts. He deserves credit for finding players that are not black holes in the line up and at least fill the spots reasonably on a limited budget. He deserves more credit in my opinion for the pitching and his emphasis on intangibles when looking at a players value. He also deserves credit for his patients. Only Theo Epstein has shown more in my opinion and his is with a larger budget if wanted so it’s even more impressive.

  146. Nate83 says:

    High strike out guys get pitch counts up quickly. I wouldn’t read to much into him not having complete games. Darvish just got his first one as well and I would take him over all other pitchers except for maybe 2 or 3. A players manager also plays a large role in this. I think Leyland likes to use his bullpen.

    For what it’s worth I think Darvish is much better then Max. I think Max is a great pitcher but is slightly overrated.

  147. Nate83 says:

    It’s a beautiful thing to see Polanco, Marte and Cutch at the top of the line up. It gets me excited at least 4 times a game. I can’t imagine how good this line would look with a lead off hitter. Imagine if the Pirates went out and spent big on a shortstop that could lead off. The line up would be 1. shortstop 2. Marte 3. Polanco 4. Cutch 5. Walker 6. Martin 7. Alverez 8. Davis/Gaby.

  148. NMR says:

    I know you’re not thin-skinned, cmat, but really hope you didn’t take offense. Like you said, all good-natured back and forth.

  149. Thundercrack says:

    Here’s something that I kept thinking about during Sunday’s game against the Marlins.
    Late in the game (and into extra innings) I kept thinking about ( and so did the announcers) where Giancarlo Stanton was in the order, when he was coming up, and if they could delay his at bat until the next inning.

    The Marlins probably thought the same thing about McCutchen. But I kept thinking how great it would be if they had to also worry about when Pedro Alvarez was coming up too. I know pitchers have to be careful with him, but I wonder if he is feared.

    (and no, I am not picking on Pedro or fixated on him. But yes, I do think he should give more interviews)

  150. Bizrow says:

    This soccer game is pretty entertaining

  151. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t see Cutch being moved or Marte staying second forever.

  152. 21sthebest says:

    Are there Playboy bunnies playing in it?

  153. Bizrow says:

    This is from rotoworld on Verlander

    Justin Verlander was tagged for seven runs in six innings by the Royals in another loss Monday.
    Advice: Verlander started out nicely enough once again, allowing one hit over the first three innings. He then gave up three singles in the fourth, but he pitched out of it without allowing a run. Things unraveled in the fifth, when six hits led to four runs before Billy Butler was thrown out at home to end the inning. Brad Ausmus sent him back out for the sixth anyway and let him give up three more runs, even after he was given a gift out on a sac bunt. Even if it still qualifies as good news that Ausmus has so much faith in Verlander, it’s been horrible for his ERA, needlessly adding several earned runs to Verlander’s total in his last two starts. He’s not looking as bad as the line scores suggest, but he clearly needs a shorter leash with the way he’s throwing now. As is, the Tigers are throwing games away by leaving him on the mound when he’s struggling.
    (Rotoworld.com)

  154. JohninOshkosh says:

    You just fear the commies you Cold War relic, 21.

  155. Thundercrack says:

    Dating Kate Upton ruined him.

    But I’m sure it was fun while it lasted.

  156. Nate83 says:

    So they want Ausmus to pull Verlander a pitcher who historically actually gets stronger as the game goes and is a bulldog and is getting paid over 20 million a year after the 5th inning and go to his bullpen which is well documented to be horrible everywher including on this blog.

    #Tigersbullpen

  157. Dom says:

    I was listening to an interviewing she was giving on The X and she claimed that she never dated Verlander.

  158. Nate83 says:

    Marte needs to see as many fastballs as possible. He has been getting that in the #2 hole. I’m not saying ther isn’t better number 2 hole hitters on the team just that his value is realized in that slot. Moving Cutch to 4 isn’t ideal but I was trying to find a way to keep the 3 outfielder grouped together in the line up without moving Marte of the 2 spolt. Polanco wouldn’t bat 4th so Cutch was put there by default. It’s not like they are getting producton from anyone else in the spot. He is our top RBI guy.

  159. Nate83 says:

    Google images disagrees. Plenty of photoshop images of them together at different events. Some of them with them pretty close if they are just friends.

  160. NMR says:

    Sounds like a question you should ask local media to ask pitchers.

    (I had to. ;) )

  161. NMR says:

    Yeah, Clint Hurdle can manage like that because he’s got several guys in the pen who are better than the starters on their 4th trip through the lineup. Ausmus, not so much.

  162. 21sthebest says:

    They’ve shortened Marte’s swing while he was on vacation and it looks like he still has a good bit of pop. Curious to see where he goes from here.

  163. NMR says:

    I think it is more than just a few players increasing their OBP, Nate. Huntington has clearly made it a point to target high OBP players. Martin, Davis, Sanchez.

  164. NMR says:

    Shortened Marte’s swing?

    That’s funny.

  165. Thundercrack says:

    I keep those 3 at the top of the lineup.

    The can move Neil Walker anywhere in the lineup.

    Walker will be gone soon enough because he won’t take a truly hometown discount.
    :-)

    {sarcasm}

  166. Nate83 says:

    I keep them there as well. I was talking hypothetically if they got a shortstop that could also lead off. With the current team and they way those three have hit there is no reason to change anything when Walker comes back. Walker bats 4th or lower.

 
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