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Morning Java: The human touch

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. Call me at 412-320-7925. Feel free to email sportstalk@tribweb.com if you can’t call. But I’d rather hear from you.

At 2:30, I’ll be joined by Mark Kaboly, the Trib’s NFL beat writer, to talk minicamp.

And at 2:45, we’ll have more wit and wisdom 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.

>> Chuck Noll is laid to rest. Beat man Alan Robinson covers the news from St. Paul Cathedral.

No one will cover this event’s emotion with the heart shown by columnist Joe Starkey this morning. I dare say, this is required reading.

Over on the South Side, minicamp opened with a Troy Polamalu sighting. Kaboly reports.

Joey Porter tutoring Jarvis Jones? Yeah, sounds right. Kaboly has that, too.

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

>> Jason Grilli blows another one, by beat man Rob Biertempfel at PNC Park.

For all the complaining and conspiracy-weaving that’s gone on all summer, the one player most singularly responsible for the Pirates being below .500 right now is one that few have mentioned until recently. And now, after this game, I’m sure that’ll grow.

Grilli’s been lousy all season. This isn’t new. You can say it’s 2 mph lost off his fastball. I don’t see that as any kind of backbreaker. The bottom line either way: It’s time for Clint Hurdle to reduce his role. On this night, in fairness, Hurdle put Grilli out there in a tie game. Tony Watson wasn’t available, but maybe that’s how it’ll play out going forward, where Grilli is more the bridge guy. Or middle innings. The change has to be concrete, and it’s got to happen now. Factor Mark Melancon into that, too.

There’s a lot that I’ve seen in Grilli that I haven’t liked for a long while, but I can’t honestly say I thought it would play out on the field as it clearly has. It’s an immense disappointment to a lot of people, inside and outside that clubhouse. And no, I’m not isolating on the writing of a book. Other people write books. Other people promote books. It’s just a general change, and a sweeping one at that.




Neil Walker is regaining strength, by Karen Price.

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.

>> Ulf Samuelsson and several others are on the Penguins’ list of coaching candidates. Some outstanding reporting here by beat man Rob Rossi.

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

>> Jamie Dixon found his new assistant. Pitt basketball beat man Kevin Gorman interviews Marlon ‘Smoke’ Williamson.

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

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

>> Hope to hear from you on the show today. 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. Big Hoov says:

    What is the deal with Bradshaw? Thought he learned his lesson after missing Art Sr’s funeral.

  2. David says:

    Speaking as a casual observer of the Pirates who only watches when his chosen team is not active: It seems to me like Grilli’s time has gone. You hit both of these points quite solidly, DK…to me, it’s now on Grilli to get his game right during less pressure-packed scenarios, and it’s on the manager Hurdle to not put him in the pressure situations anymore.

    Elementary, my dear Watson…as it might be said.

  3. Mark says:

    DK, when you say change in regards to Grilli, do you mean attitude wise? Have the other players in the clubhouse simply soured on him, and would it be shocking at all if he is no longer a Pirate sooner rather than later?

  4. Apparently not… What a tool. And… He was IN Pittburgh the night Coach Noll passed away. So he knew there would be a funeral and still didn’t back out of whatever he had going on. Another stand up gig in another city? He can’t afford a Marquis charter to pay his last respects? He really is a self centered pea brain.

  5. Maz in Iowa says:

    Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:49:00 PM
    Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he will meet with general manager Neal Huntington to discuss the next step in the rehab process for starting pitcher Gerrit Cole.

  6. dennis g says:

    Why wasn’t Watson available after throwing 29 pitches on Sunday afternoon and a day off Monday? Watson had more than 48 hours off between the game Sunday and the ninth inning tonight. Man what a life. Grilli threw 27 pitches on Friday night and came back the next afternoon. Hurdle cannot manage the bullpen. He calls on guys according to what he hopes will happen. To tell the truth I think Hurdle and Grilli’s concentration on the saves has been a detriment to both the Pirates and to Grilli.

  7. KING says:

    The Pirates have set the precedent this year with Wandy & Bryan Morris. Guys get a few chances & if they aren’t getting the job done,they are DFA’d or traded.

    It’s time to DFA Grilli too. He hasn’t fooled anybody. Balls are being lined hard & Cutch and the OF’s made diving catches to save other games. I thank Grilli for his time here with Pirates & his service but it’s time to move on.

    J-Hay has proven he’s more than a utility player. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pedro sits for a few games or is packaged in a deal for Ian Kennedy & Huston Street. No way Pirates going to let Pedro walk & get nothing in return.

    Chuck Noll’s funeral was today & thanks to the men and women who attended and shared memories with the media. The 2014 Steelers can honor Noll with a patch of some kind on chest & winning a Super Bowl. KING

  8. dennis g says:

    ++++

  9. Maz in Iowa says:

    No lead is safe for the Pirates pen.Just speaking for myself this season is missing execution.If it’s not baserunning gaffes(runners picked off…or being thrown out stealing)…then it’s the bullpen throwing WPs or simply not throwing strikes or throwing meatballs….Pedro’s case of the yips or plays that should be routine.The defense is last in errors in the NL. Pitchers cannot stop runners from stealing…next to last in WHIP…1st in blown saves..almost twice as many HBP as the closest team…

  10. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pirate mangement sitting on their hands in the offseason showed just how out of touch Huntington & company was.They have a window of opportunity to make improvements before the trade deadline.Will Nutting/Huntington/Coonelly display another episode of “Three Blind Mice” or will stick with “the plan” and blow another year of Cutch’s contract and wait till Walker goes free agent?Not sure how much I care about Pedro and his 17 errors(in 69 games)

  11. Thundercrack says:

    I agree with a lot that DK said about Grilli – except that he is the one player most singularly responsible for the Pirates being below .500 right now

    I’m not sure it is one player

  12. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Interesting comments about Grilli.
    I don’t think he’s been the same physically since his forearm injury last summer.
    I’ve also got the feeling of a gradual attitude change in roughly the same time period.
    Though they came back and tied the game, this wasn’t a good show by the Pirates.
    Just when you think they’re starting to put it together….They’re not.
    They desperately need to change up this bullpen, but the options seem very limited.

  13. Jason Grilli blew another one last night. But then, the bullpen doesn’t seem able to do anything anymore no matter who’s called on to finish up. Why, I haven’t a clue and I’m certain no one else has either.

  14. Brandie says:

    Tears welling in eyes over the Starkey piece. Going to work today to “improve a little”.

    Treat each other and your loved ones well Lunatics.

    Miss ya Revvie.

  15. Ghost says:

    “I don’t think he’s been the same physically since his forearm injury last summer.”

    It’s appeared that way to me, too. Don’t know what a before/after, game-by-game breakdown would actually show, but it sure seems like the pre-injury Grilli never came back to us.

  16. Ghost says:

    Your words speak for me as well, Brandie.
    But what has happened to Revvie? ( I’ve been away for about 2 weeks.) Please don’t tell me something bad…

  17. The Pirates also left 13 runners stranded last night and made some stupid base running errors as well. And so, they’ve got to work on other things as well as well as the bullpen.

  18. Roger says:

    Shame on Grilli if he hasn’t been preparing properly . He has not been the same since the forearm injury. He’s 39. He’s done as a prominent RP. He may add value as a guy to have in low leverage situations so I am not ready to DFA him yet. But when is everyone going to wake up on the lousy 3rd baseman? Another error. Another small village left on the base paths by him. He got pinch hit for . What kills me is how he shows zero emotion. Keeping ones composure is great. He is reminiscent of Eyeore though. Just mopes around and acts like no one cares and it’s not a big deal. He’s terrible.
    Another thing that is terrible is Captain Hook aka Hurdle. Where is the accountability towards him when it comes to lack of fundamentals ? Or sticking with Grilli in the 9th? Or having Clint Barmes get AB’s in the 9th inning? But everyone just keep loving him bc he is a nice guy and has personality. Fact: 2 winning seasons as a manager in 10 years. Please someone explain to me how this guy is so wonderful and gets complete pass after pass by the fans and media?

  19. Brandie says:

    He is having some tests. Jandy knows more. Prayers and vibes Ghostavo.

  20. JAL says:

    JAL’s Clouds on My Tongue Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf8oNq9uTPU

    Clouds on My Tongue Tori Amos

    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: Looking at the Remaining Pirates Over-Slot Draft Candidates

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/first-pitch-looking-at-the-remaining-pirates-over-slot-draft-candidates.html

    Prospect Watch: Sampson Continues Breakout Season; Gushue Hits Two Homers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/prospect-watch-sampson-continues-breakout-season-gushue-hits-two-homers.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Projecting the Pirates’ offense for the rest of the season using a projected runs calculator

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/17/5818122/projecting-the-pirates-offense-for-the-rest-of-the-season-using-a

    7 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Reds 6, Pirates 5

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2014/06/reds-6-pirates-5-2/

    8 Green Weenie

    Bullpen Falters Once Again, Bucs Drop 6-5 Decision To Reds

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/06/bullpen-falters-once-again-bucs-drop-6.html

    9 WHYGAVS

    GAME 70: REDS 6 PIRATES 5

    http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-70-reds-6-pirates-5.html

    10 TRiCities

    Luis Silverio is the Latin connection for Pittsburgh

    http://www.tricities.com/sports/article_a34982c6-f69d-11e3-8d80-001a4bcf6878.html

  21. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Fox Sports

    Phenoms Hamilton and Polanco face off for first time

    http://msn.foxsports.com/ohio/story/phenoms-hamilton-and-polanco-face-off-for-first-time-061714

    12 CBS Sports

    Reds v Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20140618_CIN@PIT/reds-pirates-preview

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Samardzija available for trade, despite Cubs’ contract offer

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/28143624-573/samardzija-available-for-trade-despite-cubs-contract-offer.html#.U6Fu09REPv8

    14 Hidden Viggorish

    Maximizing Tony Watson

    http://hiddenvigorish.com/2014/06/maximizing-tony-watson/

    15 Pirates Site

    Bullpen falters late as Bucs drop see-saw affair

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_06_17_cinmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Restless Walker eager to get back on the field

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140617&content_id=80243010&notebook_id=80246650&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Todd Frazier’s homer in ninth saves day for Reds

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/06/17/todd-frazier-home-run-ninth-inning-win-pittsburgh-pirates/10720129/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers win on Jonathan Lucroy’s clutch grand slam

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/brewers-win-on-jonathan-lucroys-clutch-grand-slam-b99293208z1-263585931.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards beat Mets for fifth win in a row

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-beat-mets-for-fifth-win-in-a-row/article_fcb440ff-7a4e-5c15-b28c-a4d9cefed2d0.html

    Strauss: Healthy staff will give Cards options

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/joe-strauss/strauss-healthy-staff-will-give-cards-options/article_7723a80e-c9b5-52e7-85fd-aef8571ed5b9.html

    19 Fangraphs

    FG on Fox: Adam LaRoche Comes Back Again

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fg-on-fox-adam-laroche-comes-back-again/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The 2012 Redraft Whom Would We Pick Now?

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23910

  22. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Troy Polamalu knows he’s yet to see what Mike Mitchell can do with the Steelers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-minicamp/2014/6/17/5819086/steelers-minicamp-polamalu-mitchell-safety-secondary-depth-chart-2014

    June 17th, 1994 – A 20 year review for the Pittsburgh Steelers

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/6/17/5817124/today-in-sports-history-june-17-1994

    Steelers players and coaches give their reactions after Chuck Noll’s funeral Monday

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/steelers-chuck-noll-dies-legend-history-news-steel-curtain/2014/6/17/5818342/steelers-chuck-noll-funeral-news-updates-speakers-quotes

    Todd Haley looks to build upon 2013 successes

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/6/17/5817264/steelers-offense-2014-todd-haley-ben-roethlisberger

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Brazil 0 Mexico 0 – Stats & Post-Match Projections

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/brazil-0-mexico-0-stats-post-match-projections#.U6DlUNREPv8

    Belgium 2 Algeria 1 – Stats & Post-Match Projections

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/belgium-2-algeria-1-stats-post-match-projections#.U6DmY9REPv8

    Russia 1 South Korea 1 – Stats & Post-Match Projections

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/russia-1-south-korea-1-stats-post-match-projections#.U6DmrtREPv8

    23 BBC Football

    World Cup 2014: Lawro’s predictions – second group games

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27729615

    World Cup 2014: Rooney holds key to England success – Lampard

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27890329

    24 World Soccer

    World Cup Day 7

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/world-cup-3/world-cup-day-7

    25 Pensburgh

    2013-14 Season in Review: Olli Maatta

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/6/17/5816162/2013-14-season-in-review-olli-maatta

  23. Nastynate82 says:

    Stop with the emotion bit. Just cause a guy doesn’t fling his helmet after a strikeout doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.

  24. Jandy says:

    Rest easy, Ghostie. Revvie isn’t sure, but he is having some tests in the hospital, a heart cath is one, as he feels something is amiss. He’s not down for the count and hopes to report very soon. I just asked for prayers for him as I love him dearly.

  25. Jandy says:

    Wisdom from TC. I agree.

  26. The Gunner says:

    TC

    Grilli certainly is the player most responsible for the Bucs being under .500. Pedro isn’t far behind #39. CH’s hand is getting forced to do something about Pedro & Grilli – let’s hope he takes action tonight.

  27. Thundercrack says:

    Gunner,
    The team is 2 games under .500
    I think it has been pretty much a team effort on why the team is below .500 (except for Cutch & Walker).

    Liriano has started 14 games and has one win ( I know nobody likes that stat) and an ERA of 4.60.
    The entire bullpen has 13 blown saves….Grilli has 3 of them.

    How about some of those marvelous at-bats, base running blunders, and gaffes in the field by Marte? Could those have contributed to 2 losses. (or one loss)

  28. Jandy says:

    +++

  29. Dom says:

    Does he have an issue with the Steelers and/or the Rooney’s?

  30. Baywatch says:

    I agree, TC. I think there is a certain amount of “the buck stops here” with the closer role, but there’s some blame to go around.

  31. Dom says:

    The Buccos currently have 19 of their top 20 draft picks signed. The lone exception is an 11th rounder.

  32. Nate83 says:

    I agree he has to be better but also agree with the other nate about the emotion part. I think I know enough about Pedro to know that he cares. The fact that he doesn’t show it really means very little to me. I’m an emotional person who’s body language had no problem showing how I felt about something while playing sports. The best and hardest working player on my football team didn’t show emotion once during the game but I knew him well enough to know that he was indeed effected by his performance.

  33. Nate83 says:

    That is a pretty remarkable signing rate. I could be wrong but it seems like ussually only 12-15 of the top picks are signed.

  34. The Gunner says:

    Yep, TC – it has pretty much been a team effort. But Grilli & Pedro are last night’s goats. Both of these guys were supposed to have high profile roles on the 2014 team & are clearly underachievers. Grilli has been problematic since his injury and Pedro is a liability both offensively and defensively.

    Liriano is a 2014 bust and the Bucs should expect little or no productivity from him this year. At least Marte has improved as of late and appears to be heading in the right direction.

    There is still time to right the ship but, it will require some “outside the box” thinking by the BMTIB.

  35. Jandy says:

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Just look at Petey’s eyes…he cares…a lot.

  36. Thundercrack says:

    Nutting has always been cheap in regards to 11th round draft picks

    :-)

  37. Jandy says:

    Cheap b*st*rd! :D

  38. Baywatch says:

    Little known fact: Bastardo used to pitch for the Phillies!

  39. pattonbb says:

    Grilli has pitched what? 16 maybe 17 innings of the 70 games they’ve played so far? Has he been a disappointment? Yes. Should Hurdle put his man-crush aside and give the 9th inning to somebody else? Absolutely. But, i think anyone that feels Grilli is the “one player most singularly responsible for the Pirates being below .500″ is ignoring the giant black hole in the lineup at 3b and the absolute bust of a season that Liriano is putting together.

  40. Jandy says:

    I remember him!

  41. Jandy says:

    ++++

  42. SeanAY says:

    Agreed. Velocity seems down, and as a result he seems to be nibbling. He gets in bad counts and then he gets smoked.

    Will Watson be elevated to the role? Or Melancon?

  43. bpn8pitt says:

    Good for you KC Royals.

  44. 21sthebest says:

    I thought Polanco not being here was most responsible for all of our one run losses.

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    I wonder if the new slotting system is working out after all.

    Either that, or they picked a bunch of stiffs. ;-)

  46. Jandy says:

    hey! Don’t let facts get in the way of a good narrative ;)

  47. chethejet1 says:

    In the end it is all about production and baseball. Pedro just hasn’t risen to the occasion enough to warrant star treatment. No one knows what conversations Hurdle and Pedro have had but sitting Pedro for a couple of games to allow him to find himself may do some good. But Pedro has to take responsibility for his defense and lack of crack of the bat lately.

  48. Dom says:

    I’m hoping they have like ten or so more losing seasons in a row so they overtake our record. At the moment they have the current longest streak of consecutive losing seasons.

  49. Dom says:

    Oops. Scratch that. They had a winning season last year.

    I guess it’s back to the old drawing board…

  50. The Gunner says:

    Bradshaw is Bradshaw, that’s all. His judgment has never been very good. But he is still the best QB the Steelers ever had.

  51. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    The throwing errors have to stop but, he’s not terrible. Barmes nearly sent PNC into an uproar. Grilli you can serve as whatever side dish you wish….completely agree that it’s not been working out for a long time. Relievers they do tumble fast from the cover of sports illustrated don’t they? Just ask the bearded one (Wilson) how he enjoyed his spin down the crapper.

  52. bpn8pitt says:

    I think Melancon should close, with Watson in the 8th. Problem is, i think its kinda like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Who pitches the 6th or 7th in a close ballgame.

    The need some new blood in there too.

    And I know he wasnt automatic last night, but Chapman’s pretty nasty. The K/BB ratio is video game stuff.

  53. I’ve always believed that Pedro Alvarez would be better off as a designated hitter for an American League team because of his home runs. Otherwise, he’s not really reliable on defense and his bat is too light, and I often wonder why he’s on the Pirates as a regular.

  54. Sarah says:

    Thinking good thoughts….

  55. Jandy says:

    ++++

  56. cmat0829 says:

    still does

  57. cmat0829 says:

    um, they had a winning record with Tony Pena too a few years back.. I believe they have the longest non-playoffs streak if that is what you are trying to remember….

  58. 21sthebest says:

    Redus, you don’t think 14 throwing errors in 65 games is terrible?

  59. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Man what are we all going to do when Pedro goes on a tear

  60. Arriba Wilver says:

    Um, Tony’s winning season was 2003.

  61. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    I know IT’S terrible….in fact it’s pathetic. He should probably have a handful more that he’s either been bailed out or saved by the official scorer, but HE is not terrible. Generally speaking he comes in well on balls and moves ok to his left. He’s throwing balls away at a prolific rate….that’s it. He still makes plays that others don’t and until that stops, he’s your 3B.

  62. bpn8pitt says:

    Thats fair.

    Oldest guy on the team, and its a young man’s game, IMO anyway.

    Im 33, and more and more everyday I find out my body doesnt respond like it used to.

  63. Dom says:

    Correct. Before last year, the Royals last winning season was in 2003.

    I guess longest losing streak for all professional sports in North America will remain with the Buccos forever!

  64. Dom says:

    There’s one exception to that…

  65. bpn8pitt says:

    I just like rooting for the little guy, Dominator.

    But just like us, the A’s etc not sure how they fare once they see all big boys in the playoffs.

  66. Jandy says:

    change our colors ;)

  67. Dom says:

    Remember how RHP Mark Appel refused to sign with us back in 2012 when we drafted with the 8th overall pick?

    There was some debate whether the Buccos should have gone over slot to sign him, knowing full well it would have cost us our 2013 and 2014 draft picks.

    Well, he currently is currently 0-2 with an 11.94 ERA in Advanced A ball thus far this season.

    Meanwhile, Austin Meadows, who we obtained with the pick we were awarded for not signing Appel, had a .529 batting average in short season A ball last year and batted .294 in the gulf coast league. He has yet to play thus far this season due to an injury.

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    Talk about his demeanor? ;-)

  69. Dom says:

    Also, Reese McGuire is batting .271 in West Virginia and Cole Tucker hasn’t played yet but he seems like a nice guy.

  70. cmat0829 says:

    how time flies…

  71. Jandy says:

    Pull his hat down over his ears?

  72. I, for one, have been long waiting for Pedro to go on that tear.

  73. 21sthebest says:

    Agree.

  74. Sarcastic Sword says:

    So things have been noticed about Grilli that would be negative in nature for a long while ( off the field stuff based on the narrative above and more than just writing a book) – and its only being reported now in very general terms – why in some cases do Pittsburgh athletes only get the negative slant at the back-end of the observed behavior? Why hasn’t this observed behavior been reported at all?

    Not just asking the writer of this blog but in general, based on the narrative, many people have seen him change. Why has no one wrote about it?

    Is it because its not between the white lines, its not fair game to be made known?

    Now that his performance has slipped so badly, the off-field issues can be now be reported?

  75. cmat0829 says:

    Thanks for the good info Dom. Just another reason why any ‘draft analysis’ is pretty much worthless..not only from us non-qualified asylumites, but also from so-called self-knighted experts.. I would also say there’s still a chance Appel will be a major league pitcher and Meadows, McGuire and Tucker will all underperform and flame out, so it is what it is.

    That said, I doubt NH drafted Appel hoping to not sign him… the strategy there was to try to get a top of the round guy with a lower in the round pick and pull of a coup by signing him. Didn’t work out. But all is not lost when that happens because you get the pick the next year.

  76. Arriba Wilver says:

    Loved Harrison’s single on that 101 mph pitch. Textbook. And Barmes did pretty good for Barmes. Would have been a homer in a lot of parks. But, yeah, he’s nasty.

  77. Nate83 says:

    I personally won’t do much since I don’t allow my feeling about him as a player to fluctuate that much based on current performance. Don’t get me wrong I get just as frustrated as everyone else when he’s going bad I just don’t all of a sudden want him traded one week and signed to an extension the next.

    JHay may be the one exception. I’m starting to believe he could be more then I thought he was. He should be signed to a lifetime contract.

  78. 21sthebest says:

    Complain that we won’t extend his contract?

  79. cmat0829 says:

    I think I’m middle of the road on Petey… most certainly do NOT want him demoted to AAA, traded, or even moved off 3B every day at this point… I most certainly DO want a move to 1B explored in the offseason… and most certainly DO think his throwing errors are unacceptable.

    But this crap about demeanor, etc. is baseless. There are zero facts to back up that Pedro doesn’t give 100%, doesn’t work his ass off, doesn’t care. Z-E-R-O. Blog space is free and unlimited so feel free to prove me wrong and offer up ACTUAL FACTS that prove otherwise. And no, wearing his hat over his ears and not throwing his bat or punching the wall are not facts that prove he doesn’t care.

  80. Thundercrack says:

    I had to laugh – the other day someone posted that Pedro was very muscular.
    It seems just like yesterday that he was overweight —and had a big butt.

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks for the report on Cole Tucker, Dom. Much appreciated.

  82. Arriba Wilver says:

    Funny, Nate. :-)

  83. cmat0829 says:

    Must say I’m intrigued by what DK’s post means today about Grilli… pretty clear the performance at this point is not up to standards and therefore a move has to be made. I was ‘apologizing’ I guess for the team to have not made a move to this point in deference to Grilli being a respected vet on this team, to the firestorm it might lead to if Grilli didn’t take demotion well ( imagine if AJB were here and we had to move him to long relief…..) It just may be that moving Grilli from closer role really means moving him off the team… not clear to me, if he has preparation, attitude issues or whatever DK is intimating, that he is going to perform well in 6th, 7th inning… and those innings, with a lead or close game, are as important as the 9th inning. So while Watson makes us whole again in the 9th, and Mark can handle the 8th, I fear our ‘Don’t worry, be happy” 7th innings will disappear.

    As I’ve said before adding to the bullpen is a must if the Bucs want to contend.. it just may be that has to happen sooner rather than later.

  84. Nate83 says:

    I think Brian Williams was singing about his big butt but could be wrong about that.

  85. cmat0829 says:

    Not gonna speak for DK, but let me speak for DK (LOL). Bucs, with all they myriad of other issues, are two games under right now. If Grilli gets Braun out in back to back days in PNC, Bucs are 2 games over .500. If you would assume last night the Bucs walk off if Grilli can keep it tied, the Bucs are 3 games over. I think that is what he meant by the ‘responsible for being under .500′ remark.

  86. Dom says:

    You won’t hear that type of reporting from Baseball America, that’s for sure.

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, I made the point the other day when people were clamoring for Watson to be moved to closer we were just moving chairs around. Wilson’s late performance isn’t helping, either. On the bright side, Jeanmar’s been improved of late.

  88. Thundercrack says:

    After that base running blunder by JHay last night I say he has to accept a hometown discount!

  89. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought that narrative had died a long time ago. I was wrong.

    Not that it matters, but it’s factually wrong that he never shows any emotion. I think it was Sunday’s game when he struck out, grabbed his bat, and called himself an A-hole.

    But he’s reserved. Who cares. The line that he acts exactly the same when he’s going good as when he’s going bad is also factually incorrect, but doesn’t change anything,

  90. Nate83 says:

    +++ I don’t care which 50 innings Grilli, Wilson, Gomez and Stolmy pitches the rest of the year if they don’t pitch better it doesn’t matter if it’s the 7th, 8th or 9th inning the team is in trouble. One struggling reliever can be hidden but 4 can’t. Melancon, Hughes and Watson can’t pitch every game and will eventually go through rough patches themselves. Some of these others have to get back on track.

  91. Nate83 says:

    I was thinking right after that happened that there’s the JHay we all know and love. I think he’s just always amped up. Right now he probably feels like he can run through a brick wall. He’s still doing far more good then bad overall. I’m not sure you can ever harness his recklessness. It’s part of what makes him tick.

    On another note if I never see Polanco slide feet first into the wall in right field ever again I will be very happy.

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    Pretty clear Polanco isn’t comfortable yet in RF at PNC. I think the Bucs dropped the ball not moving him to RF sooner in AAA, if not AA.

  93. 21sthebest says:

    Honestly, cmat, how many “if’s” could we bring up from this season? And the same for other teams.

  94. Baywatch says:

    LOL!

  95. Thundercrack says:

    That is my impression of Polanco in the field too AW.
    Actually, he hasn’t ‘wow-ed’ me with his defense yet. He’s been OK to me.

    I think he looks awkward when he goes and gets a ball that has hit the ground or rolled to the wall. Looks almost like he’s never played the outfield.

    I know he’s still young. And it’s just my opinion.

  96. go21bucs says:

    sorry — and, this is not just directed at you cmat — and, I know that I am a relative newbie here.

    but, I keep seeing references to “.500″.

    I thought, after last season, we could get rid of “.500″ being a benchmark.

    how about we put “.500″ six feet under and start shooting for, oh, I dunno……”first place”?

  97. 21sthebest says:

    Not to mention the swipe tag he tried when Hamilton was stealing which allowed the ball to go into center and Hamilton to third.

  98. SeanAY says:

    Isn’t showing emotion exactly what most Steelers fans hate about Antonio Brown? “Act like you’ve been there before?”

    I guess we want guys to keep their heads down when they succeed and self-flagellate when they fail.

  99. NMR says:

    This black hole in the lineup at 3B is just absolutely wrong.

  100. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    Someone pointed out earlier that Grille is nibbling. He keeps missing trying to throw a first pitch breaking ball for a strike. Last night, after 2 off speed pitches missed, everyone in the park knew a fastball was coming. He can’t miss bats anymore because his stuff lacks the edge it once had.

    I’m not sure about the attitude issues. I’ve always thought he was a stooge but I could look past that stuff when he was closing the door. At his age, he was going to have a short shelf life. That is just reality. The expiration date is looming.

  101. bpn8pitt says:

    Yep. That was 10 rows deep at Great American.

  102. NMR says:

    Jesus.

  103. NMR says:

    Yes, because his performance has slipped.

    You realize you’re asking all local sports reporters to turn TMZ-tyle, right?

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    Gotta blame the Boss for that, go21bucs. His post raised the .500 issue—no one else.

    Keep posting, though, and make sure Biz has where you are on the list. Only Jandy bites. ;-)

  105. bpn8pitt says:

    “One struggling reliever can be hidden but 4 can’t”

    +++ Absolutely.

  106. Nate83 says:

    It just my 2 cents and I’m far from being the most knowledgable baseball person on this blog but he seemed to live up high in the strike zone or just out of it a fair amount the previous 2 years. His fastball on top of having a few extra MPH also seemed to have some late movement that is missing this year. Also a few of those pitches seem to be missing 6 inches lower and catching the heart of the strike zone and that’s a recipe for desaster.

    He may need to be honest with himself and realize he isn’t a high strike out guy this year and pitch down in the zone more and allow the other 8 guys behind him to help him get guys out. I personally hope that is in the 7th inning instead of the 9th but we will see.

  107. bpn8pitt says:

    Lol…anyway.

    Chris Mueller had an idea on the Fan yesterday, to slide Pedro back in the 4 hole when Walker comes back (walker would hit 5th). Saying he might see more fastballs between our two best hitters. I liked it. Thoughts?

  108. I for one, wondered why, during the last series in Miami, the Bucs didn’t just let the starters go the distance since they were clearly pitching better for the front 7 than the bullpen did during the late innings.

  109. Nate83 says:

    Can he really be that nice of a guy? He’s friends with Pedro and that guy never smiles :)

  110. NMR says:

    Jason Grilli Average Fastball Velocity…

    2012: 94.78 mph
    2013: 94.31 mph
    2014: 94.15 mph

    When you get behind in counts and throw belt-high fastballs over the heart of the plate, you’re going to get hit hard. Location is Grilli’s issue, not stuff.

  111. Thundercrack says:

    Looking at the replay of the home run last night, Martin is set up on the outside part of the play.
    At first I thought Frazier hit a pretty good pitch. But it wasn’t. It was way too much over the plate. Not enough outside where Martin had his glove

  112. Nate83 says:

    He looks apprehensive to me. Maybe as he gets more comfortable that goes away.

    His strides running to second on a force play last night didn’t look human. I’ve never seen such long strides. Reminds me a little of Terrell Pryor who always was running much faster then it seemsed because of his long strides.

  113. Nate83 says:

    No reason to not just get his body in front of that and make sure it stayed in the infield.

  114. cmat0829 says:

    Not sure I have ever set .500 as a benchmark… DK proffered that Grilli has contributed to the Bucs being under .500 right now, and some have questioned that remark…. I’m just explaining the logic behind that, and it does make sense to me.

    Yes, I know you can play the ‘what if’ game constantly…

  115. NMR says:

    No player in baseball has seen less fastballs than Pedro Alvarez this seaosn, and I honestly don’t think that’ll change regardless of where he hits.

    AW and I were talking yesterday. Three more homeruns and he would be having the best season, statistically, of his career. That’s one series. I honestly do not get it.

  116. cmat0829 says:

    I’ll bite.. just what is ‘star treatment’.???? Seems to me Pedro sits now vs. most LHPs..and he was PINCH HIT for last night with Gaby Sanchez late in the game… if that is star treatment, I may just be confused.

  117. Dom says:

    The name NFL team from Washington DC has an offensive nickname according to the US Patent office.

    In a rare move, they will cancel the trademark registration.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-washington-redskins-trademark-cancelled-20140618,0,1927895.story

    I would just change the name if I had any say on the issue.

  118. Arriba Wilver says:

    The pitch to Frazier was up in the zone on the outside of the plate. I think it was 93mph.

  119. Nate83 says:

    You are using facts and that just isn’t fair. I was going by what people are saying and they have been saying his velocity was down 1 or 2 mph. Who do you think you are, Andrew?

  120. Arriba Wilver says:

    Regardless of what you think on the issue of the name, that’s allowing politics to influence trademarks.

  121. NMR says:

    Velo reading on the replay says 94, fwiw.

  122. NMR says:

    Not saying he isn’t frustrating as hell, mind you, but every spring people act like they’ve never seen this guy play before.

  123. Dom says:

    I dont think it has to do with politics.

    According to the article, offensive trademarks are not permited under federal law.

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    It was pretty close to the outside edge of the box, TC, but it was totally inside the border.

  125. NMR says:

    Then apparently you missed about a month of baseball, James.

  126. bpn8pitt says:

    I like the idea of finding a way to “stoke” Pedro, like they did with Marte putting him between Polanco and Cutch.

    Thats a nasty lineup if Walker returns to form and Pedro gets hot.

  127. Thundercrack says:

    What don’t you get?
    We watch the games and have seen a lot – I don’t have the exact number – of situations where Pedro comes up in a big spot and fails. And a lot of those times he doesn’t make contact. We’re talking about Pedro Alvarez, not Jordy Mercer. He has to produce more in those spots – - even with productive outs. And I know you don’t think it matters if runners are in scoring position or not. I don’t either now. He has to get better and become a more consistent hitter.

    And I won’t speak for everyone, but I still see him swinging at the same pitches. There are too many times where is seems to me that he has no plan at the plate. He doesn’t focus on one type of pitch or one location. Just swinging away. Sometimes he looks clueless in the block.

    And I like the guy!!!

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think it’s a combination of his throws, which causes more criticism on his overall game. I think you were talking with 21, but I agree with you guys.

  129. 21sthebest says:

    Brooks and Pitch/fx don’t seem to agree for some reason on velocities. Pitch/fx is showing his fastball velocity has been dropping pretty much the entire month of June. But I do agree that’s is more of a location issue.

  130. The Gunner says:

    Without command, Grilli will not be an effective closer. Wilson’s command has been subpar, also. That leaves Melancon and/or Watson to be the closer.

  131. 21sthebest says:

    ***

  132. Baywatch says:

    Woo-Hoo! I see Vance is slated to start again this weekend! Brandie, consider me a Worley Bird! :-)

  133. Arriba Wilver says:

    Dom—and how long has it been an approved trademark under that definition? I don’t think the law changed.

  134. pattonbb says:

    You’re absolutely right, NMR. It’s certainly not a black hole. Apologies for the “homerish” comment.

    I just get frustrated when the guy goes on these 2-3 week binges where he becomes an automatic out. He couldn’t play any worse right now if he tried.

    Every part of his game appears to be regressing. Except his base running. He is a damn fine base runner. But calling a guy that doesn’t get on base much a good base runner is kind of like calling someone the most handsome ugly guy at the dance. I mean, what’s the point?

  135. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pedro W/risp .203…Pedro W/bases loaded .125

  136. Dom says:

    I guess they’ve had that name ½ a century ago. Back then it would not be perceived as racist but it is by some today.

    Things have changed over the years.

  137. Maz in Iowa says:

    Why in the name of all that’s holy would anyone want him at clean up???

  138. Arriba Wilver says:

    And that’s not political how?

  139. Arriba Wilver says:

    I mean, if “some” think something is racist is the standard, where does that stop. And, by definition, it’s a political decision.

    And I’m not judging the ultimate question, nor do I understand trademark law.

  140. Dom says:

    I feel that people’s perceptions have changed over the years.

    There are other examples that I could but won’t get into as well.

    Would you define that as politics?

  141. Baywatch says:

    JHay would be more of an answer there than Pedro – or Davis? Personally, I’d like to see Gaby given a shot there.

  142. hockeymonster says:

    Don’t mean to stick my nose in but not sure interpreting racial insensitivity is political. NFL and sports leagues get a lot of anti trust exemptions that most people can’t even dream of getting. If NFL compromises on this one thing its not the end of the world. NFL has done worse than allow for an offensive name, including pressuring concussion cases into games. Not sure this should be a big deal.

  143. bpn8pitt says:

    How did you feel about Marte a couple weeks ago? Dude’s raking now.

    I dont think he does well with Ike Davis or Jordy Mercer hitting behind him. Sandwich him between a couple of good hitters and I think pitchers will be more inclined to go after him.

    Plus with runners on, could nulify some of the shifting he’s had to face.

  144. Arriba Wilver says:

    Davis has been there and hasn’t been lighting it up.

  145. bpn8pitt says:

    To be completely honest if Marte wasnt hitting so well, Id move Pedro up to #2 or #3 and have him hit between Polanco and Cutch or Cutch and Walker (at cleanup when he comes back).

    They have to find a way to get Pedro going, put him in situations with guys on. Just my opinion anyway…Always thought hitting was contagious.

  146. Rock Ain't Dead says:

    I really think it’s a combination of lack of late movement on the fastball and trouble locating. Whether it’s 93 or 94 mph doesn’t matter of there’s little to no movement and it’s in the heart of the plate.

  147. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pedro has left a huge amount of runners on base all year.Even when he was hitting 4th.I’ve been trying to find the stats,but he was one of the worst in MLB.Period.Didn’t matter where he hit in the line up

  148. Reading says:

    Wait till you’re 51, and you injure yourself putting on your shoes. It gets pretty sad.

  149. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m talking about the process.

    And I don’t think the NFL has antitrust exemptions. Baseball? Yes, but they’ve been pretty neutered.

    I repeat, HM, I’m not telling the NFL what to do or not do. Different issue.

  150. Nate83 says:

    Maz use fangraphs and then switch to the splits tab. It will give you more information then you will ever want but will definately almost always give you the information you are looking for.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=2495&position=3B&season=2014

  151. SeanAY says:

    Well, consider me corrected RE: Grilli’s velocity.

  152. Maz in Iowa says:

    Agreed but Davis is .250 W/risp and Pedro is even worse at .203.Both horrible.I make no excuses for either.This goes back to why the FO stood pat in the offseason.Also the fact there is no one in the minors that could help…unless you consider Matt Hague

  153. Nate83 says:

    My bad I read your post wrong. That link won’t get you what you want but if you don’t usually go to fangraphs it’s still a good link to see how players do in certain situations.

  154. Dom says:

    It’s kind of hard to say where to stop.

    I remember back in the 90s an animal rights group wanted the Packers to change their name because it dealt with those who were packing meat.

    I wouldn’t give that much credence in my mind.

    It’s a tough issue.

    At this point, the issue will not go away until they change their name, so just change it already.

  155. Arriba Wilver says:

    Those are very different issues than what I’m talking about, and what you first raised.

  156. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree, Dom. Just not sure the US Trademark office is the best vehicle to cause the result. Could lead to them having the power to change some things that are less popular with a different political climate. But that’s just how I view things.

  157. bpn8pitt says:

    Sunday he was intentionally walked to get to Barmes. You bat him down there he will never, ever get anything to hit.

  158. bpn8pitt says:

    “THE HIT COLLECTOR !!!”

  159. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pedro stats.Hitting 4th/.209……6th/.257.BTW his avg/obp/slg/ops are all better at 6th.Small sample,but these are stats from this season nonetheless

  160. hockeymonster says:

    I know. Just pointing out that the NFL and pro leagues get more than enough special treatment. Do they always have to get 100% what they want? Or can there be compromise? That’s my only point. Not really sure how i feel about it either cuz snider bought a brand and now that brand may have to change it’s identity.

  161. cmat0829 says:

    OMG, we are now going so far as to recommend MATT HAGUE replace PEDRO?????? I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say that isn’t what Maz meant, but OMG.

  162. Maz in Iowa says:

    You would be correct.Sarcasm-o-meter display was NOT working.Just making a point.

  163. Maz in Iowa says:

    I’m assuming(yeah I know what that means :) )that Walker will be given a shot at clean up when he returns.

  164. KING says:

    I think Grilli has been responsible for most of the Pirates downfall. Pirates battled back to 5-5 and he gives up a long Frazier HR. It’s unacceptable to blow leads this many times. Always excuses for Grilli. In April, people said Braun one of best hitters in the game. Tip the cap to Braun. Now its about Frazier having grand season.

    Grilli hasn’t gotten the job done. He should be DFA’d like Wandy who also was a good guy & professional. Neal H talks about these young talented players in the system. Watson or Wilson could close very easily.

    The Pedro fanatics can fit inside a tiger fish aquarium now. Most Pirates fans can take Pedro’s peaks & valleys but 17 errors now. Killing the team at plate & in the field. No easy solution but I remember in the old Hawaii Five O episode Number One With A Bullet…Allie Francis had one of his men blown up by a rival mob. He says,”We are going to do something.”
    Something has to be done with Pedro & the bench looks like a nice place for a few games. KING

  165. The Gunner says:

    Then keep Pedro in the 6 hole from this point forward. Put Walker in the 4 hole when he returns.

  166. Arriba Wilver says:

    You know, in thinking about it a little more, the denial of trademark protection probably doesn’t mean they can’t use the name, just that they can’t protect against others from using it. Still political decision, but . . .

    The reality probably is, though, that if they can’t protect the sale of “redskins” merchandise they will be forced to change for economic reasons caused by the political decision. Still have an appeal.

  167. He did mean that. And there’s nowhere in my thinking that Grilli is the only reason. On the spontaneously done video — I don’t use scripts — I say ‘singularly most responsible,’ which actually doesn’t even make sense. I meant most responsible. He’s at the top of my list. Hardly alone.

  168. NMR says:

    The guy is putting up career best, by far, walk and strikeout rates and his OBP is above league average.

    His arm is absolutely brutal this year and he’s three homers off his career pace. I don’t know, objectively, what else anyone can say he’s doing “worse”.

  169. Maz in Iowa says:

    In defense of Marte he has played well on defense.Pedro cannot say that.With Walker coming back Harrison should get some at bats while he spells Pedro at 3B.Maybe Pedro needs some time off.Heaven forbid if they should entertain thought about trading him so he can become the next..Brandon Moss/Joey Bats!

  170. Arriba Wilver says:

    You apparently haven’t been watching Wilson lately.

  171. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    haha he is awkward….he’s no longer a sick giraffe, but a giraffe nonetheless

  172. Nate83 says:

    That is more then likely what will happen. How Martin, Alverez and Davis fall in behind Walker will be interesting.

  173. NMR says:

    Brooks claims to be the home of Pitch/fx, but I honestly can’t keep all these things straight.

  174. NMR says:

    I like whre your heads at, but sub Ike Davis for Pedro. Dude is an on-base machine.

  175. NMR says:

    You do not understand the concepts of correlation and causation.

  176. Nate83 says:

    .250 is right around league average and wouldn’t be a problem if any power was coming with it. His on base is still at .350 even with the dipping average so I don’t think he has been the complete disappointment some think he is. His production would be fine from the 6 hole but that is the problem the Pirates don’t have a clean up at this point. Not many teams have their 2nd baseman batting clean up but the Pirates probably will in about a week.

  177. Nate83 says:

    Pedro has played defense just fine. He just hasn’t thrown the ball well. His decision making on balls in play is above average and his ability to actually make the play with the glove has been great. I would much rather throwing be the issue then the fielding. Nothing in his career progression would suggest the throwing shouldn’t regress to something more reasonable. I have to imagine he is putting the work in. Hopefully it translates to the field soon.

  178. NMR says:

    Speaking of, this is pretty cool…

    Ike Davis by situation (BB% / K%)

    Bases Empty 6.8% / 22.9%
    Men On Base 25.5% / 11.7%
    Men In Scoring 31.0% / 8.6%

    Hat tip to my wife for asking why Davis “doesn’t swing like that all the time” after his double last night. A 24% (!!!) jump in walk rate. I’m not nearly a big lineup guy, but I have no clue why anyone would want him hitting cleanup.

  179. Jim S. says:

    My $.02 worth on Grilli is that his arm seems fine, and in fact, he seems to be throwing harder since he returned from the DL. I could be wrong on that, but it is my perception that he is throwing close to as hard as the 1st half last year. I don’t know whether he has lost movement, but I am still seeing a lot of 94 MPH, like last year, although maybe there were more 95′s mixed in early last year and in 2012.

    But, his control seems to be much worse this year. Not many pitchers can consistently succeed if they are behind in the count. Batters get to sit on the fastball, and batters are pretty good when they can zone in on a pitch. Like most pitchers, when Grilli is ahead in the count, I think he’s pretty good. I have no idea, btw, what the count was on Frazier yesterday as I wasn’t watching.

  180. bpn8pitt says:

    Certainly looks good.

    As well as they have hit in the last month, i think there’s much more potential there.

  181. Maz in Iowa says:

    Splitting hairs.17 errors in 69 games..is still 17 errors.When it goes into the books they don’t differentiate between throwing errors and glove errors.They still cost games.If he’s going …”Steve Sax”…this is a problem.Sax could field almost anything….as we all know.He just kept throwing the ball in the seats

  182. Unfortunately, almost no one in the Pirates bullpen seems to shown much command lately and that had better change.

  183. Arriba Wilver says:

    My concern with Ike is he seems to be a bit of a head case. Seems like he brings his disappointing at bats to the field. Need to work in that. Agree he isn’t your ideal cleanup hitter.

  184. dennis g says:

    2-0

  185. Jim S. says:

    To my naked eye, his range and glove both seem very good. I think his hands have actually been very sure. But, you can’t make 45 throwing errors, or whatever pace he currently is on, for the year.

    He may combine close to the best glove/range with the least accurate arm at his position in the league this year. That seems like an odd combo. But, that’s what we have.

    I don’t know how you fix it. It has to be mostly mental at this point, I would think. Sure seems like he holds onto the ball a bit longer than he needs to, and throws it harder than he needs to. Watch Frazier throw. He seems to make it look easy, while it’s a chore when Pedro throws.

  186. NMR says:

    Watson and Melancon say hello.

  187. NMR says:

    Very odd. Guy came with a reputation of being a good defender, too.

  188. pattonbb says:

    Career best strikeout rate? That’s one way to put it. Another way to put it is – tied for most strikeouts by NL 3b.

    You’re probably right. His horrible throws magnify these offensive slumps. And yes, I was surprised to see his obp above .300. I would’ve bet the farm it was below that.

    Back to the original subject, I just think there are other players, in addition to Grilli, responsible for the sub .500 record.

  189. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    If, as DK mentioned in chat yesterday, Jim Rutherford only gets one thing perfect over the next several weeks, it should be the head coach. That being said, I’m really hopeful John Stevens gets the nod. He’s got experience as head coach, and he’s been doing a stellar job in an assistant role with the LA Kings. He’s been charged with the Kings’ PK unit, as well as developing the Kings young defensive prospects. He’s credited with turning Drew Doughty into a complete defenseman, so I can only hope he can resurrect Kris Letang’s defensive development. He seems to have the right type of temperament and approach to be a great fit with the Penguins…

  190. pattonbb says:

    LOL…

  191. Jandy says:

    I’ll agree with that :)

  192. Nate83 says:

    Those are odd stats. Not sure you could find anybody else with such drastic differences for each situation. That’s an amazing walk rate with men on. It shouldn’t be looked at as a negative but it probably shouldn’t be batting 4th. It’s never a bad idea to get more guys on base.

  193. I don’t know about that since late in the game last night, Pedro popped up weakly to third and Andrew McCutchen was thrown out at the plate trying to score on that popup.

  194. Nate83 says:

    I agree the errors have to come down. I was just pointing out I would rather it be the throwing then the fielding. I think it is more correctable. I think the guy just needs to feel on top of the world for a few days and the throwing will take care of itself. Hit a few HR’s and he will feel like superman. There won’t be a feeling of crap I made the play now I have to throw it.

  195. NMR says:

    Absolutely agreed, Nate.

    I think if you’re looking to get guys on base in front of Cutch, Ike Davis just has to be part of that solution.

  196. Polanco was on a tear down in Miami last weekend and he helped the Bucs take two out of three down there so he should be okay.

  197. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know Nate. I view the throwing problems as being mental where I’d view a problem with grounders as being more physical or technique. That’s just me. I feel more on edge with him correcting his throwing issues than I would if it was fielding the ball.

  198. Bizrow says:

    Any word on Lucky?

  199. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  200. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not sure what his hitting has to do with the discussion about how he’s been in the field.

  201. Doc says:

    I hatew to agree with TC about anything but the Boss but, he is right

    ;-)

  202. Doc says:

    Maybe he is just older ?

  203. Melancon walked in the tying run last Friday night in Miami with the bases loaded after replacing Grilli before he somehow got the final out of that inning. And then, it was Jeanmar Gomez who pitched allowed the Bucs to win in 13 after pitching 4 good relief innings, clearly the best the bullpen was to do for that entire series.

  204. Lad 9 says:

    Thoughts and prayers to the Reverend Lucky. Hope all is well.

  205. Nate83 says:

    He has a track record of it not being a problem. I understand the Sax and Knoblauch type issues were they came out of nowhere but I think that is very uncommon and Knoblauch literally was not even coming close from second base. If this was his first year I would be more concerned but his errors in the past have been more evenly distributed between fielding and throwing. The fact that his fielding errors have been much better this year is actually encouraging.

  206. Jandy says:

    No word yet. I’m leaving now to go home and finish packing for Ocean City, leaving 3am. lol
    I will check for word and be sure to let everyone know. Trusty cell phone is going with me.

    be good :)

  207. Arriba Wilver says:

    I have the opposite view, Nate. I think the problems coming up now, at the rate they have, is more concerning.

  208. Ghost says:

    Thank you, Jandy. Glad to hear it’s just that Revvie is taking precautions. Give us the Zoltan pose when you get back, Rev!

  209. Maz in Iowa says:

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

  210. 21sthebest says:

    “The fact that his fielding errors have been much better this year is actually encouraging.”

    As to his fielding errors. As to the throwing, it feels a whole lot different to me. I don’t think you can always count on a player’s track record.

  211. Nate83 says:

    AW I think I’m more then likely in the minority on my point of view on this one so I’m not surprised at all that others think the opposite. I do think it’s mental but I think as his bat gets hot which it does almost every June and July he will stop thinking as much and just throw it across the diamond like he has since an early age.

  212. Ghost says:

    Don’t know where this will show up, but… SeanAy, couldn’t have said it better myself.

  213. Dom says:

    Have Fun!

  214. buggee says:

    Greetings from Palawan, Philippines!
    Beautiful read from Joe Starkey.
    So he yinz… whaddup with the GrilliCheeze?
    Digging “Polanco-looza”
    Keep up the fine with DK. Beautiful article on Coach Noll. You just get better as you age good sir.
    Be well Loonies!

  215. hockeymonster says:

    Have a good trip. Get well soon luckster.

  216. Thundercrack says:

    +1
    :-)

  217. Jim S. says:

    Have fun, Jandy!

  218. Andrew says:

    The issue with Alvarez is he has traded strikeouts for weak contact, .318 OBP is below league average, NL non-pitcher average is .321. Petty point and I cannot argue with the idea that he is one hot streak away from hitting at his normal 112 wRC+ pace. I’ve fully accepted he is not a middle of the order bat.

    But as of now league average hitting and below average defense mean he just hasn’t provide much value. To compound matters he has come to the plate with the most base runners on in the MLB, and is making an out in those situations 71% of the time.

  219. Arriba Wilver says:

    Call me crazy, buy I don’t connect his throwing issues with his batting. THAT would be different than his track record. But, opinions are like . . . .

  220. Andrew says:

    I’m never quite sure what stuff means, I view it as an all encompassing term combining velocity, pitch sequencing and location. I think it is pretty clear that the current Jason Grilli doesn’t currently have the stuff of the pre-flexor tendon injury.

    Year: Batters Faced / K% / BB% / Appearances without a K / Velocity

    2012-July 2013: 412 / 37.9% / 7.8% / 13 / 92.5 mph
    September 2013-Today: 111 / 22.5% / 11.7% / 12 / 93.6 mph

    His Zone% is down a little, first pitch strike a little, but his biggest problem is he doesn’t miss bats at the same rate with both his slider and fastball. More balls in play and more runs, this season is terms of K% – BB% he is 6th among Pirates relievers, Gomez is ahead of him. His velocity is down a little and relievers K rates closely follow velocity, I don’t know if velocity is the cause but whatever the reason he is just not as effective, relievers shelf lives’ are short.

    He is certainly projected to pitch better than his last three outings, but the worry about forearm flexor injuries is they are typically precursors to elbow injuries. The Pirates aren’t losing because Grilli but he is not helping, they have better options for high leverage situations.

  221. Andrew says:

    I don’t see how those splits are bad, not making an out less than 60% of the time with men on is a good thing. I really hate when hitters expanded the zone with men on, Davis isn’t getting in-zone pitches with men on and he isn’t swinging. Honestly outside Walker what are the Pirates other options?

  222. NMR says:

    One outing, James? One outing?

  223. NMR says:

    Since you judge on a game-by-game basis I’ll expect you to claim Pedro is an Al Star next time he hits a homerun.

  224. NMR says:

    Who said tey were bad, Andrew?

  225. Arriba Wilver says:

    Preaching to the choir, Andrew.

  226. cmat0829 says:

    Not sure I can agree with this being a ‘political’ decision.. i think by that you are inferring that someone’s Political beliefs are driving the decision… it is indeed a GOVERNMENT decision, if that is what you mean. Trademarks have to be granted by that bureau, unless you are advocating government just let anyone do whatever they see fit to do….

    I guess where I come down on this is that the context here is completely in the EYE OF THE OFFENDED. I am not Native American so my opinion is irrelevant on this ‘debate’. But substitute the Nashville ‘N-words’ for Washington R-skins.. pretty sure it’s a slam dunk bet that no only would that not be trademarked, the NFL would not allow the team name to continue.

    NFL owners get a ton of benefit from the antitrust exemption that I guess you could call a POLITICAL decision also, since the government grants that exemption. It’s a no brainer…Snyder should change the name, he would then be able to sell all kinds of gear and any ‘losses’ he would claim by the name change will be dwarfed by the new money he makes on the new sales.

  227. NMR says:

    I thought “stuff” was fairly well agreed to mean quality of pitches. Velocity and movement, basically.

    Control describes a pitcher’s ability to throw said pitches in the strike zone.

    Command describes a pitchers ability to locate a pitch where it is intended to go.

    You may not have a metric for it, but there’s a huge difference between the 94 mph fastball Grilli threw Todd Frazier last night and the 94 mph fastball Russell Martin wanted him to throw.

  228. cmat0829 says:

    i think most of us got what you meant DK… goes with the territory of being the closer, if you fail in that role, the impact on the team and on W/L is magnified. Kinda like the starting QB in the NFL. Fact is we can easily point to Ls that would have been Ws if Grilli alone would have done his job. At least 3. But this place can be a nitpicky one!

  229. NMR says:

    With you all the way on this one, AW. That is the benefit of his demeanor,and why they teach it to players.

    Neer too high, never too low.

  230. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not sure what you’re arguing, Cmat. I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not judging the name. The trademark was granted years ago. I also admitted I don’t know trademark law. The article Dom linked made it clear that the decision was extremely unusual.

    Still don’t know what “antitrust” exemption you’re talking about. Hasn’t prevented any lawsuits to my knowledge.

    And I’m not arguing the NFL doesn’t benefit politically by lobbyists, etc. just saying it’s a political decision. I really don’t think that can be disputed. If you’re O K with that, good for you. But don’t tell me it’s not a political decision. We can argue over whether that’s a good or bad thing,

  231. War_Horse says:

    Greetings from the UK, Bungee. Hope you’re having fun on the big island.
    Grilli’s problem seems to be control. At least it’s an issue. Last night he threw a 94 mph fastball on the upper outside corner of the zone to Todd Frazier who hit it out over the center field wall in the ninth and that won the game for the Reds. Martin wanted the pitch to be low and outside, not high. Grilli is 37 years-old and some of our bloggers fear his days are done as a closer. He’s blown a couple of saves since late May and given up 4ERs, 8 hits and 5 BBs in 8 2/3 innings of relief. His ERA this season is slightly lower than his career average. I figure nobody’s perfect, but not all our fellow fans agree.

    The other culprits last night were Pirates’ hitters who left 24 runners on base, six of them by Pedro who committed another throwing error, his 16th of the season. He’s batting 7th in the order tonight.

    Enjoy the sunshine!

  232. Andrew says:

    I just don’t have an issue with Davis batting forth, if the Pirates want McCutchen 3rd, (I’d prefer 2nd or 4th), and with Walker out, who do you put there against RHP?

  233. Arriba Wilver says:

    24 runners left on base? That’s an average of almost 3 an inning. Sounds next to impossible.

  234. Nate83 says:

    I agree with your assesment of Grilli. Although I will say his career numbers come from being a middle relief and 7th inning guy most of his career. Those numbers never established him as a closer and shouldn’t this year either. If he doesn’t improve soon Watson and Melancon’s numbers scream to be used instead of Grilli. Thats not to say he can’t still serve an important role on this team in the 7th or 8th inning.

  235. Arriba Wilver says:

    Looking at the lineup tonight, I was trying to see who was better at 4th, and there isn’t anyone.

    But you seemed to be assuming people were complaining about it.

  236. Arriba Wilver says:

    That was to Andrew.

  237. Jandy says:

    Thanks, guys!

  238. NMR says:

    Why you arrogant son of a…

  239. Arriba Wilver says:

    :-)

  240. NMR says:

    I’ve said for about the last month that Walker should be batting fourth.

    That obviously cannot happen right this moment, but Walker also presumably will once again play for the Pirates some day.

  241. Thundercrack says:

    That’s how bad our hitters are. We make that stat possible.

  242. Andrew says:

    In game, I’ve noticed MLB gamecast will keep a cumulative count of runs left on, so if a batter makes an out with two on and 1 out, and no runners advanced that will be two left on, so the same runner is counted multiple times, that could be the number Warhorse is referring to.

  243. Vinny Giardina says:

    Ditto.

  244. Vinny Giardina says:

    Or throwing your back out when you sneeze.

  245. Vinny Giardina says:

    :)

  246. Jim S. says:

    I don’t see myself watching Cameroon vs. Croatia …. except when it’s World Cup. I’m watching.

  247. hockeymonster says:

    Very good clarification Cmat. +++

  248. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s a different number than LOB, but no need to get technical

  249. Arriba Wilver says:

    Still waiting to hear what the “antitrust exemption” is.

 
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