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July 4, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


295 comments so far - add yours!

Final: Pirates 8, Phillies 2

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (44-41) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (37-48)

Time: 5:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7)

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog. Rob Biertempfel and Travis Sawchik are on the scene for the Trib.

July 4, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


155 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: The Pirates’ treasure map

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column offers three wholly unsolicited slices of advice for the Pirates to become serious contenders in the National League.

I look forward to your feedback on these, as well as any other ideas you might have.

Another chance to sweep, another loss. Travis Sawchik reports from PNC Park.

Francisco Liriano is being farmed out, by Rob Biertempfel.

The Phillies are on deck, by David Golebiewski.

Blogginess from the scene: Ike Davis’ early RBI single sparked such an emotional reaction from the crowd of 27,473, an immediate and vocal ‘Let’s Go Bucs!’ that it actually startled me. Not much at that place does. That did. These people are ready to take off if the team does. … All of Arizona’s damage off Vance Worley came in the span of seconds, it seemed, but he was overall strong again, confident, in command. He’s above-and-beyond earned his spot in the rotation. … It was curious when Clint Hurdle used Ernesto Frieri the first time in a tight game. It was confounding last night. The next time would be indefensible. The guy’s got things to work out, and it shouldn’t happen at the team’s expense. … Pedro Alvarez thrown out at second? Come on. At some point, the identity goes from aggressive on the basepaths to stupid on the basepaths, and it sure looks like that point was passed a few miles back. … Gregory Polanco made one fine running catch, pictured above, but continued to have trouble with his back to the Clemente Wall. Give it time. Rick Sofield, the outfield instructor, told me that’s a challenge even for major-league vets. It’s hard to get a read off the track, and it’s harder still to gauge how and when to back and play the carom. Part of the wall is hard, part is mesh fence. If it hits the hard part, it can ricochet way out. If it hits the mesh, it plops right there. … Best ever at playing that wall: Craig Wilson. And he worked at it. … The Diamondbacks have no business being 15 games under .500. Classic example of a team that gets off to a horrendous start and can’t recover. … Oliver Perez was booed. What in the world did Perez do? What is this civic reflex to boo a familiar name on another team? And that’s all it is, too. There are no other rational explanations.

Here’s Diamondbacks news from the Arizona Republic.

Here’s Phillies news from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

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

>> Patric Hornqvist expressed excitement at joining the Penguins, by Josh Yohe.

As did Steve Downie, also by Yohe. Call me a sucker for a good introductory press conference, but I liked a lot of what Downie had to say. I don’t like this signing. At all. But I like what he had to say, and it will be interesting to see if he can follow through.

Alexei Kovalev retired. We’ll never see another quite like 27, that’s for sure.

Let’s celebrate in style:

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

>> The Riverhounds host Rochester on this Fourth over at Highmark. Matt Grubba will cover.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Riverhounds page.

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

>> I’ll have columns Sunday and Monday on the Pirates. Thank you, as always, for reading.

July 3, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


176 comments so far - add yours!

On location: Diamondbacks 10, Pirates 2

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (44-40) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (35-51)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7)

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog. Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and I are on the scene for the Trib.

July 3, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


279 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: It’s Jordy’s whirl

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show yesterday opened with a discussion about the Penguins’ showing in free agency to this point, and video of that segment is right here:

Also on that front, Christian Ehrhoff was introduced to the Pittsburgh media, including our Josh Yohe.

Total loose cannon Steve Downie was signed, by Yohe.

And Brooks Orpik is interviewed by columnist Joe Starkey. Those who appreciate what No. 44 meant to the franchise for a decade-plus owe themselves to read this. Compelling material.

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

>> Gregory Polanco’s early triple and homer launch the Pirates to yet another victory that has them a season-high four games over .500. Travis Sawchik reports from PNC Park.

Charlie Morton had a solid quality start, and here are a couple Qs I had for him specifically about his four-seam command that sometimes nags:

Blogginess from the scene: Had another chance to kind of roam the locker room last night, with no column due until tomorrow’s editions, so part of my focus was on a play Jordy Mercer made up the middle late in the game. Bouncer, he collected it deep, whirled in a 360, then fired a throw to first. ‘No big deal,’ Mercer told me with a shrug. ‘It’s a play I do every day in practice.’ Not so fast, his partner Clint Barmes would correct later. ‘Not everyone does it with the spin. I have to keep my body facing first. I’ll find a way to face that way. Jordy likes to do the spin, and I’ve got to tell you, it isn’t easy at all. It’s to his credit, absolutely.’ … Jeff Locke told me he believes the Pirates’ starters are being allowed to run up higher pitch counts this season and is really, really happy about it. I don’t have numbers to support that, but it sounds right. Anyone got the data? … To say Starling Marte is starting to look and sound more comfortable in a major-league setting would be understatement. He claims that he’ll do group interviews without a translator only if I’m there — I’ve known him, basically, since childhood — but it isn’t the case. He’s done more than one, and he’s done just fine. More striking, last night, he rode out of the clubhouse on one of those segue devices, except this one had just one wheel. … Starting to hear about ‘The Polanco Effect’ on the Pirates. He’s great, but let’s not rewrite history: The team was 17-13 in the 30 games before his arrival and, in that span, ranked at or near the top of several offensive rankings. This didn’t come out of nowhere. Moreover, Polanco’s Pirates have faced the Reds, Rays, Cubs, Mets and Diamondbacks. … Everything Polanco generates comes from his passion for driving the ball the other way. Clint Hurdle loves it, and it’s easy to see why. ‘Keeps him on every pitch,’ the skipper was telling me a couple nights ago. Brought that up with Polanco last night, and here’s the video of that exchange:

Andrew McCutchen is National League player of the month.  Karen Price has the notebook.

Here’s Diamondbacks news from the Arizona Republic.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

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

>> The Riverhounds won in Dayton on a couple goals by Mike Green, one of the few consistently bright spots in this otherwise lost season. Matt Grubba reports.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Riverhounds page.

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

>> I’ll have columns Friday, Sunday and Monday, and I’m expecting all three to be on the Pirates. Thank you, as always, for reading.

July 2, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


19 comments so far - add yours!

TribLIVE Radio podcast: Reviewing Penguins’ free agency

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

My weekly TribLIVE Radio show began with an open discussion about the Penguins’ many gains and losses in the opening of NHL free agency.

Here’s video of that segment:

Trib hockey writer Josh Yohe checked in from Consol Energy Center on the same topic, and one of the Steelers was the target of our weekly installment from Suckmeter.

Thanks for calling, emailing and listening!

July 2, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


299 comments so far - add yours!

On location: Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (43-40) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (35-50)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7)

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog. Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and I are on the scene for the Trib.

July 2, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


475 comments so far - add yours!

Morning Java: A focus on Marte

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 Josh Yohe, the Trib’s Penguins beat writer, to talk free agency.

And at 2:45, we’ll have a word on the Steelers 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.

>> Ike Davis’s bat was reduced to splinters, but the result was a walkoff single to cap the Pirates’ electric ninth-inning rally over Arizona. The game story is by Travis Sawchik.

A couple questions I had for Starling Marte about his huge hit in the ninth:

Blogginess from the scene: The video above tells you a little about Marte’s at-bat, in which Addison Reed got him to chase at two sliders for two of the ugliest hacks you’ll see. What followed was a glaring mistake. Miguel Montero called for a slider, and Reed just floated it right over the plate. Terrible pitch. But give Marte credit. He’d tell me later that teams have been trying to bust him with a fastball inside after those now-infamous 0-2 counts, so he had to be ready for that or the slider. And what complicated that, as Josh Harrison was explaining to me, was that Reed’s got this “super-funky angle’ for his pitches and that ‘it’s hard to see what he’s got coming.’ Marte did the logical thing: ‘I stayed in my zone. I was not going to go out of my zone.’ … Yeah, I know, why can’t he do that all the time? I don’t know, either, but at least be comforted that it’s a work in progress. … Harrison’s throw to the plate was a thing of beauty, absolute strike. But a couple of guys inside the room were even more impressed at how he and Andrew McCutchen have developed a real rapport in the outfield, especially on gappers. There were a couple in this game in which Harrison’s ‘natural aggressiveness from being an infielder’ took over, and Cutch smartly deferred. Tells me a lot about Harrison’s mounting confidence. … This will be lost in the outcome, but Arizona’s Wade Miley was really good. I write stuff like this knowing it falls mostly on deaf ears — there’s really only one team out there, right? — but Miley drew rave reviews from the Pirates and deserved them all. His command was impeccable. … The Diamondbacks’ defense, in fairness, was just as good. Weird team, huh? You still look at that roster and wonder what they’re doing at 35-50. … Only Jeff Locke can give up eight hits and two walks and pitch eight innings, right? I put that to Clint Hurdle afterward: ‘The command was up just a little bit early. But he stayed with his program, got outs when he needed them. One thing about Jeff is that he lives within the pitch. He doesn’t let other things get to him.’ What an answer, huh?

Catch Hurdle’s even better answer about Pedro Alvarez earlier in the day? Feel free to interpret as you wish, but that bluntness on that topic is a first. Karen Price has the notebook.

Here’s Diamondbacks news from the Arizona Republic.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

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

>> The Penguins signed Team Germany on the first day of NHL free agency. Yohe covers the acquisitions of Christian Ehrhoff and all the rest.

Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Jussi Jokinen and several others find other employment, also by Yohe.

The NHL goes mad, a column by Joe Starkey.

My own views on the beginning of free agency will part of today’s radio show.

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




>> The Americans were terrible.

Sorry, I don’t have one of those bubbly, hey-they-tried-hard parting gifts, other than for the incredible showing by Tim Howard. I see a national program that still, somehow, amazingly, hasn’t developed one significant striker on the international scene in the 24 years since the 1990 return to World Cup play.

That’s not good enough.

Yes, the midfield play was lacking, though Michael Bradley was at least better in this match than those beforehand. And yes, several injuries — all hamstrings, conspicuously — hurt the cause. I believe strongly Jozy Altidore could have made a difference in his ability to receive the ball in and around the box, even if he never scored. But in the end, nothing stands out like Clint Dempsey’s huge letdown vs. Belgium and, in general, the lack of world-class touches when it counts the most.

The U.S. can improve its second-tier status in a lot of different ways, but it’ll be nothing more than varying degrees of second-tier until there’s a big-time scorer at the front. Let’s hope that 19-year-old Julian Green’s wonderful goal in extra time is a harbinger.

On the bright side, a lot of folks were invested, including in our own jam-packed Market Square:

Here are 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.

July 1, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


287 comments so far - add yours!

On location: Pirates 3, Diamondbacks 2

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (42-40) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (35-49)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, Radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7)

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog. Rob Biertempfel, Travis Sawchik and I are on the scene for the Trib.

July 1, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Riverhounds-Dutch Lions, ppd., lightning

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to kickoff …

Match: Riverhounds (1-9-5) vs. Dayton Dutch Lions (4-10-2)

Time: 7:02 p.m.

Site: DOC Stadium, Dayton, Ohio

TV, radio: YouTube USL Pro Channel

Or you can just watch right here on the blog …

Here’s the official live summary.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Riverhounds page with coverage from beat man Matt Grubba.

July 1, 2014
by Dejan Kovacevic


20 comments so far - add yours!

Final: Belgium 2, U.S. 1, extra time, FIFA World Cup

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to kickoff …

Match: United States (1-1-1) vs. Belgium (3-0), FIFA World Cup, Round of 16

Time: 4:01 p.m.

Site: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil

TV, radio: ESPN (national), SiriusXM

Here’s the official live summary.

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

 
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