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Other Pirates bloggers write about what is happening. You write about what it feels like. That is different, and much needed. Thanks.
5 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/october-2014/decompressing.html
Any word on Cutch's foot? Or will we know when Hurdle posts the lineup?
8 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-84-pirates-5-diamondbacks-1.html
Nice writeup on Jeff Locke over at Pirates Prospects. Advanced metrics say he's starting to pitch like the real deal.
8 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-77-pirates-6-rays-5.html
I'm trying to guess who the PTBNL is going to be. Assuming it's one of the 2013 draft picks, right now I'll say Cody Dickson. No one below him has a high enough upside for the Mets to make the trade, Meadows and McGuire are too good to trade for Davis, and JaCoby Jones doesn't fit the Mets' needs as much as a projectable pitcher and the Pirates probably want to keep an infielder who might be able to hit a bit.
Maybe Blake Taylor, but he's kind of young. Who knows, though. I'd be okay with either one if Davis turns out to be half decent. Gotta give to get.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/some-thoughts-on-the-ike-daviszack-thornton-trade.html
What I find heartening is that they actually look like a good team going through some early season adjustments, rather than a bad team rising to .500.
Except Wandy looks pretty rough. I know, early season etc, but it doesn't look like he has any weapons out there.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-13-pirates-8-reds-7-game-14-reds-7-pirates-5.html
I might be overoptimistic, but I don't see a problem other than some hard baseball ahead, same as everyone else has. Volquez will probably go 1-3 before Locke or Pimentel or Cumpton takes his place. Ishikawa is Jones minus the power; okay.
But the team plays hard and expects to win. That can't be measured, but it can be seen. It can be seen in the difference between the way the team responded to losing streaks in '12 and the way they responded in '13.
I don't predict. But I do anticipate. And I anticipate having a real blast watching the Pirates play this year, a feeling I haven't had for a long time.
11 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/march-2014/are-the-2014-pirates-a-pitching-team-or-a-hitting-team.html
Just as important is noting that Ryan Doumit is the worst defensive catcher in terms of framing over the past five seasons. I never doubted his competitiveness, just his ability.
1 year ago on Monday Morning Required Reading: Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks on Pitch Framing
And now it's official, we've signed the Clint Barmes of catchers.
1 year, 3 months ago on Olney: Pirates close to trading for Chris Stewart
I remember the post where you wrote about how you were thinking of giving it all up, but then decided to keep at it. I'm glad you did.
I hate to say it, but I bet I wasn't alone when I thought it was over when the Bucs didn't win Monday.
And this team was pretty freakin' good for not being able to hit. They did a nice job of compensating by being outstanding on defense, including pitching, and by improving their base running over previous years. We didn't like the ending, but this season was a hell of a lot of fun.
1 year, 4 months ago on NLDS Game 5: Cardinals 6 Pirates 1 (and so much more)
You watch, I'm calling it right now. Daydro will be the hero Monday in game 4. Bet on it.
1 year, 4 months ago on NLDS Game 3 Preview: Francisco Liriano vs. Joe Kelly
One of the great things about AJ IS the "Sit the **** down!", though. It's not that we can be guaranteed that he gives 100%, because everyone on the team is giving 100%. And anyhow AJ's 100% might not be good enough to win. It's that natural showmanship. In the end, we're sports fans because it's fun to be a sports fan, and we like watching players who we can see are laying it all out. I know they are the best in the game, from Cutch to Lambo every one there earned it with physical, mental, and emotional talent. But the part that makes it EXTRA fun to watch, the icing on the cake that over the course of two seasons leads to 40,000 fans chanting "KWAY-TOE!" is "SIT THE **** DOWN!"
1 year, 5 months ago on AJ Burnett and the road to the NLDS
@bwzimmerman Wouldn't AJ be pitching on 3 days rest then? Man, I dunno about that one. I'd rather have Cole on Sunday, but I'm just some guy.
1 year, 5 months ago on The final week
Okay, I'm knocked over by those games because I expect this team to win them. Better? Sorry I made a common fan's mistake by assuming the team's persona as mine. Hell, I would have expected the 2008 team to win that one.
I bet you I've been watching as long as you have, and likely longer, but I don't think that is a useful statistic. Our gracious host here has been watching since I was in my 40s, and he is far more astute than I am.
Don't get all bent out of shape about it. I'm the guy who wrote that if they got to 80-60 and lost the next 22, the sun would come up the next day. But that game last night, it was wrenching.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 154: Reds 6 Pirates 5
@lee1943 I would prefer to be devastated by it than satisfied with it, if that's what you're asking. And I think the players themselves would consider accepting it because they weren't expected to do better than 82 wins an insult.
Now, on the scale of things that would upset a player, a fan's insult, especially a backhanded one like that, is somewhere below a mosquito bite. But still. We're knocked over by it because we expect to win those games.
@PatStuart Ahhhh, I'm just mouthing off. I know winning is the best solution.
@PatStuart How about Kyle Farnsworth? He isn't going to be on the post season roster.
Just another way to be a Pirates fan.
How about the cards coming back to tie the Rockies, then giving up 4 in the bottom of the 8th? I'd rather run into the buzzsaw that was Cashner last night. He was dealing. Yeah, he was helped by the Pirates' propensity for aggressively striking out, but that kid was going to beat any team on the planet last night. The Bucs' only hope was to get him into a high pitch count in the later innings, and he never got there. No hits, one hit, four hits, it wouldn't have mattered: he was quick, efficient, and accurate.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 150: Padres 2 Pirates 0
@mwr505 You do know that the Reds have the best defense in baseball this year? They turn more balls into outs than any other team, Pirates included. They'll have their bad games, like any team will, but those guys are really good. They get to more balls and make fewer errors (3rd best in MLB).
Marte and Cutch are awesome, but Marte had a Little League drop and Cutch had that ball skip past him that led to 2 runs and a guy on 3rd. Both errors led directly to losses. It doesn't mean they suck, though.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 149: Pirates 3 Reds 2
Grilli's lower velocity is definitely a concern, but the first two
batters of the inning didn't seem to notice the lost mph. They looked
PitchFX says the umpire got that ball right. It was close, but it was outside. The one that Rizzo hit, that was a damn good pitch, right on the edge in the lower inside corner with lots of movement; the guy just nailed it, is all. A moonshot.
Son of a gun, I'd told Mrs that I was going to take last night off, and I wound up checking the score on MLB At Bat and then watching the rest of the game after the bang-bang-bang. Oh well.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 147: Cubs 5 Pirates 4
Aaaaaaand, Cards lose!
Nice game by Locke, really nice. What I think he is doing again is working quickly, taking less time between pitches. He seemed to slow down in July and August.
I love seeing him and AJ together during the game. If Locke learns the knuckle curve he'll be unhittable. But just absorbing the attitude, that works for me.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 146: Pirates 3 Cubs 1
I don't necessarily want to see the Bucs make a habit of giving up 4 or 5 runs, but it's nice to see them give up 4 or 5 runs and win. That is a promising sign this time of year, actually.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 145: Pirates 7 Rangers 5
I've tried to write something in response, but every time I've tried I've looked at it and thought, "That's just about me."
The beauty of what you've done is written about yourself, but made it about all of us. Thanks.
1 year, 5 months ago on 82 wins
Yeah, I should have said "For me....". It's been a long time, hasn't it! Cheers, Eephus! Raise it! 19 more to go, then October baseball!
1 year, 5 months ago on Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish face off as Pirates look to snap losing streak
@Eephus The proper response is a satisfied inward smile, and a good night's sleep after a rough weekend.
@mwr505 I know what you're saying, but they aren't pretenders. They've played even with the best teams in the NL to this point. Those other teams, their falterings came earlier in the year. The Bucs, theirs have been the last 20 games. But right now, everyone is pretty much even. Anything can happen, starting tonight.
But yeah, the Bucs need a break. Beating Yu Darvish 1-0 would be a good start. Let's go Gerritt.
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 142: Cardinals 9 Pirates 2
This team has the potential to win the division.
Unfortunately for us, this team also has the potential to finish the season 0-20. (0-24, actually, but the first 4 of those are already in the bag.)
What has been most troubling for me hasn't been the hitting, or the pitching, but the return to bad baseball: the bad fundamentals in the field and on the bases, the mental lapses, and the questionable coaching. That was why we felt out of the game after the 3rd inning on Sunday. When the team is playing good baseball, 5 runs feels like a challenge rather than a wall. Yeah, 5 runs, but they pick up a couple here, a couple there, and all of a sudden a couple hits and the Bucs win!
Look at the shoulders slumping, watch the way they go about their business. This team needs a couple breaks in a row to get their mojo back.
Y'know, I'm not as concerned about pitching matchups as I was before we added Morneau and Byrd. I'm pretty confident these Bucs can put 4 runs up on anyone, and I'm equally confident that they can hold the Cards to 3 runs or less. Locke will be good for at least one game. The Pirates need 5 innings out of him: remember, Grilli is back. I'll trust Watson, Grilli, and Melancon with the last 4 innings against anyone.
5-2, 5-3, 7-5. Bucs sweep. Stick a fork in St Louis, the Cardinals are done. (Yeah, predictions are stupid, but if it happens I can say I called it!)
1 year, 5 months ago on AJ Burnett and the Cardinals
Damn tablet. Thought I'd lost that in editing!
"... more games turn into shootouts than stall at 3 runs from here until the end of September."
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 139: Brewers 9 Pirates 3
This wasn't all on Liriano, though. HR/HBP/2B with no outs yields one run? Yikes. I didn't know Morneau was that slow. (In all fairness I thought he was going to score, nice set of relays by the Brewers.) And Alvarez not producing with a runner on 3rd twice? Oh, man. I know, it comes with the territory, but... And the errors. The error at 2nd, Liriano's fumbled bunt, the fumbled comebacker double play/out at home choice, the misplayed doubled-off-first from Byrd to Walker, the wild pitch through Buck's 5 hole...
The Bucs had lots and lots of opportunities to make this a football score shootout. A break here and a break there and it's 10-7, or 9-6, something like that, or 7-6, or 7-7 going into extras.
All in all, I'd like to chalk this one up to "Bucs Play Like Crap, Lose". And it happens. Look at the Red Sox/Tigers score this morning. There's a lot of promise to this lineup, and I really think that we'll see more games like this turn that way from here on out
In 1992 I was one year into a new job, one where I worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week. Our daughter was 18 months old; if you have kids, you know what I mean. I watched that last game of '92 falling asleep and waking up, falling asleep and waking up; my wife shook me awake to watch the end of it, but all I remember is Bream sliding home on a bright screen in a dark room. I groaned, we turned off the TV, and the next morning life went on.
At the time, all news was going by in a blur. I knew in a vague way that the Bucs were going to get broken up, but my mindset was more, "OK, so we'll bring up some new guys. What the hell am I going to do about all those held contracts from last week?"
I tell that story to point out: none of us had any idea. Through the next 20 years, the only other really strong feeling I got was from the mid 2000s, when I was listening to the Bucs on XM while washing the car (something I loved to do with my dad in the '60s and '70s). They were playing the Brewers, and the Brewers kicked the snot out of the Pirates, and I realized that I really, really hated the Brewers.
So that's it. Not knowing, and hating the Brewers. That's what's kept ME going all these years.
1 year, 6 months ago on 81 wins
Just last night my wife asked me, "If you could spend an evening with any current athlete from any sport, who would it be?"
Wow. Sure, Cutch would be up there. He seems like a really low key guy for a superstar. Polamalu? Damn. Well sure. Leaving Pittsburgh: people seem to love Peyton Manning. Sid the Kid? Too young, I'm almost 60. The Olympic guys & gals, I don't really know any of their personalities. Hoops, forget it, I don't watch.
I picked Jason Grilli. I like the fact that he's been down, and kept working, and he reached the top late in his career. He seems really well grounded, like the kind of guy who would appreciate a good barbecue.
Welcome back, Cheese man!
1 year, 6 months ago on Jason Grilli is back
It's an admission of helplessness in the face of fate. I don't BELIEVE it is going to happen, not even close. But I understand that it can. I can't be a Pirates fan without knowing that it can. (FTR, I believe the Bucs will win the division.)
1 year, 6 months ago on 80 wins
I am ridiculously amped for September... but I understand that they could go 0-25.
Johnson knows what he did, too. He said something to the effect that he was handed his opportunity and he blew it. Which sucks for everyone, because we lost to the Cards and he probably won't get another opportunity. At least not with the Pirates. I hope.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 136: Cardinals 7 Pirates 2
I just loved seeing Morneau enter the dugout mid game, with a huge smile on his face, and Hurdle turns around and giving him a big hug. Y'know, that's as important as anything. It was as recent as last year that Pittsburgh had the reputation as a place you didn't want to go; now they have a reputation as a good young team with a player's manager, one that has strong fundamentals, a strong foundation, and a bright future with good talent in the pipeline.
Winners want to play for winners. Guess what: winning games solves everything.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 135: Pirates 7 Cardinals 1
Good lord people. Let the pessimists be pessimists. It's not like there isn't any reason for that attitude.
The reason we do that is so that if it happens it doesn't hurt as much. I'm as rah-rah as anyone, but if the Pirates got to 80-60 and then went 0-22, it wouldn't surprise me.
I'm excited as hell about September, and the reason for my excitement is that the Bucs have played their best baseball against the Cardinals and the Reds. Yeah, we're backing the lame horse in this race, I get that. But if there is one way to take this thing, one way that I would prefer over all others, it is head-to-head against the teams we are up against. None of this "We have to beat the Giants and Mets, and they have to lose to the Cubs and Padres" crap. Bring it.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 133: Brewers 4 Pirates 0
Geez Pat. one of the reasons I like reading you is that you make so much sense. Even when we disagree, I see what you mean. Even when we are thinking at cross purposes, I can see why.
But I think this is just plain nuts. And even more, I would be excited as all get out if the Bucs actually did this, which there isn't a chance in hell of actually happening.
1 year, 6 months ago on Who should start on Sunday? I've got a suggestion.
Vic Black? Love him, but bu-bye. Same with Herrera. Where the Bucs are RIGHT NOW is where we would want those guys to take them in the future.
Good move by Huntington. The farm system is strong enough now that he can trade those guys and it is still strong. Hoka-hey.
1 year, 6 months ago on Victor Black is the PTBNL in the Marlon Byrd deal
@mwr505 He should probably write "Pence". That would make some heads explode, huh?
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 130: Giants 4 Pirates 0 (a late recap)
@justinzeth The Pirates are 5 wins over their theoretical W/L. That's good, but not unheard of. The Reds are 2 wins over. The Cards are 5 games unde. Wwhich you can interpret to mean that they are losing games they should have won, which many consider to be the sign of a team in trouble. I would think that there are more things wrong with a team 5 games underperforming than there are with a team 5 games overperforming.
Head to head with the Reds and Cards they are 7-6 and 8-5... or more illustratively, the Reds are 6-7 against the Pirates, and the Cards are 5-8. So when it comes down to it, the Bucs are winning against the best competition they face. 3-4 against the Braves? That's OK. 2-4 against the Dodgers... the Dodgers are good. But add 'em up. Pittsburgh is 20-19 against 1st place and prospective wild card teams. Add in the D-backs and they're 23-22. And that means that they're as good as their best competition... not on paper, but on the field, where it counts.
It's freakin' awesome. I mean, really. I'm pissed when they lose not because they're awful. And not because they're in the middle of a collapse. I'm pissed because I want them to stay in FIRST PLACE. I don't want to put it all on a play-in game. IMO give the Pirates a 5 or 7 game set and they can take 3 or 4 from the best in baseball. It won't be pretty, and they might get outscored. But they could lose that play-in game before they get a chance.
So, I'm pissed because I think we can win it all. And that's great.
Here is what I liked:
The all right-handed lineup against Bumgardener, Neil Walker notwithstanding.
The quick hook on Morton in the 8th. Give me fresh arms!
2:29 game time. Nice efficient outing! Us "olds" can't stay up until 2AM for the Bucs no matter how hard we try.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 127: Pirates 3 Giants 1
What is reassuring for me is that the Bucs are beating up a weaker team and looking better in doing it. I always forget that the Pirates play a pretty high level of competition for most of the season; no other NL division has two teams as good as the Reds and Cards, or three teams as good as the Reds, Cards, and Bucs. And the D-backs are pretty decent, it isn't unexpected that they'd take 2 of 3 from a team ahead of them in the standings.
Bring it. Cole is back on his home turf (Cali), and he'll be hyped up, which could go either way but I'm confident we're going to see Future Gerrit Cole this afternoon.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 125: Pirates 8 Padres 1
I don't believe that WILL happen; all I say is, if it happens, I won't be plussed. If they got to 80-60 and then lost 22 in a row, I would get up and turn on the Steelers like nothing happened.
To those that say the team is mentally strong right now, I say that they are pressing at the plate, swinging at balls in the dirt and balls a foot outside, suckers for changing speeds. This team is tight, this team knows about the history. Does that mean that they'll succumb? Nope. But they'd better relax and start swing an easy bat, and that's better said than done.
Every win is the start of a streak. Every streak breeds confidence. Winning games solves everything.
1 year, 6 months ago on When 'should win' becomes 'have to win'
It's not that I BELIEVE that they'll go 10-34; it's just that if they did, as a fan I would take it in stride. It's not like I'm not used to it. I would just figure that one of these years they'll be 80-60, and then go 0-22. Each year, a little bit closer, but still not quite there...
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 118: Cardinals 4 Pirates 3
Here's the thing, though. And I'm pretty sure I represent just about all Pirates fans on this.
First, this team feels different. Yeah, we're all aware of how thin the talent is, but at least it's really good talent. So, the team feels different. Last year's team hit better in June and July, but this team has better fundamentals, especially on the bases and in the field. It's OK to throw the ball into the stands as long as you're throwing it to the right base.
Second, if the collapse is coming, this is the start of it. Because as different as this team feels, we can't unremember last year, or the year before. 10-35? Yeah, we've seen THAT before.
Third, that is what makes the next three games much more important TO US FANS than they are to the standings. As fans, in order to erase the stigma of the past from our minds we need to see a non-collapse, here, and now. We need to see 2-1 or 3-0 in St Louis, not because of the standings but because believing in the Pirates is different than believing in the Steelers. Right now, believing in the Pirates means understanding that you might have to believe another couple or three more years, or maybe it's knowing that there might be a hint of light that you think you might see behind that cloud that fills the sky all the way to the horizon. In order to change that (and really only to change that for 2013), we need to see at least 2-1.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 117: Rockies 3 Pirates 2 and the lost weekend in Colorado
If history has any say it will be Pittsburgh-Baltimore.
1 year, 8 months ago on The best in the dark
It's Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football, isn't it.
1 year, 8 months ago on Game 72: Reds 2 Pirates 1
I dunno, man. Even the '27 Yankees lost some tough ones. It would have been nice to have had another run up going into the ninth, but the Reds are pretty good and they went in with none. It would have been better to have not lost two guys to pickoffs, but the Reds had a guy thrown out at the plate.
The Bucs could be hitting better, but they've earned where they're at. Nothing Piratey about it.
Pat, that is EXACTLY how I listened! On the way home from work, Walker homers. While eating dinner, nothing happens. Then the Tigers score, and after a little bit I say to Mrs, "Well, they're probably not going to win this one. I'm going for ice cream, what do you want?" And driving back from Mountain Freeze: double, double, squeeze!
I've gotten pretty pissed at Hurdle for all the other squeezes that haven't worked, but they were all worth it for this one. This was a statement. This was a Muhammed Ali wind up and hit you with the other fist. This team can play. I'm going to say it now, in May: this year the Bucs make the playoffs.
1 year, 9 months ago on Game 53: Pirates 5 Tigers 3