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I don't think it's controversial to suggest the Cardinals have the better of a Wainwright-Locke matchup. Actually I don't think it's particularly controversial to suggest the Cardinals are generally a better team either. So kindly go fuck yourself.
6 months ago on Game 140: Cardinals 12 Pirates 8
If the Pirates are really starting Locke tonight against Wainwright that's basically a forfeit and makes a sweep pretty likely. Doesn't matter much at this point; I think the Pirates are basically locked into going to either St. Louis or Cincinnati for the play-in game. But obviously you want to see them playing well heading into it.
@Eephus Then you wouldn't object to betting $100 against my $5 that they'll make the playoffs, right?
6 months, 1 week ago on Game 133: Brewers 4 Pirates 0
@DouggieB I get the YOU'RE NOT A REAL FAN ritual every time I suggest the Steelers might not go 19-0.
Pretty sure the Cardinals are going to sweep us. I'll be happy if the Pirates can take just one game out of three; Arizona's still the team I'm keeping an eye on.
The Pirates may never be this close to the playoffs again, and in the absence of any evidence whatsoever that limiting innings keeps young pitchers from getting hurt, the Pirates need to keep using Cole every fifth day unless/until he makes it obvious he's exhausted (as Locke did at least three weeks ago and consistently has reinforced with every start).
This is a playoff push. The Pirates of all teams ought to understand that nothing should be held back.
Marte can't even pick up a bat yet and there are rumors that it may be the dreaded hamate injury. Hopefully that's not true, but the Byrd pickup signals that Marte's season is probably over.
6 months, 1 week ago on Game 130: Brewers 7 Pirates 6
Actually I'm glad the Cardinals are trouncing the Reds, because it keeps hope alive that maybe, just maybe, PNC Park will get to host the coinflip game.
Sending Locke to the DL is no longer necessary, as rosters will expand before his next scheduled start. There is absolutely no excuse for Locke taking the field again in 2013. He's done. Time to send him home to rest.
I'm not worried about the Cardinals because the Pirates weren't going to win the division anyway. More worrisome is that the Diamondbacks, currently hosting San Diego, are now 7.5 back. If the Pirates drop 2 of 3 to the Brewers--or, god help us, get swept by them--then chances are that by the time St. Louis leaves town the Diamondbacks are going to be only about 3-4 games behind and it will officially be time to panic.
Well what do you know, Jeff Locke got lit up like a movie marquee again! I never saw THAT coming.
6 months, 1 week ago on The biggest homestand in PNC Park history is happening again
It is mind boggling that Hurdle keeps running Locke out there every fifth day to get lit up like a Christmas tree. I get the feeling he thinks the team's spot in the playoffs is secure. It is not. The Pirates cannot afford to be giving away games, especially not to the Brewers.
6 months, 1 week ago on Waivers claims and other links
Or just hurt, in Marte's case.
6 months, 1 week ago on Game 130: Giants 4 Pirates 0 (a late recap)
@MattGajtka Yeah, that's just the thing--they've had guys overachieving and still were mediocre-to-below-average at run scoring. Now that guys like Marte and Martin are cooling off a bit it's become just a really bad lineup.
They still play great defense, of course, but even with good pitching and great defense, it's hard to win games when you only score 2 or 3 runs.
@Ugarles Alvarez should not be batting behind McCutchen, ever, period. And he definitely should be lifted for a pinch hitter when the LOOGY comes in--if a passable righthanded hitter is on the bench. Alvarez hits like a pitcher against LOOGYs.
I hate to make Pirates fans nervous, but I think you're being far too optimistic. I think that in fact the Pirates have very little chance at winning the division and are far from assured of being in the playoffs at all.
First off there's the problem that the Pirates are not as good as the Cardinals or Reds or probably even the Diamondbacks. The lineup overachieved for two-thirds of the year, but that's over now and it's a bad lineup. They can't score runs unless the other team's starting pitcher shows up with nothing. And their rotation has been a strength, but Locke is finished, Burnett is flagging and every game pitched by Liriano without breaking down is a bonus. So they won't likely hang with St. Louis and Cincinnati. I think they'll likely finish at least 5-6 games back of both.
They're still up 8.5 on the Diamondbacks, but have you looked at the schedule? Of the Pirates' 32 remaining games, 15 are against playoff teams (Cardinals, Reds, and three games in Texas the Pirates will be lucky if they can win one of); of the Diamondbacks' remaining 33 games, only 7 are against playoff teams (all the Dodgers, who are going to cool off by the time Arizona plays them). 8.5 is a lot of ground to cover in five weeks, but a scenario where the Pirates finish 9-23 (ending up 85-77) while the Diamondbacks finish 20-13 (ending up 86-76) is far from unfathomable.
I think next year's team has a chance to be really good if they can sign a starting pitcher or preferably two. I desperately want someone other than Clint Hurdle managing it.
If the Giants let Lincecum hit the market this winter I wouldn't mind seeing the Pirates kick the tires on him.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on An opportunity exists
It was obvious to everyone except Huntington and Hurdle at least two starts ago that Locke needs to be shut down for the year. Something is very wrong with him, and whatever it is, continuing to run him out there to get lit up like a movie marquee every fifth day is only going to make it worse.
Still, as you had said, winning the Locke-Cain matchup was huge and makes it a hell of a lot easier to at least earn a split and hopefully take three of four.
Even Clint Hurdle is smart enough to give Pedro Alvarez a day off when Madison Bumgarner takes the mound, right? Because if Alvarez batted 100 times against Bumgarner he would strike out 90 times. I feel like this is a simple enough fact that even the manager of a major league baseball team should be expected to know it.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 127: Pirates 10 Giants 5
I think you're overlooking (willingly?) a real problem here, which is that the Pirates' lineup is weak and they are really struggling to score runs. They've lost a few blowouts, but mostly the pitching has been good and they've been losing games because they can't score. There's no easy solution to this; they just don't have anybody in the lineup who's much better than an average hitter for his position except Andrew McCutchen (and Alvarez, I guess, but he's extremely flawed, by which I mean he should be a strict platoon hitter but he mashes righties SO well that you can't sit him against every lefty without angering him and the fans.) And a third of the lineup is near-automatic outs (pitcher, RF du jour, Barmes/Mercer, though Mercer's been playing well enough to make Barmes' presence on the roster inexplicable).
There's really only one outcome to this season that I dread and fear: the Pirates collapsing sufficiently to miss the playoffs, but not sufficiently to finish under .500, causing the front office to regard the season as a success and fail to fire Hurdle. I'd rather them collapse all the way to 79-83 and get Hurdle fired than that.
Unfortunately that exact outcome--84-78, no playoffs, Hurdle back in 2014--is starting to look uncomfortably plausible. Arizona is a better team than Pittsburgh. 7.5 games out of 40 better, well, we'll see. But it would take a really epic collapse to fail to win 81 games, to the point it's almost inconceivable (it would require an 8-32 finish).
But Hurdle really, really needs to go. He's awful. I think the 2014 Pirates have a chance to be really good, and Hurdle has a chance to really hold them back.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 122: Diamondbacks 4 Pirates 2
I know the Pirates hesitate because they don't really have any SP depth, but at this point they probably need to shut Locke down. He's either exhausted, hurt, or both and he just keeps getting worse every time he goes out there.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on Jeff Locke and Trevor Cahill take the mound
Best solution: Bat McCutchen second, the switch-hitting Walker
third, Alvarez fourth. It prevents the opponent from being able to bring
in a *OOGY after IBB'ing McCutchen, and it also de-incentivizes
pitchers from pitching around Marte with a runner on.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 120: Cardinals 6 Pirates 5
Research and analysis like this is what makes this one of the best Pirates blogs in existence.
I think it bears mentioning that a sudden struggle to locate/loss of control, NOT loss of velocity, is one of the classic first symptoms of an elbow injury. Of course it's not smoking-gun proof and often it turns out to be nothing, but if anything this data coupled with Grilli's leaving the game push me toward strongly suspecting Grilli will be lying down on Dr. Andrews' operating table soon.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Jason Grilli's recent struggles and last night's injury