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Re: the Byrd trade: I'd say the difference between playing the WC at home or in Cincy is huge, and I'd further say that the difference between playing 5 games in the NLDS and watching the friggin' Reds play the friggin' Cardinals in the NLDS is similarly huge. 


It would be nice to have Dilson Herrera. What I had instead, in 2014, was almost certainly better. And Marlon Byrd's power was [insert caveat about how we don't know what would have happened without the trade] absolutely a part of that.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/trade-deadline-tuesday-a-roundup-and-a-few-thoughts.html

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Glad Hurdle saved Watson last night so he could underuse him again tonight. Quality dugout work from the skip.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-90-cardinals-5-pirates-4.html

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I think after yesterday's experience with AJ they are maybe coddling Polanco a little. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/judgment-week.html

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Meek is such a bad example. Look at the 2010 NL All-Star roster. He was ABSOLUTELY a pity pick for the Bucs. McCutchen didn't make the team because Michael Bourn had to make the team as Houston's pick and Byrd did for the Cubs. He got squeezed out because there was a second superficially credible player on the Pirates. 


Olbermann blew a gasket over the selection and, in 2010, I agreed with him. Meek was never allowed to pitch when it mattered. His great first half numbers were meaningless. 2014 Watson is no Evan Meek. He is throwing up zeros in critical innings for the last calendar year, not just half season.


I was thrilled with this pick. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/the-pirates-are-the-best-example-of-the-argument-against-relievers-as-all-stars.html

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One of the more interesting things about human psychology is that knowing something and being unable to to act on that knowledge is insanely common.  You can read a million studies on how satisfaction of short-term desires undermines long-term planning and still, you'll eat the cupcake and ruin your diet.


All this is to say that I've been saying the exact same things regarding BABIP and observing how it seems that all the hard hit balls go right at fielders, while getting unlucky with our own defensive shifts... but I've still decided to panic a little.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/may-2014/slow-starts-gregory-polanco-and-everything-else.html

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When you score 0 runs there are no critical moments on defense, only annoying ones.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-26-cardinals-7-pirates-0.html

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I don't like the late-inning bunting (though Gaby's platoon splits are bad enough that I console myself that at least he didn't GIDP swinging away) but I *do* like saving Cole to face the Cards #4 starter instead of the Cubs.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-3-cubs-3-pirates-2-2.html

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Starling Marte's deal averages ~$Volquez/yr. Insanely good.

6 months, 4 weeks ago on Heyman: Pirates agree to extension with Starling Marte

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my big fear at this point is that too much of the team's success was a result of tactics - notably the shifts and pitching staff construction to take maximum advantage of them. The utility was so clear, I'd be stunned if there isn't mass adoption across the league, killing the advantage we got from them.

12 months ago on There and back again: What do the Pirates need to do this winter?

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I was in college, sitting on a shitty couch in a dingy dorm basement and lept out of my seat when Carmelo hit that ball. I thought I knew pain when Braggs pulled it back but a couple of years later I'd learn what pain really was.

1 year ago on A brief rundown of the long and mostly unhappy history of the Pirates/Reds postseason meetings

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"Short term results, you say. OK EVERYONE GATHER ROUND FOR BUNTING PRACTICE.... YES, YOU TOO, ANDREW."

1 year ago on A few thoughts for the last off-day

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Out of the valley.

1 year ago on Game 157: Pirates 2 Cubs 1

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I want someone to throw a stick in the Nationals' spokes too. I need at least one weight lifted from my shoulders.

1 year, 1 month ago on Recovery

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I don't think everything is mutually exclusive, though. I don't "mind" the loss or even the 1 hitter because Cashner WAS dealing and it is just bad luck that the few times the Bucs made solid contact, the Padres defense did the work (thinking Barmes' line drive and McCutchen's DP ball specifically).

On the other hand, Hurdle DOES always seem to give AJ just enough rope to hang himself (Grilli, now, too). On the third hand, faith in your staff is important. AJ and Grilli would probably be furious if they were treated like September callups and that can't be ignored completely.

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 150: Padres 2 Pirates 0

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Can we lower AJ's hard number? Because everyone seems to notice his effectiveness slipping a couple of batters before the number comes up.

1 year, 1 month ago on Neal Huntington on Gerrit Cole

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When he showed up the Bucs were up by SIX. 

1 year, 1 month ago on This is it (for now) part 2: AJ Burnett's turn

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I don't want to know that Morneau is in Pittsburgh until he comes out of the dugout into the on deck circle to pinch hit in the with with a runner in scoring position to a standing ovation. I also want the Pirates to be winning by five runs already.

1 year, 1 month ago on This is it (for now) part 2: AJ Burnett's turn

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I am the last remaining Pirate fan with faith in Jeff Locke.

1 year, 1 month ago on Waivers claims and other links

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It seems unthinkable but in a late-and-close game, with runners on base, if a lefty is brought in to face Pedro, I want Hurdle to consider a pinch hitter. 

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 130: Giants 4 Pirates 0 (a late recap)

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@Operation Shutdown That is basically how I became a Pirate fan in Queens in 1979. It was mostly the Little League experience but having it reinforced with a WS win didn't hurt.

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 127: Pirates 3 Giants 1

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Locke is having trouble locating pitches. Particularly against righties, too much lands outside, failing to come back over the plate and then he overcompensates a bit and can leave balls over the plate. THAT SAID, he had some really terrible ground ball luck in the 4th. The Pill single that set up the two runs in the fourth went about 20 feet despite a swing for the fences and he was equally unlucky that Blanco didn't hit the ball hard enough to get a DP before Moscoso's AB.

As fortunate as he was that Sanchez caught the liner to end the inning, he was unlucky to have multiple baserunners at all.

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 127: Pirates 10 Giants 5

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@Eephus That's exactly how I think too. Outlast the starter, beat up the pen. 

1 year, 2 months ago on Gerrit Cole and Jose Fernandez: The Rematch

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Gerritt Cole's pitch count is under control, he is getting plenty of rest between starts, they are pulling him from games before things get dicey. TNSTAAPP and all that but he is being handled with appropriate care. I'm not worried that a couple of extra weeks of work are a genuine danger to him, especially if he ends up in the bullpen for the Very Important Games That Need Not Be Named Yet.

1 year, 2 months ago on Tuesday morning links

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I'd be more worried about Cumpton if the Cards weren't also sending a AAAA pitcher to the hill.

1 year, 2 months ago on Game 105: Pirates 2 Cardinals 1

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I can handle a loss like this. The early, frustrating RISP problems aside, the error-laden first inning was an anomaly and AJ was pretty great after that debacle, and the comeback was something to behold. I actually missed the bottom of the 9th - was the FC before the homer a possible DP?

1 year, 2 months ago on Going for the sweep, plus today's rumors

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I was thinking the same about Olt. He'd kill for Pedro's MLB strikeout percentage in the minors. He was in AA for a couple of games, and while he had 4 or 5 XBH in 13 at-bats, he struck out SIX times. Yeesh.

1 year, 2 months ago on Warning: It looks like a seller's market

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SF scored 3 in the first on Cincy in the second game of the doubleheader so we may still pick up a half-game  tonight.

1 year, 3 months ago on Game 98: Pirates 5 Nationals 1

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We may as well assume we're going to lose against Kershaw. perfect low-pressure opportunity for Cumpton

1 year, 4 months ago on Brandon Cumpton gets a tall task in his big league debut

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I don't know why I think this - pure hunch - but a pick like Taylor almost seems like "you will take below-slot money and if you don't we'll use your slot money to get other picks to sign". He certainly doesn't have the track record to get a 7-figure bonus despite how his tools project.

1 year, 4 months ago on Pirates take Blake Taylor in the second round, plus some more on Meadows and McGuire

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I'm dubious that Grilli will be "unavailable" if the Bucs have a 1 run lead in the 9th.

 

That said, I'm generally happy with how Hurdle has been managing. It's like he realized that he doesn't have a lineup of AAA hitters anymore, so he is more content to try for the big inning instead of bunting for one run as soon as he's got a runner on first.

1 year, 5 months ago on There are no style points in baseball

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This was exactly the kind of game the team needs to win. Solid pitching, excellent bullpen work and enough offense against a tough pitcher. Let's win the series tonight.

1 year, 5 months ago on Make it a trend

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 @miniplen It's hard to blame the Pirates for giving a pitcher who had been in the AL since 2005 time to practice bunting during spring training. Andrew McCutchen getting hit in the eye practicing bunts? THAT'S the Hurdle experience.

2 years, 1 month ago on Here we go | August 2012

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