Season on the line, again, right here.
Maholm and Locke at seven.
Like most Pirates sites, we've been crushed with all the season-ending celebratory traffic.
Haloscan's down. Forever I guess. A moment of silence for all the lost comments.
We have them archived (I think). Perhaps there is some way to migrate them into some new commenting system.
For now it looks like we are running with these Blogger comments. Maybe.
Looking around the league, I see Jeff Keppinger homering in a meaningful baseball game. About eight years ago, the Pirates traded that guy with a damn good bunter for Jose Bautista and Ty Wigginton. Other former Pirates, now playing meaningful baseball: Ryan Vogelsong, Frodo McLouth, and the Prison Baller, Brandon Moss. The last two players have been en fuego as their teams push for a Wild Card berth.
Best of luck to these gentlemen.
Huntington explains the Pirates lose because too many have gone into "Survivor" mode. I am curious which players, exactly, are guilty of not bunting runners over when ordered to do so.
Sounds like Lord of the Flies in the clubhouse. That might explain the Eagle I mean Boy Scout training regime.
Steelers travel to the scene of the nightmare to take on the Broncos, who were decimated this offseason by the defection of Tim "Steeler Killer" Tebow.
Game on at 8:20. Beer fort swept clean and re-stocked in anticipation of a full twelve hours' lending my will to victories.
I was up until 5 am drawing up new defensive shifts involving Holt and Walker. After I study them some more, I plan to draw the better ones on the back of a postcard and mail them in to Hurdle. Can't hurt, right?
Tonight we are looking at Ferd and McDonald at 7pm.
Wandy and Kershaw tonight.
When we watch the 2012 world champion PBC DVD in 7 months this part of the season will be the dramatic lowpoint, where the camera goes sharp to blurry and players, bat on shoulder, look out in the distance a la 1000 yd stare, THEN, the dramatic, uplifting music begins...and so the push starts.
Karstens and Wood this afternoon.
Wood is a lefty, so I am curious if we will see Good Pedro (day splits) or Bad Pedro (lefty splits). Probably depends on which way the wind is blowing.
Pirates need to get this win. Day off tomorrow and then twenty games in a row, starting in Cincinnati.
Burnett and Dempster tonight at eight.
Pirates need to shake off all those bad habits they picked up in Houston. It's a real danger playing hapless teams ... playing down to the competition is not how the Pirates will win another championship.
Fortunately the Cubs have been playing well since about when they promoted Rizzo -- I count 18-10 in that department -- so it should not take too long for the Pirates to re-learn how to play the game right. The problem will be if they lose too many games in the meantime.
New acquisition Wandy Rodriguez starts tonight against Andres Galarraga Jr. and the hapless Astros.
Clearly a must-win situation for the Pirates. The MLB playoff structure heavily favors division winners this year.
Astros have lost eleven in a row. You'd think they'd be desperate for a win, but nooo, apparently this is not the case.
Good on the Steelers for signing Antonio Brown long term. Mike Wallace has overplayed his hand. I'm not sure what will come of him, but I do not despair of losing him to either cowardly play in 2012 (does he think he will die before the end of this season?) or some kind of trade/holdout.
Also entertained that a die-hard Steeler fan is going to buy the Cleveland Browns. That's committment, right there.
Karstens and Lyles on central time.
Not excited about the idea of trading Kevin Correia, who has won seven of his last ten starts. Starters don't go on trees and a team always needs more starting pitching than most expect.
Anyway win meter humming happily. New picture for the beer fort wall.
Quickly looking through the minors for utility infielders who could start in right field, it's clear that Altoona is the first place to look, with an impressive and affiliate-leading 54 bunts. However, closer inspection reveals Cumpton bunting his ass off is in part responsible, with a jaw-dropping 8 SH in only 25 PA. He's a pitcher though, not a utility infielder.
Benji Gonzalez in Bradenton is the obvious choice, leading the minors with 9 SH while playing 2B/SS/3B, so probably ready to jog out into RF and learn on the job.
All but two of the Bucs rest while Cutch assures home-field advantage for the Bucs in the World Series. Then Hairyhands will probably try to give it away.
The Home Run Derby would be more entertaining if it was just one of many contests of baseball prowess. Like a bunting contest (or marathon). And synchronized defensive shifts involving whole infields and/or outfields, set to music.
Keuchel and Correia in an hour.
Match rockets and sparklers line the battlements for post-game patriotic festivity.
The Pirates are at .550 and tied for first with the Reds. As good as they've been the last month, they'll have to play better. Tied with the hapless Reds? ... this will not do.
Sadly, there appear to be no photos of Sutton connecting for the beer fort wall. The photojournalists need to step up their game too.
Correia and Verlander starting soon.
If the Bucs are going to go deep in the playoffs, they need to regularly rest the starters like today with Tabata, Rowdy Rod Burrito and NFW on the bench. Cutch is playing, so the Bucs are still heavy favorites.
Lincoln and Scherzer at four.
Smells like first place.
Kevin Youkilis has never laid down a BUNT in his career. Not sure what message signing him would send. He could at least show the other Bucs how to shake up a bottle of champagne and spray it around the clubhouse.
Maddening loss. Three times a runner gets on base, and no attempt is made to advance those runners, 90 feet at a time, station to station, to, you know, HOME? This is not rocket science, Clint. No wonder some of the pitchers got demoralized and gave up runs.
Here's an interesting piece about how some teams not named the Pirates can't bunt their way out of a wet paper bag. It must be really hard to be a Dodgers or Mariners fan.
Hopefully someone will someday write a piece about how, in contrast, the Bucco BUNTing IGA (Infield Grass Assault) seems, through a combination of good luck and precise execution, hell-bent on playoff domination and another World Championship.
A few days late with this, and the Bucs are already on pace to bunt to 108 wins, but it's time to prognosticate:
1. How many Bucco wins?
2. Most bunts?
3. Other predictions?
1. 83 wins. Finally.
2. Morton, again.
3. Bucs clinch wild-card same day Cutch bunts for the cycle.
After thinking this through, it seems that a batter would be much more likely to bunt out the eye closest to the field (e.g. the left eye for a RHP), so a facemask might be overkill. Instead, a simple protective eyepatch should get the job done, and plays into the whole Pirate theme. The online options are numerous.
With so much invested in McCutchen now, the Bucs should consider some form of protective headgear for the bunting. For example, in obvious bunting situations, McCutchen, the pitchers, or whoever could bunt wearing a catcher's mask. This could provide extra strategic options for Clint - for example, sending McCutchen to bat in an obvious bunting situation wearing the mask, only to have him swing away, belting one into the river.
This is why we can't get too excited when players step up from the AL to the NL Central.
Other reports indicate that Burnett will need surgery to repair the damage. I trust he will return a better and stronger bunter, and perhaps this will help push Burnett to bunting level: Kris Benson.
Get well, AJ.
Prepare for joy, the P-G reports:
"It's going to be a fresh start, it's going to be fun," Burnett said Monday outside of the Pirates spring training facility, his first day in black and yellow after he was acquired from the New York Yankees. "Coming back to the National League where I can hit and bunt. Get the joy back into the game."