Good Pitching Continues, Pirates Win Again

Chad Kuhl’s strong outing, RBIs carry Pirates past Tigers

  | TuesdayAug. 8, 2017, 9:57 p.m.

For the second night in a row, one of the Pirates’ youngest pitchers contained a Detroit Tigers lineup and a former Triple Crown star.

Right-hander Chad Kuhl allowed three runs on five hits in Tuesday night’s 6-3 victory at PNC Park, a day after teammate Trevor Williams helped one-hit the interleague rival. Kuhl is 24, and Williams is 25, yet consecutive wins by the young back-of-the-rotation starters earned the Pirates their fifth victory in six games.

kuhl hit

Kuhl also contributed a two-run single during the Pirates’ three-run fourth.

Kuhl (5-7) walked one and struck out six, including a strikeout of Miguel Cabrera in the fifth inning. The outing was the second consecutive quality start for Kuhl, who threw seven scoreless in his last outing. He held the Tigers scoreless through five innings Tuesday, allowing just two singles, before allowing three runs in the sixth.

A.J. Schugel, George Kontos and Felipe Rivero combined for three scoreless innings in relief. Rivero bounced back from a 41-pitch outing Sunday to earn his 10th save.

This was the second of a four-game interleague series that switches to Detroit’s Comerica Park for the final two. The Pirates play Wednesday and Thursday in Detroit before heading to Toronto for three more against the American League.

Tigers starter Matthew Boyd retired the first six batters in order. But in the third, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead when Starling Marte dropped a two-out single in right that scored Jordy Mercer, who reached with a leadoff double. The RBI was Marte’s first in 12 games.

cutch dinger

They scored three more in the fourth, the first on a leadoff, solo homer by Andrew McCutchen to center. The home run was McCutchen’s 23rd. The Pirates then loaded the bases with singles by David Freese and Sean Rodriguez and a walk by Francisco Cervelli. With two outs, Kuhl dropped a two-run single over shortstop for the first RBIs of his career. The Pirates led 4-0.

Boyd quickly was pulled in the fifth after allowing consecutive no-out singles by Josh Harrison, McCutchen and Freese, which scored Harrison. McCutchen scored on a Mercer sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 6-0.

Boyd, who was charged with six runs on nine hits, allowed eight of the last 11 batters he faced to reach base. He struck out five and walked one in four innings.

In the sixth, the Tigers scored three runs on three hits. An RBI double by right fielder Jim Adduci scored Jeimer Candelario.

A wild pitch by Kuhl scored Ian Kinsler, and a sacrifice fly scored Adduci. Candelario, promoted Monday from Triple-A, was a prospect acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline.

win trio

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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Thanks to Mr. Smizik for sharing this from Joe Sheehan.  Some insight on the NL Central and what will prevent these teams from seeing any postseason action.

Brewers (preseason #24, projected .426, actual .518, playoff odds 16.4%). I give Brewers’ GM David Stearns a lot of credit for resisting the pressure to invest excessively in the 2017 roster. The ’17 Brewers don’t yet have the core of a championship team, and have stayed over .500 and in contention based on the depth of the roster. As we kicked around back in May, Stearns and his staff found gems in all kind of random places. They have squeezed out good value from waiver bait like Jesus Aguilar and Eric Sogard and Matt Garza. Stearns added on the cheap where he could, bolstering a middling pen with Anthony Swarzak and Jeremy Jeffress, but kept his powder dry, not selling off his top prospects to help fend off a team, the Cubs, who he must recognize is better.
MLB: Milwaukee Brewers Press Conference
The word “process” has been turned into a joke, first through Dayton Moore in Kansas City and then Sam Hinkie in Philadelphia. Process matters, though, and Stearns’s process here is solid. He’s not trying to build the Orioles, an 82-win team that might run well in a couple of seasons and get into the tournament; he’s trying to build the Cubs or the Dodgers, a 95-win team whose floor is a playoff berth and whose ceiling is a run at history. You don’t do that by burning the coin of the realm — productive players in the first four years of their career — for marginal upgrades at the deadline. Maybe, once you’re at that level, you can toss an Eloy Jimenez or a Willie Calhoun overboard. Now, though, Stearns has to keep his focus on the long term, has to retain Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz and Josh Hader, all projected parts of that 95-win team, maybe as soon as 2018.
It will turn out that the Brewers were a better team than projected because of all that good work done at the back of the roster. As the season bleeds on, though, we’re seeing that the offense, so incredible in the first half, was over its skis for most of that time. The Brewers have a .226/.295/.366 line in the second half, scoring 3.3 runs per game. Eric Thames, who is down to 0.9 bWAR on the season, is hitting .231/.318/.359 since the break (.211/.327/.416 in 79 games since that crazy series in Cincinnati in April). Sogard is at .061/.139/.061, and his partner-in-crime at second base Jonathan Villar is at .192/.208/.250. The Brewers are 9-14 since the break and, while still just 1 1/2 games out of first in the NL Central, look more like a team that will slip under .500 than one that will push the Cubs.
We’re about to cover five straight AL teams. I’ve made my picks as far as which I think will make the postseason, but don’t put too much weight on that. The whole AL wild-card chase, from the Yankees down through the Rangers, is a mess.
Cardinals (preseason #11, projected .531, actual .500, playoff odds 21.0%). Like the Orioles, the Cardinals got back to .500 last night, and may yet finish above .500, which would make the tenth straight season and 16th time this century they have done so. I’ve been in a minor war online with Cardinals fans who seem to think their team is DOOMED, a position that seems unreasonable given that the Cardinals haven’t been bad for more than two years at a time since Eisenhower was president. The Cardinals won 100 games two years ago. They won the World Series in 2011. They’ve made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. Maybe it’s OK that they have an off year, where “off year” means being .500 and 3 1/2 games out of first place in August. Maybe they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt.
matheny
With that said, if you’re a Cardinals fan, maybe the off year is a good thing. I’m no fan of Mike Matheny, largely for his poor performance within games. More and more, though, I wonder if the things he’s supposed to be good at, the leader-of-man items, are also a weakness. The Cardinals sent down Stephen Piscotty yesterday. Piscotty is just the latest Cardinals prospect to struggle in the St. Louis, to see his playing time become erratic and then nonexistent before a demotion. I’ve written extensively about Kolten Wong’s path over the past few years, and you can also look at Randal Grichuk here as well. Matheny just doesn’t seem to be able to manage young players; no, let me rephrase that. Matheny just doesn’t seem to be able to manage young players when those young players aren’t producing at maximum value. He’s fine with Wong now, of course, with that .383 OBP. He was cool with Piscotty when Piscotty was earning a long-term contract with his bat. Paul DeJong is slugging .556, so Matheny has no memory of Aledmys Diaz.
This is a pattern, and it’s one more costly than reliever roulette or bad bunting. You can suffer a bad tactical manager if he’s getting the job done off the field. It’s not at all clear that the Cardinals have such a manager.
Pirates (preseason #10, projected .537, actual .491, playoff odds 3.0%). It seems fair to me to give the Pirates a pass for 2017. Their third baseman couldn’t get into the country. Their #2 starter got cancer. Their left fielder and best player got suspended for half a season. That the Pirates are within a couple games of .500 and 4 1/2 games out of first place strikes me as an achievement in context of all that went wrong outside the normal course of business.
cole cervelli
There are some real concerns, though. The players who should be the Pirates’ core have stagnated considerable. Gerrit Cole now looks like a mid-rotation innings guy rather than an ace. Gregory Polanco has a .254/.318/.406 line through nearly 1900 career PA, and he went backwards at 25. Tyler Glasnow was a mess and had to be sent back to the minors after allowing 12 homers in 54 1/3 innings. The successes on the 2017 roster were almost all players 30 and older: Andrew McCutchen’s amazing revival, Ivan Nova’s strong season, Juan Nicasio’s development into a good reliever. The Venn diagram of “young” and “positive” is basically Felipe Rivero. (I’m open to discussing Trevor Williams, although I see both him and Chad Kuhl as fifth starters at best.)
lopez
It’s been a while since the Pirates were the game’s great story. We’re seven years into this stretch, which began with strong half-seasons in 2011 and 2012, and the Pirates have won three playoff games. They’re not the cute small-market success any more, and unlike the Royals, they don’t have a World Series title to show for their run. There’s a real chance they’re about to be lapped by the Brewers next year, making a difficult competitive environment that much more so.
It’s not over for the Pirates, but they head into this winter probably needing to make a choice between winning with McCutchen and Cole and Marte, or using them to bring in players who will win next to Taillon and Glasnow and Mitch Keller.
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161 thoughts on “Good Pitching Continues, Pirates Win Again

  1. After voting for him in the poll this morning and another clunker, I’d like to vote again for Nova to be moved, even if that means liriano-ing him in the offseason. #FreeBraultOrGlasnow

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  2. Cubs lose again and could potentially lose their hottest hitter Willson Contreras for an extended period after he exited the game with a leg injury running out a ground ball. Time for the Pirates to make up some ground and hopefully end the night 2.5 games back with a W.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s a tough call as to what position to focus on.

          Freese is hit but assume he’ll cool.

          Polanco was hot before going on the DL.

          Marte needs at bats to get the timing back.

          Do you bring in Walker and sacrifice the defense for six innings a night?

          That’s still the way I’m leaning just for the offense.

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          1. That’s why I’m leaning as well with the hope the Polanco can heat up again. Freese is definitely hot right now but like you said, I expect regression. Putting him back to a bench role would be a great way to try and curb some of that IMO. And with his recent moving around the diamond, gives the Pirates a chance to be creative with JHay, SeanRod, and Frazier. Plus could add some much needed pop to the lineup

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        1. Not a bad option, Henry. Prorates $6.5M and a $1M buyout for next year.

          Switch hitter and having a much better year against RHP which is the oppo of his career numbers.

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          1. Not sure if he’s cleared waivers though. But with the Pirates unenviable position in the standings, they could “block” the Cubs, Cards and Brewers from acquiring and pick up a nice piece to the bench.

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            1. I believe he has cleared waivers. I wouldn’t mind Lowrie either, plus has he option to be cotrolled next year at a fairly “cheap” 6M option should the Pirates exercise the option

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          1. You do bitch about the broadcasts quite a bit and you certainly have that right. Does your remote have a mute button? As I know you are a fan of of Mark Madden, I have no idea how listening to Walk can irritate you as much as listening to him wheeze while giving an interview. Utterly disgusting.

            Reminds me of growing up and hearing our overweight Bassett Hound snore.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You might want to correct your facts. I do not listen to Mark Madden hardly at all. Every now and then I tune in while there is a commercial on 970 ESPN or if he has a hockey person on. He does have the best hockey guest IMO. You don’t like him, that’s fine, that’s your right.

              And if I want to complain about broadcasts I will. I really do not care what anyone thinks of it.

              Please let me know when Bob Walk actually brings anything to the broadcast besides whining about the DH and criticizing the other teams players at every turn. I much prefer Blass an Wehner.

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                1. I appreciate the permission for me to complain. I’m just hopeful Walk is on radio tonight. I’m guessing you enjoy him. I can’t imagine why.

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                  1. If you must know walk is the least favorite of the five guys on the team for me. So I can understand your dislike of him. I just wonder why you even have The sound up for the broadcasts as you have shared your dislike of them with us in the past.

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                    1. What can I do? I need to hear the sounds of the game. I tolerate it. I despised Steigy but I listened to the Pens broadcasts.

                      You don’t like Hurdle yet you watch the Pirates don’t you. I’m sure there are many people who cannot stand their home team announcers. I’ve always felt the Pirates announcers seem more focused on themselves and think they need to be the entertainment instead of the game itself.

                      I’ve learned to accept it, but I’ll still complain and whine about it from time to time.

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                2. You know, if you use MLB’s At Bat app, you can listen to or watch the other team’s broadcast. I do that sometimes. I listen to Bob Walk when I have trouble going to sleep.

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                  1. Yeah, but it’s on a delay of about 10-15 seconds when I have tried it.

                    I do love the At Bat app though. I spend a fair amount of time out of the range of the Pirates Radio Network and it’s great to have the app for 15 bucks a year.

                    Liked by 1 person

            2. I have no idea how listening to Walk can irritate you as much as listening to him wheeze while giving an interview. Utterly disgusting.
              ————————————————-

              i listen to Madden all the time and have never heard this wheezing that you are talking about…….and this is coming from a guy that complains like crazy about Andrew Filliponi, Paul Zeise and Rich Walsh’s constant lip smacking.

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        1. I’d think that Osuna or Srod batting righty would have a better chance, but then again, they are missing those damn pictures.

          I have noticed that when I complain about about Jaso, he tends to make me look bad, so consider this comment as “taking one for the team”.

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  3. Just saw Umpire Joe West got suspended after answering a question about who the biggest complainer in MLB is. He said Adrian Beltre and told a story.

    Now, if he would have mentioned a nobody or someone who didn’t just get 3000 hits, would he have been suspended?

    Regardless, you can’t have a guy currently working as an umpire calling out a player. I’m guessing if a player did this he’d be fined.

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      1. Umps and refs should be invisible IMO. Some though think they are a reason why people come to the game.

        And perhaps players would complain about ball/strikes if the umpires actually called them right.

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    1. I thought what West said was very mild. I don’t think West was suspended for what he said, but rather for violating MLB rules about umpires not giving interviews. They’re not allowed to do it without permission from the director of umpiring. The stories on-line don’t make it very clear, but I’m pretty certain that’s why he was suspended. I also think he was suspended once before for the same thing, but only 1 game that time.

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      1. Nope, he was suspended for the comments according to and ESPN article. Here is an excerpt from it.

        The World Umpires Association said Tuesday that West was serving the first game of the suspension. It said Major League Baseball told the union in an Aug. 3 letter the discipline was in response to an “appearance of lack of impartiality.”

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  4. I know we are in 24-7 Pirate mode these days but the local football team is in training camp and…

    Devonte Freeman of Atlanta today signed a 5 year, $41 Million deal which makes him cumulatively the highest paid running back in the NFL. Leveon Bell will make $12 Million on the franchise tag and by all accounts the Steelers offered him a multi year deal with a higher AAV.

    Bell is a great player but he’s way off market on his demands. The question I guess is his level of conviction. Most assume he will report and play for the $12 Million because well…it’s $12 Million. But he knows the Steelers can tag him 2 straight years. Will he extend his hold out to force a deal beyond this season?

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    1. No reason for him to be at camp right now. You certainly don’t want him getting hurt and he knows the offense.

      I don’t think he has much bargaining power.

      With his history, I’m not even sure signing him long term is even a good idea. Why not just tag him both years.

      That was a pretty good deal for Freeman. A little high IMO especially when he and Tevon Coleman share the position.

      I would think $9m per season is what Bell should be looking at. No idea what the Steelers offered him.

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      1. There’s no reason for a lot of players to be in camp right now. But they are. If Bell were there, I’m sure his workload would be closely managed. I agree with Scott that consecutive tags might be the best way to go. He might have some productive years after that, but probably not many.

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    2. If he does he’s throwing money down the toilet, setting it on fire, whatever term you prefer. The Steelers have never given in to a holdout player during the season.

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      1. He’s not holding out. He’s just not reporting. He has one option if he wants to play and that is to sign the tender. He has no bargaining power. If he wants paid, he needs to sign. If he doesn’t sign he doesn’t get paid.

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  5. My favorite sequence in the game last name gut was first watching the pitchers on the bench laugh at Kuhl’s swing. That was followed by the same pitchers going crazy when he drove in two runs. The team looks like they are having fun.

    3 1/2 games is doable. I’m happy to still be interested in the outcome of games rather than of individual performance

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 3.5 is certainly doable and they have head to head games. The problem with this team is that they win a few games and play well, and then they just play terribly for a stretch.

      The rest of this month is not going to be easy. They’ve just got to be more consistent, the issue all season long IMO.

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      1. This is a remade team from what we were able to field in April, May and June. It’s hard to predict what will come, but they appear to be playing better baseball, the maddening results against sub .500 teams notwithstanding.

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  6. Selected small samples of possible interest.

    With the Cubs, the much-coveted Quintana (Q) has a 4.20 ERA in six starts. In his past five, he has a 5.48 ERA.

    In four games with the Cubs, Justin Wilson has a 4.50 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP

    And to the surprise of no one, Tony Watson allowed a three-run, game-losing home run for LA last night.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Regarding that Dodgers loss:

      It is their first loss to a team other than Atlanta since July 4th.

      And just to clarify, Bob, it was a grand slam. Only three of the runs were charged to Watson.

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  7. Totally off any topic but a pet peeve of mine. When polls are offered I always think there should be one selection titled “who cares” or “does it matter”. Something to that affect. To truly gain a participants thoughts on the matter. Not necessarily picking on this poll specifically, but all polls, across the board. I know, if that’s my biggest complaint in life I must be living a good one….

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  8. Yeh, we won last night and I am happy. But having only 2 extra base hits in the game continues a year long pop gun attack problem. Per David Todd’s tweets yesterday: We are 29th in extra base hits, ISO and other slugging stats. It is hard to score when you have to string together 3 singles (or mix in a walk) all of the time!

    Unless we can get all of the OF and Bell slugging the rest of the way, I don’t see us ever getting too far over the .500 threshold. Our pitching, while consistently average, is not built to carry a pop gun attack, a la the ’66 Dodgers, who would win 1-0 and 2-1 games.

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    1. Marte is the one who needs to improve in this department.The post-PED watch continues with him.

      Polanco is the other player who needs to do more. He probably will never be the star player that some projected he would be but he is only 25 years old and I still think he is capable of improving. He was hitting well before his recent injury.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He has hit well in spurts sporadically throughout his career, but he has also been very bad for long spurts. I think he’s a head case given the number of base running miscues and bad angles taken on balls off of the Clemente Wall. He just doesn’t seem to be a very smart, intuitive player like Cutch is, and jay-Hay is. Other than having a difficult time trying to learn to be an outfielder, Jaso is also a fundamentally sound ball player, just one that the Pirates, out of necessity, have asked too much from.

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  9. “It’s not over for the Pirates, but they head into this winter probably needing to make a choice between winning with McCutchen and Cole and Marte, or using them to bring in players who will win next to Taillon and Glasnow and Mitch Keller.”

    (hmmm…..where have I heard this before….?)

    very true
    Np matter what happens the rest of this year, this strategy must be considered.

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  10. I think Cole is his own worst enemy, and loses his cool when things don’t go his way, but a guy that’s allowed three or fewer earned runs in 17 out of 23 starts is not a mid-rotation guy. As I stated earlier about his starts, look at the company he’s keeping.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Of all NL qualifiers, Cueto ranks 28th and Teheran ranks 36th in ERA. They then must be back of the rotation starters.

      Maybe we can one of those “back of the rotation” guys up as a reclamation project next year.

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      1. Bottom line is this Fish
        COle is a “hot head” of sorts — he demonstrably lets things get to him
        Lately, he has kept his cool. When he does this, magically his numbers get better

        He is not exhibiting the qualities of that “ace” that you traditionally think of.
        I am not saying that he sucks — let’s not go to extremes here
        He is a solid #2 right now

        He has the potential to be an ace when he controls his emotions.
        We need him to be a #1

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        1. Mark, I have no idea what you are trying to say. I never called him an ace. He is not a mid rotation guy any more than Teheran is barely a back of the rotation guy, using the same parameters as Bob did.

          I like Cole’s demeanor. He has trouble when his fastball gets hit, not because of his attitude or demeanor.

          Was he less of a hot head in 2013 and 2014? Next we’ll hear his drop off has been due to him get married.

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          1. as usual you exaggerate

            I said he is a #2 and not an ace
            I never said you said that he was an ace

            He has demonstrably shown that he does not have have control of his emotions in order to be an Ace

            I would liek to see him “grow up” a bit

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    2. The reality is that Cole is the Pirates ace. If we had a Scherzer, or a Sale or Kershaw, he’d be a solid #2 guy, but he’s not a mid-rotation guy. Just because some idiot has a byline doesn’t make him smarter than anyone else.

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  11. This team is fun to watch when it plays up to it’s potential. One key the rest of the way is to avoid multiple game losing streaks, and that will be dependent on pitching.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have to admit, every time Marte drives one to the warning track, I have to wonder whether it would have been a homer if he hadn’t been caught.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do not ever think that. The only way you can believe that is if you believe he was never tested before this year. Marte has never been a home run hitter in any classic sense of that word. 19 was his best season ever in 2015. In injury-shortened seasons in 2013 and 2016 he hit 13 and 9. If he ever plays a completely healthy season, the best your going to see out of him is 20, but he’s probably only a 15 per year average on homers. It is my opinion that he is basically playing his Spring Training Games now. Like Cutch, he has been a notoriously slow starter most years, and once he hits one out, he will get in his normal rhythm. It’s particularly hard trying to find your batting stroke against major league pitchers who are in mid-season form.

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  13. I’m fine with Sheehan’s summation of the Pirate’s season and chances going forward. I do have a few points to quibble with.

    1. Marte is/was the team’s best player? That isn’t a preposterous statement, but I don’t think I’ve yet to view him that way. Too inconsistent to earn that label. Even before this season my claim would have been on McCutchen, Harrison, Cole or Nova.

    2. I think he’s being too hard on Cole. We’ve seen plenty of other good young pitchers go through phases. This year has been the year of the home run and Cole’s style opens him up to allowing a lot of home runs. I wouldn’t write the book on him just yet even of he has disappointed the last two years.

    3. I think he undervalued the contributions a lot of young players have shown to keep this team treading water, almost all of them under 30. We’d have been sunk if not for the pitching of Kuhl and Williams among others this past couple months when Nova started to pitch as bad as he did good the beginning of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Actually THE FACT is he was. The fact is he has a lifetime ERA of 4.59. That means he was a slightly worse than league average pitcher. If people here were right he would have been one of the worst pitchers in the league. Sorry but the facts support me not you.

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            1. I’ll agree that Locke was an acceptable pitcher, more so than what people would give him credit for, but I wouldn’t say he was “far better”. If that were the case, the Pirates wouldn’t have dumped him.

              The fact is, he was nothing special and easily replaceable by just about any amount of rookie/minor league arms they wanted to bring up to replace him at league minimum salaries. If you could get away with paying Locke around $400k per year indefinitely, the Pirates would have little need to dump him until they were confident in having someone better. But that’s not reality, and finances matter, and Locke isn’t worth being paid.

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      1. Yes.those are averages. However, the good-Jeff-Locke-bad-Jeff-Locke phenomenon made for greater suspense when he pitched.

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      2. Using 2016 as part of the comparison makes Cole seem run-of-the-mill, but I’ve never seen him that bad before and I don’t expect to see 2015 Cole again. I hope!!!

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  14. Joe Sheehan’s comment that Gerritt Cole looks more like a mid-rotation starter than an ace got me to looking.

    Cole in his first three seasons (2013-15): ERA, 3.07; FIP, 2.89; WHIP, 1.15, BB/9, 2.2; K/9, 8.5
    Cole in 2016-17: ERA, 3.94; FIP, 3.81; WHIP, 1.35, BB/9, 2.5; K/9, 7.9

    That represents a significant decline. It not irreversible, but is is troubling.

    Liked by 2 people

          1. They are different Bob. It is a significant difference. With his other numbers being closer to normal one would think the HR numbers would correct.

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    1. combined with his loss of control of his emotions and he makes matters worse
      This will prevent him from becoming “the ace” unless he matures

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  15. “It’s not over for the Pirates, but they head into this winter probably needing to make a choice between winning with McCutchen and Cole and Marte, or using them to bring in players who will win next to Taillon and Glasnow and Mitch Keller.”

    That’s quite the dilemma, isn’t it?

    My problem with the latter choice is that when they did that in 2008 and 2009, the players that were obtained turned out to be merely a fraction of the talent they traded away. Looking at the 2013 team, other than Harrison (came over in the Grabow trade), Locke and Morton (came over in the McLouth trade), and Tabata (came over in the Nady trade) who else came as a direct selloff of assets when NH blew up the 2008 team?

    As a result of the 3-for-1 prospect for established vet selloff, you got one starter, two back-of-the-rotatoin arms, and a bench player that contributed on a wild card team 5 years after the fact. That doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy with the proposition of dealing Cutch, Marte and Cole for prospects.

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    1. It’s not exactly breaking news that Huntington got next to nothing when he blew up the team in 2008-09. I’m not sure it’s fair to hold him to moves that he made eight and nine years ago. You also forgot the unforgettable Ronny Cedeno.

      He has since made some very savvy trades and roster-building moves, which include Russell Martin, A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano and Francisco Cervelli. In evaluating Huntington, those moves almost must be included.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And when you weight NH’s moves, maybe greater weight ought to be given to the more recent ones, and less to those less so.

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    2. “My problem with the latter choice is that when they did that in 2008 and 2009, the players that were obtained turned out to be merely a fraction of the talent they traded away.”

      Well, Fats. that is always the risk.
      DOnt think you will be getting a King’s ransom for any of those guys.

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    3. I don’t think that you can compare those prior deals to a prospective trade for Cole. Grabow had a couple of decent years out of various bullpens after he was traded, but McLouth was a bust and Nady got injured after playing a half season or so for the Yankees and then disappeared. Cole is a top of the rotation, or arguably a #2 starter and far more valuable than any of those guys you mentioned.

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  16. Gerrit Cole looks more like a mid rotation innings guy than an ace, huh? I’ll admit when Cole has been bad in a start, he’s been real bad, but here’s the top five in MLB for quality starts.

    1. Sale,C. Bos.
    2. Scherzer,M. Wsh.
    3. Gonzalez, G. Wsh
    4. Kershaw, C, LA
    5. Cole,G. Pit

    I’m not a fan of the quality start stat, but it does certainly mean your starter has kept you in the game going into the seventh inning, pretty good company for a mid rotation innings guy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If you look hard enough, you can find a positive stat, AP.

      The bottom line on Cole is this: He has a 4.00 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Of the 37 NL starters who are eligible, he is 21st in both categories. That screams mid-rotation starter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Those stats are basically bad because of getting hammered in a few games, so conversely if you look hard enough you can find negative stats too.

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        1. I presented the most basic baseball stats. They are the ones most commonly used to evaluate a pitcher. They are average. And over four months of a season, a `few games’ are not going to significantly affect those numbers.

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            1. Simple arithmetic of the sum of those two measures divided by two times the number of eligible pitchers puts Cole in the 48th percentile. (Isn’t it handy to have a calculator on your iPhone?) That sounds sort of mid-rotation.

              Liked by 1 person

          1. So an average of 2.4 pitchers per team are on pace to be eligible for the year. The Pirates must certainly have 4.

            Looks like given the pampering of players, these days, they may need to drop that number.

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              1. I saw that. Williams just missing a few innings. I still don’t think that 21 of 37 supports your claim about Cole, but your creative wording could strangely support the claim.

                I guess that while Cole may be mid rotation, according to your stat, as you just stated about positive stats, one can find a negative stat if they try hard enough.

                That’s the thing I love about this place. It is fantastic for narrowing stats enough to make one’s argument.

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                    1. Citing Cole’s ERA 21st of 37 as making him a mid rotation guy. At first I disagreed, but then cited Cueto and Teheran being 28th and 36th, out of 37, so they must certainly be back of the rotation guys using that “creative wording” and parameters you used.

                      Think we can pick up that “back of the rotation” Teheran as a reclamation project next year?

                      Liked by 1 person

                1. The innings pitched requirement basically eliminates most team’s pitchers, but they don’t stay healthy enough to get to 162 innings. Or they fail and get demoted, etc., etc.

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            1. Since all teams pretty much uniformly “pamper” their pitchers, it would seem that based upon the pamper factor, (maybe there is a new metric out there for that (PFiP/9?)), that the Pirates are not at a competitive disadvantage on that score.

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  17. Five years ago, on the morning of August 9, 2012, we woke up to the Pirates being in 1st place with a 63-47 record. They then proceeded to lose to Arizona that night, to kick-start a collapse of epic proportions, going 16-36 (.308) in their last 52 games to finish 79-83. Today, they sit at 56-57, in 4th place. Having shown that playing .308 ball while in 1st place in August is possible, who says they can’t play .692 ball while in 4th place in August?

    This seems like the time to even the scorecard. 34-15 the rest of the way, and a 90-72 finish. Who’s on board?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 90 won’t be necessary. 30-19 gets the division. I don’t think they can do it (playing 99 win pace), but 86 gets the division. Been saying that for a month now.

      If they can go 5-2 on the road trip vs bad Detroit and Toronto and the fledgling Brewers, then 4-3 at home versus the Dodgers and STL, they will be 65-62, needing to go 21-14 against mostly division foes, after that, I may start to believe.

      They can’t swoon on this road trip. They pull off a 2-5, it’s all over.

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