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Getty ImagesGerrit Cole (left) and Adam Wainwright (right) take the mound tonight in Game 5 of the NLDS.The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals face off in a winner-take-all Game 5 tonight (8:07 ET, ESPN Radio) in St. Louis.Let&rs...
Getty ImagesGerrit Cole (left) and Adam Wainwright (right) take the mound tonight in Game 5 of the NLDS.The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals face off in a winner-take-all Game 5 tonight (8:07 ET, ESPN Radio) in St. Louis.Let’s take a look at some of the storylines in this game.Winner-Take-All HistoryThe Pirates are playing a winner-take-all game in a best-of-5 or best-of-7 series for the first time since Francisco Cabrera beat them with a walk-off hit in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS. Read more Adam Wainwright news
about 1 hour ago
While you wait for the game, I'd like to call your attention to Kevin Kraczkowski's excellent top 100 Pirates series, at which he plugged away for more than a year. I promoted it a fair amount in the early going, but lost track of it a b...
While you wait for the game, I'd like to call your attention to Kevin Kraczkowski's excellent top 100 Pirates series, at which he plugged away for more than a year. I promoted it a fair amount in the early going, but lost track of it a bit because I got distracted by life stuff and by the fact that the Pirates were in a playoff chase, and then the playoffs themselves. Still, Kevin did a ton of work on this. Here are some recent pieces: 1. Honus Wagner 2. Roberto Clemente You can see more here.
about 4 hours ago
Official Guide To Not Being A Douchebag When Pirates Win NLDS The Pittsburgh Pirates battle the St. Louis Cardinals in a few hours.  We tried so hard to think about what we would write that would make sense for the deciding game of the N...
Official Guide To Not Being A Douchebag When Pirates Win NLDS The Pittsburgh Pirates battle the St. Louis Cardinals in a few hours.  We tried so hard to think about what we would write that would make sense for the deciding game of the National League Division Series.  We thought about the Douchebag Guide, a 21 reasons why post, nothing seemed quite right and then we walked into The Billy Goat last night and heard Don’t Stop Believing.  And then we looked above the bar and saw the Pittsburgh Pirates hat. So with all of the karma of the Chicago Cubs on our side, ( yeh, that’s encouraging I know,) I just thought about all of the things we have been lucky enough to witness this year. I want some more, and know for a fact that you do too.  I’m not satisfied. I want… One more Andrew McCutchen race around the bases. One big hit from Justin Morneau, Garrett Jones, or Gaby Sanchez.  Maybe the word should be a big hit. One of those hard hit balls by Neil Walker to fall somewhere so he can get off the goose egg. A Marlon Byrd leg kick before connecting on a big drive. One Jordy Mercer moment–again.  Whether it’s defense or offense, we really don’t care. The torch passed from A.J. Burnett to Gerrit Cole A ton of attention is going to go toward Adam Wainwright and Gerrit Cole in this deciding game.  But it will be very difficult to not lose our minds about our slugger Pedro Alvarez.  Big moments, big plays from the big bull have been almost automatic. Getting one more big Pedro Alvarez moment would be amazing. Pedro Alvarez has been a monster in the NLDS Continuing the Pedro Alvarez Home Run Tracker would be very cool. But maybe the thing we are looking forward to the most is what will come at the end of the battle.  Give me one more Jason Grilli bearhug. And when it all comes together tonight Pittsburgh Pirates fans, remember…stay classy.  This is forever. ___________ I want and pray that nobody acts stupid enough to get their local peacekeepers involved. Just keep it cool.  No twitter wars.  Just pure Pittsburgh class.  And take a shot of honey for your throat, we are going to need your voice for the NLCS. And our final wish? To see those old school science goggles….oh, how I want to see them later tonight….
about 4 hours ago
Just a little over two years ago, I remember bemoaning the lack of an obvious franchise player at the top of the 2011 draft. Neal Huntington's goal with the Pirates was obviously to stockpile talent, but they picked fourth in a 2009 ...
Just a little over two years ago, I remember bemoaning the lack of an obvious franchise player at the top of the 2011 draft. Neal Huntington's goal with the Pirates was obviously to stockpile talent, but they picked fourth in a 2009 draft that featured Stephen Strasburg at the top and they picked second in a 2010 draft that had Bryce Harper. The year that they got the top pick, there was mostly a lack of consensus as to whether the Pirates should take Danny Hultzen (more polish and great college stats, but a lower ceiling), Trevor Bauer (great college stats, but unconventional delivery and conditioning methods to go with a bit of a ... strong personality), Anthony Rendon (at one point seemingly the slam dunk pick at 1-1 before injuries hurt his stock), Dylan Bundy (great high school arm with concerns about ridiculous pitch counts and signability), and Gerrit Cole. The Pirates went with Cole but more or less admitted up front that they made the pick with projection in mind; they thought Cole would be the best pitcher in the future, not that he was necessarily the best pitcher at the time. It seems crazy that only 30 months have passed since then. When the 2012 season started, Bauer was Baseball America's #9 prospect, Bundy was #10, and Cole was #12. Bauer had racked up ridiculous strikeout numbers in High-A and Double-A before Cole had really even signed in 2011, and he made his big league debut in late June of 2012. Bundy, meanwhile, put up ridiculous numbers all through minors. He made eight starts with Single-A Delmarva, 12 with High-A Frederick, and three with Double-A Bowie before earning a September call-up to the Orioles during last year's playoff race. Cole plugged away in a borderline non-descript fashion. He was good in High-A last year and he was good in Double-A, but mostly people seemed to mention that he was rarely dominant, that his changeup wasn't quite ready yet, that his fastball was flat. By the end of last year, Bauer had so frustrated the Diamondbacks that they shipped him off to Cleveland as part of the Shin-Soo Choo trade and all they really got in return was Didi Gregorius. Bundy entered 2013 as Baseball America's #2 prospect but didn't even make one start before his elbow went out. Gerrit Cole made his big league debut in June and held his own for three months before dominating in September, winning some huge games for the Pirates and a Rookie of the Month award. He made his first playoff start five days ago and silenced a lineup that had teed off on AJ Burnett to take a 1-0 series lead less than a day before. All of this lead up to Cole getting (and deserving) the nod over Burnett to start the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS. If there is a positive aspect to the strong first half and second half disasters of 2011 and 2012, it's that it's been possible to watch this first playoff Pirate team in 21 years assemble itself, bit by bit. For me, that's added an extra dimension of pleasure to watching the Pirates this year; I know how this team was assembled, I've watched how the front office has responded to challenges presented by the last two years, and now that the Pirates are a contending team, it's easy to look at them as a whole and say, "Oh! That's how these individual parts fit together!" In April and May I'd watch Cole through weird, grainy MiLB.tv feeds without reliable radar gun readings and wonder why he couldn't strike anyone out and if it was something I should be concerned with. When he made his debut in June at PNC Park and I could see him in full HD with a centerfield camera and a gun, I understood why scouts always raved over him. For three months, nearly every start would contain an inning or two when his fastball, slider, and changeup aligned like some kind of eclipse and even though Cole was solid pretty much every time out, every start would end with me wanting to see more. It finally happened on September 9th in Texa
about 6 hours ago
Marte, Moose B-Days; Murtaugh Hired (Again); Hans Eighth Crown; Series & Playoffs...1909 - The Tigers jumped on Howie Camnitz early, scoring five times in the second and third innings, in a 7-2 win over the Bucs at Forbes Field, squaring...
Marte, Moose B-Days; Murtaugh Hired (Again); Hans Eighth Crown; Series & Playoffs...1909 - The Tigers jumped on Howie Camnitz early, scoring five times in the second and third innings, in a 7-2 win over the Bucs at Forbes Field, squaring the World Series at a game apiece. Wild Bill Donovan limited the Pirates to five hits with seven K while Ty Cobb stole home against reliever Vic Willis to help punctuate the win. Tommy Leach was the only Pittsburgh batter to solve him, delivering a pair of doubles.1911 - In a 10 inning, 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs at the West Side Grounds, Honus Wagner collected a pair of hits to finish the season with a .334 BA to win his eighth NL batting title. No one would wear that many crowns again until Tony Gwynn equalled Hans’ mark in 1997. 1947 - RHP Bob Moose was born in Export. He went to Franklin Regional HS, where he threw three no-hitters and was drafted by the hometown Bucs in 1965 during the 18th round. The righty added one more in the MLB, tossing a no-no against the Mets on September 20th, 1969. Ironically, he died in an auto accident while heading to a party celebrating his 29th birthday in 1976. 1960 - Vern Law won his second game against the Yankees‚ thanks to his own two out RBI double followed by Bill Virdon's two-run knock in the fifth inning. Roy Face retired the final eight Bronx Bombers for the save at Yankee Stadium. The 3-2 win evened the Series after a pair of NY runaways. The game’s big play was Virdon’s leaping grab of a Bob Cerv drive at the wall in the seventh inning, saving a pair of runs. 1969 - Danny Murtaugh was hired for the third time as Bucco bench boss. He replaced Alex Grammas, who took Larry Shepherd's spot. 1971 - Pittsburgh scored three times in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of the World Series at Memorial Stadium on just one hit. But the Birds came back on the strength of three homers and a big night by Merv Rettenmund, who went long once and chased home three runs, to take the lidlifter 5-3. 1972 - The Pirates overcame an early 2-0 deficit and nipped the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium 3-2 to take a two games to one lead in the NLCS. Manny Sanguillen homered and had a pair of RBI to back winner Bruce Kison and Dave Guisti, who earned the save. 1974 - The Bucs were eliminated from the NLCS three games to one by LA as Don Sutton tossed a one-hitter in a 12-1 thrashing at Dodger Stadium. Steve Garvey had four hits, including two homers, with four runs scored and four RBI to lead the Big Blue onslaught. The Oakland A’s rolled over the Dodgers in five games to claim their third straight World Series crown. 1988 - OF Starling Marte was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He signed as an international free agent in 2007, and joined the big club in 2012, winning a regular OF spot in 2013. He homered on the first pitch he saw in the show off Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. 1990 - The Pirates fell behind three games-to-one in the NLCS by dropping a 5-3 decision to the Reds at TRS as Jose Rijo topped Bob Walk. Paul O’Neill and Chris Sabo homered for Cincinnati and Jay Bell went long for Pittsburgh. 1991 - Doug Drabek and Bob Walk combined on a five hitter as the Bucs won the opening game of the NLCS 5-1 against the Atlanta Braves at TRS. Andy Van Slyke had two hits, two runs, two RBI and a homer. 1992 - Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitched Pittsburgh to a 3-2 victory over the Braves at TRS‚ giving the Pirates their first win in the NLCS. Wakefield was the first rookie to start a NL playoff game since Philadelphia's Charles Hudson in 1983. Gary Redus went 3-for-3 with a 2B, 3B and walk while Don Slaught added a homer.
about 7 hours ago
Can you get a series more evenly matched than this one? In game one the Cardinals blew away the Pirates, winning 9-1. The Pirates responded with their own blowout in game two, winning 7-1. Game three was a little closer, with the Pirates...
Can you get a series more evenly matched than this one? In game one the Cardinals blew away the Pirates, winning 9-1. The Pirates responded with their own blowout in game two, winning 7-1. Game three was a little closer, with the Pirates edging out the Cardinals 5-3. Game four was another close game, this time featuring the Cardinals getting the edge and winning 2-1. When you dig into the numbers, there are some things that are unfavorable for the Pirates. Starling Marte is 1-for-15 in the series, while Neil Walker is 0-for-16. But the same thing exists for the Cardinals. Matt Carpenter is 1-for-15, meaning that both leadoff hitters in this series have the same line. Jon Jay and David Freese are both 2-for-13. The key to the Cardinals offense has been Carlos Beltran, who has a 1.197 OPS. But that’s nothing compared to the 1.621 OPS from Pedro Alvarez. Even if you go back to the regular season, it was pretty close. The Pirates won the season series 10-9. The Cardinals out-scored the Pirates 87-85. The score so far in the playoffs is 15-14 in favor of the Cardinals. Now the Pirates and Cardinals will go to game five of this best of five series. The Cardinals will be sending out their ace, Adam Wainwright. The Pirates won’t be sending out their ace, but they will be sending out their ace of the future, and a guy who has pitched like an ace for the last month, Gerrit Cole. Nothing is going to be easy against Wainwright. But things shouldn’t be easy for St. Louis against Cole. I’d like to say that the Pirates hold some sort of advantage in this game, but they don’t. The Cardinals also don’t hold any advantage. They are seen as the better team by some, but the numbers above show that these two teams are on the same level. It’s not the most exciting analysis to say that two teams are equal, and that the game could be a coin flip, but that’s the situation I see here. Do you agree or disagree? Links and Notes **I won’t be in St. Louis covering the game. My grandmother passed away this week, so I’m back at home in Virginia for a few days. If the Pirates win, I’ll be back for coverage of the rest of the playoffs. I’ll still have stuff up tomorrow during the day and night, I just won’t be traveling to St. Louis. I’d also like to take this moment to share a bit about my grandma as it relates to the site. A few years ago, before I started this site, I was just out of college and getting on my feet. My grandma had to live at my parent’s house, but didn’t want to sell her house. So she offered for me to live in her house, take care of the utility bills, and save up for my own place. It wasn’t long after that the economy went bad, I was laid off, and went on a long period where I was unemployed and couldn’t find work. It was during this time that I was building up the site — originally to keep my work ethic up, but eventually because I had no other options and needed to try and make this work. None of this would have been possible without my grandma. She continued to let me stay in her house. She wasn’t living there, but she could have rented or sold it if she wanted. She didn’t want that, because she didn’t like the idea of a non-family member living in her house. Of course she also liked that I lived a few neighborhoods away from where she was staying, which meant that most afternoons I made the short trip over to have lunch with her. She didn’t understand the site. She was 90 years old, and never had the internet, so the idea of making a living by writing about sports was over her head. So when I told her I was going to cover a Pirates game, she would tell her friends I was working for the Pirates that week. When I told her that I was covering an Orioles game, she would tell her friends I was working for the Orioles that week. Her friends must have thought that: 1. I couldn’t hold down a job and was
about 12 hours ago
The Arizona Fall League season began Tuesday night with Jameson Taillon getting the Opening Day nod for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent seven players to the league and the three top prospects among that group w...
The Arizona Fall League season began Tuesday night with Jameson Taillon getting the Opening Day nod for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent seven players to the league and the three top prospects among that group were in the starting lineup. Another two Pirates players would get into the game before the night was done. Jameson Taillon got the AFL Opening Day start Tuesday night Jameson Taillon gave up a lead-off single, followed by a stolen base on the next pitch. He quickly settled down and got a ground out, strikeout and another ground out to end the inning with no damage. In that first inning, he threw 16 pitches, 12 for strikes. Taillon came out for the second inning with a 1-0 lead to work with. He walked the first batter, who stole second base, then Taillon recorded two straight strikeouts. On the second strikeout, he gave up his third stolen base and the runner ended up scoring on a throwing error by the catcher. Taillon finished the inning and his night with a first pitch grounder to second base. He threw a total of 35 pitches on the night, 23 for strikes. He allowed one hit, one unearned run, one walk and struck out three batters. Keith Law tweeted that Taillon was sitting 94-96 MPH, while Bernie Pleskoff said he hit 97 MPH and showed good secondary stuff. Alen Hanson started at shortstop and batted second in the lineup. He struck out in both his first and second at-bats. In his third time up, Hanson had a bunt single, but he was thrown out attempting to steal. Leading off the seventh, he reached base for the second time, drawing a walk.  Hanson came up in the ninth with no outs, a man on first base and his team down 5-4. After a balk moved the runner up, Hanson tried to sacrifice him to third, but ended up reaching on a single and the tying run scored on a throwing error. He would score the go-ahead run on a double from the next hitter. On defense, Hanson made a throwing error on a double play in the fifth inning. He handled all three grounders hit his way cleanly. Alex Dickerson was in the DH spot, batting fifth. Like Hanson, Dickerson also struck out in his first time up. He would draw a walk in his second plate appearance. Dickerson struck out looking in the sixth inning. In the seventh, with two outs and Hanson on first base, Dickerson grounded out to end the inning. He worked the count all night, seeing a total of 28 pitches in his five PA’s, but Dickerson still ended up with three strikeouts after going down swinging in the ninth inning. Zack Thornton came in to pitch the sixth inning for Scottsdale. He struck out the first two batters he faced, then got a grounder to third base to retire the side in order. Matt Benedict became the third Pirates pitcher to take the mound when he came in for the seventh inning. He retired the first two batters on just three pitches, getting a line out and a grounder. Benedict needed six pitches to retire the last batter, ending the inning with another groundball. Scottsdale won the game over Salt River by a 6-5 score.
about 13 hours ago
Jameson Taillon fires a fastball earlier this year for the Altoona Curve It’s always interesting to think what Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon might become. In his Arizona Fall League debut this evening, he got off ...
Jameson Taillon fires a fastball earlier this year for the Altoona Curve It’s always interesting to think what Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon might become. In his Arizona Fall League debut this evening, he got off to a good start. Taillon is looking to increase his innings count and looking at it, the big right-hander should get six or seven starts. By doing this, and doing it effectively too, Taillon is going to be in a much better place next year. Should the Bucs somehow be playing in October, wouldn’t that be fantastic, Taillon is expected to be a part of the Pirates staff. What really impresses me about the Pirates this season is the fact that Gerrit Cole has pitched almost non-stop, but his stressful innings have been controlled. You know the rule, never more than 30 in an inning. It’s an interesting take on the recent problem hitting power pitchers–staying away from Dr. Andrews. We would have to think Cole and Taillon avoiding Tommy John over the course of their Pirates career would be nothing short of a miracle, but it seems the Bucs have a quiet confidence about their analytics on the situation. It’s hard for me to believe that the Pirates would even flirt with their two studs should their be any concern whatsoever. Looking at Taillon’s line tonight, it’s hard not to smile and even if it’s just for a moment, dream about next October. Taillon’s (#Pirates) final line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO. Stephen Piscotty (#STLCards) has 2 SBs, scored on E. 1-1 in 3rd. #AFL13 — Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) October 9, 2013 At the time this was published Alen Hanson was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, batting in the second spot in the lineup. UPDATE:  1-FOR-3 after a bunt single. UPDATE:  Thrown out stealing.  #Hurdled Alex Dickerson was the DH and struckout and also walked and scored a run.   Check the Boxscore here
about 15 hours ago
Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller won’t be the only Cardinals starter ready for bullpen duty in Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Pittsburgh...
Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller won’t be the only Cardinals starter ready for bullpen duty in Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Pittsburgh Pirates News
about 15 hours ago
Oct 6, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates players including Starling Marte (6) , Russell Martin (55) , Jason Grilli (39) and Andrew McCutchen (22) celebrate after game three of the National League divisional series playoff bas...
Oct 6, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates players including Starling Marte (6) , Russell Martin (55) , Jason Grilli (39) and Andrew McCutchen (22) celebrate after game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports The Pittsburgh Pirates will play their most important game in twenty-plus years on Wednesday night. Since game seven on the 1992 NLCS, there has not been a single game that has been this meaningful for the battling Buccos. They haven’t won a playoff series since 1979. They’re sending a rookie pitcher to the mound in hostile territory for an elimination game. They’re facing one of the five best pitchers in the game of baseball, one who dominated them in his first start of the series, one who has had only one bad postseason appearance during his career. Nearly every indicator seems to point towards a Cardinals win, the outlook is rather bleak. But what if the Pirates are able to go back to the well one more time, for one more win? What if Pedro Alvarez continues his torrid playoff pace? What if Andrew McCutchen keeps being Andrew McCutchen? What if Gerrit Cole goes out and dominates like he has over the last six weeks? This season has been defined by the Pirates ability to exorcise demons. First the losing streak. Then a playoff berth. Then a playoff win against the Reds. Wouldn’t it be fitting for them to deal with another one of their extended streaks of futility? Many celebrated after the Pirates eighty-second win, and appropriately so. Even more after they clinched their playoff spot thanks to a great defensive play by Justin Morneau, followed by a Nationals loss. Pirates fans got so excited after the wild card win, that one even decided to jump off the Clemente bridge. Wouldn’t it be fitting for the most beleaguered franchise in American professional sports over the last two decades to go on the road and knock off the team that has been nothing short of the model of consistency over that same span of time? The Pirates are built for long-term success. But why not continue the success this year? Why not continue to upset the apple cart of professional baseball? The opportunity that the Pirates have on Wednesday is like something out of a 1990s baseball movie. They’re the team that’s long been mired at the bottom of the league. They’re the team that everyone (including their own fans) has made the butt of so many jokes over the years. They’re the team that employed Lloyd McClendon as their manager. They’re the team who had a player attack a giant anthropomorphic sausage with a baseball bat. But now thanks to several years of good drafting, solid free agent acquisitions, and a few well timed trades, the Pirates have an opportunity to pull off an upset of Sandlot-esque proportions. They have a team built to contend not just this year, but for years to come, with a core of talented young players and a stacked farm system. Wouldn’t it be nice for that string of contention to continue tomorrow? Wouldn’t it be nice to remove one more monkey from the city of Pittsburgh’s collective backs?
about 19 hours ago