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Raise the Jolly Roger! Oct 21, 2014

News and notes

Catching up on some Pirate-related news and such from the past few weeks: Royals and Giants in the World Series: As a baseball fan, the postseason always is fun to watch, no matter how much it hurts to see the Pirates out of it. These past two years have taken that “hurt” to a new […]

Pirates’ bench coach Jeff Banister hired to manage Rangers

Ken Rosenthal is reporting this morning that the Texas Rangers will hire Jeff Banister, the Pirates’ bench coach, to be their new manager. To be perfectly honest, ever since Ben Lindbergh published this story at Grantland about the unique and effective way that the Pirates’ front office and coaching staff communicate, I’ve been expecting Pirate coaches to start being poached by other clubs. Banister is always mentioned as being involved with the infield positioning alongside Hurdle and he’s the guy mentioned as being on the phone with Mike Fitzgerald (the stats guy the Pirates have...

The Royals are in the World Series (and yes, I’m a little bit jealous)

My first reaction to the Royals sweeping the Orioles out of the ALCS and clinching a World Series berth last night was the same as any non-A’s/Angels/Orioles fan with a shred of decency and a sense of wonder: This is really cool. The Royals were pathetic for just as long as the Pirates were, and they […]

Low strikes are making the strike zone huge

What I found was perhaps not surprising – the strike zone did continue to expand, and that expansion was almost entirely due to the bottom of the zone dropping once again. What surprised me was that this season saw the largest single year increase in the size of the strike zone in the PITCHf/x era. I’m […]

The aftermath

“Speak up, destiny, speak up! Destiny always seems decades away, but suddenly it’s not decades away; it’s right now. But maybe destiny is always right now, right here, right this very instant, maybe.”  – Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz When the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirate season ended, I was pretty OK with it. The […]

What’s next?

There’s a much different feel surrounding the Pirates going in to this offseason, as opposed to last year. It was almost impossible to be disappointed with the season as a whole last year, even after missing a golden opportunity to move past the Cardinals in the NLDS. The team won 94 games and showed up pretty […]

News and notes: Guilmet, Tabata, Mazzaro, McGuiness

Sadly we are at the point where boring, nearly meaningless news like this warrants a post, as opposed to more postseason action. Oh well. The Pirates acquired relief pitcher Preston Guilmet from Baltimore for cash considerations. Guilmet has had a few short, unimpressive major league stints but has impressive K/BB numbers in the minors. You never […]

Giants 8, Pirates 0

Well…that happened. The Pirates’ season is over and it couldn’t have ended with a bigger thud. Obviously this game showed the importance of winning the division, to avoid the possibility of ending the season with one bad night. This was a really bad night for the Pirates – downright disastrous, in fact. Those nights happen. […]

NL Wild Card Game: Giants 8 Pirates 0

Let’s start with this: From when I got down to Pittsburgh around 5 PM until the first pitch was amazing. There were a handful of moments from 2001-2007 at PNC Park where I’d look at my dad or my friend or whoever I was at the game with and say, “THIS! This is it! This […]

The 2014 National League Wild Card Game: There’s not much left to say

Now that it’s time to write a game preview for this game, I sort of feel talked out. I’ve said my piece about Edinson Volquez and about the Pirate offense and about the historical precedent between the Pirates and Giants and the nature of these one-game playoffs. I haven’t talked about the Giants much, but most […]

Bob Robertson and the Giants: Tonight, everyone matters

When the Pirates and Giants play into tonight’s Wild Card Game, it’ll be their first playoff meeting since the 1971 NLCS. The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates were a fearsome offensive baseball team. They lead the National League with 788 runs scored and 154 home runs. Their .274 batting average was the second in the NL, their .330 […]

Pirates set 25-man roster for NL Wild Card Game

Russell Martin? How dare they. The Pittsburgh Pirates, perhaps the least likable team in baseball for at least the last 48 hours and certainly for the next 12, set their rosters early on Wednesday. The big story is that Andrew McCutchen is not on the roster. /looks at roster again Aw, dang it. Here's the 25-man roster for the Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game: Catchers Russell Martin Chris Stewart Tony Sanchez Infielders Ike Davis Gaby Sanchez Neil Walker Jordy Mercer Brent Morel Josh Harrison Clint Barmes Outfielders Andrew Lambo Starling Marte Andrew McCutchen Travis Snider...

Enough about Edinson Volquez: Let’s talk about how good the Pirates are at hitting

Much of the focus in the run-up to tonight’s Wild Card Game has understandably focused on Edinson Volquez. This is understandable. The Royals started James Shield, the A’s started Jon Lester, the Giants are starting Madison Bumgarner, and the Pirates are starting Edinson Volquez. Volquez sticks out like a sore thumb in that quartet, and […]

Happy Blackout Day

If for some crazy reason you aren’t fired up yet, I’ve got you covered right here. First, some scenes from last year… Intros: Seconds before first pitch: “The Greatest 90 Seconds in PNC Park History” The last out: (And here’s the full game if you have a couple hours to kill) It will be tough […]
Raise the Jolly Roger! Sep 30, 2014

Five Wild Card Questions with ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian

ESPN will be covering the NL Wild Card game, starting with an extended edition of Baseball Tonight at 5:30 on ESPN2 (moving to ESPN at 7) and the game broadcast on ESPN at 8. Nearly a dozen ESPN commentators will be involved including Karl Ravech, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and analyst Eduardo Perez on site and Adnan […]
Raise the Jolly Roger! Sep 30, 2014

The Matchup: Edinson Volquez vs. Madison Bumgarner

When the Pirates signed Edinson Volquez in December, pretty much the most optimistic takes were something like “the Pirates can probably turn him around enough to make him a decent fifth starter and worth the $5 million.” Nobody in their wildest dreams would have imagined him taking the mound for Wild Card Blackout Part 2, but […]

What did Edinson Volquez do differently in 2014, and what hasn’t changed?

Edinson Volquez had a better year in 2014 than he did in 2013. This seems like an obvious statement to make — Volquez had the worst ERA among qualified pitchers in baseball last year, putting up a 5.71 ERA with the Padres and Dodgers. Given that the Padres and Dodgers both pitch in pitcher’s parks, that number […]
Raise the Jolly Roger! Sep 29, 2014

Wild Card rosters

Edinson Volquez was officially announced as the Pirates’ Wild Card starter on Monday. More on the Volquez-Bumgarner matchup in a bit, but first I’m going to look at how the Bucs might assemble their roster for Wednesday’s game. Remember, postseason rosters are only 25 (not the expanded September 40) so there are some decisions to […]

The 2014 regular season was frustrating, weird, and amazing. So what’s next?

Today might be the worst sports day of the year. The Pirates and Giants won’t play the National League Wild Card Game until Wednesday night, and so I’m sitting here on Monday morning trying to sort through a huge tangle of thoughts and sort them into two or three day’s wort of posts, while simultaneously […]

Pirates officially announce Edinson Volquez as Wild Card Game starter

#Pirates announce RHP Edinson Volquez as our starter for the 2014 NL #WildCard! Here’s some info to start #Buctober pic.twitter.com/hY7MnyqNb9 — Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 29, 2014

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