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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:27 pm 
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As I thought, this past series had a "playoff feel" to it. Unfortunately - at least from my perspective - it appeared as though the Bucs were pressing and didn't respond well to the pressure. Alvarez, Mercer and Jones appeared tight in the field. Liriano struggled with the strike zone. Burnett appeared irritated after Mercer's error. The offense continued to lay goose eggs when scoring opportunities presented themselves. And . . . in what has to be proof positive of a SI jinx . . . Cutch trips over his feet on what would have been a stand up triple.

So . . . the positives. Didn't get swept at GABP. Clean up the sloppy defense - eminently fixable - and they may have pulled out an additional win (maybe two). Neil Walker's defense should be back today. His left handed bat will be an improvement over the offense seen from 2B since he's been out. A 3 game lead is much better than a 1 game lead. Also, the Bucs still lead head-to-head against Reds (7-6) with 6 to go. 3 at PNC in September and 3 at GABP to close out season. That is important. This is why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_Leag ... r_wildcard

The negatives. Offense, offense, offense. Outside of McCutchen and Jones, a fairly miserable effort at the plate. 3 game set; Bucs get 81 outs. 35 outs were made by striking out. That's 43.2%. Nothing . . . I repeat . . . nothing productive comes from striking out. The Bucs were a dismal 2-27 with RISP. That's a recipe for disaster. Say what you will about a couple of bad innings where poor defense led to big innings and the Bucs being "this close" to winning 2 or 3 games . . . the offensive numbers suggest that we should let out a collective "WHEW" that the Bucs weren't swept. I'm betting the Reds are stomping mad at missing a golden opportunity to take 3 games.

Onto the nation's capital for 4 games with the Nationals. The "smarting" Nationals after the Dodgers came in and whipped them big time. You look at the Nats' lineup and say to yourself . . . "why aren't these guys playing better baseball?" I don't care about the record. They are a good team; a solid team and I continue to believe that they are primed for a run at some point this season. And, let's face it, they need to make things happen in a hurry. They need to play .636 ball to get to 90 wins; they are 7 games behind the Braves and they are no longer considered the best team that is currently not playoff eligible. That would be the Dodgers. And, after L.A. jumps into first place, the D'Backs will take that place.

The Nats need to win this series. The Bucs need to build some momentum. I expect four very tight games and closely fought games.

I'm going to call upon the karma from earlier in the season. In four game sets, the Bucs lost the first but went on to win the final three. This would be some elixir for all of our concerns and be nice heading into Miami for weekend. Hopefully, the Bucs can keep the Nats reeling.

Would love a series win here but, again, since it is on the road, I'd be fine with getting out of D.C. with a split. Head into Miami at 59-41 with a very good chance for a .500 road trip.

Trends:
Nationals' last 10: 2-8; last 20: 9-11; last 30: 14-16
Pirates' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 11-9; last 30: 18-12

Series to date: Nationals lead 2-1.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Washington Nationals - away - (48-50)
Pirates Current Record: 57-39
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 18
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 10
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 32
Home series played: 17
Home series won: 10
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 15
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 5
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 18-10-4
Series remaining: 20

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:54 pm 
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I will be very happy and secure in a spot if the Bucs can come out of the back end of these series and the Cards, with a .500 record plus or minus. Means no one caught up or lost ground to speak of, and we get on with rest of the season.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:04 pm 
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One would think that I'd be on Cloud Freaking 9 after the Bucs just took three of four, on the road, against a team that many predicted to be in the World Series this year. That I'd be giddy that the Pirates would be 60-40 after 100 games and possess an 8 game lead over the Diamondbacks for the last NL wildcard slot. That I'd be pumped that the Pirates now have the Dodgers, Braves, Phillies and Nationals all in the rear view mirror. That the remaining NL West and East opponents are comprised mainly of the Marlins, Padres, Giants and Rockies. That 13 of the remaining NL Central games are against teams who are in full blown sell-off mode (Cubs) or in a PED induced haze (Brewers).

Yet . . . I'm not.

I do not share the thought that Grilli's injury is easily overcome. I do not share in the thought that you can simply plug in Melancon in the 9th and some combination of Wilson/Watson/Morris in the 8th and all will be well. I may expand upon this more over the weekend, but my concern lies with what I'll call "The 2013 Pirate Formula." In large part, Pirate wins resulted from strong starting pitching for 5-6 innings. A strong 7th by the Wilson/Watson/Morris crowd and then lights-out 8ths and 9ths by Melancon and Grilli. Opposing teams understood that, if the Bucs were tied or in the lead after 6, they held an advantage. A huge advantage. Even with the Bucs' relatively weak offense.

I still remember watching the Dibble/Charlton/Myers "Nasty Boys" in 1990. If you didn't get ahead of the Reds by the end of the 6th, forget it. Those guys were lights out nearly every time. I viewed the '13 Bucs in the same vein. The "Shark Tank" is almost the equivalent of the "Nasty Boys."

Further, the Bucs have operated all year on a thin margin. They don't blow out teams. 17 of the last 21 games have been decided by 2 runs or less. Take a moment to digest that. 17 of 21. 61 of the Pirates' 100 games have been decided by 2 runs or less. 61%. I've written ad nauseum about the Bucs' offense, the strike outs, the missed scoring opportunities, the lack of efficiency. That places an incredible amount of pressure on the pitching - both starters and relievers. It places an immense amount of pressure on the defense.

I don't see Wandy Rodriguez returning this year. I don't see Jason Grilli returning this year. The "cost" of not scoring a run with RISP and one out; the "price" of the relief corp giving up a single run; the "penalty" of a defensive miscue . . . just got more expensive with Grilli's injury. We've seen what defense lapses can do - leading to three four run innings for the Reds and Nationals. We've seen what bringing Mazzaro into a 1-run game in the 8th inning can be. Doesn't take much for 1 run and 2 run victories to be flipped into 1 run or 2 run losses.

I'm not trying to be a defeatist or a doomsdayer. The team remains loaded with strong players and I have no doubt that they will continue to play competitive baseball. I continue to believe that they will be in playoff contention throughout the remainder of the season. I'm just concerned that . . . when you are forced deviate from the recipe . . . the result is usually not the same and sometimes, the result is rather unappetizing.

So . . . how to alleviate No. 9's worries? How about 3 games in Miami against the NL team with the worst record? OK . . . I'll take it.

Trends:
Marlins' last 10: 5-5; last 20: 9-11; last 30: 16-14
Pirates' last 10: 6-4; last 20: 10-10; last 30: 19-11

Series to date: First meeting.

June 14 - June 16. Cardinals at Marlins. Marlins take two of three.
July 29 - August 1. Cardinals at Pirates. 5 games. Likely the biggest series at PNC in 20 years.

Here is where Hurdle earns his money. Here is where AJ gets in everybody's head. Here is where Martin grabs the pitchers by the scruff of the neck. This is where superstars - McCutchen - rise to the surface. The Cardinals series begins on Monday. There are three HUGE games before then. Against a team that contenders should beat. If I'm Hurdle, I'm posting the 6/14 - 6/16 Marlins/Cardinals box scores on the wall and pointing out that no team - not even the worst team in the NL - can be taken for granted. I point out that the Marlins are better than .500 over the last 30 games. That they are playing pretty close to .500 ball over the last 20 games. That they are 24-21 since June 1st. And, in case the point wasn't received the first time, THE CARDINALS LOST A SERIES TO THEM IN JUNE.

No looking ahead. Focus on the game at hand; focus on the series at hand. And it starts tonight. Step on their throat early, don't take it off and keep pressing.

Locke; Morton and Cole. Love the Sunday "Young Gun" match-up. Can't wait for it. I'm looking for a big series out of McCutchen and out of Alvarez. I'm looking for Walker to start stroking the ball and for Jones to begin a solid stretch. I like the pitching match-ups and I like the Bucs taking this series. They'll head home to PNC with a minimum of 2 wins and be no worse than 62-41 heading into the Cardinals' series.

And, oh yeah, if the Braves and the Dodgers want to play incredible baseball this weekend, that would be nice.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Miami Marlins - away - (38-62)
Pirates Current Record: 60-40
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 19
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 10
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 33
Home series played: 17
Home series won: 10
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 16
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 5
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 19-10-4
Series remaining: 19

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:27 pm 
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No. 9, great stuff as always. I share your worries about the bullpen, which is why I would be happy to see the Pirates sign Brian Wilson (if he's ready to pitch). That's a veteran who has been there before and can strengthen the back end of the bullpen in Grilli's absence. He's a leader, a World Series champion (who pitched 11 scoreless innings in the playoffs), and a guy who should be fresh for the stretch run.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:18 pm 
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I think someone is starting to feel the playoff pressure! :shock:

All that, and Vic Black is the wildcard. If he steps right in and throws his 99 mph fastball for strikes in the 7th, the formula is intact.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:04 pm 
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Pirates trailing Cardinals by 2.5 heading into the weekend.
Pirates leading Reds by 3.0 heading into the weekend.
Cardinals swept by Braves.
Reds lose three of four to Dodgers.
Pirates have a three game stint against last place Marlins.
Pirates can only pick up one game after losing 2 of 3.

Sigh. Double sigh.

Oh well. That's what happens when the bats don't show up for two of the three games. You really can't expect to win when the hitters strike out 11 times in the first loss and 13 times in the second loss. That's what happens when you have a grand total of 9 base runners in innings 1-8 of both games. When 44% of the outs occur without forcing the other team to make a play, that's frustrating to watch. I'm an "equal equation" advocate. If you conclude that pitchers are dominating because they are K'ing a lot of hitters, then I conclude that the hitters are being dominated. It is with rare exception that a team will hang a W in the win column if its hitters are dominated by opposing pitchers. Margin for error = very thin.

Life is filled with missed opportunities. Can't change the past.

Having a hard time concentrating today at work thinking about the next four days. I'm jealous of those who will be at PNC. It should will be electric. It should will be raucous. A close facsimile of real playoff baseball.

It will be interesting to watch how the Pirates react to the atmosphere and the pressure. Will Starling Marte try to hit everything to Cleveland or will he stay within himself? Will Andrew McCutchen keep his front hip in and try to drive the ball all over the field or will he pull off the ball and try to pull everything? Which Pedro Alvarez will show up? Will it be the confident young slugger or the lost strikeout machine? What about Garrett Jones and Neil Walker? Weak pop-ups and strike outs or solid, meaningful contact? How about the defense? Can Jordy Mercer be spectacular at the ordinary or will he feel the pressure on anything hit his way? Will Marte hit cut-off men or throw the ball into the back stop? Will Jones field grounders in front of him or off to the side?

Trends:
Cardinals' last 10: 6-4; last 20: 13-7; last 30: 16-14
Pirates' last 10: 5-5; last 20: 9-11; last 30: 18-12

Series to date: Pirates lead 3-2

The two teams with the best records going head-to-head at PNC Park in late July. Five games in four days. Pirates throwing Liriano, Burnett, Gomez, Locke and Morton. Cardinals going with Westbrook, Lyons, Lynn, Wainwright and Kelly. So much for Miller v. Cole . . . maybe next time. For the Pirates, it will be more of the same needed for success. First rate pitching and defense and hope that the offense can scrape together some timely hits.

My "key" to the series? LCF to RCF. That's where I want the Bucco hitters to be looking to drive the ball. Up the middle and to the opposite field. I think that, for the most part, the Pirates fall victim to becoming "pull happy" and the line-up as a whole performs better when the hitters are stroking the balls to all fields. I will be watching with great curiosity tonight to the approach with Westbrook. Patience and taking the ball to the opposite field is the key to success against him. Hopefully, it sets the tone for the series and we see a productive offense instead of what we've seen since July 1st. The Runs/Game and production when opportunities are presented must get better for this Bucco team to compete with the Cardinals and for a legitimate playoff run.

I'm anticipating that one team is going to win 3 of the 5 games. I'm hoping that PNC Park makes the difference and the Bucs give the home town folks some good cheer. Here's hoping that the Bucs send the Cardinals to Cincinnati with their second straight series loss. I'd really like to see the Bucs get back to 20 games over .500 with the absolutely-nothing-to-play-for Rockies rolling into town.

Let's also hope that the Reds are looking ahead to the Cardinals series and that the Padres can grab a win or two.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" St. Louis Cardinals - home- (62-40)
Pirates Current Record: 61-42
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 19
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 11
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 34
Home series played: 17
Home series won: 10
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 17
Road series won: 9
Road series lost: 6
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 19-11-4
Series remaining: 18

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:08 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
The negatives. Offense, offense, offense. Outside of McCutchen and Jones, a fairly miserable effort at the plate. 3 game set; Bucs get 81 outs. 35 outs were made by striking out. That's 43.2%. Nothing . . . I repeat . . . nothing productive comes from striking out. The Bucs were a dismal 2-27 with RISP. That's a recipe for disaster. Say what you will about a couple of bad innings where poor defense led to big innings and the Bucs being "this close" to winning 2 or 3 games . . . the offensive numbers suggest that we should let out a collective "WHEW" that the Bucs weren't swept. I'm betting the Reds are stomping mad at missing a golden opportunity to take 3 games.



No. 9 wrote:
Oh well. That's what happens when the bats don't show up for two of the three games. You really can't expect to win when the hitters strike out 11 times in the first loss and 13 times in the second loss. That's what happens when you have a grand total of 9 base runners in innings 1-8 of both games. When 44% of the outs occur without forcing the other team to make a play, that's frustrating to watch. I'm an "equal equation" advocate. If you conclude that pitchers are dominating because they are K'ing a lot of hitters, then I conclude that the hitters are being dominated. It is with rare exception that a team will hang a W in the win column if its hitters are dominated by opposing pitchers. Margin for error = very thin.

Didn't really know where to post this, but I hope you don't mind the interjection, 9.

I went back and counted how many games the Pirates have struck out 10 times or more. We've had 34 ten K games out of 103 games played, so that's roughly 33% of the time. Our record in those games is 17 - 17, so not particularly predictive as far as that goes. Except that we're a .500 team when we strike out that much, as opposed to our .592 clip other than that. I have no idea if 10+ strikeout games is that common for other teams.

What is disconcerting is we seem to be getting worse as the season rolls along, not better.

April -- 7 games
May -- 5 games
June -- 11 games
July -- 11 games


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:02 pm 
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I update every day in excel. .500 can no longer be the goal. We need to get to 90 wins.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:04 pm 
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The goal is to win the World Series, I'm sure. I still am going to be happy to see that ignominious losing streak fall.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:07 am 
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at 65 -42 on Aug 1 the questions is:

Do we start a fun contest to guess the date they win #82? Perhaps this was a thread from the spring already but if not, it would be interesting to do it now for "kicks". 28 games in August are scheduled, if they go 17-17 over the next 34 the date would be Sept 7th.

My guess:

Sept 4th at Milwaukee (17-15 to get there and how nice they do it against the arch nemesis. Atlanta would only be more fitting.)

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:32 pm 
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hebner20 wrote:
at 65 -42 on Aug 1 the questions is:

Do we start a fun contest to guess the date they win #82? Perhaps this was a thread from the spring already but if not, it would be interesting to do it now for "kicks". 28 games in August are scheduled, if they go 17-17 over the next 34 the date would be Sept 7th.

My guess:

Sept 4th at Milwaukee (17-15 to get there and how nice they do it against the arch nemesis. Atlanta would only be more fitting.)


That would be sweeeeeet.

Still, to break 'the streak' at home... priceless, no? (priceless to break the streak in general, but...)

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:06 pm 
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September 1 against St. Louis, at PNC. Because I'll be there!

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:08 pm 
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Last night's game could've been 59-0 and I really wouldn't have give a rat's behind. Taking 4 of 5 from the Cardinals is a monster achievement at a incredibly key moment of the season. I am still riding the high of the first four games and cannot wait for first pitch tonight. I feel the same as a fellow Board Member who recently texted me "I'm getting to the point that I'm annoyed during the day, I just want game time to get here quick!" I'm sooooooooo in agreement with that statement.

Now . . . where to go from here. Rockies coming to town. In looking over the series going back to the Cubs series before the All Star Break, the Rockies are probably playing as bad as any team that we have faced (with the possible exception of the Nationals). The Rockies may have a better overall record than the Marlins but the Marlins are playing better baseball right now. On Monday, I wrote the Rockies off as having any chance of getting to 90 wins and making the playoffs in my "Race to 90" thread. If they believed that an iota of chance remained, the thrashing received at the hands of the Braves this week had to quash any such hopes. Suffice it to say . . . this is a Rockies team that is heading in the wrong direction.

So . . . no need to rest on any laurels. Its still August and there is approximately one-third of the season remaining. Taking 4/5 from the Cardinals didn't clinch the division and it didn't ensure a playoff berth. Thus, this is a series that should break the Pirates' way. Stout defense, solid starting pitching and some offensive production from those who are paid to produce offensively should produce a series win.

I like that Walker seems to be coming around. I like that Alvarez is driving in runs through means other than HRs. I'd really like to see Marte have a big series and I'd like to see Jones get on a roll. Getting a real hot bat or two would make a world of difference.

Trends:
Rockies' last 10: 3-7; last 20: 8-12; last 30: 12-18
Pirates' last 10: 6-4; last 20: 12-8; last 30: 18-12

Hurdle will keep this guys focused. I'm thinking that we will see at least two victories this weekend by the Bucs. They'll be at least 23 games over .500 heading into a very much deserved day off on Monday.

As for the rest of baseball, I'm pulling for the Red Sox and the Brewers (I hate typing that) and hoping that the Cards and Reds beat themselves silly.

EDIT: Forgot to add the 2012 v. 2013 "end of month" comparison.
On August 2, 2012, the Bucs had just won a series against the Cubs and had a series record of 19-11-4 and an overall record of 60-44.
On August 2, 2013, the Bucs just won a series against the Cardinals and have a series record of 20-11-4 and an overall record of 65-43.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Colorado Rockies - home- (51-59)
Pirates Current Record: 65-43
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 20
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 11
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 34
Home series played: 18
Home series won: 11
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 17
Road series won: 9
Road series lost: 6
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 20-11-4
Series remaining: 17

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Last edited by No. 9 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:55 pm 
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Loved the Bucs' last two victories over the Rockies. Solid pitching, timely hitting, aggressive base running and efficient run scoring. Those victories rank as two of the most satisfying wins that I've seen all year. Also nice to see the Bucs take a series when they could have been primed for somewhat of a let down after the huge Cardinals series.

The playoff picture in the NL is starting to come into focus. Although there is approximately one-third of the season remaining, there is no wildcard contending team outside of the NL Central that is catching fire and appearing poised to make a run. Rather, they are floundering and losing ground to the competition. Although still contending, the Diamondbacks have fallen well back in the division race and are struggling to remain above .500. The Nationals continue to underwhelm and are on the verge of becoming irrelevant in the race. The Padres have just lost one of their best players, the Rockies are regressing and the Phillies may be playing the worst ball in the NL.

So . . . . while the vast majority of the NL flounders, the Bucs face another series which seems "ripe" for the taking. Great opportunity to create some separation . . some cushion for the rest of the season.

Call me crazy but I'm particularly encouraged by the fact that the Marlins recently took a series from the Pirates. It is fresh in their memory. The sting is likely still present. The Pirates know that the Marlins are playing good ball. There is no risk of "looking ahead" to the Cardinals. They are playing at home in front of an energized crowd. The pitching match-ups are intriguing. Looking for a nice outing out of Locke against a tough mound opponent in Alvarez. Thursday's Fernandez v. Cole outing ought to be entertaining as well.

One thing that is certain in my mind. If any Pirate pitcher throws a hittable pitch on the outer part of the plate to Stanton, they ought to have their head examined. The Stanton power + short right field porch causes shivers to run up and down my spine. Would not care if we see a lot of "unintentional" intentional walks to Stanton and seeing the Bucs force the other Marlins to be the difference makers. When you have such strong mano-a-mano pitching match-ups, a single swing of the bat can make a huge difference and Stanton is the only player on the roster who scares the daylights out of me whenever he's at the plate.

BTW, isn't it time for Pedro to go on a HR hitting run? Would love to see him have a huge series.

Trends:
Marlins' last 10: 5-5; last 20: 10-10; last 30: 14-16
Pirates' last 10: 7-4; last 20: 12-8; last 30: 16-14

Head to head: Marlins lead 2 games to 1.

The first and third game of this series are going to be nail biters. I like Locke's chances tonight; I think that Cole is going to end up having a bad inning that will cost him on Thursday. The series winner will be decided in Game #2. Looking for Ground Chuck to rebound and the Bucs' offense to thrive against Koehler. The Bucs will be looking for the sweep on Thursday afternoon but will be denied. They will end up 3-3 against the Marlins this year. In any event, they'll get on a plane to Denver sitting in first place and a season-tying high of 24 games above .500.

Meanwhile, we're going to like what the A's and Dodgers do to the Reds and Cardinals. All 3 teams will have 48 games left their respective schedules. Its going to be a wild, wild ride.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Florida Marlins - home- (43-67)
Pirates Current Record: 67-44
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 21
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 11
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 35
Home series played: 19
Home series won: 12
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 17
Road series won: 9
Road series lost: 6
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 21-11-4
Series remaining: 16

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:14 pm 
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Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
What a home stand. 9-2. A thorough beating of the Cardinals. Two incredibly satisfying wins over the Rockies and a sweep of the Marlins even though they ran two of their young studs out to the mound. Fun stuff. Very fun stuff.

It truly does not seem real that that it is August 9th and, with 48 games remaining on the schedule, the Bucs have already won 70. If you buy into the notion of "winning series" or the "54-54-54" principle, the Bucs should have won 38, lost 38 and have gone 32-6 in the "other" games. Incredible and amazing.

They won't keep winning at this pace. Its not going to happen. Given that nearly every other NL wildcard contender is floundering, taking 9 of 11 builds a nice safety net/cushion for the inevitable three or four game losing streak. The Braves have almost single handedly taken the Nationals out of contention and the Dodgers are, in dementor-like fashion, trying to suck the life out of the Diamondbacks. Here are the three numbers that blow my mind . . . 11, 16, 18. Those three numbers represent that Pirates lead in the loss column over the current non-wildcard qualifying teams. I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch but . . . figures are figures. If the Bucs go 24-24 for the rest of the season, the D'Backs need to go 36-13 to catch them and the Nationals would have to go 40-8 to tie Pirates (Bucs have head-to-head advantage).

So . . . on to Colorado to begin a stretch where the Bucs will balance the number of home v. road games. As listed below, the Rockies have gone into the tank.

Trends:
Rockies' last 10: 1-9; last 20: 6-14; last 30: 10-20
Pirates' last 10: 8-2; last 20: 14-6; last 30: 18-12

Head to head: Pirates lead 2 games to 1.

We may have some fun watching Cutch and Marte chase down balls that the Rockies' faithful rarely get to see. The pitching matchups are excellent and the trends tend to favor the Bucs. Pedro is going to get at least two HRs in the three game stretch and Cutch and Marte and going to smoke the ball as well. I see the Bucs winning two of three and heading to St. Louis for "The Rematch" with a 72-45 record.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Colorado Rockies - away- (52-64)
Pirates Current Record: 70-44
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 22
Series swept: 7
Series lost: 11
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 36
Home series played: 20
Home series won: 13
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 17
Road series won: 9
Road series lost: 6
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 22-11-4
Series remaining: 16[/quote]

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No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:11 pm
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Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
OK . . . full confession time . . . I've pulled over at a rest stop between Salina, KS and Kansas City so that I can connect to the internet and post the next Countdown installment. Doesn't that commitment deserve a couple of Bucco victories over the next couple of days?

Still smarting after the series in Denver where it appeared that the Buccos were nursing a hangover after the incredibly successful home stand. I've harped pretty consistently about my perception of the offensive shortcomings. I've also harped about the thin margin on which the Pirates win games. For all practical purposes, Burnett threw well until his one bad inning. Locke pitched fine. The defense took a hiatus. A baserunning gaffe cost a key run in a big moment. And . . just to show that I'm not adverse to taking a shot at the manager . . I still don't get how Hurdle ran players to the plate on Sunday. Martin for Jones? I get that. Mercer instead of Sanchez? Uuuuugh. All you need is a lousy fly ball and with Presley on deck after the 9 hole, there is no way that Sanchez gets a chance to hit if Mercer doesn't drive in the run.

OK . . . deep breath . . . let it go.

Another divisional showdown with Cardinals. Both teams coming off of disappointing series. Both teams fully understanding the importance of the next three games. It will undoubtedly be a playoff atmosphere in St. Louis.

We know how the Bucs reacted at home. They rose to the occasion. How will they react on the road? Will Alvarez continue to flounder at the plate? Will McCutchen continue to swing the bat like it is up to him to drive in every run? How's Marte's hand? Will Garrett Jones find his power stroke? Will someone . . . anyone . . . offer Cutch some offensive help? Please? Will we get the Good Chaz or the Bad Chaz (his history against the Cards is not particularly encouraging)? What about the defense? Will the team press and struggle under the pressure? Will the team rise to the event and play solidly? Compelling baseball. Can't wait to listen to the game as I drive.

Trends:
Cardinals' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 7-13; last 30: 14-16
Pirates' last 10: 5-5; last 20: 12-8; last 30: 17-13

Head to head: Pirates lead 7 games to 3.

I'm thinking that we will see one team win the series two games to one. I'm not anticipating a sweep. Don't like tonight's pitching matchup. Feeling pretty good about the next two match-ups. Bucs going with the vets. I don't have a strong feeling about whether the Bucs will win the series but I will admit that if they take one game in combination with playing solid baseball, I'll be fine. I won't be jumping with joy but I'd take it. I'd like to see the Bucs play competitive solid baseball on the road against a division rival. If the Cardinals pick up a game . . . so be it. Get some "good juju" back and head home for another big series against Arizona.

Nerve racking . . . but a ton of fun. Back on the road . . . I'm outta here.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" St. Louis Cardinals - away- (67-50)
Pirates Current Record: 70-47
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 22
Series swept: 7
Series lost: 12
Series in which they've been swept: 3
Series split: 4
Series played: 37
Home series played: 20
Home series won: 13
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 18
Road series won: 9
Road series lost: 7
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 22-12-4
Series remaining: 15

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:56 pm 
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Location: Omaha, NE via Sioux City, Kansas City, and Chicago
No. 9 wrote:
OK . . . full confession time . . . I've pulled over at a rest stop between Salina, KS and Kansas City so that I can connect to the internet and post the next Countdown installment. Doesn't that commitment deserve a couple of Bucco victories over the next couple of days?


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Well done!

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:05 pm 
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I just drove past Forbes Field Airport in Kansas. Has to be a good omen, right?

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:28 pm 
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Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
Was out-of-town (actually visiting with Az) at the start of the D'Backs series and missed the last installment.

Looking forward to a little west coast baseball. Will put the family to bed, crank up the Apple TV and hopefully watch some relaxing Pirate victories. They seem to be few and far between (the relaxing wins).

Trends:
Padres' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 10-10; last 30: 15-15
Pirates' last 10: 3-7; last 20: 11-9; last 30: 16-14

Not much to add on this series. Haven't spent a lot of time watching the Padres and know very little about who they will be running out to the mound. I do know that that Petco should only help Liriano, Burnett and Cole - which, in my opinion - should bode well for the good guys.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that Kdro decides to snap out of his month long slump. The Pirates are a ton better when he is hitting the ball. As I've advocated before, I'd get him out of the four-hole. Not that Jones or Sanchez is truly "deserving" of that spot right now. Its more of an issue of whether Kdro is pressing. He just looks like a lost puppy right now.

In any event, I'm going to change up the karma here. Bucs are going to sweep the Padres. The tide is going to turn and they will head to the city by the bay at 75-51 and riding a wave of good tidings to take on Fat Panda and the rest of the Gigantes.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" San Diego Padres - away- (56-68)
Pirates Current Record: 72-51
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 22
Series swept: 7
Series lost: 13
Series in which they've been swept: 3
Series split: 4
Series played: 39
Home series played: 21
Home series won: 13
Home series lost: 6
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 19
Road series won: 9
Road series lost: 8
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 22-13-4
Series remaining: 13

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:46 am 
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Location: Wheeling, WV
IA Pirate wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
OK . . . full confession time . . . I've pulled over at a rest stop between Salina, KS and Kansas City so that I can connect to the internet and post the next Countdown installment. Doesn't that commitment deserve a couple of Bucco victories over the next couple of days?


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Well done!

Having driven through Kansas several times on trips to Denver and visits to relatives, I am compelled to repeat that Kansas is the worst drive in the f'en country. Nothing but corn fields as far as forever. Did see TOTO on I-70.

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