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Everyone is quick to blame the Pirates struggles on something. The rotation stinks, the bullpen is awful, the bats aren't doing enough, etc but is any of this actually true. Is a certain aspect of this team really performing that much worse than what should have been expected of them? My initial reaction was yes but then I took a step back and while I did notice something it wasn't what some might expect.
Melancon's blown save has the most recent blame falling on the bullpen. The talk is now is that this is a subpar unit but the numbers really don't back that up. Below are the ERA/FIP for each of the Pirates 7 primary relievers thus far this season.
Watson, Melancon and Wilson are continuing to build off of last year and post great numbers. Melancon's performance is certainly a step back from last year but Melancon was barely human last year so no big surprise. The threesome is pitching very well. The rest of the bullpen hasn't been pitching as well but they all have been at least by their FIP posting somewhat lucky results. Gomez is what he is a solid dependable long man who is going to allow some runs. Pimentel is a young pitcher still in need of work who probably only made the team due to his lack of options but even so he has held his own. Hughes has done nice work as the 8th reliever. That leaves us with Morris who is once again posting decent numbers despite poor peripherals. More was expected of him but he really hasn't been bad.
Noticeably absent from the above list is Jason Grilli. The start of his 2014 season wasn't great but then again we are talking about a measly 8 innings some of which he presumably pitched while hurting. Yu can mention him with the disappointments but you can't pin a lot on him due to his sheer lack of innings pitched.
I'm going to list the 5 primary starters just like I did the bullpen arms but here I will include ERA/FIP/xFIP
Liriano and Cole haven't been quite the work horses the Pirates and fans had hoped they would be but that isn't to say they have pitched poorly either.... [Read More]
| May 16, 2014 - 9:16 AM
It was announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins have fired both Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma. While it was all but certain that the #Pens would fire Bylsma, it was more of an uncertainty of they had the balls to fire Ray Shero who has been at least equally as poor over the last 5 seasons in failing the organization with poor drafts, bad contracts and poor roster construction that was built for the Regular Season, not the Playoffs.
Should be an active and fun Offseason for the #Pens and #Pens fans!
It's the year 2034 and the Pittsburgh Penguins have just won their 3rd straight Stanley Cup, officially becoming an NHL dynasty. Everyone is caught up in the moment that they forget about the little run from 20 years back - The Crosby/Malkin era. It began during the 2007-08 season when the Pens and their young nucleus made it to the Cup Finals, losing the series 4-2 to the Red Wings. It then reached its peak the next season during the ultimate Cinderella story - the Pens returning to the cup finals under an intern head coach to face the Red Wings once again, this time winning Lord Stanley in 7 games. Then, some would say it went downhill from there.
It's a really unique scenario because Crosby has won a Stanley Cup and has appeared in two of them. But it's about what he's done after that. No matter who you are - Pens fan or any other fan - Sidney Crosby will always be compared to one of the best to ever play, Mario Lemieux. As of Thursday May 15th 2014, Crosby is still regarded as one of the, if not the, best players in the NHL currently and many think he could go down as being one of the best to ever play. But not everyone may think that 20 years from now.
Both Lemieux and Crosby won their Stanley Cup(s) at young ages, 25 and 21 respectively. And if you look back in the past, both actually share some things in common with each other after that. Both would go on to accomplish more milestones after those years, both had a few injuries in the coming years, and, unfortunately, both would begin to fail in the playoffs. In the 5 years after that, both would continue to post great regular season records, get top seeds, & then lose to lower seeded teams, with Sid getting knocked out by them for the next 5 years and Mario would go on to lose to them 4 of the next 5 seasons (with the 5th being as a 6th seed losing to 3rd seeded Philly).
But if both of them would go on to have the same accomplishments after their cups, the same injury setbacks, the same postseason flops, then why is Lemieux regarded as a top-2 all time player and Crosby is being questioned for everything about him?
As far as I'm concerned, Mario led a team that in my opinion was far inferior to some of the teams Crosby has been on in the past few years. Crosby has had no excuses with the team Ray Shero has put around him, as the Penguins have been... [Read More]
As the 2014 NFL Draft got underway, I kept envisioning the name Kyle Fuller, being read by off by Roger Goodell, as the first pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round. Of course, being one of millions of GM's in SteelerNation, I know what the needs are and where they needed to start filling those needs even though I have never stepped one foot in the team offices or taken part in the day to day operations. So imagine my shock when Goodell announced the first pick as being Ryan Shazier, a Linebacker from Ohio State as our first pick. As I was picking up my phone to call the war room to find out why Darquez Dennard was not on his way to Pittsburgh, I realized that I'm not privy to that phone number and that I'm actually just a fan with nothing more than a personal wish list and no stake in the teams future because of an organizational position. That's a good thing as it turns out.
In Ryan Shazier, who the Steelers will move inside, they have an ILB who can stuff the run, get after the quarterback and has the speed to cover wide receivers. Teaming him up with Lawrence Timmons could give the Steelers the best ILB tandem in the NFL. The days of the Steelers giving up 6.5 yards per carry on the outside should be coming to an end with the addition of Ryan Shazier.
With the second pick, the Steelers chose Stephon Truitt, a Defensive Lineman and from Notre Dame. This guy is a monster with an attitude. Truitt will add size and strength to a defensive front that had issues stopping the run last year. I imagine he'll start working on the inside this year, but should make his way outside to give the Steelers a pair of solid ends in him and Heyward.
Dri Archer came to the Steelers in the third round by way of Kent State, and to put it simply about the diminutive RB/WR/KR, you can't tackle what you can't catch. In this year's combine, the 5'73/4" 168 lb Archer ran the second fastest 40 yard dash ever, after averaging 9 YPC while at Kent State. Comparable to Darren Sproles, Archer should be a third down nightmare for defenses league wide, in spread formations, with the multiple roles he can play.
The Steelers got the big wide receiver they were looking for in the fourth round when they picked up Clemson wide out, Martavis Bryant. At 6'4" 200 lbs, he has a solid catch radius and blew the top off coverages in his first real chance at significant playing time. I'm sure it helped having Sammy Watkins lining up... [Read More]
If anyone didn't see Dejan Kovacevis's article today, it's worth a read. The Pens could use s short series in these playoffs to help insure a Stanley Cup Victory. All three of our Stanley Cup Championship Teams have had one. The Pens need to put the wretched Rangers away tomorrow night. It's time to move on. And the way our defense is playing, and their offense isn't, it could happen. Let's Go Pens!!!!