#Pens Defense Has Made It's Transformation To A Quick Puck Moving Defense

by Kipper | Mar 08, 2015 - 12:26 PM

This Article on CBS about the Pens defense was really good and it discussed a variety of points myself and others here have had since the Trade Deadline.

Losing all of our size and grit the Pens defense looks small and soft. A defense that can do miracles in the Regular Season but what about against Playoff foes such Metro Division teams who are physical and aggressive? We have seen the Penguins struggle badly against these types of teams this year but since the Trade Deadline the Pens defense has looked very convincing against some really good aggressive BIG physical teams.

Have they finally gotten where they needed to be?

Was the addition of Cole and Lovejoy with their ability to move the puck something that has made the defense even better?

One only needs to look at the Detroit Red Wings. More importantly look at the Red Wings when we battled them for the Cup. Those were small defenses who played a lot of games against a tough physical Western Conference. They not only survived but they did so while receiving accolades for their defensive play. What was best about those teams is that those defenses were built for success in the Playoffs.

Now the question will be, is the Pens defense built for the playoffs? We can only hope.

For now however we are seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins defense not only operate in a quicker, puck moving fashion but we have a GM finally that is willing and able to equip his Head Coach with the proper players for his system, unlike his predecessor (Iginla anyone?).

Buckle up, this blue collar Defense loving city just got a little more on the ice
    7 Replies | 3,192 Views

ATP Near and Far: Starting Pitchers

by battlingbucs | Mar 04, 2015 - 3:03 PM
ATP Near and Far is a 10 part series dedicated to assembling two teams of All Time Pirates greats based upon their place of birth. The "near" team will consist of players born exclusively in the state of Pennsylvania and the "far" team will consist of players born outside of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Each roster will consist of 25 players the particulars of how the rosters will be assembled can be found in the introduction post here.

All Time Pirates Near and Far: Starting Pitchers
Pennsylvania: Recall the criteria to be listed as a starting pitcher is merely starting in more than half of the games you have pitched in. For the hitters I used wRC+ and fWAR as my guiding tools likewise for the pitchers I will use ERA-, FIP- and fWAR. As for the list of eligible Pennsylvania pitchers a staggering 41 of them qualify as starting pitchers ranging with anywhere from 1 career start up to over 200.

Looking at the one start pitchers we have Will Thompson (1892), Jake Seymour (1882), Al Krumm (1889) and Alex Jones (1889). Thompson didnít last long in his start going only three innings and Seymour went 8 but got hit fairly hard both were relatively normal spot starts. On the other hand Krumm and Jones stand out. Jones at just 19 pitched a complete game beauty striking out 10 while only walking 1 and he is the only one of this quartet to play in the majors elsewhere getting a few short stints with 4 other teams. On the opposite end of the spectrum Krumm must have been told he was pitching until the game ended or his arm fell off as he walked 10 batters while surrendering 11 runs (only 10 were earned) in a complete game effort.

Looking for more starts we find 6 players that made either 2 or 3 starts including Alex Beam (1889), Chuck Lauer (1884), Norm Baker (1883), Pete Conway (1889), Harry Jordan (1894-95) and Robert Gibson (1890). If you have excellent recall you may remember Chuck Lauer as he was primarily a catcher/outfielder for the Pirates but in 1884 he started 3 games with fairly poor results. Alex Beam is the only pitcher above to have 2 starts as the other 5 made three. Of the mentioned pitchers Harry Jordan and Norm Baker were clearly the best with Baker having the edge in raw numbers but Baker coming ahead in era adjusted numbers. The... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 2,918 Views

ATP Starting 8 By Birth Country

by battlingbucs | Mar 02, 2015 - 1:04 PM
As you probably know I have been working on assembling two All Time Pirates teams based on place of birth. One of those teams is made up of players born outside the 50 US states and District of Columbia. Recently I just concluded the non-pitchers which for the international team consisted of 130 players. I thought it would be interesting to break that group down a little farther and look at the players on a country by country basis. In all fifteen "countries" are represented in the pool of eligible international players but only four have enough players to put together a starting 8. Below is my chosen starting 8 for each squad.

Canada (17 eligible players)
C: George Gibson
1B: Justin Morneau
2B: John O'Brien
3B: Russell Martin
SS: Pop Smith
LF: Doug Frobel
CF: Jason Bay
RF: Matt Stairs
* Morneau gets the edge over Jimmy Knowles and Frank Colman (who also just lost to Frobel) in the closest race. Martin at 3B probably seems odd but only three players have played any 3rd and one of them Pop Smith is the only one to have ever played SS (Billy Reid is the other with all of one game).

Puerto Rico (24 eligible players)
C: Junior Ortiz
1B: Orlando Merced
2B: Jose Lind
3B: Jose Hernandez
SS: Jose Pagan
LF: Wil Cordero
CF: Carlos Bernier
RF: Roberto Clemente

* Pagan had a 3B or SS spot locked down and Hernandez edged out Fernando Gonzalez, Rey Quinones and Ramon Vazquez for the other spot. Outfield is a mess with Bernier and Cordero barely edging out Sixto Lezcano. Merced could move to the outfield by Carlos Rivera or Eddie Vargas weren't exactly pushing to be started.

Venezuela (15 eligible players)
C: Raul Chavez
1B: Vic Davalillo
2B: Carlos Garcia
3B: Luis Sojo
SS: Ronny Cedeno
LF: Jose Tabata
CF: Gorkys Hernandez
RF: Tony Alvarez

* Al Pedrique challenged Sojo and Cedeno for their starting spots. Davalillo should be in the OF but is the only player with significant time at 1B. As for the outfield Alex Ramirez pushed Hernandez and Alvarez for the final two spots. Jose Castillo is probably the most notable player to miss out but aside from a few flashes he wasn't all that... [Read More]
    2 Replies | 2,873 Views

ATP Near and Far: Outfielders

by battlingbucs | Feb 27, 2015 - 8:58 AM
ATP Near and Far is a 10 part series dedicated to assembling two teams of All Time Pirates greats based upon their place of birth. The "near" team will consist of players born exclusively in the state of Pennsylvania and the "far" team will consist of players born outside of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Each roster will consist of 25 players the particulars of how the rosters will be assembled can be found in the introduction post here.

All Time Pirates Near and Far: Outfielders
International: There are a staggering 50 eligible players for the all international team outfield. An additional 23 players have also played the position and of those I will highlight the interesting case of Manny Jimenez. The Dominican born Jimenez played for the Pirates in 1967 and 1968 appearing in 116 games but remarkably he only saw time in the field in 11 of those games. Equally remarkable in those 11 games he started 9 of them and finished just 3 of them. He was a pinch hitter extraordinaire and excelled in the role posting a solid 126 wRC+. He by far has the most PA of anyone who doesnít qualify for a position on either team.

Of the 50 eligible players, 32 received fewer than 500 PA. In order for this not to be a long drawn out process I will just briefly touch on these 32 highlighting the ones I see as notable. In the fewer than 10 PA crowd we have Bill Farmer (1888, Ireland), Angel Mangual (1969, Puerto Rico), Alberto Lois (1978-79, Dominican Republic), Bill Miller (1902, Germany), Phil Routcliffe (1890, Canada) and Tony Armas (1976, Venezuela). Manguel and Armas are the two players that had the longest most successful careers of the bunch. Manguel played with the Athletics from 1971-76 mainly serving in a reserve capacity whereas Armas played from 1977-89 with 3 different clubs earning three All Star appearances and twice finishing in the top 5 for MVP.

With fewer than 50 PA we have Luis Marquez (1954, Puerto Rico), Jose Gonzalez (1991, Dominican Republic), Gorkys Hernandez (2012, Venezuela), Felix Pie (2013, Dominican Republic), Frank Smith (1884, Canada), Ruben Mateo (2004, Dominican Republic) and Michael Martinez (2014, Dominican Republic). I am actually a bit surprised by the recency of this list as a player from each of the past 3 seasons... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 706 Views

Panthers in Prime Position for March Madness Down the Stretch

by sluggermatt15 | Feb 21, 2015 - 3:58 PM
What MATTers: Panthers in Prime Position for March Madness Down the Stretch -

The Pitt men's basketball team traveled to Charlottesville, VA this past Monday in hopes of earning a marquee road win. The #2 Cavaliers shunted the Panthers' hopes of an upset by playing smothering defense. Pitt was held to 15 points at the half, one of the lowest offensive outputs in the team's history. As a result, Pitt fell, 61-49, in a game that was much closer than the score.

Despite the defeat, Pitt's computer numbers took big, positive strides. The Panthers moved into the Top 50 in the ratings percentage index (RP)I, and into the Top 75 in strength of schedule (SOS). This improvement is favorable for the Panthers' hopes of qualifying for March Madness. However, Pittsburgh's resume is still lacking wins away from home. Including this afternoon's triumph at the Carrier Dome against the Syracuse Orange, the Panthers stand at 2-7 in true road contests. The number in the win column must only rise. The good news? Pitt has two more opportunities. It plays at Wake Forest on March 1 and at Florida State to close the regular season on March 7. Playing hypothetical, two wins there would raise the road win total to 4. When one factors in that Pitt is 2-1 in neutral site games, 5-8 does not look all that bad. Plus, Pitt will be playing in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC. A couple of wins or more, and Pitt could run its road/neutral record to close to .500. Thus, the Panthers are in good position to address this weakness. Further, Pitt must accumulate additional wins to improve its profile.

A game that possesses a large implications is the home finale on March 4 against Miami (FL). The Hurricanes, like the Panthers, are fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The winner there likely knocks the other from consideration. A win over the Hurricanes would provide the Panthers with another RPI Top 100 victory. At the moment, the Panthers are a mediocre 4-8 against the RPI Top 100, another mark Pitt must improve upon.

If the Panthers finish the year at 11-7 in the ACC, they will likely earn a middle-of-the-conference seed in the Conference Tournament. The positive there is Pitt will likely have opportunities to play against additional RPI Top-100 foes. Dates with the upper echelon of the ACC would be likely.

The opportunities lie ahead for Pitt. With this afternoon's win over Syracuse, Pitt controls its... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 679 Views

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