What's wrong with Jeff Locke?

by Dunio | Aug 23, 2013 - 10:56 AM
After dominating the first half of the season and making the NL All Star team, Jeff Locke appears to be an anti-All Star when he takes the hill now. In Locke's last 5 starts, he's pitched to the 4th inning or less 3 times and pitched 5 2/3 innings twice.

In Locke's last 5 games, he's pitched a total of 22 innings. He's allowed 19 ER, 15 BB, and 37 hits in this time frame.

I'd like to say fatigue is part of the problem given that Locke is very near the most IP for a season in his career. However, his fastball velocity seems consistent with where it was early in the season.

It's hard to say what's going on with Jeff, but the Pirates need to consider placing him on the 15 day DL to try to get him right for the last few weeks of the regular season. I'd be in favor in letting Jeanmar Gomez or Brandon Cumpton make a spot start or two in Locke's absense, but either way - something needs to change.
    16 Replies | 7,936 Views

With the Steelers, "Potential" is Far From "Perfection"

by BnGBlitz | Aug 22, 2013 - 2:19 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers are half way through their preseason schedule, and to be quite frank...it hasn't been pretty. The Steelers apologists are out in full garb as they try damage control for those members of SteelerNation that are contemplating cancelling their "NFL Sunday Ticket" before week 1 just to avoid watching this team for 16 games (because in their minds the postseason is simply laughable). I find myself in the middle of the two sides. I certainly can understand that there is no need to "freak out" or jump to the conclusion that the Steelers will not be successful after two games that mean absolutely nothing. I can also see that what I watched the past 2 games was not pretty. Not pretty in alot of different ways that have all been diagrammed on my site following the preseason games. The one thing that keeps ringing true with me is simple...the Steelers possess a massive amount of "potential", but unfortunately "potential" is far from "perfection" as we have all seen these past two weeks.

When people speak of the Steelers' potential, the first unit that comes to mind are the rookies that are expected to make an impact on this team. Whether its Jarvis Jones potentially starting at Right Outside Linebacker, Markus Wheaton as the slot WR, Le'Veon Bell as the "premiere" RB, or even Shamarko Thomas as safety depth and a special teams ace. All are expected to contribute in one way, shape, or form. All of the above players listed scream of potential. "Sky's the limit" for these young kids that are about to embark on their first NFL season, but the issue with youth, is that inexperience walks hand in hand with it. Relying on these players to play above their years is a tough task to undertake, but its up to the coaching staff to get them acclimated as fast as possible.

The next group that comes to mind, in terms of potential, is the Offensive Line. This is a unit that is young, slender, and fast, but also very inexperienced. When Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncery embody the "veterans" of the group...you know you've got a young group. That doesn't mean that they can't play, but as the MNF game vs the Redskins showed...when inexperience creeps into the mind...penalties and blown assignments occur. With this group, thats more often than not. If this line can stay healthy (a HUGE if) and play together for years to come it could be one of the best line's the Steelers have ever seen. Until then, its the... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 2,837 Views

One on One with Pirates Catcher Tony Sanchez

by Dunio | Aug 22, 2013 - 12:38 PM
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez was drafted 4th overall in the 2009 draft. He made his major league debut with the Pirates on June 23rd after having a breakout season in AAA Indianapolis where he hit .288 with 10 HR and 42 RBI in only 76 games.

Sanchez has quickly become a fan favorite because of his willingness to interact with fans and his pure candidness on social media outlets like Twitter. In fact, there might not be a better major leaguer to follow on Twitter than @Tony26Montana if you are looking for a blend of major league insight and humor.

Sanchez was gracious enough to spend 15 minutes with me discussing a variety of topics from major league life to teammates and expectations for the remainder of the season.

Justin Dunio: Explain how you felt the first time you were introduced as “Pirates Catcher, Tony Sanchez”.

Tony Sanchez: Its honestly indescribable, there’s nothing like realizing that 15 years of hard work has finally paid off. I understand that I still have a lot to learn and there is much more to accomplish, but no one can ever take that first game away from me. Seeing my face on the jumbo tron as they announced the defensive positions gave me the chills.

JD: When did you realize that a professional baseball career was a real possibility?

TS: Not until after my freshman year of college. I went into BC extremely overweight and out of shape, but still managed to play extremely well all season as a freshman. One day a scout came up to me and asked me how much I weighed. Of course I lied and took off about 15-20 lbs but he still asked me if I was going to work on that for him. That was kind of the point where I realized professional baseball could be a possibility if I got myself into shape.

... [Read More]
    2 Replies | 2,383 Views

A Memo To Basement GM's, Justin Morneau Would Require Overpaying For The #Pirates

by Kipper | Aug 22, 2013 - 8:40 AM
Last night while I watched whatever little of the Pirates game there was remaining, I saw retweet show up on Twitter discussing how GM Neal Huntington needs to make a trade for 1B Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins.
Why? Most likely because the person complaining wants to see the Pittsburgh Pirates just do something for the sake of doing something. 1st Place isn't good enough. Even the great writers over at Yahoo's Sports section have jumped on the Morneau bandwagon -- HERE

.... but Justin Morneau?

This is a seller's market. Nobody could pry Morneau from the Twins at the Trade Deadline because the Twins like everyone else are asking way too much for a guy that's 32 years old. The same people saying "Bob Nutting has the money, he should spend it" are probably the same people that are broke without a dime to their bank account playing Russian Roulette with Bankruptcy. Just put a match to that money.. it's the same concept.

The question is why not Justin Morneau? He'd be an upgrade. If you look at his stats compared to Garrett Jones' using their splits against Right Handed Pitchers, He's a great improvement. He's batting .290 compared to Jones' .252. His .842 OPS is nearly .100 points higher than Jones' .742. Neither guy get on base much. Even if we used PA's (Plate Appearances) since Garrett Jones strikes out more, Garrett Jones is batting .291 on Balls in Play (BABIP) and Justin Morneau is batting .309. An improvement, not a great improvement considering the price. The problem however is that stats are percentage based. Here's what the Pirates would give up $4 million for and probably a decent prospect(s) for ..

11 Hits.

Garrett Jones and Justin Morneau have 324 and 330 AB's. What separates their stats over all of those AB's and this entire year is 11 more hits. The Pittsburgh Pirates would pay a hefty price for 11 more hits.

Yes, ... [Read More]
    11 Replies | 2,039 Views

Money Doesn't Buy Championships

by Kipper | Aug 20, 2013 - 5:44 PM
A couple of days I saw a comment on Twitter, its the same psychobabble, different day, too many people whining that the Pirates haven't traded for bat. You could probably join all of the collective brains together that make these comments and get little beyond a 1st Grade Education. Beyond this you end up with the "Nutting is cheap" fairy band of dip****s.

First off, you can't go out into the Trade Market and buy a player. Ray Shero can sit in a Press Conference and thank Ron Burkle for giving him the "resources", except anyone that can run 2 brain cells together know its PR mush.

The fact is, players cost money and this was a
Sellers market. The St.Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds didn't do anything in the Trade
market either and some of biggest prizes are still on their teams. Common Sense dictates that interest in trading players wasn't detrimental to teams, so the cost for a player like Giancarlo Stanton would've cost the Pirates. That cost would've raped the Pirates in the future for a
Small short term gain that probably doesn't help them this season and certainly doesn't put them over the top.

Trading for short term gain doesn't always make a difference. Look at how the Pittsburgh Penguins pimped the entire Trade Deadline and walked away with the sexiest hookers. They couldn't even make it to the Finals.

Remember Zane Smith? Better yet remember Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Moises Alou who went on to have an All-Star Career ? That career should've been with the Pirates except he was traded for an aging lefty in Smith just to win a
Game or 2 against the New York Mets. If that happened today, Pirates fans would've wet themselves in joy because the Pirates "did something" and complained later because Alou became a stud.

Money doesn't buy championships.. Smart
Decision making does. Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones have accomplished what in the past 15 years? The Yankees have won how many Championships? The Pittsburgh Penguins have maxed their salary cap since around 2007 and have 1 Stanley Cup to show for it. Teams with far less than others have won Championships.

Use money to keep as much of a Championship teams together as the budget allows, but you need to build that Championship caliber team first. That takes more than money, it takes scouting, chances, a good sense and feel, luck and most importantly.. A plan to stick to through good and... [Read More]
    9 Replies | 1,697 Views

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