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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 15:  Josh Harrison #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates as he scores against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on August 15, 2016 in San Francisco, California. The Pirates won the game 8-5.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Remember that the Wild Card cuts both ways

There is no major American sport that treats its first division runner-up worse than baseball does. In the NFL, the team with the best record that fails to win a division plays the worst division winner in the Wild Card Round. The division-winner gets home-field advantage, but often has a worse record than the wild […]

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 3: Jeff Locke #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a first inning pitch against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Game whatever who cares: Braves 8 Pirates 4

Here is what I would like explained to me: How on Earth can you go through a trade deadline and behave like a team that believes its playoff chances are not completely extinguished this year, then put Jeff Locke on the mound 48 hours later? And if you do go ahead and put Jeff Locke […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 07:  Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington  looks on during batting practice prior to the National League Wild Card game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on October 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Pirates are not giving up, they are operating within a budget

The underlying implications of what the Pirates did at the trade deadline are still awfully worrisome to me, 48 hours later. By trading Mark Melancon while still in the Wild Card race, the Pirates more or less said that future value will always be considered vs. present value, even when present value has a direct […]

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 31:  Josh Harrison #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Keon Broxton #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers fall to the ground after colliding at first base in the sixth inning at Miller Park on July 31, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Pirates swept at Miller Park. Again.

Here’s the thing about an easy schedule: it doesn’t do much good if you don’t beat the bad teams that make the schedule easy. The Pirates went into Miller Park this weekend playing relatively good baseball, then scored six times in three games in being swept at Miller Park for the ten millionth time in […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands on the mound in the ninth inning during the game against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on June 20, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Pirates trade Mark Melancon to the Nationals

I have a sneaking suspicion that in a year or two, we’re going to look back at the Mark Melancon trade and call it a win for the Pirates. Felipe Rivero is 25 years old with a fastball that hits 100 mph, his peripheral numbers this year are already great, and he’ll finish this year with […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 24:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the ninth inning during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Some thoughts on trading Mark Melancon

As we ramp up to the deadline, a lot of discussion around the Pirates this year has involved Mark Melancon. The situation as it stands is this: the Pirates have a decent shot at making the playoffs this year, but are not favorites to do so; depending on your favorite playoff odds site, they’re somewhere […]

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Game 100: Pirates 10 Mariners 1

The main problem of the Pittsburgh Pirates was perfectly on display in this two-game series against the Seattle Mariners: sometimes, the starting pitching works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, the offense strings its hits together, and sometimes it spreads them out. Sometimes, the Pirates look ready to beat anyone, and sometimes it’s hard to remember […]

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Game 99: Mariners 7 Pirates 4

With the Pirates up 4-2 in the top of the third last night, I told my dad that I thought the Pirates would need six or seven runs with the way that Liriano had been pitching. Franklin Gutierrez hit the next pitch out of the park to tie the game at four. We went outside […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on July 21, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Game 95: Pirates 5 Brewers 3

We have, rightly, put a lot of focus this season on the failings of the back end of the Pirate rotation. Jeff Locke, Jon Niese, and Juan Nicasio have all had really bad seasons for the Pirates, and in doing so they’ve put a lot of stress on both the offense and the bullpen. That […]

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The bell is tolling for Jeff Locke (Game 94: Brewers 9 Pirates 5)

Jeff Locke is not really a good pitcher, but he has occupied a certain usefulness for most of his Pirate career. Locke has decent stuff for a lefty, but relatively poor command. In some of his starts, he looks great (remember that he’s a one-time All-Star and he really did deserve that nod based on first-half […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 19:  Josh Harrison #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates as he heads towards home plate after hitting a triple and comes in to score on a throwing error by Scooter Gennett #2 of the Milwaukee Brewers to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on July 19, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Game 93: Pirates 3 Brewers 2

For all intents and purposes, Jameson Taillon started off last night looking like the same pitcher that the Pirates sent to the disabled list a few weeks ago with shoulder fatigue. That’s a good thing, of course; Taillon was coming off of one of his best starts in Seattle, and no one was really sure […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the ninth inning during the game against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on June 20, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The bullpen has revived the Pirates, but only the rotation can save them

The moment the Pirates’ first half fell apart was obvious, even as it was happening. Gerrit Cole came out firing against the Cardinals on June 10th, striking out three hitters in his first two innings and looking all the part of the ace after an inconsistent April and May. In the third inning, Matt Carpenter […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 08: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates singles in the seventh inning for his first major league hit in the seventh inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on July 8, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Game 87: Pirates 8 Cubs 4

When you suspect that the baseball team that you’re watching is good but you don’t have quite enough evidence to support that thesis, you let yourself go through a bargaining phase that ignores certain pieces of evidence with the understanding that you will come back to when you better understand said team. When the Pirates […]

Maybe the Pirates should try beating the Cubs

As the baseball world stands at this moment on a Friday afternoon, the Pirates are OK. They’re not in a playoff position and they’re not really in striking distance in the NL Central, but they’ve won a bunch of games lately, are within three games of the second Wild Card, and are beginning to sort […]

Josh Bell joins the party

With John Jaso mired in a month-or-so-long slump and Josh Bell destroying all comers in Indianapolis, Bell’s omission from the Indy-to-Pittsburgh migration that’s been taking place in the last few weeks was starting to feel glaring. The glare is no more; Bell is being called up and will play tonight against the Cubs. With Indianapolis […]

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