Grantland: The Pirates’ Sabermetric Road Show

In Fitzgerald, though, the Pirates have built a unique bridge between backgrounds. Most quants spend much of the season sequestered in the equivalent of what the Astros call their “nerd cave” — an office from which analysts periodically emerge to interact with coaches but rarely to travel with the team. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, makes most road trips: If the Pirates are playing, he’s almost always at the park.

You absolutely, positively should go read Ben Lindbergh’s piece at Grantland about Mike Fitzgerald and the unique way that the Pirates’ front office and coaching staff collaborate on the implementation of sabermetric ideas.

I actually sort of talked about this a little bit on Twitter yesterday afternoon, but I strongly suspect that one of the advantages that the Pirates have over other baseball teams is that Clint Hurdle and the coaching staff are so willing to talk to and listen to the front office about non-traditional ideas, while the front office is absolutely willing to take suggestions from the coaching staff as to where to look for places to gain advantages. I suspect that not many managers would welcome an MIT grad onto their road crew and Clint Hurdle deserves more credit than I can possibly give him for doing stuff like this.

Whenever I see situations like what happened in Houston with Bo Porter, I become even more thankful to have someone like Hurdle managing the Pirates. I don’t agree with or understand every decision he makes, but I don’t have to understand or agree with them. I feel pretty confident in saying that I think that very little of what Hurdle does is thoughtless or reflexive or slavishly devoted to baseball traditions without consideration of their long-term ramifications, and that makes me feel more confident as a fan in him as the manager.

Jolly Roger

Game 156: Pirates 1 Braves 0

Who plays three 1-0 games in a row? I mean, I don’t want to complain since the Pirates have lost so many one-run games this year and because wins are wins at this stage in the season. The Pirates are getting some good starts, they’re getting some big hits, and they’ve got their magic number […]

It’s not over yet

The Pirates/Brewers series this weekend was exhausting and exciting and it was pretty gratifying to see the Pirates get two wins and run their wild card lead up to 4 1/2 games, but it’s not quite true that they don’t have anything left to play for. Their magic number to clinch a wild card bid […]

carpe diem

A good weekend for the Pirates

The Pirates went into Friday’s game with the Brewers as one of baseball’s hottest teams, while the Brewers came in as one of baseball’s coldest. I wrote this before Friday’s game, but there was no real reason to think that the Brewers were even remotely capable of rolling into PNC and sweeping the Pirates and […]

One last game against the Brewers

This is how it is: with a win today, the Pirates will have a 4 1/2 game lead on the Brewers with eight games left on the schedule. Their magic number will be three. They shouldn’t have any trouble winning three games against the Braves and Reds. If they lose, they’ll have a 2 1/2 […]


Finish them

There is blissfully little to be said about this Pirates/Brewers game tonight. The Pirates have a 4 1/2 game lead on the Brewers with nine games on the schedule (eight for the Brewers). The Pirates cannot clinch the wild card tonight and they cannot clinch it tomorrow, but just one more win in this series […]


Game 153: Pirates 4 Brewers 2

There are certain moments in life in which sports can deliver a jolt of such pure and unadulterated joy that they are capable of drowning out all of the day to day bullshit of life and the world around us. They can overwhelm the countless hours in which sports can be frustrating, boring, depressing, or […]

this is it

This is it (no, really this time)

On August 20th, the Pirates were 64-62. They had lost seven in a row and dropped like a rock in the NL Central and NL wild card races. They were seven games behind the Brewers in the Central and 2 1/2 behind the Giants for the second wild card, though they were in fourth place […]

foul line

Game 152: Pirates 3 Red Sox 2

Last year, Gerrit Cole bore down to make one of his best starts of the season to beat an American League team by one run to earn the Pirates their 82nd win of the season, breaking the longest franchise losing streak in North America and setting off celebrations all over Pirateland. Tonight, Gerrit Cole bore […]

red sock

Gerrit Cole looks to lead the Pirates to sweep of Red Sox

Even though the Pirates have taken the first two games from the Red Sox in this three-game set with relative ease, the third game of this series is arguably the most important to the Bucs. A win tonight guarantees that the Pirates host the Brewers with at least a 2 1/2 game lead, which would put all […]

Jolly Roger

Game 151: Pirates 9 Red Sox 1

With a 9-1 win over the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates won their 81st game of the 2014 season and hardly anyone thought it was a big deal. Think about this for a second. For 20 years, we as Pirate fans were obsessed with the numbers 81 and 82. In 2009, I wrote two separate long-running […]


Francisco Liriano looks to keep rolling against Red Sox

I have, at various points this year, come up with a number of potential explanations as to why Francisco Liriano hasn’t been quite as good in 2013 as he was in 2014. In the early part of the season, I thought that maybe it was because he was throwing his changeup a bit too regularly. […]

Jolly Roger

Game 150: Pirates 4 Red Sox 0

It’s hard to imagine this game going more perfectly for the Pirates. Charlie Morton looked about as solid as he’s looked all year with the Pirates, throwing five shutout innings, striking out six Red Sox, walking two, and scattering four hits. Of the non-strikeout outs that he recorded, six were ground balls and only one […]


The final push begins now

There are no off-days between now and the end of the 2014 season for the Pirates. There are 13 games to be played in the next 13 days, and then it’s over. The Pirates begin this final stretch 1 1/2 games up on the Brewers for the second wild card and 3 1/2 behind the […]


Charlie Morton and the rotation

I have to admit, I was a little surprised over the weekend when the Pirates announced Charlie Morton would be making a start against the Boston Red Sox tonight. Morton’s whole season has been up-and-down as he’s dealt with his sports hernia, but he was in the midst of a really bad stretch before said […]