Game 162: Reds 4 Pirates 1

To put it bluntly, this game was every stupid thing that I was afraid it was going to be. Gerrit Cole was phenomenal for the Pirates; he got into a little trouble in the first inning in part due to a Brandon Phillips bloop single, escaped the jam with only one run allowed, and then […]

End of the road

The last day: bullpens, microcosms, and going for the division

I spent most of yesterday’s game sitting out in the sun on campus, checking my phone obsessively every ten minutes or so to see how the Pirates and Reds were progressing. The approximate roller coaster of emotions was like this: OH MY GOD LIRIANO SCORED HIS FIRST RUN EVER AND I DIDN’T EVEN PUT MY […]

Game 160: Pirates 3 Reds 1

This is a weird kind of end-season baseball purgatory. I want the Pirates to win the NL Central, maybe a little bit more than I’d be willing to admit to myself. If the Pirates end this season as anything short of National League Champions, the reality is that I will remember this season differently if they […]

rolling dice

Alea iacta est

The second that Vance Worley steps on the mound at Great American Ballpark tonight, I’m going to start worrying. The Pirates are in a bit of a bind this weekend, in that they’re lined up to have their two best pitchers pitching with the division on the line, that they’ll probably need those two pitchers […]

Rocco DeMaro asks MLB players if a hot dog is a sandwich

I don’t even know how else to describe this article by Rocco DeMaro at Baseball Prospectus other than to say that it’s delightful:

[Rocco DeMaro]: So does the shape of the bread matter? The type of bread?

[Tony Sanchez]: No. Bread is bread.

[RD]: So is a wrap a sandwich?

TS: No! Heck no. Absolutely not! A wrap is a poor excuse for a sandwich. But godblessit, a sub is a sandwich. And the bread… I’m so rattled right now.

Personally? I started out where Craig Breslow did (the bread of the sandwich must have the intent to close on all sides) because presumably all of us molecular biology types think similarly, but then once I started thinking about subs, well, obviously subs are sandwiches and I’m not sure that there’s any intent for a sub to close on all sides. So does that mean that a hamburger is a sandwich but a meatball sub isn’t? Because I’m not really sure that a hamburger is a sandwich. I mean, it’s a hamburger. And here I thought it was mainly marinara sauce that made the two different.

Oh dear. I have work to do today.

FanGraphs on Vance Worley and pitching inside

One of my favorite parts about the Pirates making themselves relevant these last two years is that my favorite writers and analysts pay MUCH more attention to the Bucs than they used to. There were two good FanGraphs pieces about the Bucs earlier this week and I’d like to link them here in case you […]

Wrecking Ball

Game 159: Pirates 10 Braves 1

Well, that was emphatic. The Pirates needed a win today to keep their hopes of winning the NL Central alive, and so they went out and bludgeoned the Braves with a 10-1 win to pull within one game of the Cardinals as the 2014 MLB season heads into its final weekend. Really, the explosion of […]


It’s Hangover Day, but these games are not quite meaningless

The Pirates have a wild card spot locked up and last night’s celebration was all kinds of fun, but the reality is that there’s still a little bit of work left to be done in the 2014 regular season. At the bare minimum, the Pirates need to win enough games from here on out to […]

some assembly required

Assembling a Pirate rotation for the stretch run and beyond

The Pirates have clinched a playoff spot, and with the Cardinals’ loss to the Cubs last night, they’ve also kept a small amount of hope alive that they can win the National League Central (FanGraphs has them with a 25% chance, but my hopes fall much more in line with BP’s ~10% shot). This actually […]


Let’s try and make tonight the night

At this point the math is easy: the Pirates’ magic number is two. That means that if the Pirates win and the Brewers lose tonight, the wild card race is over for the Pirates and they’ll be the fourth National League team to clinch a playoff spot. If you assume that the Cardinals are not […]

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.