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And they're still chugging merrily along, crushing the hapless Cubbies 9-1 today.

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And they're still chugging merrily along, crushing the hapless Cubbies 9-1 today.

 

4 games over and one game out of 1st place at the all-star break, despite 10 players on the DL (2 Starting Platoon Catchers, Starting Left Fielder, Starting Shortstop, Starting 3rd Baseman, 2 Set-up Men in the bullpen). It is truly shocking and amazing. My thoughts:

 

1. McCutchen has gone from being a very good player to an absolutely phenomenal player. He is truly a 5-tool guy. I never thought he would add as much power to his game as he has. He is also extremely good in the clutch.

 

2. Speaking of good in the clutch, Neil Walker leads all MLB 2nd baseman in RBI"s. He even has more than Cano. His average needs to come up a bit, and I'd like to see some more homers, but, he is driving in runs on a consistent basis.

 

3. Alex Pressley is no flash in the pan. This kid can flat-out hit the ball. His swing looks effortless, and he has been putting up multiple hit nights again and again since coming up. He is also blazing fast. I know an outfield of Tabata-McCutchen-Pressley doesn't have a lot of power in the corners, but, their speed, fielding ability, and ability to hit to the gaps makes them a dangerous trio.

 

4. 1st Base is a bit of an issue, as Overbay just hasn't gotten it done. He's been a bit better lately, but, I think he is someone we definitely look to move before the deadline. If we keep Pressley in the outfield, we can move Garrett Jones to first base, look to trade Overbay & possibly even Diaz for upgrades. I wouldn't be averse to bringing in Carlos Pena at 1st Base either. He is on a one year contract, and I think the Cubs would basically give him away for a mid-level prospect. He would bring one thing in that the Pirates are missing, consistent power.

 

5. If Pedro Alvarez can bring back the bat that he had when he came up in the 2nd half of last year and NOT the one he had early this season, this offense goes from inconsistent to dangerous. He will be a key for this offense the remainder of the season.

 

6. I would love an upgrade at SS. Cedeno has been better than expected, especially with the glove, and D'Arnaud has speed and an o.k. bat, but, neither are great. However, getting a SS at the deadline is almost impossible, as there are so few good ones out there.

 

7. Michael McKendry has been a feel good story with what he has done behind the plate, and his clutch game winning homer the other night. However, the offense really misses Doumit and Snyder. I hope they get back sooner rather than later.

 

8. One through Seven are nice, but, this team's improvement is 90% due to their pitching. Their team ERA is 5th in the National League, and I'm guessing their starting pitching ERA probably ranks even higher. What pitching coach Ray Searage and Manager Clint Hurdle have done to this pitching staff is amazing. Everyone knew that guys like Morton & Maholm had potential, but, Searage has brought it out of them. Karstens has been the team's biggest surprise, and Correia has proven to be a great acquisition. McDonald hasn't quite reached his potential, as he is inconsistent, but, he has tons of talent. All of that said, this is the area that concerns me. Can these guys come close to their first half pace. Most have not thrown this many inning consistently in their entire careers. How will those arms hold up come late August and early September. I wouldn't mind seeing the Pirates make the move for another SP that they can use in the pen, but, have as insurance in case an arm falters.

 

9. The bullpen has been pretty reliable. Hanrahan has been completely lights out, as he as converted on all of his saves this year, most of the time in completely dominating fashion. What a steal he has been considering he was a throw in to a deal that got us Lastings Milledge. We need Evan Meek to come back and be in 2010 all-star form. A healthy Joe Beimel would be nice as well. However, guys like Veras, McCutchen, Watson, Resop & Moskos have been quite reliable.

 

10. No matter what happens the rest of the way, I am enjoying Pirates baseball again and that is a beautiful things !!!!!!

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Trust me, I'm very happy for you guys. The Royals will be there soon enough. :wacko:

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Well said Menudo! I agree on everything you said.

 

you just have to see it to believe it

 

 

CENTRAL W L PCT GB

 

Pittsburgh 48 43 .527 -

 

St. Louis 49 44 .527 -

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What do you think happens in the OF when Tabata comes back ?

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Trust me, I'm very happy for you guys. The Royals will be there soon enough. :wacko:

I know we laugh at your Royals love at the beginning of every season but there is definitely truth to what you are saying. That is a young talented lineup. If you can get the pitching you need they'll be a very challenging opponent for years to come.

 

 

Oh and I love what the Pirates are doing as well. They were my non-Tiger favorite team when I was a kid. First World Series I paid attention to was in 1979 when the "We Are Family" Pirates came from behind to beat Whomper's Orioles.

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I know we laugh at your Royals love at the beginning of every season but there is definitely truth to what you are saying. That is a young talented lineup. If you can get the pitching you need they'll be a very challenging opponent for years to come.

 

 

Oh and I love what the Pirates are doing as well. They were my non-Tiger favorite team when I was a kid. First World Series I paid attention to was in 1979 when the "We Are Family" Pirates came from behind to beat Whomper's Orioles.

 

 

:wacko: I suffered many a heart break at the hands of Pittsburgh sports franchises in my youth.

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What do you think happens in the OF when Tabata comes back ?

 

Pressley isn't going anywhere. I think you'll see Pressley or Tabata in right field. I think you'll see Overbay & Diaz shipped off. I think Garret Jones plays first base or they bring someone in a trade for first base. If not, then Jones will play outfiled & 1st base in spot starts. An outfield of Pressley - Cutch - Tabata will lack power from the corner outfielders, but, wow, will they ever cover ground on defense. Also, all three can hit and when they get on base, they give ptichers & catchers headaches. It is defintely a good problem to have. Pressley is the real deal. His bat speed throgh the zone is a beautiful thing.

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Tonight reminded me of last years Pirates. They left to many runners on base & then Veras blew it. Hopefully they right the ship tomorrow & take another series.

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Well, the Pirates just finished up their third series in a row against the bottom of the division (Hou - Chi - @Hou). Though they didn't sweep any of those series, they did what they had to do by winning all three. We will know a lot more about whether this team is a true contender or not by the end of this month:

 

3 at home vs. Reds

3 at home vs Cards

4 at Braves

3 at Philles

 

If they come out of that stretch at .500, then I think they have a legit chance to remain contenders. Four at Atlanta followed by three in Philadelphia is going to be quite a test. Not to mention the Reds & Cards, who are solid teams. :wacko:

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All alone in 1st place !!!!! :wacko:

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All alone in 1st place !!!!! :wacko:

Before the season you'd have got astronomical odds in Vegas on the pirates winning the division but now, not so much.

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Congrats to all Pirate fans. :wacko: Enjoy the ride.

 

 

looking good.

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Congrats to all Pirate fans. :wacko: Enjoy the ride.

 

 

looking good.

 

Thanks bro. It sure has been fun. I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me. The way it is being done is definitely unorthodox. Their offense lacks power and overall has not been very good. Their pitching staff has been phenomenal, but, they are dead last in K's. They are pitching to contact and getting great defense played behind them. They have some very tough decisions to make heading into the trade deadline. There are several rumors circulating:

 

Hunter Pence, which would be phenomenal, but, would cost a LOT to make happen. Likely Tabata/Pressly and two of our top prospects. Carlos Pena could be had cheap, and would be a power upgrade at 1B. Ive now heard word of the Nats wanting to move Mike Morse, and I'd be thrilled with him, as he is young with upside and provides immediate upgrade at 1B. I've heard Josh Willingham & Connor Jackson as possibilities as well (meh). There has also been talk about Carlos Beltran, and they will likely bring in a bullpen arm.

 

If I were them, I'd see if we could get Pence or Morse for a reasonable price, as they are young and signed for a couple of years. Beltran and/or Pena would be rent-a-players, and I'm o.k. with that, if the price is moderately cheap as far as prospects. It may be a bit of a fluke that they are where they are, as no one would have expected. However, the fans have waited a LONG time, and they need to go for it, assuming they don't fall apart during this tough run they have remaining in July.

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Thanks bro. It sure has been fun. I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me. The way it is being done is definitely unorthodox. Their offense lacks power and overall has not been very good. Their pitching staff has been phenomenal, but, they are dead last in K's. They are pitching to contact and getting great defense played behind them. They have some very tough decisions to make heading into the trade deadline. There are several rumors circulating:

 

Hunter Pence, which would be phenomenal, but, would cost a LOT to make happen. Likely Tabata/Pressly and two of our top prospects. Carlos Pena could be had cheap, and would be a power upgrade at 1B. Ive now heard word of the Nats wanting to move Mike Morse, and I'd be thrilled with him, as he is young with upside and provides immediate upgrade at 1B. I've heard Josh Willingham & Connor Jackson as possibilities as well (meh). There has also been talk about Carlos Beltran, and they will likely bring in a bullpen arm.

 

If I were them, I'd see if we could get Pence or Morse for a reasonable price, as they are young and signed for a couple of years. Beltran and/or Pena would be rent-a-players, and I'm o.k. with that, if the price is moderately cheap as far as prospects. It may be a bit of a fluke that they are where they are, as no one would have expected. However, the fans have waited a LONG time, and they need to go for it, assuming they don't fall apart during this tough run they have remaining in July.

 

Think they need to decide on LF, Tabata/Pressly and trade the other. although T/M/P would be great defensively, batting would lack power. If the Mets are willing to eat salary as reported, they need to make a big play for Beltran. Pence is to expensive, Pena maybe if real cheap. Don't discount Willingham, better than Jones/whoever/Olerud. Morse would be a nice fit if available and affordable.

and yes the next two weeks are very, very important to the Pirates, their fans and their chances at the crown.

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Think they need to decide on LF, Tabata/Pressly and trade the other. although T/M/P would be great defensively, batting would lack power. If the Mets are willing to eat salary as reported, they need to make a big play for Beltran. Pence is to expensive, Pena maybe if real cheap. Don't discount Willingham, better than Jones/whoever/Olerud. Morse would be a nice fit if available and affordable.

and yes the next two weeks are very, very important to the Pirates, their fans and their chances at the crown.

 

I agree that if they want Pence, they need to decide on Tabata / Pressly and trade one of them, plus some prospects. If it came to that, I'd have to trade Pressly. I love what the kid has done, and think he has a legit swing and COULD be a potential .320 hitter for years to come. However, his sample size is small, and he is 24 years old. Tabata is still only 22 years old, and has shown flashes of power.

 

You are right, the OF of Tabata-Cutch-Pressly would clearly lack corner OF power, but, damn, it would be impressive defensively and would produce solid average and great speed on the base-paths. If that is how it ends up, I am o.k. with that. Personally, I'd really like an upgrade at 1B, a good bullpen arm, and Pedro Alvarez to come up and live up to the talent that he showed last year.

 

Regardless of where it goes from here, this year has been an absolute blast !!!!

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I can't believe I'm typing this but I don't want Pence. We need a power hitter & Pence will cost too much & doesn't bring much power. I'd love Morse & would be ok with Pena. Of all the rumors I want to see them eat Beltran's salary and get him cheap. Overall this has been a blast.

 

Two side notes. First, ESPN picked up Pirates vs Braves for Monday night. National TV! Second, I just read this: http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/art...it&c_id=pit

 

I have no thoughts yet.

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be shocked if Nats move MM

Me too. And the Astros aren't going to let Pence go. They will try to rebuild around him. If they do, it's going to be for more than just Tabata or Presley.

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Me too. And the Astros aren't going to let Pence go. They will try to rebuild around him. If they do, it's going to be for more than just Tabata or Presley.

 

Absolutely it will take more than Tabata/Pressly. It will take Tabata/Pressly plus probably two top level prospects to get it done. The Astros said they would have to be overwhelmed, but, there are articles out there claiming that the Pirates have inquired about Pence.

 

As for Morse, the Nats said they would be open to trading him. It doesn't make much sense to me, but, I'd love to see him in a Bucco uniform.

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:wacko:

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:lol:

 

:tup:

 

Lugo even knew he was out form his body language. That is horrendous....and would have put the Phils up by 7 games :wacko:

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Me too. And the Astros aren't going to let Pence go. They will try to rebuild around him. If they do, it's going to be for more than just Tabata or Presley.

 

Well, maybe not so much.

 

After the '67-'68 Cards, the '71 Pirates were my favorite team. Go Bucs!

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