Posts tagged “will the pittsburgh pirates make the playoffs

Who’s to blame for Pirates post All-Star break collapse?


BY JASON HAVELKA, Feedcrossing.com syndication 

Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker has been one of the only highlights for the Bucs during their second-half slump. Photo by: Natalie Litz / Flickr

I have heard all kinds of speculation about who is to blame regarding the Pittsburgh Pirate Collapse? Well, it’s not just the Bucs.   Lots of blame to go around, but here is something else to think about before we lay out the blame. The L.A. Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals also have struggled mightily. Not as much as the Pirates, but nearly. So there is lots of Collapse questions going around.

As far as the Pirates go, the front office and the coaching staff can not pitch, hit, steal bases, or play defense. The pitching staff is the easiest to blame and probably where it should go. James McDonald has not pitched the same as he did in the first part of the season. Erik Bedard fell off the map and now is not even on the team. Jeff Karstens, who pitched well when he came off the DL, is now injured again. Kevin Correia gives up four runs to whomever he pitches against, whether it is the Bad News Bears or the NY Yankees. And Finally, A.J. Burnett has struggled a bit the second half.

Let’s go a step further and say the bullpen has also pitched poorly the second half of the season. Joel Hanrahan has been disappointing in the second half of the season and Jason Grilli has been brutal lately. We can talk about the hitting all we want and the injuries that truly have not helped and the fact that Andrew McCutchen has struggled mightily the second half of the season. The fact is when the Bucs did score runs, like today, the pitching staff blew it. (more…)


Moneyball 2012: Examining the Indians, Orioles and Pirates


BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Michael Lewis’ Moneyball inspired me to look at some of the smaller market teams in baseball that are finding early success. Photo by: Brett Farmiloe / Flickr

Every year a few Major League Baseball teams never cease to amaze me.

I’m not talking about clubs that are filled with stars on their rosters or even automatic playoff contenders. The thing I love most about baseball is the small market teams that somehow make noise at the beginning of every year. Some fans will call them “Cinderella Stories.” Some analysts will break them down as contenders or pretenders — not understanding the real story behind their rises to the top.

A perfect example of this type of team with more believers on it than star athletes that a lot of people would know was the Oakland Athletics of the early 2000s. However, even those clubs, which had extremely low payrolls, still had big bats and names that made them competitive.

When I look at this year’s group of teams that might fit into that category, three stick out like sore thumbs and are right in the mix to win their respective divisions. We often write these sorts of teams off and don’t believe in them down the stretch, but hey, they sure make the game exciting. So here’s a look at three clubs that are in second place and leaving baseball fans scratching their heads:

• Cleveland Indians — 2012 Total Payroll: $78,430,300, 21st in MLB

For the second year in a row, the Tribe is earning pre All-Star Game hype and should perhaps challenge the Chicago Whitesox for an AL Central crown if all goes well. Last season Cleveland flopped after starting the 2011 campaign with a stellar 30-15 record in its first 45 games. Injuries ended up throwing the Indians out of contention, but now they have came roaring back. And when any fan examines the roster, the first question they would have to ask is, ‘how?’ (more…)