adrian is rad

4/1/2013

two pirates fans chronicle the 2012 season

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:19 am

For the entirety of the 2012 season my friend Colin and I exchanged emails in one long thread about the Pirates. From the slow start to the incredible standing in August (16 games above 0.500 on August 6, their best standing since 1992) and their chance to break a now-20 year streak of losing season, the worst in major US sports in history, to their epic (and historic) collapse we followed the team. From the hope to despair, the stats to the intangibles, the interesting to the mundane, it’s all here.

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri,  Apr 6, 2012 at 9:37am

 

How was [the home opener, which Colin attended]? I listened to a chunk of it online at work. Seems like

Halliday had a ridiculous game.

 

Also, this made me happy. Go bucs.

https://www.teammarketing.com/public/files/2011_mlb_fci.pdf

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

 

It was good.  It’s true that Halladay had a good game but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  I was sitting next to Phillies fans and they were complaining about his velocity.  Apparently, he only hit 90mph twice or something.  Also, the Pirates put the bat on the ball a lot, they just happened to hit to where fielders could get it. Sabermetricians will tell you, that’s not within the pitcher’s control.  So, I think Halladay was operating on the lucky side of the hits per balls in play spectrum.  Or, at the very least, he’s pitching in front of a bunch of good defenders.  If you put him on another team with worse defense, the Pirates would have got a number of doubles.

 

Also, the only run the Phillies got was very nearly an out at the plate.  If the throw had been a little lower or a little earlier, the guy would have been out.

 

All in all, it was a fun game even though the Pirates lost.  They played well, so it was encouraging – especially since they were up against Halladay and Papelbon.

 

I’ll be interested to see the 2012 version of that study.  The beer prices at the game yesterday were all like $7+.  I think they’ve raised prices on a lot of things since last season.  They’re still probably on the cheap end of things, but they’re definitely more expensive than last year.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM

 

I think the Pirates played particularly well given the pitchers they were going up against. One of the guys on ESPN this morning talked about how Bedard was the surprise of the day and that he pitched well. That’s a good sign.

 

Too bad prices went up. Booh! I will still get some BEER at the stadium.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 11:34 AM

 

I think it’d be fun to have one thread for the whole 2012 season. Do you think it’ll make gmail barf?

 

Man, what games over the weekend. I only saw highlights of Saturday’s game, but you gotta hand it to Presley for beating out an infield hit for the win. That was the craziest way for the game to end. I mean, bottom of the 10th, two outs.

 

I listened to most of the Sunday game online, though a bunch of it was with half an ear. Another walk-off win.

 

This is making me really excited for the season. I mean, Philly’s a good team and it’s gotta give the guys a lot of confidence to take 2 of 3 from them. If they keep fighting and winning tight games, who know’s how they’ll be. Do you have any data on how many 1 run games they lost last year? It felt like a lot.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

 

Back to 0.500. I have a rule that I wear a Buccos cap if the Pirates are at or above 0.500 for the day. Lots of those days so far this season and I hope it continues.

 

Did you see this?

The four starters the Pirates faced in the first four games — Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Clayton Kershaw — had a combined 68-12 record in 2011 and four Cy Young awards between them.

 

How do you think Charlie Morton will do if/ when he comes back?

 

Adrian

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 5:41 PM

 

Yeah, the season is off to a good start.  Even the games they lose have been close, so that’s really encouraging.

 

I hadn’t really paid attention to the starters they faced in LA but I was aware they had a tough schedule against the Phillies pitchers. Fortunately, our starting pitching has been good enough that we’re not already out of the game by the time their relievers come in.

 

Not sure about Charlie Morton.  He can be great or awful.  We’ll just have to see.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 10:58 AM

 

Man, 5 loses in a row. Ouch. But good thing they seemed to come alive a bit yesterday. I’m definitely still hopeful about the season.

 

WHYGAVS had a funny thing to say about his pitching being ‘smoke and mirrors’–for instance, that he only had 5 Ks in his 12 innings so far. He got 13 ground outs yesterday, though.That’s worth something.

 

We have the Diamondbacks next, it looks like. I can’t wait till they get back to the east coast so I can actually listen to some games.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

 

Yeah, that was a painful slide after those 2 walk-off wins.  We’ll just have to see how things go from here.  I’m looking forward to them getting back to Pittsburgh.

 

I remember seeing some analysis done on pitchers and basically, they said that the main metric that actually captures a pitcher’s skill is strikeouts.  So, I’m always wary of pitchers who don’t strike out a lot of batters.  If they’re not allowing hits and runs, I often feel like they’re living on borrowed time and it’s only a matter of time before the odds catch up with them.  However, if a pitcher can get ground outs, I guess that’s the next best thing.

 

Anyway, talk to you later.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 6:45 PM

 

I believe that analysis exists, but people do talk about ground-ball pitchers. Maybe it’s one of those myths of baseball…

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 9:31 PM

 

Yeah, I know that people talk about ground ball vs fly ball pitchers.  I seem to recall that some of my sensibility about pitchers and the stats that are meaningful in describing their performance comes from Jim Albert’s “Curve Ball”.  I’ll have to take another look at that book and see what he says on the topic.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM

 

Good another win. Still only 4-7. We need to keep winning. Maybe being back in Pgh will help.

 

Our 3, 4 and 5 hitters did pretty well last night:

Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones went 10-for-14 with five RBIs and four runs scored

 

Also, Karstens apparently left after 1 with shoulder inflammation. That’s gotta kill our bullpen for a bit. If the starters only go 5 or 6 in the next couple days, I’d expect us to lose those games.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 11:59 AM

 

Yeah, I saw how well the 3, 4, 5 guys did.  Now the whole Pirates offense just needs to step it up.  As a team, they’re hitting .203 – just a smidge over the Mendoza line.  In fact, they are in second to last place in the Majors for batting average, just ahead of Oakland. And, they’re last in the Majors for runs scored.  You can’t win games if you don’t score runs.  Admittedly, they have been facing some pretty good pitchers – probably better than they will face regularly once they settle into lots of games in the NL Central.  Unfortunately, they’ll be facing the Cardinals (who lead the Majors in AVG) when they get back to Pittsburgh, so the pitchers will have their work cut out for them.

 

Losing Karstens, at least for now, is tough but Burnett is supposed to do his final minor league rehab start this Saturday.  With the Pirates’ day off tomorrow, Morton will pitch Friday, Correia on Saturday, and Bedard on Sunday.  They could go back to McDonald on Monday (who will have rested Thursday – Sunday), skipping Karstens’ spot in the rotation.

 

By the time they get back to Karstens’ spot again, it will be Saturday the 28th, giving Burnett a whole week to recover from his final rehab start (on the 21st).  So, I’m guessing that if Karstens is still a no-go at that point, Hurdle will just put Burnett into Karstens’ spot in the rotation.  So, given the schedule, losing Karstens might have a minimal impact starter-wise.  However, you’re right that it could be tough on the relievers if the starters go only 5 or 6 innings.

 

Final thought: I propose that you amend your ballcap-wearing rule: When the Pirates are above .500, you wear the cap.  When the Pirates are below .500, you wear it as a rally cap.  Yeah.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM

 

Wow. .203? That’s depressing. It’s, in fact, below what Mendoza averaged (.215 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendoza_Line), but above the ‘line’. The depressing Mendoza valley, perhaps it should be called.

 

Good points about the rotation. Let’s hope Burnett’s back before too long.

 

If I thought at this point that the Pirates would be above 0.500 for much of the season, I might consider that rule change. As is? Not so much.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 3:25 PM

 

Well, it looks like I was wrong about the rotation:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/pirates/s_791855.html

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 9:15 AM

 

A come from behind win. Another good game from Cutch. Another save from Cruz. I’m not going to complain.

 

Well, I will: will Alvarez please occasionally hit something that’s not a home run? Will he occasionally hit something? He’s 2 for 27 and both hits are HRs. Ridiculous.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Sun, Apr 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

 

I just watched the highlights of the game from last night. Besides the jam Burnett got himself in the first, he had a hell of a debut. He could be really good for the team. Also Pedro seems to new getting some hits that aren’t home runs, so we have that going for us.

 

Also, did you see Philip Humber’s perfect game? Pretty awesome. It seemed that even the Seattle fans were standing and cheering by the end of the game.

 

Adrian

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

 

Yeah, I’m happy to have Burnett on the team.  I think the Pirates will be a good fit for him.  He’s arguably the best starter on the team and I think he’ll benefit from not being under the microscope like he was in New York.

 

No, I hadn’t seen the perfect game.  In fact, prior to your email, I had never heard the name Philip Humber.  I’ll check it out.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, May 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM

 

The Nats are so good right now. I hope Burnett has a better game tonight than his last outing.

 

So they’re 12-16 and around (a little below, actually) their 20 year average of 0.444 or whatever you calculated. How are you feeling about this season? I’m still a bit hopeful, but it’s already starting to seem like this is not going to be the year they break even.

 

Also did you see this? I was at the game into the 10th and then we left. It was pretty crazy. The wrap says a position player was the winning pitcher for the Orioles, but it was actually their DH, so he wasn’t even that. There were 18 total pitchers and at the end both teams were pitching non-pitchers. Also, I didn’t see it, but apparently there was a 2 on, 2 out situation deep in extra innings and Adrian Gonzalez–you know, of the $150 million contract–struck out on 3 pitches against the O’s DH. A guy at work called it the worst at bat in major league history.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_05_06_balmlb_bosmlb_1&mode=wrap#gid=2012_05_06_balmlb_bosmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=bos

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Tue, May 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM

 

Yeah, it’s weird to see the Nats atop the NL East.

 

I’m still feeling fine about the season.  Their pitching is still pretty good and we’ve seen good things from many of the players individually. So, I’m hoping that they can put all the pieces together.  They’re only 5.5 games back right now, which is not insurmountable this early in the season.

 

Wow, that game was pretty crazy.  I’m always interested to see position players pitch.  I’m surprised by how well the O’s DH pitched.  Striking out on 3 pitches against a non-pitcher is pretty bad.  On the other hand, their DH went 0-8 batting during the game, which is pretty bad, too.  When you get 8 at-bats, you should really be able to get a hit, unless your AVG is typically well below the Mendoza line.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, May 8, 2012 at 4:06 PM

 

This is a promising stat for the season:

http://triblive.com/sports/1465813-85/pirates-strikeout-strikeouts-rate-bedard-average-season-74-burnett-innings

 

We’re at our highest Ks/9 innings (7.4) in 40 years. We’re also at our lowest walk rate/ 9 innings (2.23) since 1991. If we just produce some offense, we could win some games.

 

I didn’t realize he went 0-8. He was batting like a pitcher so I guess they decided to put him in!

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, May 9, 2012 at 9:52 AM

 

That was quite a dramatic win last night, one down in the bottom of the 9th and Barajas hitting a 2 run homer. If we can take two of three from the Nats, that’d be awesome.

 

Did you see Josh Hamilton’s 4HR (+ a double) game last night? Ridiculous. There have been fewer of those than perfect games (more, though, than unassisted triple plays).

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, May 9, 2012 at 11:36 AM

 

Yeah, Heather and I were listening to the game. I thought it was over after LaRoche hit the homer in the top of the 9th. I started to get hopeful that we could get into extra innings after Presley got aboard and especially once he got to third.  I definitely wasn’t expecting a first-pitch walk-off homer from Barajas. Very welcome, nonetheless.  After that happened I think I had my arms in the air for a good 20 seconds.

 

Yeah, I saw Hamilton’s 4 homer performance. Pretty unbelievable. The Pirates announcers mentioned it during the game.

 

We can’t stream anything (Pirates video or audio) here because of local broadcast rights, so I ended up buying a USB FM radio tuner for our computer so we can listen to games.   The sound quality is surprisingly good.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:19 PM

 

I thought that the audio streams were sans blackout. Is that not true? (I think it’s true that the MLB.tv premium video has blackouts but in the blackout case, the audio of those games is still available.) That’s cool that the USB FM tuner worked for you, though.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM

 

To be honest, I didn’t really look into Gameday Audio or whatever it’s called now.  I do know that KDKA normally streams their broadcasts over the internet, but not Pirates games, so you can’t listen for free from their website.  You used to be able to get around the blackouts if you were sufficiently motivated.  My officemate at MIT used an anonymous proxy somewhere else so he could stream Red Sox games to our office. I’m not sure if that’s still possible.  However, I’m not sufficiently motivated.

 

I only paid $9 for the tuner shipped, so even if I could get Gameday audio, I probably saved money by just buying the tuner.  I have a stereo receiver downstairs, but in the evening, we’re usually upstairs (you’ll understand when you get here) and we didn’t have a radio upstairs.  I didn’t want to buy a whole radio – speakers and all – because we already have a decent audio/visual setup, so the tuner fit my needs pretty well.  The only way it would be better is if it worked with Windows Media Center.  But for $9, I’m pretty happy.

 

-Colin

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:30 PM

 

Oh yeah, at $9, that’s the way to go.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Fri, May 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

 

James McDonald is pitching really well, though it seems that he had a really rough 6th inning last night. But 11 strike outs in the first 5 innings? That’s really good. And our bullpen seems to be pitching great, which helps out on a day like yesterday.

 

Also, after not hitting a homer until May 8th, it seems like McCutchen is really picking it up. He’s up to 5 including 2 last night.

 

18-20 and 4 games out of first. I can see us getting to 0.500 soon. I’m not as sure about first place.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Fri, May 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

 

Yeah, the pitching seems pretty solid.  It’ll be good to get Karstens back.  I’m not sure when that’s going to happen.

 

Yeah, McCutchen looks great.  Even his home run swings look effortless.  I was just saying to Heather yesterday that so far, between his recent home run hitting and his pretty consistent overall hitting so far this year, the Pirates’ decision to sign him to a long-term deal is looking like a very good move.

 

I was hoping we’d hit .500 the other day.  We were at 17-18 or something like that but we lost the game.  Hopefully, interleague play won’t be the death knell of the season like it has been in previous years (though not last year).  We’ll see.

 

Certainly, it’s too early to rule anything out.  The Pirates could find themselves in first if the Cardinals tank or suffer some injuries. They’re close behind the Reds.  If the pitching stays good and we get a little more offensive production, I think we have a good shot.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, May 22, 2012 at 11:38 AM

 

20-22 and 3 games out of first. (And one game worse than the Red Sox and Yankees.) Not bad. I badly want us to be little better off, but I’ll take it.

 

Do you know when we’ll get Karstens back? He pitched 3 innings in Altoona last night. I just don’t know how the rehab timelines work.

 

McCutchen didn’t hit a home run till (I think) May 8 and then he’s hit 7 in the last two weeks. He’s on a tear. I’d love for him to keep up anything close to that.

 

Also, I love the Fort. The only thing I saw from last night’s game was his home run and he just pounded that. Unfortunately, I think he’s patting pretty poorly overall.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Tue, May 22, 2012 at 11:53 AM

 

I was really excited to see the Pirates win yesterday after falling to an early 4-0 deficit.  The fact that they prevented the Mets from scoring any additional runs as well as the fact that they scored 5 runs themselves is a great sign for the team and has to be encouraging.

 

I don’t know when Karstens is coming back.  I would guess he’s got another couple of outings in the minors before he comes back to the majors.

 

Yeah, I’d definitely like to see the Pirates being more dominant and have a better place in their division.  I think it could come, with patience.  If McCutchen can keep things up and some of the other guys can get their averages out of the .100s and very low .200s, I think things will get better.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Sun, May 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

 

WALK OFF HIT BY PITCH?? I’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THAT BEFORE.

 

Good start to the game today. The announcers just said that Pedro Alvarez has now knocked in more runs than his entire total from 2011.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, May 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM

 

Yeah, that was awesome.  I once saw the Pirates win on a walk-off overthrow.  Jack Wilson was trying to stretch a double into a triple and the opponents (I can’t remember who it was) threw hastily to third and the ball went into the dugout and Wilson ran home to win the game.  That was pretty cool.

 

A friend of mine once saw a walk-off balk.  That has to be even more obscure than the walk-off hit by pitch.  The walk-off wild pitch/passed ball is in that category, too.

 

Alvarez is definitely looking better than he had been.  He’s made some great defensive plays, too.

 

Too bad the Pirates couldn’t win the game yesterday.  Their run at .500 was pretty short-lived, but as long as they stay close, they’re still in it.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 11:56 AM

 

We took two of three from the Brewers on the road. Miller Park used to be our downfall–will that end now?

 

We’re over 0.500 again. Maybe we can stay that way?

 

If we had 5 James McDonald clones pitching, maybe we would. He seems to have a quality outing every single game. If he continues he could be an all star.

 

And we’d probably also win a lot if we had 4 home runs every game (though last night was a bit too close).

 

Cool Standings is still predicting that we’ll end up at 77-85. We need to be scoring more runs.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 12:22 PM

 

Yeah, winning the series in Milwaukee is huge.  A three-game series at Miller Park used to be a guaranteed 2-3 loss affair.  The Brewers’ pitching this year is not as good as last year and they don’t have Prince Fielder anymore.  I think they’re just not as good a team overall.

 

It’s hard to say what will happen.  I don’t know if you noticed but the Pirates are in 2nd place in the division now and 3 games back from the Reds.  If the Pirates sweep the Reds (I can dream, right?) starting today, the Pirates and Reds will be tied for 1st.

 

McDonald has been solid.  And, other than the one terrible outing, Burnett has been great, too.  Morton is always a question mark.  Correia is ok if the Pirates score lots of runs.  Bedard was solid at the beginning of the year but is less so now.  Once we get Karstens back, I feel like we’ll have 3 solid starters.  Maybe they’ll add Lincoln into the mix.  He could be good.  We’ll see.

 

Yesterday’s game was crazy.  7 home runs between the two teams.  That would have been an exciting game to go to.  But, yeah, 4 home runs a game would probably improve their win percentage.

 

The thing that was interesting about yesterday’s game is that the run totals were close but the Pirates out-hit the Brewers 11-6.

 

I’d be interested in seeing some statistical work on what the expected number of (fractional) runs a hit is worth.  There’s some average and I’m curious to see whether the Pirates are operating on the lucky or unlucky side of the average.  It would also be interesting to look at these values by team and see if there is a statistically significant difference between them that would indicate real differences in skill, rather than short-lived lucky or unlucky spells.

 

Now that I think about it, I think there is some such analysis in “Curve Ball” by Jim Albert.  I think it’s broken down there in terms of the fractional run value of each type of hit – single, double, triple, home run, and even walk.  It would be interesting to compare the Pirates’ performance so far this year to that data.

 

Anyway, I’m saying all this because I’m wondering if there’s something that the Cool Standings predictions might be missing – like if the Pirates are playing away from a mean that teams always tend toward over time – that would indicate the Pirates’ record might be a winning record after all.  I guess only time will tell.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM

 

Except for that one game, it really seems like we can count on Burnett to pitch well. That’s so awesome. I get a lot of joy out of the Yankees paying us $10 million to have him with him pitching so well.

 

Cool standing’s prediction is up to 79-83. So close! And now we’re 2 games above 0.500 and 2 games out of first. Your hopeful sweep of the Reds would be a great way to end the week.

 

They said last night on the broadcast that Karstens isn’t that close to coming back.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 1:52 PM

 

I listened to a good amount of the game yesterday.  I was a little concerned after they went down 2-0 in the first, but it all worked out in the end. :)

 

Yeah, Burnett has been a great addition to the team, especially since he’s partly on the Yankees’ dime.

 

I looked briefly at Cool Standings but it’s still not clear to me how they make their predictions, other than they simulate the rest of the season a million times.  However, it’s not immediately clear to me what factors go into those simulations.  In their table, they include runs scored and runs allowed, so I assume those figure prominently in the simulations.  It seems like they assume the means (runs scored/game and runs allowed/game) remain constant over time, which, if you have a team that takes a while to hit their stride, won’t be true.  We’ll just have to see how things shake out for the Pirates.

 

Yeah, I heard that about Karstens, too.  Apparently, now Morton is on the DL, too, so Brad Lincoln is the probable pitcher for tonight’s game.  I’m very curious to see how that turns out.  Morton is on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 30th.  That means, between tonight and five days from now, Lincoln could get two starts.  If he’s solid, maybe Morton won’t be coming back.  We’ll see.  I think they’re being careful with Lincoln, though – keeping his pitch counts low.  An article I saw from a couple of days ago indicated Karstens might be back to face the Orioles.  They mentioned that he went 4-0 in his starts against AL teams last year during interleague play.  I we could get 4 wins out of him again this year, that would be huge.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 11:10 PM

 

2 of 3 from the Reds! 10th inning win!

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Sat, Jun 9, 2012 at 10:01 AM

 

10 out of 13!

 

Did you see Barajas’ slid/ flop around?

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22119211&topic_id=&c_id=mlb&tcid=tw_video_22119211

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Sat, Jun 9, 2012 at 5:27 PM

 

Coolstandings is predicting essentially a .500 season at this point. My coworker Nick who introduced me to that site said their predictions are based on a formula Bill James (I think) came up with that’s heavily based on their run production and that of the opponents. I’m on the outside of that stuff a bit so who knows how accurate it is….

 

I guess it’s a bit more complicated than that.

http://www.coolstandings.com/faq.asp?sn=2012#faq13

 

Another FAQ says they simulate the rest of the season 1 million times.

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM

 

Now cool standings is saying 83-79.  Plus, the Pirates are tied for first in the division.  Oh yeah.

 

They’ve been on a tear.  Hopefully, they can keep it up.  I was just looking at the standings and I didn’t realize that the Twins were doing so badly.  We’re pretty lucky that we got the 3 worst AL Central teams (all below .500) for interleague play, in addition to Cleveland, which has the same record as us, and Baltimore, which has a slightly better record (though against mostly AL East teams…)

 

The Pirates’ home record is now 19-11 (.633) and their road record is 13-16 (.448).  It would be great if they could bring their road record up over .500, too.  If the Pirates could finish the season with a winning record overall, as well as a winning record both home and away, that would be sweet and very decisive.

 

Anyway, there’s some excitement building in the ‘burgh.  Let’s go Bucs!

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 9:23 PM

 

Oh yeahhhh.

 

I read that the Pirates have the best record in baseball since May 25. 12-3 or something like that. That’s certainly a tear. I don’t think they’ll keep up that sort of rate, but let’s hope it’s something on the good side of that.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM

 

So, 2 out of 3 from Indians is pretty good.  Pedro hit two home runs in each win, for a total of 9 RsBI.  Nice.  Here’s the encouraging part for this year’s team/depressing part for the Pirates franchise:

 

1) The Pirates two wins against the Indians were their first back-to-back wins on the road during interleague play since 2003.

 

2) A.J. Burnett won his sixth straight start, which is the first time a Pirates pitcher has won six straight since Doug Drabek’s Cy Young-winning season in 1990.  Ouch.

 

In any case, the Orioles and Indians were the best teams the Pirates have to face in interleague play and they went 2-4, which isn’t terrible.  The Pirates record overall in interleague play so far is .500 (1-2 vs Tigers in May, 3-0 vs Royals, 0-3 vs Orioles, 2-1 vs Indians). So far, their interleague record is a palindrome…  In any case, since they’re at home for the rest of Interleague play, and since the Twins and Tigers are both under .500, I think the Pirates have a chance to come out of interleague play with a .500 or better record.  That would be huge.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 3:50 PM

 

I think putting up 9 runs in two games straight is as good a sign as winning the games. Maybe our offensive has finally started scoring. And Pedro’s games were awesome; unfortunately we can’t count on him to hit two home runs every game.

 

Those are two depressing stats; but, yes, also encouraging about this particular season. Man, I almost forgot about Doug Drabek. Those were the glory days.

 

Our interleague record the last few years has been pretty bad–indeed it’d be great to see our interleague record end up even or better. Then we just win a few more games in Milwaukee and it’ll seem like all our old nemeses are past.

 

I’m pretty happy with 3 games above 0.500. 4 games back of the Reds gives us something to work on.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

 

Did you see last night’s game at all? James McDonald is pitching so well this year. He got his first complete game last night. Check out the highlights if you didn’t see it:

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22477457&topic_id=8877442&c_id=pit

 

There’s a lot of batters swinging at things they didn’t have a chance at, just bad pitches.

 

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the holes (Lincoln) in the rotation. Against the Tigers this weekend, our pitching matchups look to be Fister vs Burnett, Scherzer vs Lincoln and Verlander vs Correia. Burnett should win tonight. I can’t see Verlander losing that last game especially with how Correia is pitching and Lincoln certainly hasn’t been pitching well in his starts so we may well be 1-3 this series. We’ll see.

 

That said, 4 games above 0.500 and 2 out of first with a relatively easy July is a good place to be. Coolstandings has us at 85 wins for the season and a 38% chance of playoffs.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 5:27 PM

 

Yeah, I listened to a lot of the game last night and watched most of the highlight videos.  McDonald was solid.  It was good to see him get the complete game.

 

Yeah, I don’t know what will happen against Detroit.  Hopefully, the last game won’t be like the last time we were up against Verlander and he very nearly no-hit us.  We need to get Karstens back.  Lincoln has not been good as a starter.

 

If we go 1-2 in the Detroit series, we’ll be at .500 for Interleague play, which is very acceptable.

 

If we end with 85 wins, I’ll wrastle an alligator in the middle of Liberty Avenue.  That would be awesome.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Sat, Jun 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM

 

Burnett! I’d massage that guy’s feet or carry his groceries. So good.

 

Hopefully we can take 1 of the next 2, but 37-32!

 

Are you doing your win percentage graph this year vs previous years?

 

Also, I’d love to see your wrastle an alligator. What if we win more than 85 games?

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 10:20 AM

 

Wow, a seriously good start from Lincoln. Taking a no hitter into the sixth. And he pitched something like 60 of his 79 pitches for strikes. That’s some strike rate.

 

And a three run HR from Cutch always helps.

 

Adrian

 

P.S. I still want to know what you’ll do if they win more than 85 games.

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM

 

Karstens is back in the rotation as of tonight. I think this can only be good.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 2:36 PM

 

Well, the outing wasn’t great, but I agree.  I think this will be a good thing.

 

I didn’t respond to your last email – Wow, I hadn’t realized that Lincoln took a no-hitter into the 6th.  60 strikes out of 79 pitches is a ridiculously high strike rate.  Yeah, I didn’t really expect a win in that game but it was a nice win.

 

So, interleague finished up thusly:

 

1-2 vs Tigers in May,

3-0 vs Royals

0-3 vs Orioles

2-1 vs Indians

2-1 vs Twins

2-1 vs Tigers

10-8 overall (.555)

I’m very happy with this.  I mean, the Pirates did have a pretty weak interleague schedule, but I’ll take it.

 

Cool Standings is saying 85-77 for our final record.  I still haven’t decided what I’ll do if they win more than 85 games.

 

I haven’t been doing the win percentage or games back graphs this year but I could be persuaded to do it again…

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 9:25 AM

 

Yeah, that’s a good record coming out of interleague, definitely much better than our past records.

 

As for win percentage, it’d be interesting to compare this year vs last year, particularly. I wonder if this year looks much different or if we may just be setting ourselves up for another late-season collapse. (19 seasons gets to you, man.)

 

Looks like we took 2 of 4 from the Phillies, which is a pretty good result. Of course those two wins came behind McDonald and Burnett. Burnett didn’t seem as lights-out as previous games, at least from the box: 6.2 IP, 6 Hs, 3 ERs, 7 Ks, 2 BBs, but a win is a win.

 

Also, the Pirates scored 5 in the 1st and then let the Phillies runs trickle in till it was 5-4. I’m glad I wasn’t listening to the game or I would have been pretty nervous.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 9:29 AM

 

Oh, wait, the Phillies aren’t doing well this year? (36-42 right now.) Maybe we should have taken more than 2 of 4.

 

Coolstandings’ expected wins up to 87.

 

Adrian

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 9:32 AM

 

One last thing, our current runs scored – runs against are currently (272-278). If we keep playing like our recent streak we’ll cross even in the next week or so. THAT would be a watershed moment for our season, I think.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:02 AM

 

I didn’t pay attention to the game last night.  I’m really glad they won.  2-2 is much better than 1-3 for a series.

 

This article:

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_06_28_pitmlb_phimlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

says Burnett has the 2nd longest win streak in the NL, behind Dickey, which is pretty impressive.  I wonder how the Yankees are feeling about shipping him here and paying his salary now.

 

It also said that last night’s win against Philly was the 15th win of the month.  The Pirates also won 15 last month.  The last time the Pirates had two consecutive months with 15+ wins was in 1997.  So, from that standpoint, this year is different from last year.

 

That’s pretty crazy that the Pirates scored 5 in the first and then coasted.  I would have been nervous, too, if I had listened to the game.

 

Yeah, it’s weird that the Phillies don’t have a great record but I think the NL East is stronger than the NL Central.  It is strange to see the Phillies in last place, though.  I’ve been thinking about trying to come up with a metric that quantifies the strength of each division.  Perhaps such a thing is out there already.  I feel like it might need to involve some iteration to converge.  I haven’t thought about it much, though.

 

If the Pirates scored more runs than they allowed that *would* be a watershed moment.  That would be an interesting plot also: ( runs scored – runs allowed ) as a function number of games played.

 

Anyway, I should maybe start doing something productive.  Talk to you later.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Sat, Jun 30, 2012 at 8:28 AM

 

Well, that was fast.  After their 19-hit, 14-run performance last night, they now have 3 more runs scored than allowed.  Also, Cool Standings has them winning 88.8 games with a 54.6% chance of making the playoffs, which is now just a bit higher than the Cardinals.  I think this is the first time this year that the Bucs’ playoff probability has been higher than the Cardinals even though we’ve been above the Cards in the standings for a while.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 4:52 PM

 

BOOM. 11-2 win. How’s that for run production? I hope we don’t regress to April levels. We’ve scored 53 runs in 6 games. (Also John Kruk said about a month ago that the Pirates would definitely have another losing season–looks like he’s a convert.)

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/26393/time-to-start-believing-in-the-pirates

 

Also, since June 16, we’re the highest scoring team in baseball (including AL):

http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2012/dont-look-now-but.html

 

I can’t imagine that’ll hold, but it’d be sweet. Coolstandings has us winning 90 games, which is insane.

 

I put in the win percentage data for the end of last season and this season so far. You can see the win percentage is doing better than last year, a much better trend.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aqzw1HCG83pddC0xNGdCRUxsN3RrTEZ0Mi10bDZDb1E#gid=12

 

The Pirates game is the MLB.tv free game of the day on Thursday, if you want to find some non-Pgh proxy. I’ll probably watch it.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mediacenter/index.jsp?c_id=mlb#date=7/5/2012

 

Adrian


 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 11:39 PM

 

Reds just lost.  Pirates are in sole possession of first.  Happy Fourth.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 8:35 AM

 

So awesome!!

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 10:25 AM

 

So that’s what the hands mean:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/pirates/dude-whats-the-z-pirates-explain-643229/?p=0

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 1:26 PM

 

Yeah, I figured that out.  I don’t remember how, though.  Maybe because I follow Commonwealth Press on Twitter and they’re the ones who make the shirt.  Anyway, it prompted me to watch the Zoltan scene from Dude, Where’s My Car.  Apparently, the actor who plays Zoltan, Hal Sparks, made up the hand sign himself.

 

Somebody on twitter is trying to get the Pirates to invite Hal Sparks to throw out a first pitch and Hal is apparently enthusiastic.

https://twitter.com/mattkollar/status/220880075745275904

That would be pretty cool, though only if he wore the bubble wrap jumpsuit.

 

I don’t know if you saw this, but the Pirates’ record this year is a game better than the 1992 Pirates after 81 games.  Pretty nice.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 4:58 PM

 

How was the game last night? It seems like Karstens pitched a good one.

 

I was going to watch some of it on mlb.tv but I got home at 9:30 and the game was already over–how’s that for a short game? It was something like 2hr 20 minutes. That’s unheard of these days.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 5:14 PM

 

Yeah, we only saw like half the game.  We rode our bikes down after Heather fed Katherine, which was about 7:30.  By the time we got our tickets and found our seats it was already the 5th inning.  We used some free ticket vouchers we had (Bucs Kids Club, FTW!), so it wasn’t too upsetting to only see half the game.

 

Yeah, Karstens was solid.  He only allowed 4 hits and 1 walk through 8 innings and he struck out 8.  Neither team had a lot of hits or baserunners, so the game went fast.  If it weren’t for the fans and the excitement building in Pittsburgh because of the Pirates’ recent performance, it would have been a pretty boring game.

 

The top of the 9th was the most interesting part of the game.  Hanrahan walked the first batter he saw but then induced a double play with the next batter.  Then, Hanrahan walked the inning’s 3rd batter.  While Hanrahan was pitching, the base runner stole 2nd (defensive indifference) and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch.  Finally, the batter hit a fly ball fairly deep to right field.  Initially, it wasn’t obvious whether it would be trouble or not but it was caught easily by Garrett Jones to end the game.

 

So, Hanrahan walked more batters than Karstens.  Allowing two baserunners in the 9th, when you have only a 2-run lead is a little nerve-wracking.  In any case, the outcome was more exciting than the game itself.  A four-game sweep to put us 10 games above .500 with sole possession of 1st in the division – that was a nice outcome.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

 

Losing two of three from the Brewers was bad enough*, but with, what, 44 strike outs in 3 games, I’m now worried. I don’t know if it’s just a little hiccup after the All Star break or if it’s a sign of a Meals-like collapse…

 

Maybe I should wait till after the Rockies series to make any harsh judgements.

 

*Though, it should be noted, that we’ve been owned in Miller Park forever, so maybe it’s just that and not really a Sign of Things to Come (TM).

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 7:17 AM

 

Pirates lost again but at least it was a close game and they only struck out once.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM

 

Yeah, don’t panic yet.  They’re still 9 games over .500.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM

 

Thanks for talking me down.

 

Now for tonight: I still don’t have a handle on Bedard. He seems a bit like he’s two pitchers, one good and one bad. It looks like the Rockies pitcher for tonight isn’t the best either. Hopefully we can hit him around a bit.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

 

Nice article about the “inevitability” of yesterday’s comeback:

http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2012/game-91-pirates-9-rockies-6.html

 

Really, it’s more about how the comeback felt possible/ inevitable in a way that it didn’t in years past or earlier this year.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM

 

Not sure that I buy the notion that the comeback was “inevitable”.  I do believe, however, that the team has come back enough times that they no longer panic when they’re down by a bunch of runs early in the game. This is a big change and an important one if you’re going to be a winning baseball club.  Having enough confidence that your chances will come and that you will take advantage of them allows you to actually take advantage of them rather than squander them, which is what often happened in previous years.

 

The fact that the Pirates won, scored 9 runs, and hit 4 home runs while McCutchen and Walker collectively went 0-8 is another big deal.  I think that the game offered some compelling reasons to be optimistic about the 2nd half, James McDonald’s performance notwithstanding.

 

Anyway, I don’t know if you noticed but the Reds also lost, so the Pirates and Reds are tied for first again.  Also, for whatever reason, Cool Standings has the Pirates with a higher playoff chance than the Reds, despite the two teams having the same record and number of runs scored but the Reds having fewer runs allowed.  Perhaps their algorithm more heavily weights recent performance.

 

So, they finished the road trip at .500 and now they’re headed home for 6 games, with 3 of those against the Cubs.  Let’s hope this bodes well.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 10:08 PM

 

Man, losing two of three (at least) from the Cubs? Come on!

 

I heard a rumor that the Pirates might try to trade for Maholm. After tonight, at least, that seems like a decent plan.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 9:46 AM

 

Yeah, I wasn’t sure what would happen with the Marlins but I figured we’d get at least 2 out of 3 from the Cubs.  Good thing we swept the Marlins!

 

If you didn’t see the news already, the Pirates got Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros for some prospects.  He doesn’t have a great win/loss record but he has been playing for the Astros, so I won’t fault him on that. His ERA is decent.  I’m curious to see how they’ll use him.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:11 AM

 

Yeah, I saw the Wandy thing. I don’t know what to think. He apparently has his lowest strikeout rate since 2005 but also his lowest walk rate. NH said he was pitching to contact more, which seems to fit in our rotation well…

 

We’ll see. Apparently he might pitch against the Astros as soon as Saturday.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:41 AM

 

We squeaked out that game yesterday. Is that our plan? Just hit solo home runs to match their runs?

 

Tonight the game is the MLB.tv free game of the day and Burnett is pitching so I’m looking forward to watching it.

 

Have you looked at the win fraction graphs recently? We’re really getting close to the slide from last year. I think we’re a much better team this year but it still makes me a bit anxious thinking about it.

 

On the other hand, I do sort of have a dream of the last couple months extrapolating over the rest of the season. See attached. Reality will probably be somewhere in between.

 

Adrian


pirates_dream_chart

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM

 

Something tells me we won’t end up with a .750 win fraction.  The closest we’ve ever come to that was 1902 with .741.  But, you’re allowed to dream.

 

I’ll have to see if I can get the Pirates game.  It might be blacked out.

 

Yeah, we’re getting close to the same time last year’s slide occurred, but I think we’re a lot better this year.  Also, even if they lost 10 in a row like they did last year, they’d still be above .500, which is kind of crazy.

 

Did you see that Hal Sparks threw out the first pitch yesterday?

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/cutfour/article.jsp?content_id=35562190&c_id=pit

I was hoping he’d do it in a bubblewrap jumpsuit, but it’s still cool.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

 

It’s nutter butter that we could lose 10 games straight and still be above 0.500. You know the first date we could possibly be below 0.500 is August 9?

 

I saw that Hal Sparks threw out the first pitch. That’s pretty hilarious. I’m glad it happened, though.

 

Did you see that yesterday was the highest attendance for a 12:35 game in PNC Park history? 33,000-some. Seems like Pittsburgh is really getting behind the team. What’s the feeling like on the ground?

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 9:18 AM

 

Did you see Marte’s HR?? Holy cow. First pitch in the majors.

 

And 5 runs, 3 HR in the first 2 innings. That’s a solid start to a game. With Burnett on the hill, I basically thought the game was over at that point.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM

 

Yeah, I saw it.  Pretty impressive.  If he had succeeded in stealing home, that would have been even better.  It was close.  Yeah, after they had an early 5-run lead, I pretty much stopped paying attention.

 

What do you think about Correia getting put in the bullpen?  I feel bad for him – he had been doing well lately.  It’s probably the right decision, though.  Either that or we deal him elsewhere.

 

Cincinnati is still on a tear – they’ve won 7 in a row.  Grrr.

 

The Pirates have 9 games left on this road trip.  If they can win 6 of them, their road record will be .500.  If they win more than 6, they’ll have a winning record on the road.  I feel like the hallmark of a winning team is a winning record both at home and on the road. Cincinnati has that but no other team in the NL Central does.  Houston’s road record is below .200.  Ouch.

 

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 2:26 PM

 

Yeah, the city is excited – but still cautious.  I think people know they’ve been burned before, so they’re afraid to really get their hopes up.  I’m guessing, however, that the closer it gets to the end of the season, the more people will let themselves get excited.  We’ll see. That said, people are going to more games, buying and wearing more Pirates clothing, etc.

 

Are you and Margaret still coming to Pittsburgh in September?  If so, do you know the dates?

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM

 

Yesterday’s game was awesome.  I stopped paying attention to the game after the Astros retook the lead in the 7th.  After I got up this morning, Elizabeth told me that the Pirates won, which was a very welcome surprise.

 

It’s pretty awesome that they took the lead on a wild pitch.  I’m also really impressed that Hanrahan leads all of baseball with 31 saves.

 

Saves is a weird category, though.  If you’re the closer for a really awesome team, you might not get many save opportunities because your team is always leading by more than 3 runs going into the 9th.  But, if you’re on a terrible team, you’re not going to get many save opportunities either, because your team is always losing going into the 9th.

 

On a different note, I don’t know if you saw this but I was initially really confused when it happened: the Astros brought in Lopez to replace Wright to pitch to Andrew McCutchen in the 8th.  However, instead of taking Wright out of the game, they put him in right field.  When I saw this happen, I was really confused.  Then, after Lopez pitched to McCutchen, they put Wright back on the mound, took Lopez out of the game, and brought in someone to play right field.  After this, the rationale was clear but I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve seen a pitcher get moved to a fielding position and then back to the mound. Interesting strategy.

 

Let’s go Bucs!

 

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 9:30 PM

 

That’s a funny thing that the Astros did with Wright around McCutcheon. They said during today’s game that he played right field sometime last season. I imagine it was a similar ploy.

 

Today’s game wasn’t so great. It seems that McDonald (“King James”) is falling apart a little bit in the second half. What’s your take on that? I listened to almost all of today’s game while I was working on my car (I do that now, apparently). It started out fine, but then seemed to turn for the worse.

 

I don’t know. The Reds are on such a tear right now that it seems like we can’t catch them for the division. I’m thinking the wild card is well within reach, but we’ll see how we do.

 

It’s got to be so weird for Correia to come out of the bullpen, especially after 6 wins in a row (at least on decisions). Then again it must be weird for him to being sort of crappy out of the pen.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 9:19 AM

 

Wow, a rough outing last night for Bedard–letting up 8 runs in 4.33 innings. The Post Gazette article about it said he now leads the majors in losses at 12. He seemed to be pitching well in the 2nd half.

 

Swap out Bedard for Correia in the rotation?

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:21 PM

 

What do you make of this Lincoln for Snider trade?

 

Lincoln was pretty bad as a starter, but pretty much lights-out as a reliever, at least recently. I don’t know much about Snider other than that he used to be the Blue Jays’ top prospect. Not a great thing to be known as. He might be good yet, though.

 

When’s the trade deadline? 4pm? Do you think we’ll have any other trades?

 

In other moves, I’m a bit sad that the Braves got Maholm. I’m seeing them as our biggest competition right now. The Reds are out front for the division and we’re tied with the Braves in the wildcard race. A home 1 game playoff sounds better than an away one.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 9:11 AM

 

Oh man, too bad for Burnett that he didn’t get the no-hitter. I love that guy though. If I saw him, I’d definitely give him a hug. Besides his sweet pitching, watch any offensive highlight online and you’ll always see him cheering or high fiving or Zoltan-fiving.

 

Sweet Neil Walker grand slam. Good for him.

 

Lots of action at the trade deadline–we also traded Casey McGehee away. I guess Jones will be playing first a lot now that Snider will be in right. But how about that outfield with a lot of potential: Marte, McCutchen and Snider.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 9:03 AM

 

Gah, why are we chasing the best team in baseball?? Their win percentage is .610–the Nats have the next best 14 points lower. We’re now 3.5 games back. Looks like our goal is the first WC spot. Atlanta is a half game behind us in that race.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 12:30 PM

 

They’re the best team in baseball *right now*.  I can’t imagine that they’ll be able to keep up this pace.  I will say, though, that I now officially dislike the Reds.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:    Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

 

Yeah, it’d be hard to believe that they would be able to continue like this–they’ve won something like 18 of 21 since the All Star break.

 

I know a guy* who’s from Cincinatti so I’ve been telling him to tell the Reds to lose some more. He hasn’t been listening to me.

 

*A friend of/ guy that went to grad school with Margaret, who cofounded this cool baseball start-up.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 8:43 AM

 

The Pirates were 53-0 when leading after 7 innings before last night. Pretty amazing stat. That said, that was a pretty bad implosion last night. I hope we can pick up the pieces tonight.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM

 

Did you see Marte’s last two home runs, both to deep center? Combine that with his throw from the line in left to 2nd to nail Goldschmidt a few nights ago and I’m starting to get really excited about him.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 9:08 AM

 

http://hittrackeronline.com/ is listing those two home runs as 408 and 428 ft.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM

 

Also, I should note that the Reds have now lost 4 straight, putting the Pirates only 2.5 games back.  However, Atlanta has one more win and the same number of losses as us.  It would be really painful if Atlanta kept us out of the playoffs, after we lost to them in the NLCS in 1992. Also, I just don’t like Chipper Jones.  That is all.

 

Oh, and I’m going to the game today.  Let’s go Bucs!

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

 

Sweet! I’ll be listening.

 

Yeah, I remember the 1992 playoffs clearly. SID BREAM!~!! I was at one of those games.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 11:46 AM

 

I don’t remember any of the 1992 season.  We had just moved to Pittsburgh in May or June and then we were in Ireland for most of August, September, and October, so I missed the entire postseason.

 

Anyway, the game will be interesting.  Hopefully, the Bucs can pull out the win.  It’s kind of a weird time – 4:05.  I’ll be there with my friend Scott Johnson, who used to live in Cambridge, along with various people from Heather’s family.  I hope my Zoltan shirt is clean…

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

 

Weird series over the weekend. We got beat up bad Padres for two days and then it looked like it would happen again when CLINT BARMES HIT A GRAND SLAM. That was a shocker.

 

Then we score 4 more runs after that (and 1 before) to make it a 9 run 4th and we were cruising once again.

 

The replays of Barmes’ home run are sort of funny. He almost falls over after his swing because he was sort of off balance. Also funny: when McCutcheon doubled in Bedard and Walker, Walker basically caught up with Bedard. In the replay you can see Walker yelling something like “Go! Go! Go!” at him. And last note: Bedard was 1 for 2 with a double and a walk. Not a bad day at the plate for him…

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM

 

Losing 5 of 6. Oh boy, I’m getting worried. I hope this isn’t the start of another collapse. I really want us to make the playoffs…

 

Correira was okay. McDonald’s been bad lately. Bedard’s been good but we’re still losing games. Wandy hasn’t won for us yet. Burnett is even fallible. And without Lincoln our relievers seem to be faltering.

 

That said, I think Snider was potentially a good pickup. I saw this:

Through Saturday, the Pirates’ afterthought trade deadline pickup Travis Snider had racked up 12 hits with his new team. Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino combined for 13 hits with the Giants and Dodgers.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

 

Wow, this is really good.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8268757/yinz-losses-pirates-embodiment-new-pittsburgh

 

I also liked this:

http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/parallel-realities.html

 

Hopefully we’re just going through a little funk and we’ll pull out of it.

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM

 

Yeah, the grantland article is good. I got goosebumps a few times…

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM

 

That game was nuts. 19 innings, 8 pitchers, 22 of 25 players used overall. Neil Walker and Jordy Mercy both playing hurt. I mean, James McDonald pinch hit (and hit a single).

 

Hopefully it won’t hurt our bullpen (and starting rotation–both Wandy and Correia pitched in relief) for too long. I mean, I have no idea what they’ll do for tonight. Bring someone up from the minors? That’s what pirates.com suggested might happen.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM

 

I’m so glad they won last night.  I looked at the score in maybe the 5th inning and it was tied.  I was thinking “Man, they really need to win this game.”  They were 1 game ahead of the Cardinals going into the game, so if they won, they’d be 2 games ahead, but if they lost, they’d be tied.  So, I really felt like they needed to win that game.

 

The fact that it went to 19 innings, given last year’s 19 inning game marking the beginning of the end, means that it had a lot of symbolic importance as well.  I think that the game could be a real morale builder.  Some will take it as a sign that this year’s team is different, that they’ve exorcised the curse, in a way.  Even if the team is tired, I think the morale boost could be more valuable.  We’ll see.

 

It would be interesting to see if they send some people down for a day or two and bring up some minor leaguers.  Fortunately, they have a day off after the Padres series, but I hope they can muster enough energy to get through that alright.

 

 

Let’s go Bucs!

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 9:31 AM

 

Gah, why are we pitching Qualls and McCutchen and sending McPherson and Wilson back to Indianapolis?

 

Qualls seems just bad and McCutchen isn’t exactly a star.

 

They’ve seemed sort of tired over the last couple days. And now they’ve lost 9 of 13. We’re still in the playoff race, but we’ve got to start playing better. Mainly, it seems, A. McCutchen needs to start hitting again and we’ve got to figure something out to stop bullpen disasters like last night.

 

I’m leaving for France or Iceland tonight for 10 days. Keep a good watch over the team for me while I’m gone. I expect to come back to the team in a solid hold of a playoff spot, okay?

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

 

More people piling on Hurdle(/ Searage?) about last night’s choices.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/34115-what-was-hurdle-thinking

 

Adrian

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Sun, Sep 2, 2012 at 9:56 PM

 

So, catch me up, what’s going on?

 

It seems like the Pirates have lost a bunch and maybe Karstens is injured and we released Bedard?

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Sun, Sep 2, 2012 at 11:05 PM

 

I’m not the best person to ask.  I’ve been super busy and haven’t paid very close attention.

 

Yeah, we released Bedard and brought some people up from AAA.  We just got swept in Milwaukee, but had a couple of resounding victories against St. Louis at home.  The Pirates are home tomorrow against the Astros. Hopefully, we can win those games…

 

-Colin

 

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 1:17 PM

 

Man, it’s been weird. These days where we get swept by bad teams followed by crushing other teams. Last night’s win was like something out of June or July, just beating a bad team like we should. Wandy pitched well. Cutch and Holt had incredible nights. Yay.

 

That said, the rest of the line-up outside of those two had something like 2 hits. Hopefully with a lot of bad teams coming up combined with some fresh pitching and (maybe??) a resurgent Cutch, we can sneak into the playoffs but I’m not entirely hopeful right now.

 

Remember the halcyon days of .580 win percentage?

pirates2012a (1)

 

Mlb.tv premium was something like $10 for the rest of the year so I got it and I’ve been watching some games through my boxee and I’ll probably continue to do that for as long as it’s not depressing.

 

Also, I’m not sure I told you this but I’ve worn a Pirates hat every day (or part thereof) this season that the Pirates were above 0.500 (and a bunch of other days, too), so I’ve worn a Pirates hat every day since 5/30, including in France and Iceland. I hope that’ll continue through the rest of the season at least. 25 games to go! Maybe we’ll see a tiny bit of magic yet.

 

Adrian

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:56 AM

 

Swept by the Cubs? Come on!

 

If I was going to take any small thing away it might be that the last two were close games…But even that seems so false. We left something like 13 players on base and we were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

 

I’m starting to think the 2nd wild card spot is a dream and just to finish above 0.500 would be great.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:58 AM

 

Also, Locke actually pitched pretty well yesterday, so we have that going for us (for next year).

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 9:10 PM

 

I was just looking on the Pirates’ site and I really like the bullet points at the beginning of the article:

 

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120909&content_id=38148744&notebook_id=38148748&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

 

 

Yeah, those are some good bullet points!

 

I watched a big chunk of last night’s game. We’ve lost 9 of our last 11. This is just getting depressing now…

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

 

Yeah, Heather is concerned because she bought me tickets for the last game of the season and it might turn into a big let-down if they don’t have a winning season or at least break even.

 

Well, the kids like counting down to things with chains of paper rings – ripping off one ring each day or whatever.  So, we made a chain of ten rings for the Pirates, one ring for each win they need to get to a winning season.  It’s been up for two days now and we still haven’t ripped off any rings…

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM

 

We now need to go 10-10 to end the season above 0.500. Certainly possible, but we need to not lose 10 of the last 12 like we just did.

 

It’s insane that we’re in the wild card race still. I mean, we’re probably out of it, but it’s still certainly feasible if we get hot at all. Cool standings is putting us at 9.5% chance of making the playoffs and 82.3 expected wins.

 

It’s a bit weird. I have this growing pit of dread and sadness in my heart about the Pirates, but at the same time, I think we’ve been pitching pretty well and playing okay (though there have been a lot of questionable managerial decisions and bad errors). All three Reds games (one of the best teams in MLB) were 1 run games. All of those could turn on one pitch or play. We could have easily swept that series too.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:   Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:34 AM

 

Weird game last night. It was rain delayed until 3 hours 27 minutes after the start time, so it started something like 11:45pm east coast time. I guess they didn’t want to just call it because at this point we’re in a string of 20 straight days with games until the end of the season so there’s no real time to make up a game.

 

But Correia pitched well–7 scoreless innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 6 Ks.

 

If we go 8-8 now we’re still above .500. I think we can do it. Walker’s back. Pedro may be on one of his hot streaks (though he struck out 3 times last night, he hit 2 home runs on Sunday.)

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 1:11 PM

 

Yeah, we were disappointed last night that after being out of town since the Pirates’ game last Wednesday, we were only able to tear off two of our victory rings.  There was a day off in there, though, and we won two of the four we played during that span, so I guess it wasn’t bad.

 

I’m a little concerned about tonight’s game.  I feel like we’ve pretty much been owned by Gallardo.  It’s a good thing that Burnett is up against him, otherwise, I don’t think we would have much of a chance.

 

We certainly should be able to go .500 over the next 16 games. Fortunately, the series with the Brewers and Reds are at home. Hopefully, we can win at least 2 from the Astros and 2 from the Mets.  I expect we’ll face Dickey and lose that one.

 

We’ll see.  It’ll be a nail-biting end to the season, that’s for sure.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

 

There were 7 stolen bases against us last night. Gah! Also, our bullpen is pitching horribly right now. Burnett probably shouldn’t have been pulled after 6.

 

Alright, 8 to go. We can do this. McPherson’s up tonight. We’ll see how he does. His opponent is 3-6 so we got that going for us.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

 

Yeah, the stolen base thing has been a problem all year.  Is it just Barajas or do our pitchers have particularly slow deliveries?

 

Have the Pirates done a pitch-out at all this year?

 

Yeah, hopefully, we can get a win tonight.  We’re running out of opportunities…

 

-Colin

 

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM

 

McKenry played for at least a couple of the stolen bases last night–I think neither of them are good at getting the ball down to 2nd fast. And it’s also true as far as I know that we never pitch out.

 

Yeah, we need to win some games pronto. I’ve worn my Above 0.500 cap every day since May 30. I want to keep that going till the end of the season.

 

Adrian

 

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

 

Blahhhhh. At least they only got one stolen base? I don’t know what to say at this point. Back to 0.500. They’ve got to play better than this. Help me, Wandy, you’re my only hope…

 

Adrian

 

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM

 

I think it’s time for you to wear your Pirates hat as a rally cap. Seriously.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:15 AM

 

 

People at work might be confused. BUT yeah, maybe.

 

I’m sort of ready to give up on them. I’m not listening to/ watch the game tonight (we’ll be out), which will be the first this week that I won’t at least listen to/ watch a little bit–I’m a little relieved that I don’t have that option because, man, it’s been tough to watch them recently.

 

Adrian

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 7:42 PM

 

Well they won one today.

 

Will they be able to win 6 of their next 10? Maybe????

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 7:55 PM

 

They won in pretty convincing fashion today.  I’m hopeful that this provides the spark that’s been lacking for a while now.  Certainly it helped that Burnett was pitching but lots of guys helped with the offense, so hopefully, they’ll all be energized by it.  We’ll see what happens.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 10:05 PM

 

You might enjoy this:

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578016652376246198.html?google_editors_picks=true

 

Apparently, the Pirates’ announcers are the 3rd most biased in favor of their home team in baseball.

 

-Colin

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM

 

That’s funny. I like the Pirates announcers. They make up sweet nicknames, for one. (e.g. El Torro, The Fort.)

 

Did you see this stat?

“the Pirates fanned 12 batters in each game of the weekend series in Houston — the first time in modern (1900-on) club history that the Bucs whiffed 12-plus in three straight games”

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120924&content_id=38961528&notebook_id=38961532&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

 

It also says that the Pirates are 10 strikeouts from the all-time club record for a season. That seems pretty likely. (In fact, it says that before Monday’s game they needed 10 and they got 7 last night, so only 3 to go.)

 

I started watching last night’s game when it was 2-0 Mets and in the next 10 minutes it went to 6-0. I think I need to stop watching games…. We need a win from Wandy tonight. I still want 0.500. I still believe it’s possible despite the evidence otherwise.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:  Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM

 

 

Wow, that’s pretty cool that they struck out 12 batters in three straight games.  I hadn’t seen that.

 

With 9 games left in the season, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll set a new strikeout record.  If they couldn’t get 3 strikeouts in 9 games, *that* would be some kind of record.

 

I’m beginning to think the .500 thing is a red herring.  Avoiding a losing season is too meager a goal.  Yeah, we’ve had a bunch of losing seasons.  However, we don’t have the record for longest current streak of seasons without a postseason appearance.  That distinction belongs to the Nationals/Expos (last postseason appearance was in 1981 for a total of 30 seasons).  That streak will be broken this year but the Royals are still going strong – they haven’t been in the postseason since 1985). To me, that’s the more important thing.  I’m realizing that I have comparatively little enthusiasm for cheering for a .506 record.  It just doesn’t seem meaningful.

 

Obviously, the end of the season this year has been disappointing and frustrating.  However, this season has also been very positive in a lot of ways and I think it provides compelling reasons to be optimistic about the Pirates in years to come.  So, if they finish above .500 this year, great.  If they don’t, I’m not going to sweat it too much.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 1:49 PM

 

So the Pirates pitchers struck out 6 last night, so now they have the club record. Good for them.

 

They also beat the Mets by putting up some good offense and Wandy pitched well after his rocky start.

 

I hear what you’re saying about 0.500 being a red herring and we do want more than that, but, without writing off your feelings about it, that feels like what I’d tell myself to not be disappointed in this season. At least for me. There is something about rooting for a winning team, though. I watched or listened to parts or probably 100+ games this year. I read at least one article or recap of almost every game. That’s a lot of time to invest in a team that in the end might (will probably) be a losing team. I think there’s something to that, you know?

 

I’d much prefer to root for a playoff team, for a contender. And in all honesty, what I remember about 1992 is probably that they weren’t just winners but that they were contenders, that they made the playoffs and make it within a few minutes of the World Series. But if that had been our last winning season and we hadn’t gone to the playoffs then, I think I would remember that equally. It might still be the year I held onto in my mind.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 6:19 PM

 

A) Jack Wilson is retiring:

http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/jack-wilson-is-retiring.html

 

B) Check out this highlight reel. There are some pretty ridiculous plays in there:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5n5RS31nbk

 

Adrian

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 8:59 PM

 

Interesting.  I used to love that guy.  His defense was unbelievable. For a long time I had only 1 Pirates shirt and it said “Pirates” on the front and “J. Wilson 2” on the back.  I guess it was from one of the years they had Craig Wilson playing right.  Anyway, he was a great player and a stand-up guy.

 

That highlight reel is awesome.  Did you see how many times he fell over backwards after making those long throws?  He put so much into them when his momentum was going the wrong way that he pushed himself over.  Plus, the throws from his knees and those shovels to Castillo were epic.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 4:13 PM

 

Speaking of great D, did you see Snider’s catch from yesterday?

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25131415&topic_id=11493214&c_id=mlb

 

I can’t even engage in the loss or another blown lead. (But the eternal optimist says: statistically it’s still possible to have a winning season!)

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 4:24 PM

 

Yeah, I saw Snider’s catch.  It was awesome.

 

I showed Elizabeth and Brian the Jack Wilson highlight reel.  They’re now convinced he’s the greatest baseball player who ever lived.

 

Yeah, things have been ugly.  Honestly, I’ve kind of checked out.  Part of it has been that I’m really busy right now but I’m also trying to spare myself undue emotional pain.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 6:17 PM

 

20 straight years! Blah!

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 7:01 PM

 

Yeah, it’s pretty sad.  I don’t think that I mean pathetic, just sad.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:   Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM

 

Have you seen this picture:

 

https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/2662887627/86fc2c69ef6a0d78374d97e27447da0d.jpeg

 

Tribune-Review sports write Dejan Kovacevic has it as his new Twitter avatar.

 

 

-Colin

 

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:    Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM

 

Higher res version of that image attached.

 

 

-Colin


pirates-20-A3-R77ACAAE9V7N

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

 

Oh, man, that’s good/ sad.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

 

I’m still sort of hoping we win out. I’d feel better about ending 1 game under 0.500 than something like 78-84.

 

It seems like Locke pitched well last night. Maybe he’ll be in the rotation next year.

 

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:    Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM

 

 

Agreed.  There’s something comforting about being able to say, “Well, they did have a losing season but it was the best losing season possible”.  Plus, I’d just like to see them beat up on the Braves. That, and I’m going to the game tomorrow, so I hope it’s good.

 

By the way, I read the book you sent me.  It was good – very interesting and poignant.  Thanks for sending me that.  I think I’m going to pass it on to the pastor of our church.  He’s a long-time Pirates fan and his dad grew up in Upper St. Clair, on Orr Road near Westminster Church.

 

-Colin

 

 

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date:  Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM

 

Well, we didn’t win out, coming one game short of that. 79-83, tying our final win total from the 1997 “The Freak Show” team. I have hopes for next year. I think we have a good base of a team, though who knows if AJ will stay healthy, if Wandy will pitch well, who else will be in our rotation, whether Pedro will regress or progress. We’ll also have to see what the off-season has for us.

 

Yeah, I liked that book a lot. I’m glad you got a chance to read it. It was, as you said, poignant, even without the Pirates connection, but that made it even better.

 

Did you see this? It’s pretty good.

http://flipflopflyin.com/flipflopflyball/info-foullines.html

 

By the way, I was thinking of posting this thread, slightly edited, on the blog. Is that alright? I could give you as much or little credit as you’d like.

 

Cheers,

Adrian

 

 

From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date:    Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM

 

 

Yeah, the game was pretty weak.  Any game in which you don’t get to see someone from your team cross home plate at least once is lame.

 

That we equaled the record of the 1997 team (and were only 2 games shy of .500) is pretty good, I guess, though it definitely falls far short of expectations from, say, July.  I agree that there is reason to be hopeful for next year.  I shared a spreadsheet with you that I put together, plotting the Pirates’ win fractions by year.  The thing that sticks out is the last few years, where they are steadily and rapidly improving after falling to an all-time low (since 1992) in 2010.

 

They improved by about 90 points from 2010 to 2011 and about 45 from 2011 to 2012.  So, hopefully, they’ll continue this sort of trend.  I think Huntington and Hurdle are doing a good job with what they’ve been given.  I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the trades Huntington made at the trade deadline but I think that his strength is best seen in calculated, long-term moves rather than prepping a contending team for a late-season run.

 

Anyway, we’ll see what happens.  I’ll be paying close attention to the off-season moves they make.  They definitely need to address our inability to throw out baserunners.  The first two runs they allowed yesterday were scored by runners who had stolen at least one base.

 

I don’t object to you posting the thread but I guess I’d like to look it over before you post it.  Why don’t you do whatever editing you plan to do and then send it to me or something and I’ll suggest and further edits that I think should be made.  It’ll be interesting to read the whole thing from start to finish.

 

-Colin

 

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