LATEST STORIES FROM WHYGAVS?

Remember that the Wild Card cuts both ways

There is no major American sport that treats its first division runner-up worse than baseball does. In the NFL, the team with the best record that fails to win a division plays the worst division winner in the Wild Card Round. The division-winner gets home-field advantage, but often has a worse record than the wild card team. In the NHL, divisional playoffs are held. It takes two...
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August 16, 2016  |  Discuss

Game whatever who cares: Braves 8 Pirates 4

Here is what I would like explained to me: How on Earth can you go through a trade deadline and behave like a team that believes its playoff chances are not completely extinguished this year, then put Jeff Locke on the mound 48 hours later? And if you do go ahead and put Jeff Locke on the mound, then why is he pitching in the fifth inning when he is slowly losing his grip on this...
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August 03, 2016  |  Discuss

The Pirates are not giving up, they are operating within a budget

The underlying implications of what the Pirates did at the trade deadline are still awfully worrisome to me, 48 hours later. By trading Mark Melancon while still in the Wild Card race, the Pirates more or less said that future value will always be considered vs. present value, even when present value has a direct effect on a playoff race. By trading Francisco Liriano and prospects...
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August 03, 2016  |  Discuss

If the Pirates are unwilling or unable to support a $90 million payroll, then somebody tell me because this where I get off

Let’s start with this: I don’t like making strong pronouncements after trades. I have, particularly early on in the Neal Huntington era, misread trades pretty badly in the moment. I didn’t take much time to think about the JA Happ trade last year, and I looked pretty dumb in hindsight. This happens not just because I’m a Pirate fan, but because front offices have visions...
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August 01, 2016  |  Discuss

Pirates trade Francisco Liriano and Harold Ramirez to Blue Jays for Drew Hutchison

Well after the trade deadline passed and when I had assumed everyone was done for the day, word leaked out that the Pirates snuck one more deal in after the deadline: Francisco Liriano, Harold Ramirez, and another prospect to Toronto for Drew Hutchison. I understand the Pirates’ desire to move on from Liriano; he’s pretty expensive ($13.67 million next year) and he’s more or...
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August 01, 2016  |  Discuss

Pirates acquire Ivan Nova, swap Jon Niese for Antonio Bastardo (seriously)

It would appear that the Pirates’ strategy at this trade deadline is to do exactly what they did at the last one: acquire a once-promising young pitcher that hasn’t been any good for a long time for pennies on the dollar with the assumption that they can turn him into an asset for this season’s stretch run. This year, that player is Ivan Nova, who they acquired from the Yankees...
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August 01, 2016  |  Discuss

Pirates swept at Miller Park. Again.

Here’s the thing about an easy schedule: it doesn’t do much good if you don’t beat the bad teams that make the schedule easy. The Pirates went into Miller Park this weekend playing relatively good baseball, then scored six times in three games in being swept at Miller Park for the ten millionth time in the 16 year history of the stadium. It is pretty tempting to complain about...
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July 31, 2016  |  Discuss

Pirates trade Mark Melancon to the Nationals

I have a sneaking suspicion that in a year or two, we’re going to look back at the Mark Melancon trade and call it a win for the Pirates. Felipe Rivero is 25 years old with a fastball that hits 100 mph, his peripheral numbers this year are already great, and he’ll finish this year with less than two full years of big league service. He is almost certainly a pitcher that will...
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July 30, 2016  |  Discuss

Some thoughts on trading Mark Melancon

As we ramp up to the deadline, a lot of discussion around the Pirates this year has involved Mark Melancon. The situation as it stands is this: the Pirates have a decent shot at making the playoffs this year, but are not favorites to do so; depending on your favorite playoff odds site, they’re somewhere between 15% (Baseball Prospectus, which is seemingly always pessimistic about...
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July 29, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 100: Pirates 10 Mariners 1

The main problem of the Pittsburgh Pirates was perfectly on display in this two-game series against the Seattle Mariners: sometimes, the starting pitching works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, the offense strings its hits together, and sometimes it spreads them out. Sometimes, the Pirates look ready to beat anyone, and sometimes it’s hard to remember how they ever win. As...
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July 28, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 99: Mariners 7 Pirates 4

With the Pirates up 4-2 in the top of the third last night, I told my dad that I thought the Pirates would need six or seven runs with the way that Liriano had been pitching. Franklin Gutierrez hit the next pitch out of the park to tie the game at four. We went outside to walk the dog, came back, and it was 7-4. We spent the next couple hours watching the Pirates put runners on base...
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July 27, 2016  |  Discuss

The Pirates are in a weird place: their biggest need is their best minor league strength

Despite all of their issues with starting pitching and a month of June that reminded most Pirate fans of the Bad Old Days, the Pirates are not in bad shape as we round up to the trade deadline. With last night’s results, they’re 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins for the second wild card spot, lumped in with the Cardinals and Mets. The Marlins are 2 1/2 behind the Dodgers, so that...
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July 26, 2016  |  Discuss

In which the Pirates steal a series from the Phillies while leaving pitching questions rampant

The math from the All-Star Break was pretty easy: with 73 games left and 46 wins in the bank, playing about .600 baseball (.602, to be exact) would get the Pirates to 90 wins. From the break (and from here), that looks like a pretty decent target to get into this year’s Wild Card Coin Flip. With the particularly easy run of schedule behind the second half’s first series in DC...
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July 25, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 95: Pirates 5 Brewers 3

We have, rightly, put a lot of focus this season on the failings of the back end of the Pirate rotation. Jeff Locke, Jon Niese, and Juan Nicasio have all had really bad seasons for the Pirates, and in doing so they’ve put a lot of stress on both the offense and the bullpen. That certainly contributed a lot to the Pirates’ awful June. I have suspected for a while, though, that...
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July 22, 2016  |  Discuss

The bell is tolling for Jeff Locke (Game 94: Brewers 9 Pirates 5)

Jeff Locke is not really a good pitcher, but he has occupied a certain usefulness for most of his Pirate career. Locke has decent stuff for a lefty, but relatively poor command. In some of his starts, he looks great (remember that he’s a one-time All-Star and he really did deserve that nod based on first-half stats in 2013), in others he looks bad. Generally, though, through 2013...
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July 21, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 93: Pirates 3 Brewers 2

For all intents and purposes, Jameson Taillon started off last night looking like the same pitcher that the Pirates sent to the disabled list a few weeks ago with shoulder fatigue. That’s a good thing, of course; Taillon was coming off of one of his best starts in Seattle, and no one was really sure if he was hurt or just tired enough that the Pirates wanted to protect their best...
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July 20, 2016  |  Discuss

The bullpen has revived the Pirates, but only the rotation can save them

The moment the Pirates’ first half fell apart was obvious, even as it was happening. Gerrit Cole came out firing against the Cardinals on June 10th, striking out three hitters in his first two innings and looking all the part of the ace after an inconsistent April and May. In the third inning, Matt Carpenter hit an 0-1 pitch hard to right field for a single, and Cole called for...
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July 15, 2016  |  Discuss

When you suspect that the baseball team that you’re watching is good but you don’t have quite enough evidence to support that thesis, you let yourself go through a bargaining phase that ignores certain pieces of evidence with the understanding that you will come back to when you better understand said team. When the Pirates ripped through the Dodgers, Mariners, A’s, and Cardinals...
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July 08, 2016  |  Discuss

Maybe the Pirates should try beating the Cubs

As the baseball world stands at this moment on a Friday afternoon, the Pirates are OK. They’re not in a playoff position and they’re not really in striking distance in the NL Central, but they’ve won a bunch of games lately, are within three games of the second Wild Card, and are beginning to sort out their pitching problems in a way that could put them miles beyond where they...
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July 08, 2016  |  Discuss

Josh Bell joins the party

With John Jaso mired in a month-or-so-long slump and Josh Bell destroying all comers in Indianapolis, Bell’s omission from the Indy-to-Pittsburgh migration that’s been taking place in the last few weeks was starting to feel glaring. The glare is no more; Bell is being called up and will play tonight against the Cubs. With Indianapolis this year, Bell is hitting .324/.407/.535...
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July 08, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 86: Cardinals 5 Pirates 1

It was inevitable that the Pirates would lose another baseball game at some point, of course, but it’s unfortunate that Tyler Glasnow’s big league debut couldn’t have been a little bit smoother. Glasnow was really excellent the first time or so through the Cardinal lineup; he walked the first hitter that he faced, but then set down nine hitters in a row with the deadly fastball...
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July 07, 2016  |  Discuss

A brief guide to Tyler Glasnow for non-cynics

I was a little bit surprised to see yesterday afternoon that in the immediate aftermath of and rejoicing about Tyler Glasnow’s promotion to start for the Pirates this afternoon, a small group of Pirate fans were already snarking. “Oh, so his control issues are magically fixed now?” The answer is that, no, his control problems aren’t magically fixed. Tyler Glasnow isn...
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July 07, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 85: Pirates 7 Cardinals 5

Let’s begin with the elephant in the room, shall we? I have my own opinions about whether the Pirates should be playing Jung Ho Kang right now, but I am aware that my opinions are not terribly relevant. One of the reasons, though, that I’m troubled by allowing athletes to play in situations like this one, is that it allows everyone watching to pretend like things are normal,...
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July 07, 2016  |  Discuss

Pirates will call up Tyler Glasnow to start tomorrow

Buster Olney is reporting this morning that the Pirates are going to push Chad Kuhl’s scheduled start back a day this week and that they’re going to do it by calling Tyler Glasnow up to start in his place (I would link to Olney’s tweet, but he blocked me on Twitter years ago for some reason). Glasnow was nearly unhittable in June, scattering fifteen hits over seven starts ...
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July 06, 2016  |  Discuss

Game 84: Pirates 5 Cardinals 2

It’s amazing how quickly the Pirates have settled into a nice little daily pattern: for the fifth straight game, their starter gave up an early lead, but limited the damage and settled down quickly, their offense erase that lead bit by bit, and the bullpen absolutely shut down the second half of the game for a win. Tonight’s win gives the Pirates six in a row, nine of eleven...
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July 05, 2016  |  Discuss
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