The (Friday) Windup, Message in a bottle (of Busch) edition

To Clint Hurdle — and to his players, who take after him  — no one game is bigger than the other 161. Especially not on May Day.

But make no mistake — if the Pirates’ intent to unseat St. Louis as NL Central Division  champs is to be taken seriously, they need to show up against the Cardinals this weekend.

It doesn’t matter whether or not they agree with perceiving this as a “message” series — another concept the Bucs reject. Whatever you want to call it, that is what it is. … 

Hurdle on the Cards’ fast start: “They’ve pitched their backsides off, starting and relief.” …

Only 10 Pirates remain from the squad that faced the Cardinals in the 2013 NL Division Series. That’s a 60 percent turnover in 17 months. … 

The incumbents: McCutchen, Alvarez, Harrison, Marte, Walker, Mercer, Cole, Melancon, Watson and tonight’s pitcher, Burnett. … 

The threat of fines apparently was enough for players to “step on it.” Actual fines not needed: Original plans were for MLB to start assessing fines today for violations of new pace-of-play rules, but the Bucs have not received official alerts of that, confirming MLBPA head Tony Clark’s view that a fine schedule may be waved off as unnecessary.

Why? Through April, game times are down an average of nearly nine minutes off the ’14 pace. Scared Fast?

“The initiatives have made a tangible difference,” Hurdle said. “Players are engaged in this; you’ll see them catching themselves stepping out, and they’ll step right back in.” … 

4 Comments

Jeff Branson needs to go. Obviously an uninspiring hitting coach, and not gettin ‘er done.
Make Ray Searage the hitting coach too and pay him double.
Our hitters have not honored the early excellence our pitchers have demonstrated. AJ has been totally hosed!
I can get Branson a job at Primanti’s making pastrami, egg and cheeses.
Cozmo in Orlando

Totally love Cutch but he’ll glow at 60% this year. Too many changes.
Marriage. Losing the dreads. New religious armband. Mysterious “Lower body discomfort”.
Of course, his 60% is S good as 87.6% of the best!

18 men LOB?! Really?! Can that be some sort of record?!
Branson should not even be allowed to be on Pastrami Egg and Cheeses until he cooks Cheesesteaks for at least a year at Primanti’s.
And while you’re at it, put Leyva on the french frier as he is also worthless.
We will beg for starts like this from AJ and Frankie in September…..

It continues.
The Bucs have climbed out of their 20 year sub .500 hole the last couple of years by some remarkable qualities.
Handcuffed by salary constraints, they have cobbled together a quality team based on leadership, a great farm and scouting system, and an eye for reconstructing previously great players, reasonably aquired, AKA Ray Searage and our pitching staff.
The beginning of this year, though, has illuminated the great imbalance between our pitching and hitting. We need a Ray Searage level hitting coach, to back up Clint, who is already one.
How can you expect to have Jeff Branson, a career .246 hitter with 383 hits and 34 home runs over a 10 year career to call a meeting and tell Cutch, Pedro, Mercer, Cervelli, and JaHa to get their heads out of their butts. Ain’t gonna happen.
Mr Nutting, get a Searage calibre hitting coach, and you will get rings…..

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