The Case To Bring Back Ivan Nova

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants
Photo credit: Rumbunter.com

By Zack Zeigler

Last season, the Pirates were in need of some starting pitching help and they found it in a young left-hander from Seattle named J.A. Happ. To that point in the season Happ had a record of 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA that left many fans in an outcry.

However, they were all proven wrong as Happ would end up going 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA the rest of the way and was a big reason that the Pirates advanced to the playoffs.
Then the offseason hit and the Pirates were left in a bidding war for the services of Happ. They would eventually lose out, as he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays to a three-year $36 million contract. Continue reading “The Case To Bring Back Ivan Nova”

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Ranking the Top Five Pirates Closers Since 2000

By Zack Zeigler

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have accomplished a lot in the 21st century. They broke a 21-season-long losing streak by making the playoffs in 2013, saw the rise of players like Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco, and opened one of the best ball parks in all of major league baseball in PNC Park.

A lot has changed with the team over the years, but one thing has remained consistent. You can always trust the man that is throwing in the ninth inning will get the job done.

Since the 2000 season, the Pirates have seen several names jump into the closers role and lead the Pirates from victory. Whether it be a wily veteran found off the market or a young guy getting a chance to prove himself, the Pirates have always seemed to find a way to get it done at the back end of the bullpen.

They haven’t had the bonafide stars such as Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, but their guy has always been able to get the job done.

We will take a look at the top five Pirates to step into that closers role since the 2000 season. The list includes pitchers who had at least 10 save opportunities in any season from 2000 to present. This list does not include set-up men who jumped in for a save or two, so no Damaso Marte or John Grabow on this list. Here are the top five Pirates closers since 2000. Continue reading “Ranking the Top Five Pirates Closers Since 2000”

Pittsburgh Pirates Infield Grades

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Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

Buccos infield progresses in 2016

By Zack Zeigler

For the Pirates in 2016, the infield was a series of moving parts with many different players playing many different positions. Whether it was because of injury or a platoon situation, the Pirates had multiple infielders play in 2016. The four we will look at for our 2017 grade are Jung Ho Kang, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison and John Jaso.

Jung Ho Kang was back for his second season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and built off of an impressive rookie campaign, in which he fell short of the Rookie of the Year Award. He finished the season hitting .255 with 21 home runs and 68 RBI. While the average dropped for Kang, the run-production increased and Kang fit in quite nicely in the clean-up spot for the Pirates. Continue reading “Pittsburgh Pirates Infield Grades”

Chief Wahoo Needs To Go

index.jpgBy S. Samek

The Cleveland Indians had a great year making it to the World Series. Along with losing the World Series, they could and should lose something else: the Chief Wahoo logo.

Chief Wahoo was born in 1947 at the suggestion of the Indians’ owner Bill Veeck. Veeck was known for outrageous antics, promotions and stunts in promotion of his teams. The Indians went on to win the title in 1948, which is their only series win in franchise history.

The team altered the logo from a white-skinned Indian to a red-skinned Indian with a smaller nose in 1951. Native American groups protested its use, but the logo remained.

In 2014, the Indians made a move to the red block C logo you see today. The chief Wahoo logo was prominent in Indians spring training uniforms and stadium until 2009. This was when Cleveland moved from Florida to Arizona. Arizona has a 5.3 percent population of Native Americans, while Florida has a 0.5 percent native population.

This was most likely a move toward being politically correct, but didn’t entirely remove the logo. Today you can still buy merchandise with the Chief Wahoo logo.

Chief Wahoo also played a prominent role in the movie Major League with the team sporting the Wahoo caps. Chief Wahoo was the face of Cleveland like it, or not. That doesn’t mean it needs to stay. Continue reading “Chief Wahoo Needs To Go”

Starling Marte Named to 2016 Sporting News NL All-Star Team

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Photo credit: USA Today Sports

By Zack Zeigler

Every year, Sporting News releases its All-Star teams featuring the best players from each league including all nine position players, a starting pitcher, and a closer. The National League All-Star team was released in late October and the Pittsburgh Pirates got some good news along with the announcement.

Continue reading “Starling Marte Named to 2016 Sporting News NL All-Star Team”

Closer Role In Question for 2017 Pirates

Pittsburgh looks to replace Melancon

By Zack Zeigler

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Photo credit: The Boston Herald

One thing the Pittsburgh Pirates have had secured on their team over the last couple years is a dynamite closer at the end of the ball game. Ever since Matt Capps took over the role before the 2007 season, there has always been someone reliable for the ninth inning. In that time, we have seen Octavio Dotel, Joel Hanrahan and Mark Melancon occupy that role.

Those four closers combined to save 293 games in 333 chances, which is an 88 percent save rate over the last 10 seasons.

Melancon set the the all-time saves record in a season for the Pirates with his 51 saves during the 2015 season. However, Melancon is gone, and the Pirates are dealing with an issue they haven’t had to worry about in a long time and that’s inconsistency at the back end of the bullpen.

Continue reading “Closer Role In Question for 2017 Pirates”

Recap of Every Survivor Series Match

By Joe Smeltzer

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Photo credit: Inquisitr.com

Elimination Match: Raw (Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax and Alica Fox vs. SmackDown (Carmella, Becky Lynch, Alexia Bliss, Naomi, and Natalya)

This was a solid opener. The growth that we have seen in the women’s division over the past few years has been impressive, and every worker in here got a least some time to shine.

Nia Jax had some spurts of dominance but did not take away from others in the match who, frankly, are more interesting. Charlotte and Sasha Banks both did what we have come to expect of them, and Charlotte did a fantastic job of playing the heel, which is somewhat of a lost art in pro wrestling today.

Bayley was able to be one of the two remaining survivors in the match, and even Alicia Fox had some moments of impressive athleticism. As for SmackDown, Natalya was a late substitute, as Niki Bella was attacked backstage before the match, and she was fantastic. Although Charlotte eliminated her, she did pin Sasha Banks and looked pretty good throughout the match.

The tension on team Raw was evident, as Bayley, Sasha and Charlotte were all at each other’s throats. On SmackDown, things weren’t quite as impressive. However, the thought that Natalya might pick up the win in her home country was intriguing, but it was to be cut short by Becky Lynch. Overall, the match had some interesting storytelling elements to go along with the in-ring work.

I was pleasantly surprised that Bayley was booked to pick up the winning pin. Did Charlotte’s post- match assault take away from Bayley’s moment? A little bit, but nonetheless, Charlotte was made to look like a great heel, so the purpose was served well. I thought the finish was the best part of the match and could build up Bayley for a run at the Women’s title. Continue reading “Recap of Every Survivor Series Match”