Pirates approached another game like there’s 4 months left in season

Giants 13 – Pirates 10

Somehow in the middle of a gigantic series and at the stage of the season where the Pirates’ postseason is right now, Clint Hurdle decided the rotation needed stretched out and Clay Holmes was handed the ball against the Giants on Friday night.

It went as expected.

Holmes was rocked in a 13-10 loss to the Giants.

Making his third career start, Holmes was tagged for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. He walked four batters in the disastrous outing.

Pittsburgh fell behind 10-2 after four innings before making things close late.

This game was lost prior to first pitch as the organization continues to live in a world where they’re operating as if it’s May and not August.

The Pirates with the loss are now 5 games out of a wildcard spot. Some nights with the way they attack their lineups, you’d think they were the Boston Red Sox and chasing 116 wins.

This philosophy of resting guys, dressing ‘Sunday Lineups’ a couple times a week and having the likes of Clay Holmes, Casey Sadler getting opportunities in key situations is maddening.

With six teams ahead of them in the wild card standings, Hurdle needs to adopt a new philosophy of going down the right way.

The clock is ticking on hanging around in the race.



Steelers to explore Landry Jones’ trade value prior to regular season?

STEELERS QB’s SHINE in 31-14 Win

Landry Jones | 4-4, 83 yards, 1 TD, 158.3 RTG
Mason Rudolph | 7/12, 101 Yards, 85.8 RTG
Josh Dobbs | 9/13, 91 Yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly believe Landry Jones is better than 80% of the backup quarterbacks in the NFL. At least that’s the message the Steelers put out when Jones was scheduled to be a free agent in 2017 and all indications are the Steelers still feel that way a year and half later.

While in limited action, Jones shined in the Steelers 31-14 preseason opener win over the Eagles on Thursday night in connecting with JuJu Smith-Shuster for a 71 yard touchdown and going 4 of 4 for 83 yards on the night with a perfect 158.3 rating.

Jones grasp of the offense and trust with the coaching staff is why Mason Rudolph has little shot to unseat Jones as the No. 2 when the Steelers open the regular season in Cleveland.

But, should the Steelers explore Jones trade value prior to the regular season?

The backup position is so poor around the league, there’s a belief inside Steelers circles Jones could net the team a 4th round pick if they wanted to move him.

Whether to play the value game and potentially move Jones for a 4th or 5th round pick all depends on Mason Rudolph over the next couple weeks.

Pittsburgh may view Jones as one of the upper echelon backup QB’s, but at age 29 Jones, a free agent at seasons end, is primed to signed elsewhere next off-season and from the Steelers end, they had a late first round grade on Mason Rudolph.

He’s going to be the No. 2 next season.

Rudolph played the entire second half vs the Eagles. He failed to deliver any touchdown drives but led the Steelers on two field goal drives. Rudolph threw the ball well at times and was very poised against pressure situations, a good sign for a rookie playing under the lights for the first time in an NFL setting.

“He did a solid job in all areas,” Steelers head coach Tomlin said of Rudolph.

Rudolph has had some rough moments in camp, especially in the early going, but his confidence in the pocket has started growing by leaps and bounds in practices over the last week and that translated to Thursday’s game.

The Steelers Super Bowl hopes are lost this season if Ben Roethlisberger suffers a season ending or long-term injury.

Why the Steelers like Jones is that the team has confidence in him that he can keep the team competitive were Roethlisberger miss a stretch of 2-3 games.

That’s the same evaluation the Steelers should make with Rudolph over the next couple weeks. If the answer is yes, then moving Jones for a draft pick of value should be a consideration.

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Harrison, Mercer shine in 10-2 rout of Rockies

Pirates 10 – Rockies 2

W: J.Taillon (9-8)
L: C.Bettis (5-2)

— The Pittsburgh Pirates (58-56) snapped a three game losing streak with a 10-2 win over the Colorado Rockies (60-53) on Tuesday night.

Jameson Taillon pitched a complete game and the Pirates clubbed three homers in the rout.

This was a game the Pirates badly needed as they have fallen in the wildcard standings and Chris Archer takes the mound Wednesday afternoon as the Pirates look to take 2 of 3. It is a type of game against a team in front of you in the standings that Archer needs to step up in.

1. Starling Marte | 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Marte who entered the night in a bad slump, set the tone with a solo homer in the 1st and finished the night going 2-5 with a home run, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.

2. Jordy Mercer | 2-4, HR, 3 RBI
A new shortstop has arrived and what do you know, Jordy Mercer has a breakout game with a homer and 3 RBIs. Funny how that works.

3. Josh Harrison | 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, R
Harrison hitting a disappointing .252 on the season, homered in the win, a 2-run shot in the 5th and drove in 3 runs in the victory. A rare occurrence, Pittsburgh’s middle infielders — Mercer/Harrison combined for 6 RBIs —


Camp Buzz: Bostic in lead for starting ILB spot

Bostic enters preseason as clear front-runner for starting ILB Spot

The Pittsburgh Steelers took necessary steps towards upgrading the secondary this past off-season. The Morgan Burnett signing was a great step in that direction and Pittsburgh’s new scheme of athletic hybrid players has lots of intrigue.

First-round pick Terrell Edmunds has been impressive with the athleticism he’s displayed and his ability to learn the defense so quickly where coaches feel he’s going to be a contributor early on.

If Joe Haden can stay healthy, they have something here.

Strides the Steelers have the potential to make in the secondary could become off-set by the inside linebacker position.

Reality for the Steelers is that they have three players for two spots who are more backup caliber types than legitimate starting inside linebackers.

And Steeler coaches know it. That’s why they’re trying to adopt a scheme that puts less priority on having two inside backers on the field at the same time.

Vince Williams is a backup and that was on display last season when Ryan Shazier was lost for the season. Shazier’s presence to roam the field hid so much, in particular for Williams. Tyler Matakevich might have the most upside of the three but as the Steelers enter the preseason Jon Bostic, a trusted veteran player, is the clear front-runner for the spot opposite Williams.

VIA Mike Prisuta of DVE:
[“The Steelers have clearly noticed something. Bostic opened every 11-on-11 drill with the first-team defense next to Williams from last Wednesday through Sunday (the Steelers were off on Monday). Bostic isn’t running behind Tyler Matakevich any longer, as had been the case since the outset of OTAs. Communication must have something to do with it. Bostic is an Arthur Moats-caliber orator, and that ability to communicate on a defense in need of communicators was praised when Bostic signed on as a free agent. Players and coaches have since observed and appreciated Bostic being heard from on the practice field with such regularity.”]


Pirates falling in wildcard standings

Rockies 2 – Pirates 0

W: K.Freeland (10-7)
L: J.Musgrove (4-6)
S: W.Davis (32)

Rockies starter Kyle Freeland threw seven shutout innings as Freeland and the bullpen combined on a two-hitter in leading the Rockies (60-52) to a 2-0 win over the Pirates (58-57) on Monday night.

Pittsburgh’s losing streak hits three games as the Pirates are in danger of falling to .500 with a loss on Tuesday. Jameson Taillon will try to stop the skid.

Corey Dickerson (1-4) and Joe Musgrove (1-2) were the lone Pirates to record hits in the loss. On the mound Musgrove was solid in allowing 4 hits and 1 earned run in seven innings.

The Pirates enter Tuesday 5.5 games out of a wildcard spot.


1. Milwaukee Brewers (65-50)
2. Atlanta Braves (60-48)

3. LA Dodgers (62-51)
4. Colorado Rockies (60-52)
5. Washington Nationals (57-54)
6. St. Louis Cardinals (58-55)
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (58-57)
8. San Francisco Giants (57-57)


Martavis Bryant’s act is underway in Oakland

Jon Gruden Already Growing Frustrated with Martavis Bryant

This past April Steelers officials were in shock when the Oakland Raiders presented Pittsburgh with a trade offer for Martavis Bryant that included a third-round.

Those close to the situation say Kevin Colbert didn’t even need to discuss the offer with his staff and mull the pros and cons.

Despite a Super Bowl or bust mentality, Pittsburgh had no hesitation in jumping at the offer and for good reason — Bryant could never be trusted –.

Just a couple weeks into Raiders training camp, there’s talk that Bryant might not make it out of camp with the Raiders and Jon Gruden’s comments this week will only add more fuel to the fire.

The Martavis Bryant ‘act’ of mysteriously missing practices due to a made-up illness and a lack of attention to detail has followed Bryant to Oakland.


“He’s got to get out here and play better. He’s in a competitive situation. Right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp. He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.

“I’m not saying he’s behind, I’m just saying he’s got to be more versatile. I’m not going to say anything more than that. He’s in a competitive situation. Nothing is going to be given to anybody. It doesn’t matter how you got here or what your history card says. We need everybody to understand the best players are going to play, and he’s got to be more consistent. And I’m confident he will.”