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  1. “team’s first playoff berth in over 20 years”

    Umm, I know we have stunk, but it will be exactly 20 years, not over 20.

    Comment by PiratesHurdles — July 10, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  2. Apologies.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — July 10, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  3. Not a bad return for Octavio Dotel. You can watch James McDonald with your own eyes and see that there’s potential to get even better.

    Good for him. The Dodgers never seemed to know what to do with him.

    Comment by jirish — July 10, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  4. There was a quote somewhere from Hurdle shortly after J-Mac started dominating this year where he explained that one morning in spring training, Rod Barajas was catching him and said: “Hey, why don’t you try throwing a slider?” J-Mac: “Uh, OK.” And by the end of the afternoon supposedly all parties knew that it was going to be a central part of his repertory.

    Since then, I’ve been wondering…How often does mastering a new pitch in a day happen? And if he took to the pitch so easily, how is it than in however many years of pitching, he never once tried a slider? I suppose that alone could arguably make the Barajas signing worthwhile…

    Comment by Jesse — July 10, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  5. From the article it looks like he was already throwing it, just not nearly as much

    Comment by majnun — July 10, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  6. He had thrown it a few times at different points in his career, but he never legitimately threw his slider with any regularity other than occasional toying — which could also be misclassification.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — July 10, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  7. It sure feels like 21 though doesn’t it? :)

    Comment by noseeum — July 10, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  8. I kinda feel like if he could master pitches in a day, he’d be throwing about 9 different pitches on a regular basis.

    Comment by MrKnowNothing — July 10, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  9. James Mac’s success is one reason I hope the Bucco front office holds off on dealing any untested minor league prospects for a rest of 2012 season rental guy to show fans they are serious about competing for a flag this year. Let this 2012 group stay intact at least though early October and then deal during the off season if necessary.

    Comment by NMark — July 11, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  10. “One of the biggest surprises for the first place Pittsburgh Pirates”

    …is that they are the first place Pirates.

    Comment by cs3 — July 11, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  11. Solid stuff, but isn’t this added slider angle a few months old now?

    Comment by lester bangs — July 11, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  12. He didn’t dramatically increase the sliders this year. He simply added the pitch halfway through last year (June 26, IIRC). So it looks like he’s doubled his usage, when he really hasn’t.

    Comment by Nathaniel Stoltz — July 11, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  13. He threw it in August and September, but still didn’t pitch very well — 43/23 K/BB and 4.29 ERA in those two months. He definitely refined the pitch in the offseason, but he did go towards this strategy toward the tail end of last year.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — July 11, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  14. James McDonald adds a slider, remains the same pitcher he was before he added a slider

    Comment by Saint — September 11, 2012 @ 6:23 am

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