5. Keone Kela Returns, Joe Musgrove Goes Down
STORY: Another year, another barrage of injuries that have hampered an already shallow roster with the Pirates. Opening Day starter Joe Musgrove was placed on the 10-day IL with right triceps inflammation. It doesn’t appear to be all that serious. Meanwhile, Keone Kela finally returned to action on Thursday after being kept out due to COVID-19 positive tests.
SPIN: Musgrove is just the latest to go down as the Pirates have been bitten by the injury bug in a bad way, particularly with the pitching staff. For me, this season is all about evaluation. Can he be a #1 starter? We haven’t gotten that answer yet and with limited games to the season already, any time missed is heightened not only in a wins and losses sense, but maybe more importantly for the “prove it” sense. Same thing with top prospect Mitch Keller. His injury seems to be longer term than Musgrove’s and by the time he gets ramped back up, who knows how many starts he has left to prove anything about himself as a Major League starter before the 2021 season.
Keone Kela should provide at least some stability to a bullpen that’s far, really far, from stable. But as far as beyond 2020, as a unrestricted free agent after the season, I can’t see him being in Pittsburgh much longer. Enjoy any success he brings while you can.
4. College Football Hanging On (For Now)
STORY: The Big Ten and the Pac 12 officially postponed the fall sports season until the end of the calendar year this week. The ACC, SEC and Big 12 have not made decisions yet and seem to be moving forward in trying to hold a season in the fall.
SPIN: Who’s right and who’s wrong here? Maybe we won’t know the answer until games are played or attempted to be played this fall and we see where things go. It seems like the other three Power 5 conferences that are still hanging on are going to push forward and do it. What does that do for determining a champion? How can you, really? Maybe college football will get creative with it and come up with some kind of system in place like taking the three conference winners plus a “wild card” school and doing a playoff. Who know, that feels like an eternity away.
3. Gov Tom Wolf Doubles Down on Fall Sports
STORY: In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf once again addressed the topic of fall sports in Pennsylvania. He once again feels that all sports should be delayed until January 1st. He also said that he hadn’t read the letter the PIAA sent him earlier in the week and that there wouldn’t much they could say to change his mind.
SPIN: I personally think that we can play fall sports safely this fall, outside of maybe football where it gets tricky. If we can do it, we should because sports are more than just games. They are integral to young people growing up, learning life lessons and having camaraderie with other. I’ll just say that to start. What really gets me in this is that Wolf didn’t even take the time to read the counterpoints made and the call for a further discussion on this by the PIAA. That shows a diralect of duty.
So he isn’t changing his opinion, that’s fine. But he said himself, he’s just one man with an opinion even though he’s the governor. That’s a little confusing in itself but if that’s the case…and if it only remains a recommendation and not a mandate not to play…then the PIAA and WPIAL should just push forward in what they want to do.
2. Pirates-Cardinals Series Cancelled
STORY: The COVID-covered Cardinals had another series of theirs postponed, this time it just so happened to be with the Pirates. As of Friday, St. Louis has only played 5 games in the 2020 season while the rest of the teams within the division has played at least 16.
SPIN: A positive from this, I guess, is that the Pirates jumped out of the gate in their return to play Thursday and got out to a 9-0 lead after the first inning and a half against Cincinnati. There’s no doubt though, Major League Baseball has a huge problem on its hands with the Cardinals. There are now more games to make up than days left in the regular season to do so. Lots of 7-inning doubleheaders coming. St. Louis will be back to playing on Saturday. Now it becomes a question of how many games they can really stuff in and if it’s fewer than 60…what do you do? Eliminate their postseason chances? Tell them thanks for your efforts but we can’t make it happen? Do you go by winning percentage? If it’s not 60, and the math proves another team could have gotten in playing fewer games, I don’t see how they get into the postseason.
1. Penguins Make Sweeping Coaching Changes
STORY: In the fallout from the early exit in the postseason for the second straight season, the Penguins kept head coach Mike Sullivan around but assistants Mark Recchi, Jacques Martin and Sergei Gonchar were all shown the door.
SPIN: To: Mike Sullivan
We are not happy with how the past two season have gone. We know how much you have done for us, we still think you can turn this around. But your compadres gotta go. We can’t keep the same staff around that couldn’t figure out the powerplay, that led a group of players lack effort and desperation and we aren’t going to sit on our hands with this. There will be roster changes coming that you’ll have to adjust to as well. We’re sorry your friends are gone, but let this be a warning shot to you to get things in gear here. We only have so many years of Crosby and Malkin left to take advantage of and we can’t putz around. Step it up or you’ll join them.
From: Pittsburgh Penguins brass
Or something like that…