Bob Smizik: Nobody asked me, but . . .

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Nobody asked me, but . . .

• There were heroes galore for the Pirates last night, as they overcame a 2-0 deficit by scoring three in the ninth to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. They are 31-20 (.608) since May 5 and fitting every possible description of a contender. Much-maligned, and understandably so, Ike Davis drove in the winning run, his second big hit in the past two games. Starling Marte's double tied the game.

• Definition of madness: The Washington Capitals signed Brooks Orpik, who will be 34 in September, to a five-year, $27.5 million contract. The Caps didn’t stop there with their plan to enrich all available Penguins defensemen. Later in the day, they signed Matt Niskanen for seven years, $40.25 million.

• Other than auditioning for a post-career gig in the media, what was Ike Taylor trying to prove when he said the following about his 2014 contract with the Steelers to Jim Rome of CBS Radio? “I’m [ticked] off about it, still am [ticked] off about it and I’m going to be [ticked] off until the end of the season about it.” Since there was not a gun to his head when he accepted a $4.25 million pay cut -- which still leaves him with a $2.75 million salary -- Taylor’s comment was terminally stupid and he owes the Steelers an apology.

• After a somewhat disappointing debut, new Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford is sounding a lot better. My favorite Rutherford quote from yesterday’s free-agency news conference was this: Asked if the Penguins planned to add another top-six forward at this time, he said, “We don't necessarily have to have our team all set for the playoffs in September.”

• I’m not a WAR guy. I’m hoping someone who is can explain the following: Through games of Sunday, Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward had eight homers, 30 RBIs and a .722 OPS. Andrew McCutchen had 12 homers, 43 RBIs and a .948 OPS. Both had a 3.8 WAR. More WAR: St. Louis shortstop Jhonny Peralta, 11 homers, 36 RBIs, .759 OPS, had a higher WAR (3.4 to 3.2) than Milwaukee Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez, 13 homers, 44 RBIs, .900 OPS.

• Another positive beyond the win for the Pirates was the performance of starting pitcher Jeff Locke, who held Arizona to two runs in eight innings. Since his recall early last month, Locke has a 2.47 ERA in five starts and is giving every indication he has returned to the form that made him an All-Star in 2013.

• More evidence that W-L records for hockey goalies -- as well as MLB pitchers and NFL quarterbacks -- are relatively meaningless came in the news of the day from the Penguins. Though tight against the cap, they paid free-agent goalie Thomas Greiss $1 million to be the backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. They did this although Greiss had a 10-13 record while Jeff Zatkoff, who was Fleury's backup last season, was 12-8. Wins are a team stat -- not an individual stat.

• In the minors: The Pirates‘‍ top draft choice from last year, Austin Meadows, finally debuted. He was 2-for-2, both doubles, Sunday in the Gulf Coast League. ... 2014 No. 1 pick Cole Tucker is batting .360 (9-for-25) in the GCL. ... 2009 No. 1 pick Tony Sanchez is batting .189 (20-for-106) at Indianapolis. ... After a string of outstanding starts, Tyler Glasnow lasted 2 2/3 innings Sunday for Bradenton, allowing one run, two hits and four walks while striking out five.

• Yahoo Sports on new Penguin Patric Hornqvist: He is a ''big body in front of the net. Now he gets to be one on a power play with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. That sound you just heard was fantasy hockey owners checking his status in their keeper leagues.’’

• Further proof that it’s not wise or possible to evaluate a trade after even one year. The Pirates’‍ deal with the Red Sox after the 2012 seasons looked like a steal because Mark Melancon was stellar for them and Joel Hanrahan did nothing for Boston. Now along comes Brock Holt, a secondary player sent to Boston, who’s having an outstanding season as the Red Sox leadoff hitter. That totally changes the value of the deal. Still to be heard from: Stolmy Pimentel.

• Bravo! The NCAA has reopened its investigation of the stinking mess known as the North Carolina academic scandal.

• Former Pirates: Rajai Davis, traded for Matt Morris -- a/k/a the $10 million man -- in 2007, has developed into a solid fourth outfielder and currently is contributing in Detroit, particularly against left-handed pitching, against which he has an .891 OPS. ... Robbie Grossman, the key player sent to Houston for Wandy Rodriguez in 2012, was returned to the minors last week for the second time this season. With the Astros, Grossman is batting .158 (18-for-114) with a .536 OPS.

• Meaningless but interesting stat: Ike Davis is batting .161 (15-for-93) with a .538 OPS in road games and .319 (37-for-116) with an OPS of .884 in home games.

• The most amazing aspect of the Pirates‘‍ recent play: They’ve been able to do it without Justin Morneau at first base.


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