Bob Smizik: E-dro!

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Nobody asked me, but . . .

* With another error yesterday, which led to two unearned runs, the throwing woes of Pedro Alvarez have reached the alarming stage. If Alvarez were performing well offensively, his errors would be somewhat easier to overlook. But he’s 13-for-58 (.224) with two homers and five RBIs this month. Alvarez has 15 homers and 47 RBIs. After 104 games last year, those numbers were 27 and 69.

• How small can you get: Jay Paterno, the poster coach for nepotism, is suing Penn State because he hasn’t been able to land another job since being fired when Bill O’Brien took over. Look in the mirror, Jay!

• The Minnesota Twins are in negotiations with catcher Kurt Suzuki, who, if he reaches free agency would be the No. 2-ranked catcher behind Russell Martin. The annual dollars being discussed for Suzuki, according to reports, are an average of $8 million to $9 million. That means the $15 million number often being mentioned in connection with Martin might be a stretch.

• Headline on an SI.com story: With sense of stability, Todd Graham building a contender at Arizona State.

• Who's the odd-man out when Gerrit Cole comes off the disabled list next month? Once it looked certain it would be Vance Worley, who in one start since the All-Star game allowed one earned run in six innings. Meanwhile, in two starts Charlie Morton has a 4.15 ERA, Jeff Locke a 6.39 ERA and Edinson Volquez a 7.23 ERA.

• The reinvention of Zach Duke, from soft-tossing starter to whiff-king reliever, continues. Duke, pitching out of the Milwaukee bullpen, has a 1.07 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, a .199 BAA and an 12.21 K/9, which is fourth in the National League (all stats through Sat.). Amazingly, this transformation was done without Ray Searage.

• It’s been a long time: The Pirates have a chance to outdraw the Phillies this season, and when was the last time that happened? The Pirates are about 73,000 tickets sold behind the Phillies, whose future crowds should decline while the Pirates’ increase.

• Will Pitt football pay the price in 2014 for coach Paul Chryst’s mishandling of quarterback Chad Voytek in 2013? Voytek barely got on the field in the regular season, although he was the backup and heir apparent to a fifth-year senior. Chryst should have found ways to get Voytek more playing time.

• In case you missed it, here’s a story about St. Louis outfielder Jon Jay taking four balls and striking out in the same at bat. The umps blew it, but to his credit, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny took full blame for Jay not reaching first base.

• The Whiff Generation: Washington shortstop Ian Desmond struck out 40 times in June (a 36 percent rate), which is more than Joe DiMaggio ever struck out in any season of his career.

• Fabulous baserunning by Josh Harrison in the sixth inning yesterday of the 7-5 win over Colorado to escape a rundown and eventually score the Pirates fifth run. It was better than his famous mad dash between second and third last month against the Mets because this time he wasn’t out of the baseline. Harrison was once again was a hero yesterday with four hits and the game-winning home run in the eighth.

• Former Pirates: Since May 24, Garrett Jones has three home runs -- including one yesterday -- in 173 at bats and an OPS under .600; Joggin’ Ronny Paulino was released by the Detroit organization; Joel Hanrahan is slow recovering from Tommy John surgery and was moved to the 60-day disabled list by the Tigers; Nate Adcock, lost in the Rule 5 draft to Kansas City in 2010, was promoted by Texas last week from Class AAA where he had a 2.76 ERA and a .193 BAA; in a season cut short by injury, Tom Gorzelanny has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings of relief with the Brewers.

• Where does the popular strategy of ‘working the count’ stand in 21st century MLB when getting the starting pitcher out of the game often results in a better pitcher arriving on the scene?

* In his last 16 at bats, Travis Snider has nine hits (.563), two home runs, including one yesterday as a pinch-hitter, and five RBIs.

• A statistic easily overlooked after the losses to Colorado this weekend: The Pirates are 6-3 since the All-Star Game.

• Down on the farm: After a brief hot streak at Indianapolis when he raised his average into the .230 range, Tony Sanchez has one hit in his past 21 at bats. He has eight errors, five passed balls and a 13 percent rate on throwing out runners; since his promotion to Indianapolis, Nick Kingham is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP; a .206 BAA and a 6.6 K/9; Tyler Glasnow is 7-5 with a 1.74 ERA, a .179 BAA and a 10.8 K/9 at Bradenton.


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