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Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: April 9, 2021 (Pt. 1)

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KDKA's Rich Walsh and 93.7 The Fan's Andrew Fillipponi discuss the sports topics of the day.

Video Transcript

- Right now, Pittsburgh's best sports show is about to begin. Call us or tweet us. We've got things to talk about on The Ireland Contracting "Nightly Sports Call", powered by FanDuel Sports Book.

RICH WALSH: All right. Thanks a lot, Ken and thank you for tuning into The Ireland Contracting "Nightly Sports Call" powered by FanDuel Sports Book. Give us a call tonight. 412-575-2600 is the number. You know what?

The ratings must be bad on Friday nights or something. We had to do something to change it up, so tonight we get Andrew Fillipponi. He joins us on a Friday night. What are you doing here on a Friday?

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: Well, strange things are happening, Richie. Joe Musgrove is three outs away from a no hitter.

RICH WALSH: I just saw that.

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: And I thought to myself, why not? We'll celebrate. This is the closest thing you're going to get to [? Bucko ?] fever this year is celebrating guys like Joe Musgrove in new places. And so here I am, just in the nick of time to go over things just like that.

RICH WALSH: You know what? I'm glad you brought that up, because I was just looking at that right now. I can't believe it. I mean, do you just shake your head? Is this just bad luck or just the Pirates coaching staff and development scouts are just so bad at trying to develop guys that when they move on to other teams-- Even though Musgrove was with the Astros before the Pirates, but I mean, what is going on here?

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: Well it's totally predictable, because it happens for everybody. Now the guys that the Pirates moved off of this off season, pitchers we're talking about, Musgrove and Taillon. You know, I was not really sad to see either one of those guys go, because Taillon had been injured too many times, two Tommy John surgeries. And Musgrove, you brought up the Astros.

I mean, they've won a World Series in the last five years. We saw what they did for Gerrit Cole, working wonders with him, so you know, I didn't think that it was the Pirates fault with Joe Musgrove. But I think when you're around a lot of losing, I think it's easy to be dragged down by that.

He's from San Diego, so he's back in his hometown. So I think it's re-energized him. I think it's-- Hey, he plays hard all the time, Richie, but right now it seems like he's got a little extra pep in his step to start the year.

RICH WALSH: Yeah. The one thing I've always liked about Joe Musgrove is the way he was on the mound. That, you know, just the way he approached the game. It felt like, I mean, he wanted to win and he wanted to do everything he could--

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: Yes. The opposite of Mitch Keller.

RICH WALSH: Yeah, exactly.

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: It's the opposite of Mitch Keller who's got no confidence whatsoever. His body language is atrocious. I had Jeff Karstens on my show earlier in the week. And he said he watched the first game and Jeff Karstens is a guy that couldn't top 90.

And he's like, he couldn't believe it. You know, he said, if I had his kind of stuff-- you know, I would have been a really-- it's just, a lot of guys either have the physical tools or the mental skills and the great ones can combine both.

And right now Keller-- Keller might need a change of scenery. He probably wants one. Just like Tyler Glasnow. And Glasnow looked like he was a nervous wreck on the mound until he got to Tampa Bay, Richie.

RICH WALSH: Yeah. You know what? I mean, I think I told you this story before. But Keller kind of reminds me of Glasnow, just like you said. When I was interviewing Glasnow in spring training that year before he got traded, he just seemed lost. He seemed like he didn't want to be there.

He didn't even know what was going on. Like, he didn't even know how to answer questions. And it just-- I just felt like, he's never going to make it there. And that's exactly what happened.

It was just a bad atmosphere for him. And I kind of felt the same thing about Mitch Keller too last year. I wasn't at spring training this year, but you're right. The demeanor on the mound says a lot.

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: Well Keller had a-- statistically, a good year last year when he pitched. And they only played the 60 games and I think he only made five starts, but he had a very misleading ERA. Sometimes it happens with that stat you get lucky.

And the batting average against for him on balls that were put into play was something like 105 or 110. Guys were making-- you know, if they were making good contact, they were hitting them right at guys. Or they were making very weak contact last year, well below average. So most of the baseball nerds thought, well, that's an outlier.

It won't happen again for him. And you know, so that's-- I think maybe that's on his mind. You know, if he puts the ball over the plate and there's contact made, he seems right now like he doesn't trust his stuff. He doesn't trust that his pitches are going to be either put in play for outs or that he's going to able to strike guys out.

I think he's nibbling. So yeah, you just wonder who's going to be able to get him out of this funk. There's no veteran-- I mean I know Cahill and Anderson are older, Richie, but there's no established veteran starting pitcher the way some of those younger guys had AJ Burnett a few years ago.

RICH WALSH: You know, and I like what you said a little bit earlier. It's hard to get away from that losing mentality and you kind of get sucked into it.

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: Yep.

RICH WALSH: And I'm afraid that's what's going on right here, again. I mean, although you want the Pirates-- Not you personally, I mean, I do. But I think people should want the Pirates to lose this year so they get another first round draft pick next year.

ANDREW FILLIPPONI: Yeah.

RICH WALSH: All right. we're going to take a break. We're going be talking Buckos and the Penguins and anything else I'm going to talk about.

How about the Masters? 412-575-2600 is the number. Back in a couple of minutes.

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