Saturday, October 7, 2017

FRANCO has a lot to say

I don't blog much anymore because ...well ... being histrionic about sports on the internet isn't what it once was for me. But whatever, Nils just had a baby and I only see Matt when I drive by him on the side of the road, so FTC, you're my only friend left. Here's what's going on:

Joe Girardi is an idiot. I think everyone is covering this, but let's pile on.

Here's a table that lists manager replay challenges in 2017. If you sort it by total successes, you see Girardi is #3 overall with 30 overturned calls; even more impressive is that he's correct a league leading 75% of the time.

All that is basically meaningless.

The only thing that matters is that a manager be aggressive with challenges in high leverage situations. The penalty for being wrong with a challenge is that you don't get to do it again for the rest of the game... unless it's the postseason, in which case you have to be wrong twice to lose your invisible red flag. There is basically no consequence at all for taking a long shot gamble during a high leverage situation, except losing the ability to take a potentially better gamble in a later, high leverage situation, assuming one comes around. So chalk this up to another guy who is paid millions of dollars to watch sports being risk averse.

Speaking of being risk averse, I can't help but think of how terrible Neal Huntington was this year. I love NH, and we at FTC were defending him before people knew what a Pedro Alvarez was. However, he chickened out in the worst possible way when it came time to trade Cutch and everyone else 29 years of age or older.

Watching Cleveland, it's hard to think of an American League team with more depth in recent years. This is a phenomenal roster, and they got that way by drafting well, getting lucky (after a string of years being snakebitten), and selling high.  Here are some people they traded away once:

Shin Soo Choo: 0.8 WAR in 2017
CC Sabathia: 1.9 WAR in 2017
Cliff Lee: retired
Jake Westbrook: retired

Here are some things they got back:

Corey Kluber: 8.0 WAR in 2017
Trevor Bauer: 3.1 WAR in 2017
Michael Brantley: 2.1 WAR in 2017
Carlos Carrasco: 5.4 WAR in 2017

Those four latter guys took a long time to pan out, but it happened and Cleveland is competitive because of it.  Had Cleveland let Sabathia or Lee walk after their Cy Young years, maybe they'd still be in the mix in 2017, but they wouldn't be the team to beat.

And that's the point. Trades alone aren't the ticket; drafting well, smart FA signing, good luck, you need it all.  I'm not asking the Pirates to reboot every other year. But they have to know that the window has closed for a Cutch-led playoff team.  Cole is under arbitration control for 2 more years and then he's a free agent. Cervelli and Harrison and Mercer are great complimentary pieces, but are just old, injured garbage on their own. Polanco and Marte aren't as good as we thought, but they're okay. Basically, there isn't anyone on this team that shouldn't be considered trade worthy.  And when that's the case, it's time to take a 75 win team down to a 65 win team and start building for 2020ish.

Finally, I want to say it's always bothered me that the Cleveland baseball team is deeply invested in racist iconography.  Growing up there, I was that kid with the vintage C cap that I bought at the Western Reserve Historical Society museum, because I refused to wear the Wahoo. The other kids made fun of me for wearing such a small brimmed hat. I told them that was historically accurate, and that their way of life was based on white washing genocide. Both points were true then, and they're true now. Hats really did have smaller brims in the 1920s, and America really is a horrible sham at best. I'm not looking for debate on that point (if you feel the need to debate it, read more books, preferably some written by people who don't look like you).

I'm just throwing this out there because I want to jump on the bandwagon with Cleveland-- really, I want to do anything at all Francisco Lindor tells me to do -- but the redface racism is unacceptable.

Onward, towards decency.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

This week in Francisco Liriano

In the name of emphasizing the absurd overreaction to the Pirates dumping of Francisco Liriano's terrible contract last year, the logical take on which you can read here, FTC is proud to introduce a new recurring segment in which we look at why it's good that the Pirates got rid of the worst pitcher in baseball.

Now the Blue Jays don't even want him. Per MLB Trade Rumors:

2:14pm: The Jays and Royals are “making progress” on a deal involving Liriano, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter).
2:03pm: Francisco Liriano has struggled mightily this season, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the lefty is still drawing some interest. Sherman adds that the Blue Jays “may be close to dealing him.” To this point, the Royals have been the one club that has been definitively connected to the 33-year-old Liriano.
Playing out the final season of a three-year, $39MM contract, Liriano has seen his strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates each trend in the wrong direction, and his ERA has correspondingly soared to an unpalatable 5.99. Liriano’s 8.2 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and 43.1 percent grounder rate would all rank as his worst marks since a disastrous 2012 campaign split between the Twins and White Sox...Nearly all of his struggles this season have come against right-handed hitters (.289/.394/.512), as he’s limited opposing lefties to a putrid .241/.267/.379 batting line. Liriano has a 16-to-1 K/BB ratio against lefties in 2017 and has struck out nearly 27 percent of the left-handed hitters he’s faced.
I've been pretty delinquent in keeping up with "This Week in Francisco Liriano" since the first installment, and I know that's a lot of text up there, and you're probably pissed that you're reading this instead of Chris Cillizza's #hottakes, so let's just look at those numbers one more time:

8.2 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, 5.99 ERA, 1.67 WHIP. The home runs are up, too: 1.29/9.

He's faced 351 batters in 76.2 innings. That's 121 over the minimum. That is what happens when you walk 12 percent of the hitters you face. Now, a middling AL Central team is looking at him as possible bullpen piece, mostly because they wouldn't have to give up anything to get him as long as they're willing to eat the final two months of his contract.

Before we go, let's check in with The Prince Who Was Promised, Reese McGuire. Here's the most recent note on the Pirates' former catcher of the future:
7.21.2017McGuire (knee) was removed from Double-A New Hampshire's disabled list to begin a rehab assignment at the Jays complex in Dunedin.
McGuire has played in 22 minor league games this season, 16 of which have been in AA. His numbers from those games: .216/.311/.373. He has played a total of 37 games since being traded. But I'm sure his defense has been otherworldly, and that the baseball fans of New Hampshire sing songs about his pitch-framing abilities.

And what of Harold Ramirez, the plucky little outfielder who was also one of the Pirates' top 10 prospects at the time of the deal?

Through 348 plate appearances in 88 games in AA this year, Harry is slashing .260/.304/.373 with an abysmal 5.5 percent walk rate. Six homers! Four steals! Harold Ramirez! Get him up the fuck up here!

Sure, these are small sample sizes, and yes, both guys are still just 22. But this is not what you want to see from the guys scouts consistently rate as your top prospects. Disturbingly, it's pretty close to the norm for what the Pirates have been getting out of their higher draft picks. That these guys were top 10 prospects in their system says more about that system than it does about the players. 

But yeah, worst trade ever. You're all idiots.

With the trade deadline looming, stay tuned for expanded FTC coverage of Tyler Glasnow's frustrating attempts at properly using a light switch.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This week in Francisco Liriano

In the name of emphasizing the absurd overreaction to the Pirates dumping of Francisco Liriano's terrible contract last year, the logical take on which you can read here, FTC is proud to introduce a new, recurring segment in which we look at why it's good that the Pirates got rid of the worst pitcher in baseball.


Start No. 1
April 7, 2017 at Tampa Bay
1/3 IP, 5 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 1 K


In the shortest start of his career, Liriano threw 35 pitches, only 13 for strikes. Of those 13 strikes, five were called, and only two came on swings and misses. The other six came by contact. As the heat map from this performance shows, only 11 of the 13 even clipped the zone. It's impossible to overemphasize how extraordinarily terrible this is, but here's how the local scribe at the Toronto Sun saw it:

While a brush fire closed a major highway servicing Tropicana Field on Friday night, inside the stadium the Tampa Bay Rays burned Blue Jays starter Francisco Liriano.

The Rays did not do this. Francisco Liriano is his own self-contained dumpster fire.

After the Jays took an early 2-0 lead on Troy Tulowitzki’s two-out double to right, the Rays got right back into it in the bottom of the first when Evan Longoria smacked a 92-mph four-seam fastball from Liriano over the left-field wall with Steven Souza on base. Liriano struggled big-time in the first and, following the Longoria blast, had one out and runners at first and second, prompting a visit to the mound by pitching coach Pete Walker.

Soon after that, Liriano threw a wild pitch, moving the runners to second and third. Brad Miller then punched a double to left centre, scoring Rickie Weeks and Derek Norris. After DH Daniel Robertson hit a single to left, Gibbons pulled Liriano for long reliever Dominic Leone who got Peter Bourjos to ground out to second, though Miller scored on the play, staking the Rays to a 5-2 lead.
As for the top-shelf prospects the Pirates sent to the Blue Jays in order to unload Liriano's salary, we'll update when there's something worth noting. That said, Harold Ramirez is slashing .286/.286/.286 through two games, and Reese McGuire hasn't quite matched those numbers yet.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Enough of this anti-intellectual crap

Analytics aren't exactly new to baseball. Shifts aren't exactly new to baseball. As such, players complaining about analytics and shifts is not new to baseball, which is part of what makes this, from the Trib's Rob Biertempfel, so galling:

Let’s cut to the chase: the Pirates were shafted by their shifts. Against Pablo Sandoval and Sandy Leon — neither of whom has sprinter’s speed — the infield set up with SS Jordy Mercer hugging the second base bag and, when Leon was up, with 3B David Freese in shallow right field. The numbers say Sandoval and Leon (who are both switch-hitters) more often pull the ball to the right side when they bat lefty.

The ball Sandoval hit went precisely to the spot where Mercer would have been standing if he wasn’t shifted. And, of course, Leon would not have bunted to no-man’s land if Freese, the third baseman, had actually been at … um, third base.

Nobody is asking Gerrit Cole to play third base, you dolt. Part of putting on shifts like the Pirates did against those two hitters involves conceding the infield hit if the batter can earn it. Sandoval earned his. That's a calculated risk the Pirates took. And to Leon's credit, he laid down an excellent bunt that Gerrit Cole failed to field cleanly, though not for a lack of effort.

There was palpable frustration in the clubhouse after the game. However, none of the players dared speak up about the shifts during interviews. It’s a tiny clubhouse, and several coaches and front office folks were within earshot — as well as the Pirates’ traveling analytics wonks, who set up their laptops on a table in the center of the room.

Cole and Cervelli expressed what Biertempfel characterized as frustrations in coded language, but Mercer was less subtle.

Mercer: “It sucks. That’s the bad part about the big shifts. In big situations, it doesn’t work out for us sometimes.”

The operative word here is "sometimes." The point of the shift is to place your fielders in such a way that it maximizes the chance of getting a particular hitter out. It's not going to work every time, just as playing your fielders at normal depth wouldn't work every time. But there's a growing file of tangible evidence that this stuff works.

We went through this same thing back in 2013 when A.J. Burnett did his best old-man-yells-at-cloud until he begrudgingly capitulated with a mea culpa that amounted to "whatever, I'm just going to pitch one more year and never think about this ever again."

But think about this: this was game 1 of 162, and at least one player is already complaining about the Pirates' organizational philosophy. I don't begrudge Mercer this, and I don't think it's his fault he doesn't understand it -- this isn't how he learned to play baseball, and it's not how he wound up a major league player. It makes him uncomfortable. Evidence-based practices are hard to implement in any field -- not just baseball, and if there has to be a little bit of hand-holding along the way, I'm okay with that. Even if the hands being held are those of millionaire professional athletes.

This is just another area in which the Pirates have continuously fallen short. When you refuse to spend on the talent and instead choose the route of "we're going to try to make the most out of what we have here using data," you need to go the extra mile to show your players and coaches why you're doing what you're doing. That means translating it into terms they can understand and doing all you can to get them to buy in. 

The Pirates aren't incapable of this. In Travis Sawchick's excellent book "Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak," he recounts an offseason conversation between Pirates GM Neal Huntington and Manager Clint Hurdle that ultimately got the old, gum-chewing skipper to buy into the front office's data-driven approach. The Pirates are capable of having these conversations, and if they hope to win on a budget without alienating their players, they're going to need to have more of them.

This isn't to say the Pirates' methods aren't flawed -- those methods are closely guarded trade secrets. What we know about them is only what we can discern from examining patterns in their decision making. But we're several years into this experiment and the players are still complaining based on what appears to be a fundamental lack of understanding. This is something the Pirates need to rectify, because failure to do so will only hurt them in the long run. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Requiem for the 2016 Pirates

This is the saddest of possible yarns
Chad Kuhl is pitching tonight
Cubbies smack baseballs like broadsides of barns
Chad Kuhl is pitching tonight
Mounting walks spell inescapable trouble
Turning a breaking ball into a double
Removes the Pirates from the payoff bubble
Chad Kuhl is pitching tonight

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Everybody calm the eff down

The Pirates made a few moves yesterday that have the local hive mind in something of a tizzy.


"Maybe Neal Huntington wants to get fired." - Dejan Kovacevic
"But with these trades, it’s almost as if Huntington was begging to be ridiculed. He succeeded in a big way." - Nobel Laureate Ron Cook
"But I hated the trade of Francisco Liriano. That is the equivalent of giving up on the season." - Paul Zeise

Here's a quick rundown of the Pirates' deadline moves, via MLBTR:
The Melancon trade stands out as the best of the four. Melancon is set to hit free agency after this season and the likelihood the Pirates would have brought him back at a raise from the $9.65 million he's making this year is non-existent, so the Pirates traded two months of Mark Melancon for two fireballing lefties. The first, Felipe Rivero, is 25 and under club control through 2021. He sports a mid-90s fastball, a nice slider and a hard changeup. He has nice strikeout numbers, an appreciably low walk rate, and he figures to be even more effective pitching in front of a team that shifts as much as the Pirates do.
Taylor Hearn is 21 and pitching in A-ball, where he's averaging almost 13 K/9 while keeping his walks down. He's a former fifth-round pick, and it's easy to see why the Pirates like him. He's 6'5", 210. His fastball works in the upper 90s, and he has a slider to go with it. This guy was drafted four times, including once by the Pirates. No guarantees he'll work out but Rivero alone would have been fine return on Melancon. The Pirates made out like bandits in this deal, and at no significant cost to the quality of the major league club.
The Nova deal is probably fine. The PTBNs likely won't be anyone of consequence, as Nova is a two-month rental who'll hit the open market after this season. The Pirates were reportedly in on Tampa Bay's Matt Moore (who wound up with the Giants) and Jake Odorizzi, but balked at requests for Josh Bell and Austin Meadows. No complaints there. Nova isn't a long-term solution, but his peripherals indicate he's pitched better than his standard numbers, and he'll help stabilize the rotation for two months, which the Pirates need more than anything.
Speaking of stabilizing the rotation, let's think about the final two, which seem to have drawn the most criticism. Dumping Niese back on the Mets in exchange for a lefty reliever who's signed through next season isn't a bad thing. The PR hit the Pirates are taking right now is attributable to two things. First, the Pirates had Antonio Bastardo last season and opted not to bring him back. Second, and more importantly, the reason Jon Niese was here in the first place is that the Pirates shipped Neil Walker to the Mets to get him in a straight-up, cost-neutral trade that made all the sense in the world. New York lost Daniel Murphy to free agency and was looking for a second baseman, and the Pirates, knowing they had no plans to sign Walker to a long-term deal, knew they needed a starting pitcher. Their 2016 salaries are identical, only Niese came with two club options. Given that Walker is on the wrong side of age 30, has a bad back, can barely play his position and is in steady decline, this is a deal you make 10 times out of 10. The metrics said Niese looked like a guy who could get a nice bump from playing in a pitcher-friendly park in front of a good defense. He was an excellent bounce-back candidate. He just pitched horribly. So now, the Pirates have Antonio Bastardo, a perfectly serviceable lefty reliever, for the rest of this year and locked up through next year at $6.5 million. That's a little steep, but between Watson, Rivero and now Bastardo, that's three guaranteed bullpen spots for effective lefties, and at totally reasonable cost across the three players. Having lefty pitchers in spades is never a bad thing, and I'd expect to see one of them flipped to another team this winter.
But onto the elephant in the room...
The Pirates unloaded Francisco Liriano on the unsuspecting city of Toronto and its Blue Jays, just over halfway through his three-year, $39 million contract. And they had to ship two of their top 10 prospects, Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire, to the Jays in order to shed that payroll.
"But I hated the trade of Francisco Liriano. That is the equivalent of giving up on the season." - Paul Zeise
First things first, Liriano was pitching terribly. That can't be overstated. His HR:FB ratio is up 8 percent from the last two years. He's allowing more than twice the home runs per nine innings. He's walking 5.46 hitters per nine, and his strikeout rate has dipped, even if slightly. Even his park-adjusted fielding independent pitching (xFIP) is 4.51, and that's against a 5.46 ERA and a 5.27 FIP. Liriano hasn't been unlucky, he's been downright awful. 
This trade wasn't just about dumping Liriano's salary, it was about unloading a pitcher who'd clearly hit a wall. The Pirates are far better off without him -- that's not even up for debate. So where anyone gets the idea that unloading this guy who's just been painful to watch is giving up on the season is, like much of what Paul Zeise writes, wholly without merit.*
Where things have the potential to get sticky is what the Pirates gave up in order to give up on Liriano. 
Ramirez and McGuire are rated as the Pirates' No. 6 and 7 prospects, respectively. Ramirez, a speedy little outfielder with little to no power and a subpar walk rate, but who makes decent contact. McGuire, a former supplementary first-round pick, is an excellent defensive catcher who doesn't profile as much of a hitter.
Three things to consider about this aspect:
1) Neither player has a direct path to the majors through this organization. The Pirates are set with Cervelli as their catcher for the next three years, and clearly value Elias Diaz, 25, over McGuire. They can and should begin searching for another prospective catcher this winter or in next year's draft, but it's clear they don't feel they've traded their catcher of the future. In an outfield where two of the three spots are locked down and the third will, over the next five years, be manned by a combination of Declining Andrew McCutchen and Austin Meadows (the Pirates' no. 2 and top offensive prospect) Ramirez is a totally expendable piece.
2. Pat Lackey at WHYGAVS made this point last night, and rather than restate it, I'm just going to quote him, though I'd highly recommend reading his entire piece. 
...it’s certainly true that a team’s evaluations of prospects shifts internally almost always before it shifts anywhere else. The Giants knew exactly what they were doing when they traded Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez, even if almost no one else that was watching that trade did. Both Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire are hitting inflection points as prospects, where things that were forgivable early in their careers (Ramirez’s lack of power, McGuire’s generally inability to hit) quickly become red flags. If Ramirez doesn’t find some power in his swing, his prospect status will drop quickly. If McGuire can’t hit, all his ability with the glove makes him is a more highly touted version of Jacob Stallings. If these players are going in these directions, the Pirates would probably be the first to know.
3. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy with the notion that the Pirates are trading prospects in the name of dumping salary. If you're not going to use that organizational depth on your major league roster, your best thing to do is leverage it into ways to help the major league roster. They didn't do that here. What I take away from this and the Niese trade is that Huntington isn't going to sit on his mistakes. This dude ate a lot of crow yesterday and he's surely feeling the sting today. But there's something to be said for looking at what you've done, assessing why and how it isn't working, and making an adjustment. In blowing up over these trades yesterday, the local hive mind seemed pretty quick to forget the quite solid ratio of successes to failures the current front office has assembled since taking over. It's neither prudent nor responsible to go around spewing fire and slitting throats because they shipped out a prospect. And keep in mind, the word "prospect" carries different meaning in this town than it does elsewhere, owing almost entirely to 20 years of ignominy. We've been trained to believe that you don't trade prospects, you trade for prospects -- that they're the holy grail. And generally, that's true. But writers and fans alike are calling for heads to roll because it took adding a 21-year-old catcher to the pot in order to jettison the worst starting pitcher in baseball. I just don't think that's the worst thing in the world. And I'm certainly not upset that Neal Huntington is the type of GM to stand by a move, long after he realizes it's a mistake. The ability to admit you done fucked up is incredibly important. 
Before news broke that McGuire was included in the Liriano deal, the consensus was that the Pirates were about as good a team after the deadline as they were before -- all they did was move some pieces around in what amounted to crafty accounting. The inclusion of a 21-year-old catcher whom the Pirates deemed worth giving up shouldn't change that.



*To Paul's credit, he had a correct take on the Melancon trade. It wasn't a strong take or a fresh take, but it wasn't offensive or wrong.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Put Kang on the shelf



Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang is being investigated by Chicago police over an allegation of sexual assault.
Kang has not been charged with a crime. He is considered a "person of interest" in this investigation, which is still in the information-gathering and evidence collection phase.
A 23-year-old woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by Kang, 29, on June 17, when the Pirates were in Chicago to play the Cubs, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told ESPN.
We see multiple dozens of cases every year involving male athletes accused of some variety of sexual misconduct. It’s beyond sad that the fight against one of our most pervasive societal cancers has to make the A-block in SportsCenter just for more than half the country to acknowledge that it’s a problem, and even worse that only a few of these cases – the larger scandals like those at Baylor and Penn State, or those involving sports’ bigger names – get people to start thinking about what’s right versus what isn’t. 
More often than not, they don’t, and we react to these stories thusly:
“Big Ben is suspended for four games? Man, it’s going to be tough for the Steelers to come back from that. Who’s going to start?”
“It’s good to get these games against the Yankees out of the way before Chapman comes back from suspension.”
Hell, why limit ourselves to historical/straw-man arguments? Here’s some shit people have actually written on the internet about this story since it broke yesterday:

Victim blaming, always a classic.

Extortion? First, I don't think these guys know that word. Second, false accusations have become incredibly easy to weed out. They're the exception, not the rule.
He couldn't have done it because he doesn't speak English? He's being investigated for rape, not handing in a fake term paper on the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Those pesky women get away with everything!

This one surprised me. There are people who would sooner believe that the Cubs organization orchestrated this entire thing than even acknowledge the possibility that a guy who has his own face tattooed on his leg would rape a woman.

Finally, we have our resident constitutional scholars.

Ah, the fanboy classic, “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! IS THIS NOT AMERICA?”
People who think that the “innocent until proven guilty” standard applies to private businesses and public opinion are the same people who have turned into Facebook partisans because they think Wendy Bell’s firing violated her first amendment rights.
"IS THIS NOT AMERICA?"
Sadly, this is America. And in America, we don’t empathize with the victims of sexual assault – especially if their attackers are players the Pirates need if they are going to have a chance to catch the Cubs in the NL Central.
For not yet having been charged, the story on Kang's role in this is awfully detailed. And creepy.
Police said Kang and the woman met on the dating app "Bumble," which states that the woman must initiate contact. Kang then asked the woman to go to his hotel room; when she arrived, she was given an alcoholic beverage, Guglielmi said.The woman blacked out about 15 to 20 minutes after consuming the drink and then alleges she was sexually assaulted as she drifted in and out of consciousness, Guglielmi said.The woman told police she didn't become fully aware of her surroundings until she was in a taxi en route to her home. She went to a hospital on June 19, where a rape kit was done, Guglielmi said. Guglielmi declined to say whether the results from the examination have come back.The woman's formal complaint to police came 10 days later, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing sources.
That's incredibly disturbing shit on a lot of levels. And while the law will ultimately determine whether or not Kang is charged – and if he is, his guilt or innocence – it doesn’t preclude Kang’s employer from taking some kind of action. Action, in this case, is the only right course. The Pirates should do the right thing and shelve Kang until authorities decide whether or not to charge him. 
If Kang is charged with sexual assault, that’s it – place him on the restricted list and being working with the players’ union and commissioner’s office to terminate his contract. If he isn’t charged, he’s free to come back and play baseball.
Sadly, I don’t trust the Pirates will do the right thing, because I don’t trust any sports organization to do the right thing.
Sports organizations are largely male-dominated entities, and what they know and learn of rape culture is at best, exclusively aimed at protecting their assets and brand. At worst, their collective knowledge extends to damage control measures.
But I can think of two reasons they should:
  1. It’s the right thing. They don’t need another reason.
  2. Because no sports organization ever does the right thing, simply doing the right thing has the potential to move the ongoing conversation we have about rape culture and sports in the right direction. By taking swift and decisive action, the Pirates can be the first professional sports organization to stand up and say, “we’re not going to put up with this bullshit.” 
Maybe we'll tackle the nonsensical drivel that fell out of Paul Zeise's brain, past all his editors and onto the Post-Gazette's website later on. I'm just not sure I agree with the notion that one needs to establish a pattern of rapey behavior before being looked at suspiciously, nor do I necessarily believe Zeise's assertion that "only two people know what happened in this case."