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Breakfast with Benz

First call: Predictor thinks Pirates could be 'surprise breakout team' in 2019

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, 7:18 a.m.
The Pirates' Adam Frazier gets a hero's welcome after his walk-off home run defeated the Cubs, 2-1 in 11 innings, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Adam Frazier gets a hero's welcome after his walk-off home run defeated the Cubs, 2-1 in 11 innings, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, at PNC Park.

In Tuesday's "First Call," some early expectations for the Pirates in 2019, video of an NFL coach scolding a reporter, the World Series trophy got damaged during the Red Sox celebration and Nate Peterman is back under center for Buffalo.


Pumping up the Pirates?

In his "Way-too-early power rankings" for 2019, ESPN.com's Dave Schoenfield has the Pirates 17th. He refers to them as a potential "surprise breakout team."

"They have a nice foundation of solid, young veterans, plus some interesting rising youngsters such as ground ball king Trevor Williams (1.38 ERA in the second half)," Schoenfield writes.

He's right. The Pirates pitching staff might be good enough to float the Bucs into wild-card contention. But, as the author points out, the Pirates lack a star-quality bat. And the depth of the National League Central is a concern.

If they make some offseason lineup improvements, I can see the Pirates being good enough to win five or six more games and maybe sneak into the playoffs as the final wild-card team in 2019.

But that will take some spending in free agency or making trade acquisitions this offseason. Things they did little of a year ago.


Perfect posture

It appears that Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia learned a thing or two from his old boss, Bill Belichick, when it comes to dealing with the media.

Patricia called out a reporter for his posture during a press conference this week.

Wow. I haven't heard the "sit up, stand straight" routine since my third-grade photo. Patricia isn't messing around when it comes to handling the press.

Now if only he could get the 3-4 Lions to be as buttoned-up as that.


Halloween hijinx

"You wouldn't like Cam when he is angry."

Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward takes stuffing the Halloween baskets as seriously as he takes stuffing the run.

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The Avengers! @allieheyyy

A post shared by Cam Heyward (@camhey97) on

That's a lot of green.

Hopefully, the Incredible Hulk can get a few sacks on Sunday in Baltimore. Nice work by Cam to get the whole Heyward clan involved.


Over-served?

The victory parade for the Red Sox World Series championship was Wednesday. At least one fan was celebrating like the "Curse of the Bambino" just ended.

Party like it's 2004, my man!

Come on, son. Haven't there been enough championship celebrations in Boston lately? Aren't you used to handling these things by now? Show some veteran experience. These duck boat parades are a marathon, not a sprint.

It got a little out of hand on the parade route. Beer cans were flying. Manager Alex Cora almost got hit; the players were ducking them. Even the trophy got dinged.


Peterman plan

It's been a bumpy road in the NFL for Pitt product Nathan Peterman.

He has just three touchdowns and nine interceptions in his two pro seasons.

The former Panthers QB is 13 for 32 on the season for 108 yards over parts of three games. He has thrown one touchdown and three interceptions. His passer rating is 20.8. But he'll be the starting quarterback for Buffalo on Sunday.

Peterman has been installed as the quarterback this week against NFC North-leading Chicago. There's some doubt in Buffalo. Josh Allen and Derek Anderson are hurt. So the team has to turn back to Peterman.

Here is his Q&A from The Buffalo News.

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