The Pirates 5-4 win in extras against first place Cincinatti was probably one of the best wins by the club this whole season. The guys really picked each other up (multiple times!) when they needed it.
Skipper Clint Hurdle, too, liked what he saw from the Bucs last night and being able to take 2-of-3 from the Reds.
“That gassed me up,” Hurdle said. “That’s why you coach. To watch some guys do some things in some specific areas. I loved the way the team picked up Joel [Hanrahan]. I can’t even imagine the emotion of the role that goes with being a closer. I know the emotions that I have as a Manager, and they’re different. First pitch –boom. The air is taken out of you. The team to battle back. Pick him up for a change. Then the two guys to answer [Aroldis] Chapman’s call. [Jared] Hughes to answer the challenge that he was given in the sixth. Tabata’s throw in the first. The base running later. There was so many different things to piggy back one another. It was a total team effort.On the road. Against a good ball club who play specifically well at home. Yeah, proud of our guys last night.”
“[Tony] Watson going hands on again with [Joey] Votto. That doesn’t happen very often. [Michael] McKenry taking the bunt sign off, that might have been as good as decision that I made all night. I asked a couple players, ‘How easy is it to bunt 100?’ They said it’s not every easy. I said, ‘lets give it one shot.’ It didn’t look right, so I said, ‘we’re bailing on this.”
How that can effect the Pirates down the road will tell. Pittsburgh are set to take on the Royals for three games, just two back from first in the National League Central.
“I’ve seen it spark something,” Hurdle said. “I’ve seen the next night, ‘How come we can’t do that again?’ A lot will have to do with Bedard’s outing and the outing on the other side. I just know we felt good walking out of that place.”
– Six arms in the bullpen were used in last night’s win. The lone arms that weren’t were Brad Lincoln, who was unavailable, and Doug Slaten, who pitched 3.0 innings the night prior. Hurdle said before the game that the bullpen should be good to go tonight.
“Hughes is the only guy that’s pitched back-to-back days, but he’s gone three,” Hurdle said. “I’d use him if I felt it made sense. I think [Chris] Resop’s going to be okay. I think there’s probably a little bit of adrenaline flow on his side. Slaten said he was good to go last night after his 27 pitch outing the night before. I think we’ll be fine.”
– Jeff Karstens was removed from what should have been his final rehab start last night for Triple-A Indy. He was diagnosed with tightness in his right groin. There is no current update yet. He was getting a MRI done this afternoon.
– Hurdle was asked this afternoon during his pregame session what kind of team he believes the team is. Sure, they’ve won three of their last four, nine of last 12 and are in second place. But does the skipper want the club to be?
“I know what we are,” Hurdle said. “I think these players are trying to create an offensive identity, whether it’s a pitching identity. What I’d like us to be? Just a blue collar baseball team that represents this city and its fan base. No nonsense. No excuses. You go play hard. You play smart. You get things done. That’s what I’d like us to be. I think we’re heading in that direction.”
“Who we are? One-run games, that’s kind of what we do. I kind of think these guys enjoy that their Manager doesn’t play it by the book. That he will go with his gut and he will throw things out there.”
–The Pirates have gone 9-3 since May 25. The only two teams in the Majors to win as many games in that time period are the White Sox (9-3) and Giants (9-4).
– The Pirates enter tonight’s action with the second-best bullpen ERA (2.51) in the NL. The Bucs have also recorded the fewest amount of blown saves (four) in the League, converting 19 of their 23 save opps.
– Pirates lineup: Presley LF, Walker 2B, McCutchen CF, Jones 1B, Alvarez 3B, Tabata RF, Barajas C, Barmes SS, Bedard LHP
– Royals lineup: Gordon LF, Betancourt 2B, Butler 1B, Moustakas 3B, Francoeur CF, Hosmer RF, Escobar SS, Quintero C, Hochevar RHP