ShareThis Page

Hurdle, Pirates still looking for that long run

| Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says his team has the components to put together a season-ending winning streak that could catapult it into the playoffs. Hurdle managed the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who won 14 of their final 15, including 11 straight, to reach the playoffs. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle talks to home plate umpire Wally Bell Monday, September 3, 2012, against the Houston Astros at PNC Park. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)

The Pirates this season have not been a streaky team.

Their longest winning streak is five games (July 17-22), and they've also produced five four-game win streaks.

They've lost five games in a row once (April 4-8) and three times have dropped four in a row.

With a wild-card berth still within reach, this would be the perfect time to reel off a long stretch of wins.

“I'm not so sure it's a matter of flipping a switch,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “If we had a switch, we'd have it flipped on all the time.”

Over the past decade, the Pirates have produced just one winning streak longer than six games. From June 26-July 5, 2004, the Pirates beat the Reds, Cardinals, Brewers and Marlins. And that run only made a lousy season more tolerable: The Pirates were 37-43 when it ended and finished the season 72-89.

Still, it wouldn't surprise Hurdle if the Pirates got on a roll.

“This team has it in it,” Hurdle said. “We've had some really good stretches already. We have the personnel to do it. We've got to take it out on the field and make it happen.”

When Hurdle managed Colorado in 2007, the Rockies were only four games over .500 on Sept. 15. They won 14 of their final 15 games, including 11 straight, to capture a wild-card bid. The sizzling stretch carried them into the World Series.

“What happened is what happens with every team that goes on a streak,” Hurdle said. “More often than not, you get a really good start (from the pitcher). More often than not, you answer with two-out hits that score runs; you play good defense. When your starter throws a shoe, somebody from your bullpen shuts it down from there, and your offense sparks.

“It's a perfect storm. Your confidence builds, and your ability to play in the moment increases. Some of the anxiety you might've had at different times in the season, you get it out. It's getting back to that place where you're 6 and you're playing in the back yard. It's something we need to recapture. We know it's in here, but it's taking it out on the field and playing a complete game.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7811.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.