Pirates notebook: Hurdle says stranding runners a concern
PHILADELPHIA — The Pirates were 0 for 21 with runners in scoring position in the first two games against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and before Wednesday's matchup manager Clint Hurdle said it's something that needs to improve.
“We remind the guys that when there are runners in scoring position there are two ways to look at it: Either I have to get them in, or the pitcher's in trouble and I need to get a good pitch to hit,” Hurdle said. “Sometimes, the guy on the mound is that good that he's able to shut things down, but we've had more than our fair share of opportunities where our results could have played out better.”
Following Tuesday's 0-for-13 performance, the Pirates were batting .226 with runners in scoring position (12th in the National League) and just .216 with runners in scoring position and two outs (11th in the NL).
A particular point of contention has been with batters taking called third strikes with runners on base. Hurdle believes other teams have pinpointed that as a potential vulnerability the same way they would watching video and scouting reports on teams that sit soft with two strikes.
The trend continued in the first inning Wednesday. Travis Snider and Andrew McCutchen both struck out looking at fastballs with Starling Marte on second base. Garrett Jones watched a curve for strike three with Marte on third.
“That's my question to them, because why do you think we're continually getting pitched fastballs with two strikes, even with runners in scoring position?” he said. “Because that's what the other people are picking up. That might not be your mindset going out there, but now it's the perception of the league so they're going to continue to attack that way until you counterpunch.”
Hurdle said the scouting reports from special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict and Double-A Altoona pitching coach Stan Kyles on Charlie Morton's outing Tuesday were excellent. ... Francisco Liriano is scheduled to pitch five innings (80 pitches) Thursday for Triple-A Indianapolis, six innings (90 pitches) Tuesday and 100 pitches May 5, which puts him in line for a start with the Pirates on May 10 at the New York Mets. … Jeff Karstens will pitch a simulated game Friday in St. Louis.
Hughes working on sinker
It didn't take long for the Pirates' staff to determine why Jared Hughes has been tagged for four runs and seven hits in his last four outings, spanning 32⁄3 innings. A pitcher who thrives with his sinker wasn't throwing it enough. Hughes agreed, and he is working to refine the pitch.
“It's one of those things where it moves a lot, so if I'm not really aggressive with it in the strike zone then it's going to be a ball, so I need to attack the zone,” he said. “It's physical in that I have to get used to doing it, and at the same time it's a decision where I really have to commit to doing it.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at email@example.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Pirates organization to continue pursuing value free agents in offseason
- Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister named Rangers manager
- Pirates face mound of decisions in offseason
- Pirates GM Huntington believes his coaching staff will return intact
- Pirates are solid at shortstop with the durable Mercer in play
- Pirates will implement price increase for 2015 tickets