Pirates notebook: Team hopes Kevin Newman can provide punch near bottom of the order
The Pittsburgh Pirates opened their three-game series with the first-place Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night with an interesting starting lineup.
All nine players, including starting pitcher Steven Brault (.350 in 20 at-bats), were hitting at least .275.
And manager Clint Hurdle was so sure of his lineup’s productivity, he felt confident putting the second-best average at No. 7.
That average (.321) belonged to shortstop Kevin Newman.
Hurdle’s intent was to expose Adam Frazier’s hot left-handed bat more often to Brewers right-handed starter Zach Davies. Frazier came into the game with 10 hits in his previous 15 at-bats.
Newman gives the Pirates potential punch at the bottom third of the order, although he has been seventh in only six games with a .186 average.
“The swing has been really connected, short, direct to the ball,” Hurdle said. “He’s hit the ball where it’s being pitched, and there’s confidence in the box.”
He’s moved on
Hurdle said he has not reviewed video of Thursday’s game to determine in whose direction Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was yelling when he was ejected from the game.
“The one lesson I learned a while ago in life that’s been beneficial is I can’t control what other people say, think or do. So I really don’t waste any time on it.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .