Saturday, April 09, 2011

Game 9: Rockies at Pirates

Reynolds and Morton at seven.

Regarding McCutchen's appearance in the on-deck circle late last night -- as described here by MLB.com writer Thomas Harding --

Behind Tabata was the pitcher's spot, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had no choice but to go with Olson, 1-for-6 in nine career at-bats. The last Bucs reliever remaining, Evan Meek, was not available to throw, Hurdle revealed after the game.

Hurdle sent Andrew McCutchen, who was due to hit two batters after Tabata, to the on-deck circle. Rather than say he did it to keep the Rockies from noticing the next turn was going to be taken by Olson, who hasn't batted since 2009, Hurdle explained the move creatively.

"We put him up there just to help with a play at the plate," Hurdle said. "He has more experience, rather than have Garrett try to figure that out. Garrett -- we wanted to keep him as far away from the plate as we could until he had to hit."

Tracy said there was risk in walking Tabata.

"To walk him into scoring position -- you know something, I know they have somebody over there that maybe takes a swing and not have to hit the ball very far at all to end up winning the game," Tracy said.

It really speaks to what Hurdle adds to this team. Tracy is no fool. He knows the Pirates would have Garrett ready to bunt -- ready "to not have to hit the ball very far at all to end up winning the game."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Game 7: Rockies at Pirates

Hurdle vs. Tracy? Yes, at 1:35 in the home opener.

Are the Bucs in first place? Yes, with the Rockies just two bunts back.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Game 6: Pirates at Cardinals

Correia and Carpenter at 1:45.

It's probably no coincidence that the Bucs lead the majors in bunts and are only 1.5 games out of first place.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Game 5: Pirates at Cardinals

Pirates winning 71.5% of their games. Sorry we doubted those experts. Baseball has a funny way of making us look foolish.

McDonald and McClellan at 8:15.

Half game back

Bucs are just a half game back, and wide awake as the light turns green, ready to accelerate. Since I'm not driving, I'll drink to that.

If the Bucs are going to run the table in the playoffs again, all strategical possibilities, such as this Straight-Outta-Iowa trick, should be considered.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Game 4: Pirates at Cardinals

Looks like rain in St. Louis, but maybe it clears up in time for Morton and Lohse at eight fifteen.

Playing to win

The awesomeness of Jenifer Langosch's spot-on game recap deserves some quotation for further internet immortality purposes:

CHICAGO -- Neil Walker was running all the way -- just as manager Clint Hurdle would have wanted him to.

Walker's sprint from second to home on Pedro Alvarez's infield hit capped a two-run ninth for the Pirates, who stunned the Cubs with some unconventional strategies to steal a 5-4 victory in the finale of a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Sunday. The inning was advanced by cleanup hitter Lyle Overbay, who bunted with runners on first and second base.

"There's going to be a lot of things that happen with this ballclub that I don't think are going to be traditional this year," said Hurdle, who has emphasized aggressive baserunning for weeks. "We're going to play to win. That's why those guys work on that all spring."

But asking the cleanup hitter lay down a bunt? And attempting to score two runs on a squibber that never made it to the infield dirt?

Sure, and without hesitation, actually.

It is wonderful to see that people outside the advanced blogs are starting to just plain get it.