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Clint Hurdle is making Dusty Baker’s life easier

Sep 11, 2012, 11:22 PM EDT

Pedro Alvarez AP

The Pirates’ No. 4 hitter tonight, Garrett Jones, has hit .213/.254/.344 against lefties this season.

The Pirates’ No. 5 hitter tonight, Pedro Alvarez, has hit .210/277/.387 against lefties this season.

So, it was pretty much a no-brainer that Sean Marshall was coming in to face both with a man on first and one out and the Reds up by one in the eighth inning tonight. And it was no surprise that Jones popped out and Alvarez struck out in a game the Pirates went on to lose 5-3.

While the Pirates were in the thick of the NL wild card race for much of the summer, it’s always been fairly clear that they were at least a year away. For that reason, it makes sense to let Alvarez take those at-bats against tough left-handers late in games.

But that doesn’t mean Hurdle has to make it so easy. He could have broken up his two left-handers and at least given Dusty Baker a bit more to think about.

Alvarez pretty obviously wasn’t up to the task while facing Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning Monday, and while I didn’t see the at-bat tonight (and is being uppity and not letting me check it out), I’m guessing his duel against Marshall wasn’t much closer.

The Pirates have now lost five games in a row. They’re 2-8 for the month, leaving them 72-69 for the year. A .sub-.500 finish remains a possibility, though with four games against the Cubs and three versus Houston on the docket, they should still have a decent finish in them.

  1. Fink - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Didn’t they just get swept by the Cubs like a week ago? And maybe Rocket will return to pitch against the Bucs.

  2. joewilliesshnoz - Sep 12, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    Same old Pirates , what a shame !

  3. willclarkgameface - Sep 12, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    I absolutely hate that this team has run out of gas the last 5 weeks. They looked so promising. I’m not sure what they need exactly to put them over the hump. Yes, more hitting, but it’s deeper than that.

    What kind of conditioning is going on that these guys can go 60% of a season and then just deflate 2 years in a row?

    I’m always very quick to blame this and I don’t even have any hard proof or evidence besides the Red Sox September 2011, but are these athletes taking care of themselves AND working as hard as they can when they say they are?

    Damn you, Pirates. GET IT TOGETHER!

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