Pirates Notebook

Pirates Notebook: When Will the Bucs Play the Best 25?

Pirates Notebook: When Will the Bucs Play the Best 25?

Brandon Inge

Brandon Inge has struggled through more than 100 Pirates plate appearances. How many more will he get? (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pirates look to snap a three-game losing streak and avoid a third straight series loss Tuesday night as they face the Oakland Athletics. Manager Clint Hurdle appears to be fielding his optimal lineup as second baseman Neil Walker was placed on the disabled list right before the game.

Brandon Inge is not in the starting lineup after starting two straight games at second base. The veteran infielder has the Major League’s 357th-ranked OPS out of 359 eligible hitters and a -0.4 wins above replacement this season. Inge is praised around baseball for his leadership and being a good teammate, but the Pirates may have to look for those qualities elsewhere.

“We continually evaluate across the board with all our players,” Hurdle said. “You have some tough decisions to make as your organization continues to grow, your player pool gets better.”

Hurdle added that he has to keep concerns about fielding the best 25-man roster and having a deep organization “in fair balance,” and that he does not take decisions about a player’s future with the Pirates lightly. The organization has lost players like LHP Doug Slaten, OF Drew Sutton, RHP Chris Leroux, RHP Evan Meek, RHP Hunter Strickland and 1B Clint Robinson over the last two years to open up spots on the 40-man roster.

“You don’t do it overnight,” Hurdle said. “We’ve been doing it since the winter, since spring training.”

As for Tuesday’s lineup, Jordy Mercer will play second base and Clint Barmes will play shortstop behind starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. Hurdle had previously said he would prefer not to use Mercer at second base but the manager “changed [his] mind. Seriously.”

Tuesday marks the second day in a row Barmes finds himself in the starting lineup, the first two-game streak for him since June 11. The shortstop went 2-for-4 Monday night and lined a pitch that was nearly the go-ahead hit in the Pirates’ loss. Barmes says he just have to “take what the game gives me” instead of thinking he’s “gotta” do certain things to succeed.

Bonus Notes!

  • Pitcher Jeff Locke is eligible to pitch one inning in the All-Star Game even if he starts for the Pirates on Sunday. Hurdle will discuss the possibility with Locke soon.
  • Hurdle was hoping Pedro Alvarez would get a chance in the Home Run Derby, but Alvarez was passed over by National League captain David Wright. The Mets and Wright come to PNC Park for a three-game series this weekend. “Obviously our fanbase will have an opportunity to show their feelings this weekend,” Hurdle said with a laugh. “We have a passionate group here in Pittsburgh.”
  • There are “ongoing” conversations about recalling catcher Tony Sanchez, Hurdle said, but the catcher still has “things to work on… not concerns, it’s work.”

Pirates Notebook

James dabbles in the baseballey-writey world. He won the SABR Analytics Conference Research Award for contemporary baseball analysis. It was for that defensive shifts piece, you remember that? Not a huge deal, he also lost a bunch of other awards. He has also written for NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh Sports Report and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. By night, James is a television news reporter and weekend anchor for WKBN and WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio. Makes sense, seeing as how his degree from the University of Southern California is in Broadcast Journalism. James dispenses more bad jokes at his Twitter account, @JamesSantelli. It's there that he promises to write in the first-person.

More in Pirates Notebook

Clint Hurdle on Marte’s Improvement, Harrison’s Hustle, and Hitting Leake

Jeremy TepperAugust 29, 2014
Jose Tabata

Pirates Notebook: Jose Tabata Earning His Place in the Lineup

Nate BarnesSeptember 22, 2013
A.J. Burnett Pirates

Pirates Notebook: ‘Nobody’s Trying to Hit Nobody’

Nate BarnesSeptember 21, 2013
Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates Notebook: The Most Important Game All Season

Nate BarnesSeptember 20, 2013

Pirates Notebook: Attitude Equals Results

Nate BarnesSeptember 19, 2013
Russell Martin

Pirates Notebook: A Man with a Plan for Martin

Nate BarnesSeptember 18, 2013

Pirates Prospects is an independent media outlet, and is in no way affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, their minor league affiliates, Major League Baseball, or Minor League Baseball.

Copyright © 2017 Pirates Prospects