Pirates Notebook: Hurdle Not Too Worried About Reliever Innings

The performance of the bullpen has played a role in the the Pirates’ winning ways, especially given the many close games they have won. Pittsburgh’s relievers are ranked 2nd in the National League in ERA, 3rd in strikeout percentage and 4th in FIP. That success has not come without a cost, though, or at least a mortgage. Mark Melancon (0.96 ERA, 1.74 FIP) has pitched the 10th-most innings in the NL, while Justin Wilson...

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Walker’s Homer Breaks Stalemate, Pirates Beat Tigers 1-0

Before we get to the game’s pivotal moment, I should praise the work of Clint Hurdle to counteract my usual desire to bury him. Eyebrows were raised when Hurdle removed Jeanmar Gomez with 73 pitches. Gomez had retired the last eight Detroit Tigers hitters, and looked primed to keep working through the bottom of the order. But Hurdle knew Gomez’s season high is 79 pitches, and opted for Justin Wilson, whose only hiccups in...

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Pirates Notebook: Snider’s Slam Swing Sustains Strong Start

Maybe Brad Lincoln hits a pinch-hit home run if you give him a chance. Travis Snider did so to lead the Pirates to a 5-4 victory Tuesday, all a part of a successful 2013 campaign with the Pirates after being swapped for Lincoln. His approach has been strong this season: swinging at the fewest pitches in his career, especially outside the strike zone; making the most contact on pitches in his career. Thus, Snider has reduced his...

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Pirates Notebook: Burnett Takes Mound As NL Strikeout Leader

A.J. Burnett will start Saturday night with the most strikeouts (72) in the National League and 25,000 bobbleheads with his face in the PNC Park stands. While he trails MLB leader Yu Darvish (86 strikeouts), Burnett faces a Houston offense that has struck out the most times in baseball this season. Burnett’s strikeout rate has jumped to a career-best 31.6%, but manager Clint Hurdle wants to make sure his staff ace is not only...

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Pirates Come Back to Win 5-4 with Alvarez’s Bomb, Martin’s Walkoff

The Pirates took full advantage of baseball’s worst team in their 5-4 comeback win Friday night, capitalizing on a pair of homer-ready fastballs and two Astros errors in right field. Pedro Alvarez pulverized a first-pitch fastball served up by a Quad-A pitcher with a 6.00 ERA to tie the score in the 8th. Then Russell Martin popped up a ball that had “extra innings” all over it, until a rookie and a utility player...

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