PITTSBURGH — The Pirates did not run the bases particularly well on Monday. That was pretty evident to anyone that watched the game, as Elias Diaz and Gregory Polanco were both thrown out thanks to baserunning errors in the Pirates’ 3-0 loss to the Brewers.
Despite the fact that the Pirates are currently 16 games out of first place, have been mathematically eliminated from reaching the postseason or even securing a winning record this season, there were calls from fans that Diaz and Polanco should be publicly reprimanded or benched for their actions.
Gregory Polanco needs to be benched for tonights game. No excuses for a guy to make base running mistakes when he has been in league 3 yrs!
— The Angry Fan (@theangryfan) September 19, 2017
Hurdle took care of the reprimand part of that after the game on Monday night, when he delivered a strong message about the plays in his postgame press conference.
“They’re unacceptable plays at this level,” he said. “At the end of the day, those aren’t good baseball plays and they aren’t plays that are going to help your team win. They know that after the fact. They need to know that before the fact. Those are the ways we reinforce it and we will talk about.”
But Polanco and Diaz are both back in the Pirates starting lineup on Tuesday. Hurdle said that there are times when a benching is appropriate, but more often than not, he thinks players respond better to truthful honesty than shouting or public reprimands.
In other words, he’s not mad, he’s just disappointed. Hurdle brought both players and the base coaches into his office for meeting on Tuesday.
“We need to be better than that,” he said. “If we want to be a championship club, we can’t do that. Those are mistakes that can’t be made at this level. You have a conversation.”
“I continue to try and share truth with raw honesty at times. It’s just your delivery. I know what I did when I got yelled at and I thought it was a little bit too much and I know what players will do. There’s times I listened and it made sense.”
Hurdle also suggested that there’s a generational gap between fans that grew up with coaching tactics that are now out of date.
“I just think that you need to find the connection,” he said. “You’ve got to develop trust, first of all. What’s the best way to connect with them to develop that trust. I hear it a lot. ‘You need to do this, you need to that.’ I need to be me and I need to be true to myself.”
Gm 152: ☠(68-83) vs 🍻(80-70)
3B Max@MeLlamoTrevor 4.26 vs Chase Anderson 2.88
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) September 19, 2017
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte will return to the lineup on Tuesday after missing five games with injuries sustained sliding into second base last week in Milwaukee.
Trevor Williams has a chance to climb the NL standings when it comes to strikeouts amongst rookies. He has 105 on the season, fifth in the league. Colorado’s Kyle Freeman has one more at 106 and San Diego’s Dinelson Lemet has 128. Colorado’s German Marquez leads all rookies with 137.
Williams has the most strikeouts by a Pirates rookie since Paul Maholm struck out 117 in 2006.