PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle joined the Cook and Poni Show on Thursday to talk about his team now that they appear to have turned things around as they head into the halfway point of the season.
So what has been the reason for the team’s turn around?
“We have a very great team that has skills,” Hurdle said. “We needed to stay the course and focus on things that were in our control and we needed to play better. Every man took it upon himself to work hard to improve different facets of the game. That individual effort turned into a group effort and when you get a group effort like we have with the skills we have you are going to win ballgames.”
Hurdle says he has felt blessed to be able to write the names Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen on the top of his lineup card every night. Could this group be the best ever for the Pirates?
“You can play the game for a long time, manage or coach and not be on a field or a team when you have three individuals as skilled as we have,” Hurdle said. “This is a gifted group that we may never see again.”
Hurdle says there is not a guy on this team that says Josh Harrison isn’t playing as well as anybody on this team and that he deserves to play. He says they will continue to find ways to get him in the lineup, because there will be players who need days off and match ups that may not favor a certain guy at a certain position.
He says Harrison has embraced the role and has done all he can to make this team better.
Harrison has played second, third, both corner outfield spots and now can we add shortstop to the list?
“I do anticipate him getting a game or two there sooner than later to see where it goes,” Hurdle said. “I can’t put a lid on this guy and I am not going to tell him what he can’t do. I do like the production we having been getting at short but this is going to be another opportunity to get him playing time.”
Hurdle also said that the recent surge from this team has been due to great starting pitching and players like Vance Worley and Jeff Locke coming up and doing well and pushing the others.
He said there will be tough decisions to make soon, but that’s a position the team’s happy to be in.
Hurdle says he can’t predict where the other teams in the division are going to end up or how many wins it may take. He is only focused on seeing this team improve and be ready to make a run.
“Every season has its own map and plays itself out. This isn’t last season,” Hurdle said. “I like where we are. We have fought and scratched backyard ballin’, scarappin’ gritty ball. We have experienced a lot through the first three-and-a-half months. Challenges, good times, it’s just making us tougher. We love to play the game on the field. We love to get after it so I like where our club is — as I said before, I believe we are in the right lane heading in the right direction and I look forward to the summertime ride with them.”