The Windup: April 20, 2015

Baseball has its proverbial “bulletin material,” but “marquee stuff” apparently ranks even higher.

Clint Hurdle thinks baserunners have been challenging his outfielders because of all the hype accorded the Holy Trinity of Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco.

“Put them on a marquee, somebody wants to take them down. When everybody writes them up, who wouldn’t?” Hurdle wondered before the Bucs took on the Cubs in the first of four at PNC Park.

Most glaring was Detroit’s Jose Iglesias running a routine single to center into a double last week, a “free 90” that “got everybody’s attention,” Hurdle said.

McCutchen simply didn’t hustle to that ground ball fast enough.

“He had some challenges with the (sore left) knee early in the week,” Hurdle acknowledged. “He has played through them and seems to have moved much better the last two games.” …

Jared Hughes is a different pitcher when he enters the game to get someone else out of trouble, or gets his own clean inning. With men on base, he throws the DP-making sinker. Otherwise, it’s the swing-and-miss slider on which he gets most of his strikeouts. …

Gerrit Cole rolled Sunday with Chris Stewart as his catcher. Even last season, Stewart (10) caught nearly as many of Cole’s games as did Russell Martin (11) and did it slightly better (3.41 ERA to 3.53).

Are they an item in the making?

“Aw … nah,” Hurdle said, with slight hesitation. “They do have some history. But it’s just the way they matched up, with a large number of day games falling to Cole, and Martin getting those off after the night game. Stew does have a very solid relationship with Gerrit. But both (he and Francisco Cervelli) can catch him well.” … 

A win tonight would give the Bucs their first April four-game winning streak since 2008.

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