The (Friday) Windup, Hot Hand Kang edition
Pirates’ lineup for tonight’s opener of the Cards series:
- Polanco RF
- Walker 2B
- McCutchen CF
- Marte LF
- Alvarez 1B
- Harrison 3B
- Cervelli C
- Mercer SS
- Liriano P
One thing that might jump out is the absence of Jung Ho Kang, considerably hotter [7-for-17] than the guys who play his positions, Josh Harrison [1-for-30] and Jordy Mercer [4-for-22].
Manager Clint Hurdle sounded conflicted in his rationale. Hurdle is extremely loyal, but is also pragmatic.
On Kang: “I like to play the hot hand.”
On Harrison/Mercer: “I also want to make sure we’re tied to guys we’ve been tied to.” …
More Hurdle on Kang: “He’s in a very good place. We’ll get him back in the lineup. We’re trying to grow him, to play more and handle more. Two weeks ago, he was the stress ball. ‘Why isn’t he in Triple-A?’ Now he’s not playing enough. We’re trying to figure it out. We’ll get back to you.” …
A.J. Burnett ended a nine-pitch at-bat Thursday night by sending a drive to the warning track in left center., falling a few feet shy of a major farewell-season wish: His first home run since July 24, 2005, when he went yard on Kevin Correia, then with the Giants.
Burnett felt he was of the wrong age. “Ten years ago, maybe that goes out.”
Hurdle thinks he was just in the wrong place: “He hit a home run in any other park but this one.” …
I asked Hurdle about the disparity between his Bucs’ record against the Cardinals here (15-7 since early April 2013) and there (15-3). Seemed like a legit question, but all Hurdle would say is, “I’ve got nothing there. I just killed your question.” …