Morning cup: Pirates misplay a big opportunity
In some ways, the ongoing series in Cincinnati is the Pirates’ most important of the season. Why? Because the Cubs are playing the Cardinals concurrently, meaning every Buccos win means one of two things:
Either they distance themselves from the Cubs for the important, home-field-netting No. 1 Wild Card spot.
Or they get closer to the Cardinals and the even more important division title.
But in Monday’s opener at Great American Ball Park, the Pirates dropped the ball — or booted it, threw it away, whatever view you want to take of the four errors that gave the Reds a 3-1 victory and Anthony DeSclafani his first win in over a month.
In other words, Clint Hurdle may not have picked the best time to give Travis Snider his first start, and Sean Rodriguez his first start of the season at shortstop.
Hurdle has two managerial staples: Following an often long-ago formulated agenda regardless of current circumstances, and “We only have to worry about what we’re doing, not what anyone else is doing.”
Maybe this was a time he should have made an exception, and manage to the circumstances.
Maybe it wasn’t a good time to rest Aramis Ramirez and Starling Marte, after both had homered in Sunday night’s win in St. Louis. Yeah, so did Rodriguez — but that didn’t make him a better shortstop.
Yeah, Hurdle had to deal with the quick turnaround between games — 13 hours from last pitch in St. Louis to first pitch in Cincinnati. But a generally held belief is that travel fatigue usually sets in the day-after, not immediately, so Marte and Ramirez may have been fresher yesterday than will be tonight.