09/20/12 10:58 PM ET
In hindsight, Clint laments recent sluggishness
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Thursday's loss was the Pirates' sixth straight at home. They have scored 15 runs in those games.
Attitude adjustment: Bucs' standards have changed
PITTSBURGH -- As his Pirates toed the .500 line early Thursday, prior to falling 9-7 to the Brewers in the finale of a brief homestand, manager Clint Hurdle unloaded something that had clearly been on his mind:Mounting criticism -- his word: "disdain" -- for the team's probable inability to make the postseason. "I'm not happy with the results," Hurdle began. "What I do find interesting is a lot of the disdain I do catch. "Two years ago, when I walked in and talked to people in the street about winning a championship, they rolled their eyes and they laughed at me. Now they're disappointed we might not be in the Wild Card. Just saying: Something's changed." When Hurdle was hired in October 2010, he took over a team coming off a 105-loss season. In 2011, the Pirates improved from 57 to 72 wins, and have already stepped up from that with 74 wins with 13 games to go. Parallels are being drawn between the second-half collapses of both editions, but there is a big difference. This 2012 club was still at its high-water mark of 16 games above .500 after 110 games -- a point at which the '11 Bucs were already at 54-56. "I didn't expect us to work our way back to .500," Hurdle said. "We're not here to compete and try hard. This is not a try-hard league. To now have fans actually irate that we aren't going to win the Wild Card ... what a change. It doesn't make me feel good, but it makes me understand there's a change going on. "We're not were we need to be, nor where we want to be. Are we headed in the right direction? Absolutely. But we have much more work to do."
"I'm not a fan of it. You like to see the batting title won on the field, not by being removed from the game for making a bad choice. That's probably not the best way for it to end."
-- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on the possibility of Melky Cabrera winning the National League batting title while suspended for 50 games, including 45 during the 2012 regular season, after a violation of MLB's Drug Program.
Andrew McCutchen hit his 30th homer on Thursday. Pedro Alvarez has 29. The two can become the first pair of Pirates teammates to hit 30 since 2001 (Brian Giles 37, Aramis Ramirez 34).
When the Brewers jumped Wandy Rodriguez for three runs out of the gate on Thursday, it was the 62nd time -- in 149 games -- that the Bucs' foes have scored in the first inning.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.