10/02/12 7:44 PM ET
Barajas to catch A.J. again, then future uncertain
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Bucs hope to follow the lead of A's, Nats, O's
PITTSBURGH -- The Orioles, Athletics and Nationals -- all recently downtrodden franchises which among them have had 27 consecutive non-winning seasons -- are all in the postseason.You bet Clint Hurdle, manager of a Pirates club whose depression continues, has noticed, with a mixture of envy and hope. "You feel the frustration, and some disappointment, definitely," Hurdle said. "We were right there among those clubs. They finished, and we didn't finish." For comparison's sake, on Aug. 8, these were the teams' records: Pirates: 63-47.
A's: 60-51 "At the same time, there's optimism," Hurdle added, "because the game is proving itself to be a game where if you execute over a long period of time, you're going to have a chance to get in. "And it's not just the big-money markets," Hurdle went on, citing a popular alibi. "The teams that are in have played well. And the pitching for the most part has carried each and every one of them."
The Last Word
"How good do you want to be? How good do you want us to be? What can you do this winter so when you show up in Spring Training, you make people go, 'Wow. I didn't see that when he left?'"
-- Hurdle, paraphrasing part of his season-ending exit interviews with his players.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is one of the three finalists for 2012 Player of the Year, the highest of the Players Choice Awards presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association and voted upon by its member players. The co-finalists are Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout of the Angels. The Players Choice Awards will be presented on MLB Network's November telecast.
Monday night's 2-1 win -- the Bucs fell behind 1-0 in the top of the third -- was the club's 37th comeback victory of the season. Amazingly, however, to underscore the tailspin of the last six weeks, it was the first since Aug. 19, date of the 19-inning win in St. Louis. Interestingly, the teams bringing down the regular-season curtain at PNC Park are ending a season against each other for the first time since 1964, when the Pirates went out against the Milwaukee Braves. Entering Tuesday night's game, the Pirates have played five consecutive one-run games, losing three of them to drop their record in the tight decisions below .500 (28-29). The 28 victories in one-run games rank fourth in the National League, trailing the Reds (31) and the Dodgers and Giants (29 each).
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.