The Pittsburgh Pirates have been known as a club with great amounts of team speed. A 30 SB season from Starling Marte and near-20 SB seasons from Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison, and Gregory Polanco in 2014 helped seal this reputation. The 2015 version of the club is no slouch, ranking fourth in the National Leageu in steals with 34. Polanco leads this year’s team with 12.
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But what if I told you that the Pittsburgh Pirates were incorporating their above-average speed in different ways? The Pittsburgh Pirates rank second overall in the National League in infield hits with 45, trailing only Dee Gordon..er, I mean, The Miami Marlins, who have 61. Additionally, the Pirates rank fourth in the NL in Infield Hit Percentage (IFH%), or the percentage of balls hit in the infield that result in hits. To no one’s surprise, the Pirate most responsible for this ranking is Starling Mrate, who leads the team with 12 infied hits and a 17.1% IFH%, good for second and fourth overall in MLB, respectively.
This is a clear indicator of the Pittsburgh Pirates playing “Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball.” After the Pirates righted the ship recently, Clint Hurdle said as much, as he was quoted to several outlets, but shown to DK on Pittsburgh Sports here:
"“We had to start doing some things better,” Clint Hurdle said. “We were 18-22 and we weren’t getting better. Every once in a while, people needed reminded of things. We needed to do something different. We were the definition of insanity.”"
Chris Stewart went on to add:
"“What we’re doing now, more than anything,” catcher Chris Stewart said, “is playing Pirates baseball again.”"
Beating out a throw to 1st and creating an extra baserunner, and extra chance at a run, and extra pressure on opposing pitchers is quintessential Pirates baseball.
It is just another example of what has propelled this team lately. Pittsburgh Pirates fans can only hope that their team does not let the foot off the gas pedal anytime soon.