Pittsburgh Pirates report card for week of May 8-14
Despite the Pirates struggles, I can’t be too hard on the job Hurdle has done this season. Many things happened that were way out of the skipper’s control, and he’s doing what he can with what he has. That said, one thing that Hurdle does have control over and is messing up is his (should be) first baseman.
Josh Bell has great offensive potential. He is also making strides defensively. So considering that one would think that he should be the Pirates first baseman all day every day, right? Well, Hurdle seems to disagree.
This season, Bell has been continually benched during games for underwhelming figures like John Jaso and Jose Osuna, neither of whom is significantly better than Bell is in the field. The worst part about Hurdle’s bizarre strategy is that it is no way to build his confidence.
If Bell either wasn’t getting better on defense or if the Pirates had a considerably better fielder also playing first base, that would be one thing. But neither of those theories is the case, so Hurdle’s managing of Bell is strange at best, enraging at worst.
Another point I would like to touch on is that Hurdle nearly cost his team the game Sunday when for some reason, he decided to have the struggling Daniel Hudson start the eighth inning. Hudson promptly walked three men, which led to the tying run scoring.
Clint Hurdle will always be a great motivator and a loveable guy. But his on-field managing is questionable, and that is on full display with the curious case of Josh Bell.