It (yet again) was not a good series for manager Clint Hurdle
When it comes to his in game decision making, it has not been a good season for Pirate manager Clint Hurdle. This continued against the Rangers. Especially in Wednesday’s loss.
While, to an extend, Hurdle’s hands are somewhat tied due to the amount of injuries this team has experienced and the fact he’s currently working with three starting pitchers, his bullpen management remains poor.
With the team leading 6-2 with two outs in the top of the 8th inning, Michael Feliz issued back-to-back walks to load the bases. This gave Feliz three walks in the inning, and he was clearly gassed.
With Kyle Crick unavailable, the only smart option at this point was to hand the ball to Felipe Vazquez. Especially with Pirate killer, and the red hot, Hunter Pence due up. Instead, Hurdle stuck with Feliz who proceeded to allow a game-tying grand slam to Pence.
Worst of all, Vazquez was not even warming in the bullpen. He also would not be used in the 9th inning with the game tied. Tyler Lyons was, and he proceeded to allow 3 runs on the way to a 9-6 Rangers win.
After the game Hurdle said Vazquez was only available for a save situation. So, instead of managing for the win Hurdle managed for the save and took a loss. Worst of all, when Pence stepped to the plate it was a save situation due to the bases being loaded with two outs in the 8th inning.
Even if Vazquez was not going to be the guy, Feliz needed to be lifted before Pence hit. It was clear Feliz was taxed and had nothing left in the tank. Instead, he was left in to allow a grand slam and issue a fourth walk before being lifted.
As I have said before, Hurdle is a great leader and motivator. That has been on display this season as this team remains above .500 despite an 8 game losing streak and 18 players having already spent time on the IL. That said, his in game managerial decisions leave a lot to be desired. Especially his bullpen management.
It can be argued that his in game decision cost the team at least one, if not two, games against the Dodgers on the previous road trip. It certainly was a contributing factor, if not the biggest factor, in their loss on Wednesday. Hurdle must be better moving forward.