Clint Hurdle’s mismanagement of the pitching staff may have cost the Pirates a sweep
On Saturday, Dario Agrazal made his MLB debut for the Pirates. After posting a zero in the first 3 innings, Agrazal ran into some turbulence in the 4th inning.
In the 4th inning the Marlins scored 3 runs off of the Panama native, but only 1 of these runs was earned. Had the Pirate infield played better defense behind Agrazal, then he would have gotten out of the 4th inning with a 3-1 lead.
Despite the defensive woes, Agrazal was still at just 59 pitches after 4 innings and the game was tied at 3. Also, to his credit, Agrazal recorded back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded and just one out to end the inning.
Even though Agrazal was pitching well, Hurdle made the confusing decision to pull him after just 4 innings of work. Not only was Hurdle handing a tie game to a bullpen that has not been trustworthy, he was also making the decision to tax the bullpen. He made these decisions even though there was no need to do so.
In the 5th inning Geoff Hartlieb, who has struggled mightily this season, was handed the ball by Hurdle. Hartlieb proceeded to give up the go ahead run in the 4-3 loss. Francisco Liriano was then summoned to pitch 2 innings which made him unavailable for Sunday’s game. Liriano being unavailable on Sunday nearly cost the Bucs, too.
Mismanagement of the pitching staff by Hurdle on Saturday cost the Pirates a chance to earn a series sweep over the weekend. This is not the first time this season, and, sadly, it likely will not be the last that Hurdle’s questionable decisions with his pitching staff burns the team.