Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has ‘a feeling we’re about to do something special’
BRADENTON, Fla. – Clint Hurdle kept his first message to Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers and catchers brief on Wednesday at Pirate City, given that the full squad will meet again in a handful of days.
But Hurdle said he reinforced the belief that baseball leans heavily upon pitching, one of the strengths for these Pirates, who are coming off an 82-79 season in 2018 and vowing to compete for the NL Central title.
“There’s more of a feeling that we’re about to do something special,” Hurdle said. “This club right here, I really believe – again, we’ve got to work to do and we’re going to go out and roll up our sleeves – and our intent is to win our division. If you win your division, that puts you in a pretty good place. I love the fact that there’s hunger in there and it’s real, for all the right reasons. And I really like our pitching. If you’ve got good pitching, you put yourself in a really good position.”
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington echoed the assertion that pitching will be the basis for the club’s success. The first four spots in the starting rotation are set, with Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove, and the back end of the bullpen features a strong setup man in Keone Kela and All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez.
“This club has a feel that we can be a postseason team, that we can be a team that can advance deep in the postseason,” Huntington said. “Championship teams are based typically around starting pitching and you win the games you’re supposed to win because of your back end. Then you score.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.