PITTSBURGH -- After seeing their club post a combined one run on seven hits in back-to-back losses to Chicago, Pirates fans were left asking, "Where has all the offense gone?"After all, these are the same Bucs whose 146 runs in June led baseball. And until a few days ago, they were on pace to pull off the same feat in July. Not to worry, said manager Clint Hurdle, who was impressed by the two starting pitching performances he saw from the Cubs in this series. On Monday, Jeff Samardzija gave up one hit over eight innings, and the next day, former Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm held the Bucs to one run on five hits. "No. 1, I tip my hat to Samardzija," Hurdle said before Wednesday's finale. "We could face that guy tomorrow, and if he throws like that, we're not going to hit him. Not many teams are. "Yesterday, we had pitches to hit -- we missed them. But, that's another part of the game." Hurdle, the eternal optimist, said he doesn't focus on the bad in this game, opting to reinforce the positives instead. He isn't worried about the last two games, or their potential to knock his club out of the offensive rhythm it has been in over the last two months. "We didn't hit. But to make any more of it than that?" Hurdle said. "We deal with the reality of the situation, and then we move forward."
Pirates expect Wandy to mesh well in clubhouse
PITTSBURGH -- Wandy Rodriguez will make his next start in a Pirates uniform.But how the new left-handed starter will impact the team's rotation is unclear. Rodriguez hasn't officially been added to Pittsburgh's roster, instead waiting to do so until the Pirates head to Houston on Thursday. Before Wednesday's series finale against the Cubs, manager Clint Hurdle talked about the acquisition of Rodriguez and how he will mesh in the clubhouse. "I think we've got some great diversity out there to help him along the way," Hurdle said. "He doesn't master English. He's more comfortable with Spanish. We have plenty of people who speak Spanish. "A lot of it will be on how quickly we can get him to get comfortable. That's always going to be a challenge." Hurdle said Rodriguez's grasp of English shouldn't preclude him from throwing to Michael McKenry. But to ensure there are no communication complications, Rod Barajas will be present for a number of game-planning activities. In 21 starts this season, Rodriguez is 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA. He's thrown 130 2/3 innings while issuing 32 walks and striking out 89. Hurdle said he spoke to Rodriguez following the Pirates' 5-1 loss on Tuesday. "It was good to hear his voice," Hurdle said. "I told him I've been trying to figure ways to beat him since he got in the league, so it's nice to join forces."
Alvarez proving to be ultimate afternoon slugger
PITTSBURGH -- Even though the Pirates play the majority of their games at night, Pedro Alvarez has managed to hit two-thirds of his home runs in the daytime.Of Alvarez's 21 dingers, 14 of them have come in day games. He's been such a prodigious slugger in the afternoon that some fans have taken to calling him DayDro. "He gets up earlier. That's what he said. That's what I'm going with," manager Clint Hurdle said. "No, again, we love to nail things down, the 'why.' Sometimes, there is no 'why.' It's just the way it's happening." Despite having 103 fewer at-bats during day games, Alvarez has managed to drive in 32 of his 58 runs when the sun is still up. He's batting .313 in such games this season. "I'm glad we still play in day games," Hurdle said. "We've got a number of them still on the schedule."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.