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Insider Only Hurdle makes bold move in starting Sean Rodriguez

DHP_7463Photo: David Hague

Pirates – Cubs Pre Game Buzz

With runs going to be at a premium against Jake Arrieta, yesterday we pondered whether Clint Hurdle goes against the grain and goes in the direction of starting a defensive lineup.

Moments ago we got our answer.


Hurdle will put the mistake prone Pedro Alvarez on the bench and start Sean Rodriguez at first base.

What the Pirates lineup indicates is we’re not going to score much and we’re not going to be eliminated by our first baseman unable to make a routine play.

“We wanted to put our best defensive team behind him [Gerrit Cole],” Clint Hurdle said moments ago. “Find a way to scratch out one more run than the other team.”

The Pirates have never trusted Alvarez and the answer officially came out today in Hurdle sitting the Pirates’ home run leader in a win or go home situation.

Is it classic overthinking?

The logic is understandable as through the first five innings Alvarez might have only got one at-bat if Arrieta rolls through the lineup.

Picking defense over offense is understandable in a win or go home situation but the disappointing part is Michael Morse a proven playoff hitter in the past is not that much of an upgrade over Alvarez defensively for the Pirates to start him as an alternative, though, Bruce Bochy trusted him last year.

What has happened with Aramis Ramirez as a first base option?

He started seeing little action at first base in recent weeks as speculation is he might be dealing with a groin injury.

The lineup decision at first base has now become the biggest story of the day but the Pirates chances tonight come down to Gerrit Cole.

Cole has to come out and strike some fear into the Cubs immediately. The best way to getting to Arrieta tonight and maybe the only way is Cole putting pressure on Arrieta by somehow getting in his head that he needs to match Cole inning by inning. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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