Notes and quotes from the Wild Card game pregame:
Clint Hurdle said the team did not consider placing Francisco Liriano on the Wild Card roster.
On the decision to add Jeff Locke and Vance Worley to the roster and leave Jeanmar Gomez off, Hurdle said he wanted high-volume pitchers available just in case something happened to Edinson Volquez early.
In terms of setting the bullpen, Hurdle explained the thinking that went into those decisions as follows:
"We're being game specific here," Hurdle said. "We look at volume of work, out of the bullpen, ball to strike ratio, walk to strikeout ratio, ground ball ratio, we looked at all the numbers coming in, the fact they're going to push six left-handed hitters in this lineup and have all the rest of the right-handed bench players."
Finally, Hurdle was asked about carrying Brent Morel over of Chase d'Arnaud, who could be used as pinch runner.
"We ran d'Arnaud a number of times, and I don't know if he is a pure base stealer," Hurdle said. "He might be our best base stealer, but he didn't come up with a stolen base in the opportunities here."
Hurdle said that he likes the defensive flexibility Morel gives him late in the game.
"In a game like tonight, you start [Gaby] Sanchez at first base, you've got [Madison] Bumgarner out there, and he could be out there pitching for a while," Hurdle explained. "There could be a matchup later when [Ike] Davis comes in. If Davis gets on base late and I need another first baseman, I've still got [Gregory] Polanco that can run, or some dynamic along that [line]. I'm going to need another first baseman. Morel can play first. He can play third."
Martin in a "good place"
Russell Martin came out and ran around the outfield with a soccer ball this afternoon. It is a workout he has done on an almost daily basis throughout the season. Today was the first time he's done soccer drills since his hamstring injury.
Hurdle described Martin as in a "good place," then mentioned his soccer exercise as positive indicator of how he feels.
"As I said earlier, one of the things he spent most of the summer doing when he goes out to activate in a very confident place is take that soccer ball out there," Hurdle said. "We hadn't seen that in probably 10 or 12 days. Where that goes, I don't know, but it was good to see him take it out there because he hasn't taken that out there in the past 10 or 12 days."
Alvarez status unclear for potential NLDS
Hurdle said nothing has been mapped out in terms of when Pedro Alvarez might be ready to return to the roster.
Harrison describes meeting John Holdzkom for first time
John Holdzkom makes an impression the first time you meet him up close and in person. Today, Josh Harrison described his experience meeting the towering right-hander.
"First, when you guys walk in and see a guy that's 6'8" ... you're like, man, who is this big dude?" Harrison said. "I had already got the rap from a couple of guys like Brent Morel, Tony Sanchez. They're like, ‘hey, that's Big John. Wait until you see him.' Surely, he stepped in, and after we seen him throw, we were definitely glad he was on our side."
Anticipating the noise
Harrison said that he expected the noise level tonight in PNC Park to be similar to last year when, he said, there were times he couldn't hear the sound of the ball off the bat.
Butterflies and more
"If you don't have butterflies, you're not human," Tony Watson said yesterday about playing in postseason. He was talking about players, but after walking around the park and being on Twitter all day, certainly the same can be said of anyone who has a rooting interest in this game.
However, I'd add one more physical reaction that Watson didn't mention. If you can stand on Federal Street and watch the river of black-clad Pirates fans walking over the Clemente Bridge while drowning in the thumping music from the open-windowed bars without getting goosebumps, then ... well, you may want to stand a little longer because it will happen.
I think I speak for much of the Bucs Dugout community when I say I'm ready for the game to begin. Enjoy the evening!