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Pregame: The buck stops at Hurdle's desk

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Glasnow Sim-Game

Tyler Glasnow pitched a simulated game this afternoon. He threw the equivalent of three innings ("three ups"). Clint Hurdle, who only saw the first two innings before meeting with the press, reported that from what he saw "there were no draw backs, no hold backs." He'll pass along more information after conferring with Ray Searage and the catchers involved.

Hurdle did not comment on a possible rehab assignment for Glasnow.

Stewart's rehab

Chris Stewart caught the first two innings of the Glasnow's simulated game, but Hurdle noted that no change in his status was "imminent."

"We're doing different things to push him and stretch him out," Hurdle said.

The buck stops here

The recent rash of base running mistakes are not a good look for a team underperforming and struggling to keep itself in contention for postseason. When asked whether he was unhappy with the "focus" of the club this season, Hurdle demurred and directed attention and responsibility to his role as manager.

"Everything that doesn't go well needs to end up on this desk," Hurdle said. "My job is to accept responsibility and to be accountable for the things that don't work. When you don't win, everything is magnified. I just know there are times you need to remind people of things and times when you have to get peoples' attention with things."

McCutchen not hit as often

Andrew McCutchen was hit by a combined 22 pitches in 2014 and 2015, and often expressed frustration with the amount of pitches that were being thrown up-and-in. This year, he has been hit five times, which puts him on a slightly reduced pace from the previous two seasons.

However, fewer HBPs does not mean there fewer pitches up-and-in. Per, last season 9.32 percent of the pitches McCutchen saw were fastballs in on his hands or above, this season that number has risen to  10.07 percent. Below is a comparison of fastball location in 2015 and 2016.


2015 Cutch HBP


2016 Cutch HBP

Hurdle speculated that McCutchen is being hit less this season because pitchers are looking to avoid riling a sleeping tiger.

"From a baseball perspective standpoint, as a hitting coach, you're talking about the opposition and the premier hitters that aren't hitting well, the last thing you want to do is wake them up," Hurdle said. "So you just go about following patterns where you've been getting them out. Maybe they don't feel a need to buzz the tower or be as aggressive or body shots."

About the rate of pitches up-and-in remaining constant or increasing somewhat, Hurdle said it is partly human nature to continue to do something that annoys your opponent.

"We all have had enough experience in life, if you do something that aggravates somebody and you get a positive response that let's you know it's aggravated him, sometimes you want to do it again," Hurdle said. "And there are some people that don't want to push that button again if that is a chance to be a point of frustration in another way."

Kuhl for Partch

To make room on the 25-man roster for tonight's starter Chad Kuhl, Curtis Partch was optioned back to Triple-A, Indianapolis.

Paying the ransom

Hurdle noticed BucsDugout's absence over the last two months. "I haven't seen you in like over three months!" he joked. "I have money together for the kidnappers, by the way. But they never called."