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Pregame: Tyler Glasnow to start Sunday

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Glasnow on Sunday

The Pirates announced that Tyler Glasnow will start Sunday afternoon against the Nationals. Steven Brault is being sent to the bullpen, for now. The rotation for the Cubs series lines up as follows: Chad Kuhl, Ryan Vogelsong, Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova.

"He was aggressive in the zone," Clint Hurdle said of Glasnow's stint as a reliever. "He mixed his pitches and I love the tempo he's been using on the mound. It's been in a better place then when he first came up. Trust the catcher and go."

The way the rotation is currently structured means Vogelsong will likely pitch the last game of the season, with Taillon in-line for a potential wild card or play-in game.

More on tempo

Hurdle is a fan of pitchers establishing a up-tempo rhythm. More accurately, he wants a consistent pace, especially with runners on base. Too often, and this mostly applies to young starters, pitchers slow down when they find themselves in trouble. Spending more time their heads and wandering around doesn't help. Better to keep the speed and tempo that brought the prospect to the majors in the first place.

"They slow the game down because a runner is on base," Hurdle said. "Whether they think he is going to disappear or not, I don't know. They don't spend enough time on the dirt. They spend more time on the grass. You can make him disappear by throwing a quality two-seamer down in the zone and get a ball on the ground and let's turn double play."

Hurdle added that when a pitcher slows the game down it's often a signal that he is likely going to be too fine in the following sequence. This compounds the problem, as he is likely to fall behind in the count and tilt the plate appearance in the hitter's favor.

Polanco uncertainty

Hurdle did not have an update on Gregory Polanco's availability for tonight's game.

Grit

It sometimes doesn't feel like it around the park, but after last night's marathon comeback victory, the Pirates still have puncher's chance at a postseason birth. With all the personnel changes, injuries and key players performing under expectations, Hurdle said he "respects the resiliency" that has kept the club in contention.

"With the challenges the season has brought individually and collectively," Hurdle said. "It's one thing to live through all of that in one season. The ability to adapt, improvise and overcome as a group and individually. I love the fact there is a nice level and layer of grit to this group that's been fun to watch."

Now, we've heard this before. In fact, Hurdle's has said it of every team the past three seasons. And, obviously, players are expected to compete every game regardless of the standings. But according to Hurdle, the way the team has worked through its struggles this season will pay dividends in the future.

"I think we've been able to have some good hard conversations with some guys because of the adversity that we've gone through together," Hurdle said. "I think that has helped the trust factor moving forward."