"That's a big number, and I still believe in that 100 percent," Hurdle repeated Friday afternoon -- from a considerably different vantage point.
The Pirates had knocked off one-third of their season before taking the field against the Reds, and with a record of 34-20, they were on pace for -- are you ready? -- 102 wins. To baseball people, "pace" is a four-letter word. Nevertheless, Hurdle thinks his club can even pick up the pace.
"Not on the bullpen side, obviously, but there's more there, out of the starting rotation and the offense," the manager said. "Defensively we've played well, and we've run the bases extremely well, getting the extra 90s and dirt-ball reads."
Translating Hurdle-ese: Taking extra bases on hits and getting good jumps on pitches that elude the catcher.
"If we get 95 wins, we'll be in the playoffs," Hurdle repeated.