Oct. 4 Clint Hurdle pregame interview
Q. It's a proverbial question, first meeting between pitcher and team. Is there anything about Gerrit Cole that maybe affects that equation one way or the other as far as who has the advantage?
CLINT HURDLE: I think I've been asked this question eight different ways. It's the same question. The pitcher has the stuff, he has the edge. Good pitching beats good hitting. Always has, always will. If Gerrit brings his A game today, you'll see him pitch very effectively. The ball will be down in the zone, the fastball will be both sides of the plate. The slider will be in play, the changeup as well as the curveball. He's got a chance to get some swing and miss stuff out there with the curveball, which makes his fastball play bigger. He'll work quick. His challenge this season, more often than not, has been an early inning. Navigates through that, and usually he finds a very good rhythm and tempo.
Q. With Jordy over Clint today, are you looking for offense, and what exactly are you trying to get out of Jordy?
CLINT HURDLE: Yeah, Jordy has some at bats against Lynn and try to get maybe another little offensive bat in the lineup, so that's the reason for it. You were all over it to start with.
Q. A lot of rookie pitchers, if they get playoff experience, it's usually out of the bullpen or it's a number four starter, Game 4 kind of situation. Not only is Cole getting the start in Game 2, but it's coming off down 1 0 in the series. What kind of make up does he have? Is he going to be able to handle this kind of pressure in that type of game situation? How does he compare to other rookies in other situations like that?
CLINT HURDLE: That's a long question. I'm going to try to remember the question. Cole's experience is what it is. He's pitched X amount of games at the Major League level. He has zero playoff experience. That being said, I believe he's a young man that has the wherewithal to go out and compete in a large venue on a large stage. He's expected as I said yesterday, he has always expected a lot of himself. He sets his bar extremely high. Where this goes, only time will tell. I am confident in his abilities, I am confident in his make up, and I am confident in his competitive edge that he carries with him. I think it will help fuel him along with this. And the fact that we're one down, he's kind of old school that way, but that means we need to win and he's going to do everything within his power to get us back evened up. Bob Walk might be a good guy to talk to, though. He started a World Series game a rookie, started the World Series game in 1980 against a team I played on. I don't know how much experience he had before that, if you can grab him today.
Q. Are you prepared to name a Game 4 starter yet?
CLINT HURDLE: We've actually talked about Charlie the other day, Charlie Morton. Yeah, we named him the other day.
Q. With Charlie Morton as a Game 4 starter, would there be any availability for A.J. in Game 4 coming off the lower pitch count, and maybe kind of the same situation as the Wild Card game where Gerrit Cole was available if he was needed?
CLINT HURDLE: I really don't care to spend a lot of time about Game 4, Game 5. I actually had some questions earlier. There are a lot of different options and ways we can go as we continue to play and map it out. We'll figure out that. I'm really looking forward to watching today's game. That will help.
Q. As ahead of his game that Whitey Herzog was, the teams that you played on for him, was that there a lot of thought going into defensive positioning and shifting, and did anybody ever shift against you?
CLINT HURDLE: That's a great question because I remind our players that I played in the old era of baseball when a hard groundball up the middle was a base hit every time. And it just doesn't happen anymore. As a matter of fact, it doesn't even happen three out of ten times anymore. Very rarely. Whitey was probably as aggressive and creative with defensive shifting as anybody I know. He kept his own personal spray charts. That is one thing that I carried with me as soon as I started managing in Minor Leagues. I'd watch this man show up to the park with his bag and his colors and his ruler and his papers. Finally one day late in my career I asked him, What are you doing? And he showed me, explained to me. Sat me down. He said, I've been doing it since I started managing. Actually in Kansas City is the first time. I don't think I got the courage until I got to St. Louis to ask him what he was doing. I thought he was just coloring. So he was very innovative. I don't think I specifically had shifted on. The first time I ever heard the word "shift," somebody was telling me a story about Ted Williams and it was umpire relaying a story from another umpire, but he stepped to the plate at Fenway, and they had the tremendous shift for him. First time it had happened. He stepped back and looked at it. The umpire goes, That's interesting. He said, Not really. They can't play me high enough. That's the first time, actually. I thought about they shifted that far back at times. That had caught my attention. So it's definitely a new wave to the game and one that's made significant difference and helped a lot of different advantages for a lot of teams. Ours in particular.
Q. Many people in Pittsburgh are used to seeing you make a coffee stop on the way down to PNC Park. This is an early game after a game last night. What substituted for your coffee stop today?
CLINT HURDLE: I still make coffee stop here in St. Louis. I've got my own band of friends here that I say hello to. They don't wish me good luck, but they say hello. Give me the right change back. We're all good. I did have a number of people from Buck Nation reach out and reassure me that the three games that the 1960 Pirates lost were a combined score of 38 3. Although we won four games in the series. So the focus needs to be on the wins, not the runs. So I thought that was very entertaining and encouraging from our fan base.
Q. It just occurred to me, Gerrit's first inning issues have anything to do with the fact that he gets to be a little bit too pumped? That could be aggravated today. Has that been part of his issue; that he gets out there a little too excited?
CLINT HURDLE: I don't know if it's too excited. I don't know. We've tried some different pitch sequences. Make him throw a little bit more, make him throw a little bit less. The words of Warren Zevon, maybe he's just an excitable boy. We'll figure it out.