MIAMI -- It is said that the road can be a lonely place, but in the first month of the season the Pirates' pitching staff has hung together, making life miserable for their host teams. Even manager Clint Hurdle had difficulty putting a finger on exactly what the cause is
MIAMI -- It is said that the road can be a lonely place, but in the first month of the season the Pirates' pitching staff has hung together, making life miserable for their host teams. Even manager Clint Hurdle had difficulty putting a finger on exactly what the cause is for his pitchers' success on the road.
Coming into Sunday's series finale at Marlins Park, the Pirates' pitching staff had posted a Major League-best 2.52 ERA on the road this season, and the competition isn't even close: The White Sox are second-best with a 3.10 road ERA. In the National League, the Mets are a distant second with a 3.34 team ERA on the road.
Pittsburgh was especially successful over the last six road games through Saturday, posting a 1.41 ERA and allowing just eight runs over 51 innings.
"I haven't peeled back the layers, other than we're making good pitches," Hurdle said. "We've faced good competition. I'm very aware of the competition level we've faced.
"Whether our guys have executed game plans, [or] whether they've been stubborn and steadfast in their approach to stick with their strengths. It could be a combination of the two."
Starters Jameson Taillon (2-0, 0.47 ERA) and Ivan Nova (1-1, 1.06) have been lights-out on the road this season. Both picked up wins against the Marlins on the current road trip in Miami.
Hurdle said he doesn't think being on the road allows his pitchers to be more relaxed.
"We're under a microscope wherever we go," he said. "You have a bad outing; it doesn't matter if you're home or on the road, you going to see it tomorrow all over the place. So I really haven't looked at it like we're on the road, we can be more relaxed and be more comfortable, pitch more aggressively.
"Some of the venues we've been to, I think that can pump you up. The adrenaline you can get from getting to pitch at Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium, Fenway."
Whatever the reason, Hurdle and the Pirates are hoping the trend continues, and road mounds continue to be hospitable environments for the staff.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.