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Hurdle: Chameleon effect could be at play

PITTSBURGH -- Since entering August at their season peak -- 16 games above .500 and in second place, three games behind the Reds -- the Pirates have held their own in the tough games, going 9-11 against teams with winning records.

Not a spectacular record, but considerably better than Pittsburgh's 4-13 mark over the same stretch against sub-.500 clubs.

A vote for the concept of playing up, or down, to the competition?

"That could be true," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle conceded. "There's probably an argument for that. A chameleon effect ... sometimes that's what happens in sports."

The Bucs changed their colors on that Aug. 1 date. Until then, they owned the Majors' best record versus sub-.500 teams, at 37-15. Then they jumped tracks to that 4-13 figure.

"Except, I think it's been case-specific," Hurdle said. "We, obviously, did not answer the bell in Milwaukee [being swept in a Aug. 31-Sept. 2 series the Brewers had begun with a 62-67 record]. But we did against St. Louis [taking a pair of three-game series].

"We just haven't played well," added Hurdle, looking at the broader picture and suggesting his club has been hot and cold, regardless of the opposition. "We haven't played consistently well."

PITTSBURGH -- Since entering August at their season peak -- 16 games above .500 and in second place, three games behind the Reds -- the Pirates have held their own in the tough games, going 9-11 against teams with winning records.

Not a spectacular record, but considerably better than Pittsburgh's 4-13 mark over the same stretch against sub-.500 clubs.

A vote for the concept of playing up, or down, to the competition?

"That could be true," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle conceded. "There's probably an argument for that. A chameleon effect ... sometimes that's what happens in sports."

The Bucs changed their colors on that Aug. 1 date. Until then, they owned the Majors' best record versus sub-.500 teams, at 37-15. Then they jumped tracks to that 4-13 figure.

"Except, I think it's been case-specific," Hurdle said. "We, obviously, did not answer the bell in Milwaukee [being swept in a Aug. 31-Sept. 2 series the Brewers had begun with a 62-67 record]. But we did against St. Louis [taking a pair of three-game series].

"We just haven't played well," added Hurdle, looking at the broader picture and suggesting his club has been hot and cold, regardless of the opposition. "We haven't played consistently well."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.