|ESPN.com: Buster Olney||[Print without images]|
|Hamilton's late-game appearances bring an excitement typically associated with closers.|
"We didn't do much right here -- plain and simple as that," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said.
"We've got to be better. We will be better."
I'm not so sure.
It's easy to dismiss the rotten weekend as just three games in a long season, four if you count the loss Wednesday night in Milwaukee when staff ace Francisco Liriano was knocked around. But the Pirates haven't played good ball for a long time. They are 11-17 since Aug. 8. That hardly generates much confidence that they will be able to catch the Cardinals and hold off the Cincinnati Reds in the division race.
"We haven't been sharp in a lot of areas," Hurdle said. "We know what we need to do. We'll fix it and move on."
Jeroloman's collision with Erie second baseman Brandon Douglas re-ignited the debate about whether running over catchers should be legal. The Nationals agreed Douglas's play had been clean under the rules, if ill-advised -- Douglas probably would have been safe if he simply slid. But should the play be allowed? Manager Davey Johnson gave an opinion straight out of 1965.
"That's part of the game," Johnson said. "He's got all this gear on. He's got the ball ahead of you. You got to run over him. Same as a second baseman -- they get down there early enough, they take me out. That's just part of the game.
"I'm not a big fan of all this safety precaution stuff in football and baseball, you know? That's the risk you take playing this game. You got to watch the ball. You don't want to let it hit you in the coconut. If it keeps going like this, we might have a full helmet on, have little eyeholes in there. I know they're talking about doing something for the pitcher, having them wear helmets. Let's give it a rest."