Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

When Sandwiched between Win or Go Home, Key to Success Lies at the Plate with Runners on Base

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

When Sandwiched between Win or Go Home, Key to Success Lies at the Plate with Runners on Base

Article excerpt

This second consecutive Buctober comes with the same ratty guarantee as the first -- sure you'd love the postseason to last three luxuriant weeks or more, but you're just as likely to be evicted in about three hours.

So on the eve of their second postseason in two years -- also in 22 years -- the Pirates kept getting asked if Pittsburgh could and would generate the same intimidating atmospherics as it did one year ago tonight, when the Black Army of the Allegheny charged and trampled the ominous uncertainty of wild-card reality.

They all answered affirmatively, and clearly the ballclub is doing its very best to crank up the ambiance. Manager Clint Hurdle has his parents in town. Tuesday saw a huge rally in Market Square. A convoy of food trucks -- Nakama, BRGR, Chickie & Pete's -- is expected on Federal Street by 5:30 today, and now late-breaking word that concessionaires behind Section 108 are introducing two new sandwiches.

Oh, it's a party, and yes, certainly, I've got the breakdown.

A half-pound, char-grilled burger topped with sliced cheddar cheese, arugula, roasted red and yellow peppers and chipotle mayo. Also featured: a grilled chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich topped with smoked Gouda, spinach, applewood smoked bacon and homemade ranch spread.

You know what though, ye Buccos, I'm thinking that something is missing. Could you throw in, maybe um, a single with a man on third or a double with the bases loaded, because you're 9 for the past 69 with runners in scoring position.

See, that could be huge, right?

Another 0 for 6 with runners on second and/or third, and somebody's gonna be looking at an instant postseason hangover, a Giants headache.

"You want to stick with the plan regardless of what's in front of you," said Josh Harrison, himself nothing less than the author of the Summer of J-Hay, but also the owner of a National League-best .372 average with runners in scoring position. "Obviously when you've got runners in scoring position, the situation is a little different, but you just stick with the plan, that's the biggest thing.

"You just want to basically put the pressure on the pitcher and realize that he's the one in trouble, not you. …

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