The Pirates entered a game Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers six games back in the National League Central Division, and a half game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL wild-card hunt. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the players currently on the roster were the right ones for the team to reverse their recent struggles.
"We've got the people here," he said.
As Hurdle spoke, the Pirates participated in a players meeting, which took place against the backdrop of losing six of their past eight, before batting practice.
"I think it's all part of players having ownership of what they do and how they do it," Hurdle said of the meeting. "I've been a player and been on that end of it. I've been a coach, I've been a manager. I think its all part of the growing-up process."
The waiver trade deadline is about two weeks away. General manager Neal Huntington has said players the Pirates claimed on waivers either did not make it to them or the players' teams were not interested in making a trade.
"The guys that are here, the core group of men here, have gone out on the field and played extremely well for the bulk of the season," Hurdle said. "If you just take our record, you look at our record, and you go back and somebody would have said, here's where you're going to be on August 15 - this ain't too bad. We can work with this. You add in what's going on at the time, momentum. And then you think, 'Whoa, we've got to find a way.' "
The Pirates allowed 57 runs in the eight games previous to Wednesday night, or 7.1 runs per game. Their staff ERA in August was 4.93, tied for second worst in the National League.
They experienced a similar stretch a year ago, when they lost 10 consecutive games in early August. Kevin Correia, one of the Pirates around for the losing streak, said it could be instructive.
"I think you just see how easily that can happen," Correia said. "You can't just be winning and think that's going to keep happening without a lot of hard work and keeping on focusing and playing well. You're going to get tired mentally and physically, and you've got to find a way to not put it in cruise control and keep grinding."
Hurdle said the players meetings can benefit a group by eliciting feedback from their peers.
"They say what they need to say," he said. "There's always a couple of individuals that try and take the initiative to get it moving in that direction. You try to get feelings out, thoughts, observations, comments, more or less. It's just kind of a self-cleaning.
Honest evaluations from other players can be helpful at times. I think, at least the group I've had here, have always come out in a much better place."
Travis Snider, who aggravated his tight right hamstring Tuesday night, was not in the lineup Wednesday. He felt tightness in his hamstring Saturday and returned to the lineup Tuesday night after pinch-hitting Sunday and Monday.
Gustavo Nunez, a Rule 5 draft pick who has missed the entire season recovering from ankle surgery, has played in two games on a rehabilitation assignment with the Gulf Coast League Pirates and has gone 2 for 5 with a double and a triple.