Pittsburgh Pirates Clint Hurdle Named NL Manager Of The Year
Pittsburgh Pirates head man Clint Hurdle has won the National League Manager of the Year Award after leading his club to its best record since 1992. Hurdle took a young team centered around center fielder Andrew McCutchen and a revitalized pitching staff to the playoffs and their first winning record in decades. After years of disappointment in Pittsburgh, Hurdle gave confidence to an inexperienced group and got them into a sudden death Game 5 against the eventual National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Hurdle finished with 25 of the 30 possible first place votes, beating out the Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and the Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. Hurdle did more than just provide motivation from the top of the dugout steps, as he utilized his defensive mindset to set various fielding shifts which helped lead to the Pirates finishing 4th in the league in defensive efficiency. His somewhat debatable opinion on ignoring the pitch counts of starters allowed his bullpen the necessary rest it needed to make it deep into October, giving the team a 15 win improvement over 2012. Hurdle took a once storied franchise who had settled on hard times and resurrected it into a likely consistent contender for National League pennants.
This selection came as no surprise to MLB experts as Hurdle led his team to 94 wins in a National League Central division that saw three teams make the playoffs. His combination of motivational tactics and in-game acumen allowed him to deal with any and all curve balls that were thrown his team’s way throughout the course of the season. Mattingly came in second place and Gonzalez rounded out the top three, but it appeared the award was Hurdle’s from the get-go as he found a way to mix young talent with aging pitching and put a product on the field that yielded results day in and day out. With Hurdle calling the shots, expect the Pirates to be a perennial playoff contender for the next several seasons.