PHILADELPHIA -- The Pirates opened the season going 2-4 on the road at Arizona and Los Angeles, then came back to PNC Park and won seven out of nine, including the last three in a row against the streaking Braves.
Monday night presented a new challenge, as the Bucs opened a 10-game road trip to Philadelphia, St. Louis and Milwaukee. It will be just another test, manager Clint Hurdle said.
"You get tested every day up here," Hurdle said. "Every day is a test. It's the next opportunity. ... We're looking forward to embracing that.
"The last road trip didn't go the way we wanted it. We weren't able to do hardly anything at all on offense. We went 2-4. We rallied well in Arizona to win the series, but we got wiped out in Los Angeles. So we're looking forward to having better momentum. We're in a better place. But that's got to carry over."
Despite struggles, Sanchez scheduled to start Friday
PHILADELPHIA -- Clint Hurdle expects Jonathan Sanchez to make his next scheduled start at St. Louis on Friday, even though the left-hander has struggled (0-2, 11.12 ERA in three starts) so far this season.
"We're going to continue to work. It's still getting him in a good position here. He's repeating his delivery and the ball is coming out clean and he's throwing strikes," Hurdle said. "We've got basically three guys we're really trying to fine-tune and ramp up for better consistency off the mound. Jeff [Locke] being one, Sanchez being one and actually Jeanmar Gomez being one. So we do feel that we have the ability to help them be better, but they've got to trust those things that they've worked on on the side and in the practice sessions when they get in the game.
"Jeanmar has done it to some degree. Locke's done it. Sanchez, that's where we've kind of gotten hung up. Jonathan understands it. You get removed at that point in time. He's not glaringly bad. You look at the numbers and most people probably think he might have gotten hurt to come out of you just look at the line score. But any time you're going to go with a pitcher, you're looking at whether he's getting close to making an adjustment where it's getting better. And I didn't think that was the case."
Sanchez was lifted from his start against Atlanta on Sunday after allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in three innings. He also struck out five. The Pirates came back to win their third straight game.
"So [Sanchez] will have another opportunity to get some side work in, and then I'm of the opinion right now that we'll move on right in sequence with the rotation," Hurdle said, adding that he still needed to discuss the situation with general manager Neal Huntington.
Hurdle discusses 1980 World Series in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA -- Back in 1980, Pirates announcer Bob Walk was the Phillies' starting pitcher in Game 1 of the World Series and Bucs manager Clint Hurdle was the Royals' right fielder. In fact, Hurdle got the first hit off Walk.
Hurdle reminisced about that matchup, which the Phillies won in six games, before Monday night's game at Citizens Bank Park.
"Playing in a World Series, that's the culmination of a boyhood dream playing Wiffle ball in the back yard. You always end up in a World Series situation," Hurdle said. "For me it was really special, because then there was no such thing as Interleague Play. So this is the first time you're playing a National League club on a very big stage. And the stage at the time here was huge, 70,000 people [at Veterans Stadium], by far the biggest crowd I'd ever played in front of it. My mom and dad were able to be here, which was really cool.
Hurdle emphasized the emotions that were involved in such a big game in that atmosphere.
"One of the most abstract things I've ever been a part of was in Game 6, when they were getting ready to win and they brought out the horses and the police to encompass the field. That was something I had no history with. And then to actually see them win and that multitude of people, because they had gone so long without a championship. I actually did hang out to check it out just because of the emotion of it.
"They came back to beat us late three times. We had the lead late three times and I think we only coughed up one or two of those in the 162-game season. And we coughed up three in six games. So that part was bitter. To get to play in one, it was fantastic. But little did I know that was the first one of three I'd come up, and [always] finish second. And that's a hard walk away when you get to that point. People say, 'At least you got there.' Well, that doesn't work. It doesn't work all winter and it doesn't work now. You still finished second."
Another connection between then and now: One of Hurdle's Kansas City teammates was first baseman John Mayberry. His son, John Mayberry Jr., started in right field for the Phillies on Monday night.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.