Clint Hurdle has done an incredible job as manager of the Pirates since he arrived last season, but fans will agree that he has made some poor decisions that have directly led to losses in this recent slump.
The biggest example of this was in the Pirates 10-inning 7-5 loss to the San Diego Padres on August 21.
Despite having better options in the bullpen, Hurdle decided to go with Chad Qualls in the eighth inning with the team down just one run.
Qualls proceeded to give up an insurance run, which came in handy for San Diego when Garrett Jones blasted a two-run homer in the ninth inning.
Then with the game tied in the bottom of the 10th, Hurdle left All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan in the bullpen and brought on recently called-up Daniel McCutchen to face the heart of the Padres' lineup.
After McCutchen allowed a runner to get to second, he fell behind San Diego's best hitter Chase Headley. Instead of walking Headley to set up the double-play, Hurdle let McCutchen pitch to the third-baseman, who walloped a walk-off bomb over the right-field fence.
While Hurdle's poor decision making has cost the Bucs on the field, he hasn't been helped by some questionable roster moves by general manager Neal Huntington.
Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson are two young pitchers with electric stuff and little left to prove at Triple-A Indianapolis. In fact, Morris is being labeled as Pittsburgh's successor to Joel Hanrahan as closer.
Yet instead of calling up these two fresh young arms, Huntington has forced Hurdle to use mediocre journeymen like Qualls, McCutchen and Juan Cruz.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans owe a lot to the great jobs Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington have done in their time here, but they are just as responsible for the team's recent slump as any player is.