A new manager didn’t do much to help the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates.
A day after firing Lloyd McClendon and losing their first game under interim manager Pete Mackanin, the Pirates will continue a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park.
McClendon was the first Pirates manager brought back after four consecutive losing seasons. One loss away from a fifth such campaign, the Pirates decided they wanted someone else running the club.
McClendon was fired Tuesday after averaging more than 90 losses since 2001.
“The way we’ve played the last three months hasn’t been up to our capabilities,” general manager Dave Littlefield said. “We have higher expectations with the players we have. We should be performing better.”
The Pirates have not had a winning season since taking the NL East in 1992 with Barry Bonds in their lineup. They have 11 consecutive losing seasons under managing general partner Kevin McClatchy’s ownership group.
Before McClendon was fired, the Pirates had lost four straight, nine of 10 and 14 of 18. They also have dropped nine in a row at home, their longest streak since PNC Park opened in 2001. As a result, the players could see the firing coming, and many are waiting to see what’s next.
Jason Bay, last year’s NL rookie of the year, said, “Maybe this is a wakeup call for us, too, to say `Hey, we’re shaking things up,’ and, hopefully, it can help motivate us.”
It didn’t happen Tuesday, as Mackanin’s managerial run got off to a losing start in a 4-2 defeat to Arizona.
The Diamondbacks ended a five-game losing streak.
“It would have been nice to win the first one,” said Mackanin, who was cheered by the small crowd before the game.
“You do everything you can think of to put guys in position to score some runs, to have the pitchers out there who give you the best chance of winning, and hope they pull it out.”
Arizona won despite being outhit 15-7, and will send struggling right-hander Brandon Webb to the mound Wednesday.
Webb lost for the third time in his last four starts after allowing six runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 defeat to San Francisco on Friday night.
Since the All-Star break, Webb is 3-5 with a 4.48 ERA after going 8-6 with a 3.57 ERA in the first half.