WASHINGTON -- There's no secret to what's been hurting the Pirates this season, especially in recent days. They're just not getting enough offensive punch.
But manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday that he's been pushing and encouraging his players to believe they can shake the early-season problems and find their way at the plate.
The Pirates had a .235 team batting average as they traveled to Cincinnati, next-to-last in the National League. Washington (.225) is the only team that ranks below Pittsburgh.
"Our production has been pretty consistent in the fact that we need more," Hurdle said. "You can't close the book on the guys. I'm going to encourage them. I've been part of it. If we're going to change the direction and the mindset of what's gone on here in the past, this group has got to do that on their own"
Hurdle said he's telling the players to try new things, make adjustments, see what works, see what doesn't. Do something to try and find success.
"You can't feel what you felt before, you can't go where you went before," Hurdle said. "You got to figure it out and stay positive. Somebody's got to spread the elixir out there that it's not a try-harder situation. ... Look for a spot. Look for a zone. Don't change lanes every pitch. Hit with confidence. Hit with bad intentions."
The Pirates have played much better for the first part of this season. Hurdle wants them to not get caught up in the fact that they've struggled at times during their current six-game losing streak, one that's left them with an 18-23 record.
After all, it's only six games.
"It's a long season," Hurdle said. "The one thing I've encouraged the guys that I've talked to today [is that] a week ago, we were 18-17. A lot can happen in a week, but you just got to take care of today."