SEATTLE -- Going down the stretch last season, the Pirates were 1-6 in games following off-days, conditions in which they had an overall 2012 record of 8-10. Manager Clint Hurdle noticed and, rather than lump it in with the other factors that greased the Bucs' exit from postseason race, decided to try to do something about it.
"We didn't show up very well last year after off-days, and it was something we gave a lot of thought to," Hurdle said. "We had conversations about a different way to go into off-days, and change the prep work coming out of them. We tactically tried to change it."
The gist of the new approach was allowing, even encouraging, the players to completely pull the plug on baseball activities on the off-day. To stay away from the ballpark.
"Go hard until the off-day shows up, then disengage," is the way Hurdle put it. "We've done some things as a group [around the off-days, such as the team dinner hosted here by area native Travis Snider]. We changed the workout routine on that first day back."
Have the new wrinkles straightened out that post-bye liability?
Entering Tuesday night's game, the Pirates were 8-0 after off-days in 2013.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.