This is how Clint Hurdle defends Andrew McCutchen running into the final out at home plate despite not being the tying run (via the PBC Blog):
When asked if he wanted McCutchen to stay on third in that situation, Clint Hurdle said, “No.”
“That’s going to win us more games than it’s going to cost us,” he explained, referring to his team’s aggressiveness.
Hurdle also made the point that it took a flawless throw from right fielder Jayson Werth to catch McCutchen at the plate. Werth’s throw hit catcher Ivan Rodriguez’sglove on the fly in time for Rodriguez to reach back and apply the tag.
“We get one there, who knows where it takes us?” Hurdle said. “But we’re going to send that guy, [third-base coach] Nick [Leyva’s] going to send that guy. A little shallower, probably not. But where it was? Look what kind of throw it takes. There might be two guys in the league that can make that throw, he’s one of them.
I’m sorry, this is dumb. This is really dumb. It doesn’t matter if Roberto Clemente is the only person that can make that throw. It doesn’t matter if McCutchen scores 99 out of 100 times on that play. He’s still only one run when you need three. If there’s a 0.00001% chance that he gets thrown out at home plate there, the risk is too high in that situation. Despite what Hurdle says, that was a high pop up to shallow right field. Werth had plenty of time to hover under the ball, get a good run up, and make a strong throw to the plate. It was a perfect ball to throw to the plate on. Hurdle might have been surprised that Werth made that throw, but I’d be willing to bet that Werth would tell you that he could make that throw nine times out of ten.
Hurdle’s defense here is essentially, “If we have to choose between being smart and being aggressive, we’ll be aggressive every single time.” It’s true that McCutchen/Leyva’s mistake probably didn’t cost the Pirates the game today, but this sort of blindly aggressive stuff will cost the Pirates a game before it wins them one. There’s no excuse for this kind of lack of awareness and the fact that Hurdle is willing to defend it makes it even worse.