Pirates surging despite Trade Deadline inactivity

Many deals not providing the boost clubs wanted

PITTSBURGH -- In the last 10 days, the Pirates have gotten multiple looks at Felix Doubront and Tsuyoshi Wada -- two starters who joined the Cubs' rotation after the early July deals of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's, who subsequently also acquired Boston ace Jon Lester.

All those moving pieces seemed relevant to the situation of the Bucs, who were roundly questioned for having stayed pat at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. While hyperactive Oakland has swooned, Pittsburgh has strengthened its bid for a postseason spot.

"You'll get second-guessed no matter what you do," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That's just the nature of the world. So you gotta do what you feel in your gut is right. You make, or don't make, the moves you believe in.

"It hasn't worked out for [the A's] anywhere near where they wanted. But they're still in the [Wild Card] picture. And we're right in the middle of the hunt. We have our eyes on the prize -- the National League Central. But Wild Card teams have won it all. Once you're in, you're in."

Worth noting

• Sunday's expected sellout will swell season attendance at PNC Park to about 2,220,000, and the Pirates will surpass last season's 2,256,862 total -- No. 2 in franchise history -- either Tuesday or Wednesday.

• Entering Sunday's season finale between the teams, the Bucs' 13 wins over the Cubs were already their most against any opponent since posting 15 over the Brewers in 2002.

First number, Last word

18-8: The Pirates' home record against American League clubs since the start of the 2012 season. They open a three-game set in PNC Park against the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

"It's the difference between routine and adrenaline. It's just a matter of how you can cope with the adrenaline ... not having too much, being able to control it." -- Vance Worley, on the biggest challenge facing him in his move from starting to relief work

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.