Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen.
OK, sorry, I was just getting that out of the way. McCutchen had two doubles last night and went 2-for-4 and scored another run to pretty much beat the Cubs, and Jeff Samardzija, to win the series and take three games of the four they played. That was huge for the Pirates as Samardzija is not an easy guy to get the best of but they were able to chip away for four runs on nine hits off the Cubs ace.
I don't really need to beat this drum every single night but what Andrew McCutchen is doing right now is almost unbelievable. Heading into Friday's games McCutchen had a slugging percentage of 1.071 in June. In the entire league there are only 16 players that have a higher OPS than McCutchen's slugging percentage through this month. Let that sink in. In June McCutchen has a wRC+ of 328. THREE HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT. That is truly sickening. I honestly think it would probably be a better idea if teams just walked him every at bat.
Outside of McCutchen destroying baseballs the Pirates got a fabulous start out of Edison Volquez. A few starts ago I was thinking that Volquez might be very close to get bounced out of the rotation but he's been pretty good. Last night he went seven innings, striking out five, and scattering seven hits. He walked two and got into trouble but every time he got into trouble he was able to get a big strikeout to end the inning. I was not high on Volquez coming into the season but if the Pirates can get healthy and rely on him to be the number four guy then I think he's done pretty well in that role this year. Last night was a big time performance from him.
Is there anyone better at throwing a baseball on this Pirates team than Tony Watson? He pitched eighth inning last night and threw 15 pitches and almost all of those pitches were disgusting. The last pitch of his outing got Luis Valbuena to strike out looking on a slider. It was so filthy that MLB should probably not ask him to throw that pitch ever again. It was that good. I was not very high on Watson three or four years ago. I was dead wrong. He has been dominant this entire season and what he brings to the table nightly can't be replicated by anyone in the pen.
Russell Martin continues to be hot as he is playing for a contract next year. He had two hits and drove in a run with a double in the fourth inning. He's really been playing well since coming back from an injury that kept him out and while I am not overly high on him offensively he's getting on base at better than a 40% clip and he's been a doubles machine recently.
The Pirates are keeping themselves in it and now it is on to Miami where the Marlins have been pretty good this season.