Andrew McCutchen’s Loss of the Line Drive

andrew mccutchen 2015

Andrew McCutchen is not himself right now — there’s no other way to put it. He says he’s fine. The team says he’s fine. He’s not fine: he’s batting .188/.279/.292 and has been a below replacement level player through the first month of the season.

The offense as a whole has struggled early on, but it’s still obvious how much of the team’s production runs through #22. They’ve scored two or fewer runs in 14 of their 27 contests, wasting plenty of good pitching performances and quickly falling to eight games out of first place.

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Series Preview: Pirates vs. Reds

Pirates vs Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates (12-13)

vs.

Cincinnati Reds (12-13)

Tuesday, May 5th — 7:05 pm
Wednesday, May 6th — 7:05 pm
Thursday, May 7th — 7:05 pm

PNC Park — Pittsburgh, PA

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A disappointing weekend sweep in St. Louis ended the Bucs’ long road trip, and they come home now at one game under .500. The Cincinnati Reds will be here for the next three days and carry an identical 12-13 record. The Redlegs swept the Opening Series from the Bucs in Cincy… Time to return the favor.

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Series Preview: Pirates @ Cardinals

Pirates vs Cardinals

Pittsburgh Pirates (12-10)

@

St. Louis Cardinals (15-6)

Friday, May 1st — 8:15 pm
Saturday, May 2nd — 2:15 pm
Sunday, May 3rd — 2:15 pm

Busch Stadium — St. Louis, MO

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The Pirates wrap up their long road trip with a three-day stay in St. Louis. The first place Cardinals play host, currently tied for MLB’s most wins at 15. They lost their ace, Adam Wainwright, for the season, but are rolling offensively and put three of their solid right-handers on the mound this weekend.

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Off-Day Graphics: Cole, Cutch, Discipline, Velo

gerrit cole pirates

Some random stats/graphics on the Pirates’ off-day…

– Tweeted one this last night…

gcole

Gerrit Cole‘s career line through 46 starts: 3.27 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9

And he’s been just dominant in his first five starts of 2015: 1.76 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 10.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9

– Only Joe Kelly is throwing harder than Cole among starters, and only Aroldis Chapman is throwing harder than Arquimedes Caminero among relievers…

average fastball velocity 2015

Another clean inning for Caminero last night, including punchouts of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant with absolute gas.

A couple former Bucs there: Edinson Volquez is doing very well in Kansas City (1.91 ERA/2.64 FIP in first 4 starts), as is Bryan Morris in Miami (1.69 ERA/3.45 FIP in 10.2 innings).

– On the flip side, Mark Melancon‘s velocity is still down, and at this point it doesn’t look like it’s coming back any time soon…

melanconvelo

– On the offensive side of things, the Pirates have been refusing to draw walks — something they were very good at last season, when boasting the fourth-best walk rate in baseball. Three of last year’s most disciplined hitters are now gone — Ike Davis, Russell Martin, Travis Snider — and the Pirates currently have the worst walk-rate in MLB at 5.2%. Andrew McCutchen is the only regular with an above-average BB% thus far:

pirates plate discpline

* That’s the National League average for non-pitchers. 

They fared a little better on Wednesday night, drawing six free passes (five unintentional, one intentional), which was as many as they had in their previous five games combined. That included a rare two-walk performance from Starling Marte, who started the night with a 2.6% BB rate. Josh Harrison is the concerning one — he’s never been one to draw a walk, which isn’t ideal out of the leadoff spot. Walks are important — not only for getting guys on base, but for making the pitcher work, seeing as many of that pitcher’s offerings as possible, and elevating his pitch count in the process.

– Andrew McCutchen is the exception up there, still walking a lot and keeping his strikeouts down, amidst a huge slump. He’s batting .194/.302/.333 through 21 games, and his .176 batting average since Opening Day is his worst 20-game skid since September of 2011…

andrew mccutchen slump

He picked up a pair of knocks on Wednesday, including a booming triple to center field and his 1,000th career hit. He and his knee may not be 100%, but hopefully it’s getting better and we’ll be able to enjoy classic Cutch by the summer.

Go Bucs