PNC Park was filled with chants of “MVP! MVP!” when Andrew McCutchen stepped into the batters box and ripped his fourth knock of the night.
As he stood at first base, the smile was as big as his bat has been for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season.
A few hours earlier, McCutchen had been named the National League Player of the Month for his performance during the month of June. He then went out and led the Bucs’ pounding of the Houston Astros.
Maybe he is getting a head start for the July Player of the Month honor, or maybe – just maybe – we are going to see a Pirates player make a run at something special.
The big difference for McCutchen this season is that he is responding to almost everything that happens to him.
He played last night after an injury to his wrist caused him to miss a game. He came back with flying colors. He has improved his defense in center field, with numerous game-changing flashes of leather.
He was signed to a contract extension before the season, and has done everything to prove that the Pirates got a bargain.
In June, McCutchen proved our theory as he finished second in the league in RBI (26), and was second in average at .370, he tied for third with seven bombs, his on-base percentage of .420 was sixth best.
His 40 hits led the National League, and it’s starting to become easy to see that getting the Cutch deal done before this type of season, saved the Buccos millions of dollars. The Bucs signed McCutchen after his worst season as a pro. Can you imagine how much McCutchen could have raked in after a year like this?
After McCutchen became the first Bucco to get the award since Jason Bay did it in May of 2006, he is showing Pirates fans that the wait before the next one certainly won’t be that long.
Cutch will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.
Pirates fans will receive a lot of games like last night with the ability to chant ‘MVP!’