Before the season, if someone had said after 24 games the Pittsburgh Pirates would be 14-10 against a nasty MLB schedule, we’re guessing you would have assumed a few things. One of those would be Andrew McCutchen must have got off to a solid start to the young season.
The Bucs superstar started a bit hot, but has cooled tremendously as the month of May approaches. McCutchen isn’t even among the Pirates top offensive contributors in a few categories. It’s not close when you take a quick glance at everyone on the stats sheet–Cutch is seventh in slugging, 12th in average, 11th in OBP, 10th in OPS.
An outcry was heard on Friday when Cutch was removed from the game in a double switch. The Pirates Silver Slugger had gone 0-for-3, stranded four baserunners and extended his slump. After a few more flyouts and another o-for today, Cutch is riding a 1-for-his-last-24 stinkfest. A five-for-his-last-36 in the ten most recent games, and is now hitting .216.
Back in 2011, Cutch had a rough April as well. There are some elements that are better in 2013. In April of 2011 he struckout 23 times, this year he has 13. He walked 15 times in April of 2011, just seven this season. In April of 2011, he hit five bombs, Cutch has two this April.
On Thursday, the Bucs gold-glover snapped his career-high 0-for-17 streak. Yet, he has still managed to reach base safely in 18 of the first 24 games; has hit safely in 15 of the 24 games, so the struggles are limited to after Tax Day. Cutch squared up a couple balls today, so it’s only a matter of when he snaps out of this awful skid.
Despite being in such a tremendous skid, he still leads the team in driving in runs with 13. How scary is that for the rest of the Bucs? His eight doubles still sits atop the stat sheet as well.
After winning NL Player of the month honors twice last season and finishing third in the MVP vote, it’s frustrating to see the Bucs cover boy struggle when runners are in scoring position and against lefties–which is very uncharacteristic. Watching him walk off the field after the double switch last night–it looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
Clint Hurdle said Cutch understood the move.
But let’s go back to that Buccos record–the Pirates are winning without their superstar. It’s a team game and the Pirates need McCutchen to be the sparkplug, not their slug.
Surely, it’s only a matter of time until he starts doing bad things again.