The Josh Harrison story is a good one, but there is an even better one happening in the past month. One could argue it is Andrew McCutchen. Cutch is so damn good, he gets a class to himself. We are talking about an under the radar player. A player the Bucs need to come up big as they battle the St. Louis Cardinals in an NL Central showdown. Especially since the team has an opportunity to put up a road warrior winning record for the ages with a series win against the Cards.
The Bucs have won five straight road series. Think about that sentence for just a moment. Do you know the last Pirates team to do that? Here is a hint for you:
Still need some help?
The 1982 Pittsburgh Pirates won five consecutive series on the road. According to Elias, the 1938 Bucs won six straight road series just in case you were wondering.
There is no question these Pirates are beating the teams on their schedule that they should. Now with seven games remaining before a much needed All-Star break, the Pirates are at a crossroads. The NL Central race looks like it will between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals. The teams with question marks are the Reds and the Pirates.
The Bucs have done a tremendous job of climbing out of the hole they dug in April and the team looks to be getting even stronger. One player really sparks my interest as the Bucs look to narrow the gap on the Brewers. But let’s face it–Andrew McCutchen is doing what he does, and the trio of Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Cutch have been monsters at the top of the lineup. Polanco, Marte and Cutch have hit a combined .344 with ten doubles, four homers, 31 rib eyes and have scored 32 runs.
Those players get the Pirates offense in motion. The tone setters if you will.
But just like the Pirates have, one player has turned around his awful season and should not be sat down any time soon. That player is Jordy Mercer who, if you can recall, back on May 7, Mercer was hitting .161 and since that date he has collected 52 hits at a .294 clip, belting six bombs while driving in 23 teammates. The walks are piling up this month as are the hits–10 in 17 at-bats. Some say he should get a blow and the team has mentioned that Josh Harrison will be seeing time at shortstop.
We say let’s just wait on that for a week. Why sit Mercer now? Why sit Mercer in the middle of a six-game hitting streak?
I think I know what some of you may say. Because Josh Harrison is an All-Star.
In the last week, Harrison is hitting .211 while Mercer hitting nearly .600.
Let’s not throw water on Jordy when the team needs his defense and even more importantly, his bat in the lineup. Especially if it means he will be on the bench and we will be forced to watch Harrison try to awkardly play shortstop. JHay has done amazing things this year, putting him at a position like shortstop would make sense if Mercer wasn’t hitting well.
Mercer is the hottest hitter on the Bucs in the past seven days. Putting him on the bench for Josh Harrison is just silly.