Andrew McCutchen could rejoin the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday as the Bucs return to PNC Park to face the Atlanta Braves. Thank God? The Pirates are not road warriors and seeing PNC Park with the Roberto ’21’ in right field to night is going to be a breath of fresh air for a team that desperately needs anything fresh. The Bucs also need McCutchen more than any other player, but it’s hard to imagine the reigning MVP is even close to 100 percent.
No matter the situation, allowing McCutchen to return seems like risky business. Nobody knows their players more than the Bucs, but unless divine intervention is involved, this seems nearly impossible. The team is struggling and needs Cutch, but they need a healthy Cutch.
Five straight losses after looking strong against a Detroit Tigers team that has its eyes on the prize. The Bucs have lost seven of nine after grabbing five of seven to start the month. In the past 96 games, the Pirates have the second best record in the National League. But none of that seems to matter right now.
Neil Walker summed up the recent stretch that has seen the Pirates go from contender to what some are calling pretender:
“Anything that can go wrong is going wrong at this point,” said Neil Walker, who has not started consecutive games since July 31-Aug. 1 because of a sore lower back.
“We’ve got to play better baseball. It’s as simple as that. We know we’re better than what we’re showing right now.
“It’s not that guys are overwhelmed or trying to do too much. It’s a matter of being in different roles. The lineup situation is different (because of injuries), and guys aren’t familiar with their roles. That’s what happens. This is the toughest part of the year.”
Getting McCutchen back could turn the tide. Or bringing back Cutch too earlier could just make the list longer. Damn it’s a tough spot the Buccos find themselves in after getting little help to their roster from the management.
It’s an important series and the Braves are the only National League team the Bucs haven’t faced yet in 2014. After starting so hot, Atlanta sucked and now has turned it around. The tomahawk choppers come into PNC after sweeping the Oakland A’s. So it won’t be easy, as Atlanta took care of a solid A’s staff this weekend.
Vance Worley gets the start tonight for the Bucs. In 33.1 innings since the All-Star Break, Worley has allowed just six runs. It’s an unreal story and the Pirates will count on the right hander to…be the stopper tonight.
The biggest news of the day is this. Nothing more to say. Unbelievable really.
Per Hurdle, #pirates optimistic McCutchen can “rejoin us tomorrow” when eligible to come off DL.
— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) August 18, 2014