Josh Harrison and His Fasicnating Chase for a Batting Crown


Aug 29, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison (5) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. The Pirates won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Harrison is coming to his hometown this weekend with a few things on his mind.  Harrison hitting .356 in his last ten games and has a ten-game hitting streak.  The Pirates third-baseman is now second in the National League batting race with a .318 average, two points behind NL leader Justin Morneau of the Colorado Rockies.   Andrew McCutchen is third at .310.

The Rox are playing in San Diego, who has some of the best young pitching in the league.  The Padres defeated Colorado last night 1-0.  Morneau collected two hits while Harrison had one against the Atlanta Braves.   The Rockies play two more games against San Diego before finishing the season with three games against the Dodgers.

When you consider that Harrison and the Pirates finish up in Cincy–where Harrison grew up–the chase for the NL Batting Title has the setting for a special moment for Harrison.

Sep 22, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) celebrates with third baseman Josh Harrison (5) after beating the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Josh Harrison story has been tremendous on a Pirates team that has overcome some interesting challenges in the 2014 season.  Harrison hit just .227 in 22 April at-bats and then has hit over .300 every month except July when he battled an ankle injury that has persisted throughout the season for the 5’8″ Bucs dynamo.  JHay has played all over the diamond, before settling in as the Bucs third baseman after Pedro Alvarez couldn’t overcome throwing yips and was moved to first base.  Alvarez, the Pirates best hitter in the 2013 postseason, looks to be gone for the season with an injury.

It leaves a power gap in the Bucs lineup that has been fueled by Harrison’s strong season.  We looked into the numbers and concluded that Harrison isn’t a fluke, just a hitter that has evolved at the Major League level.   The Pirates have plugged Harrison into the leadoff spot where he has hit .329 this season.

The maturation includes 133 total bases since the All-Star break which is first among all Major League players. After another hit last night, Harrison has hit safely in 21 of his last 23 games and is tied with Andrew McCutchen with 47 multi-hit games.

The scene in Harrison’s hometown this weekend is can’t miss baseball and the culmination on an amazing season.  Big hits, insane escapes from run downs and a good glove have proved that Harrison has been a catalyst for the Pirates–a team that has no intention of letting October disappear without a few more fireworks.

Sep 19, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison (5) reacts while watching a scoreboard replay against the Milwaukee Brewers during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports