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Buc bats strengthening Pittsburgh's playoff bid

August 10, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Through April and May, nobody took the Pirates for contenders. They maintained a level 25-25 record through the season’s first two months largely on the strength of their pitching and despite being outscored by 29 runs (176-147). During that time, their offense eked out a major league-worst 2.94 runs per game. Their lineup could have been aptly described as Andrew McCutchen and the Seven Dwarves; while the centerfielder hit a stellar .331/.389/.541, the rest of the team batted a combined .204/.257/.322, with no other regular contributing an OPS higher than Garrett Jones’ .696 (on a .232/.250/.446 line), and second baseman Neil Walker (who hit .254/.312/.335 during that span) the only regular with an on-base percentage above .300. During that span, they scored more than five runs just four times.

The arrival of June apparently flipped a switch on the dormant offense, turning the Bucs into the new Pittsburgh Lumber Company. Since then, the team has scored a league-leading 5.15 runs per game while hitting a combined .270/.327/.461. They’ve topped five runs 24 times in those 60 games en route to an NL-best 38-22 record. McCutchen has emerged as an MVP candidate by putting up video game numbers — .400/.461/.689 with 15 homers over a span of 254 PA — with five other regulars and part-time catcher Michael McKenry contributing and OPS of at least .746 (the league average is .720). Walker (.321/.390/.548 with 11 homers), Jones (.301/.337/.546 with 11 homers) and Pedro Alvarez (.249/.332/.497 with 13 homers) have been particularly productive, with McKenry contributing a .333/.382/.689 line with eight homers in 102 PA.

http://mlb.si.com/2012/08/09/pittsburgh-pirates-offense-mccutchen-marte/?sct=hp_wr_a3&eref=sihp


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