Know Your Foe #30: McCutchen, Pirates Continue Race Toward Postseason in Denver

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 5: Jeff Karstens #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Houston Astros during the game on July 5, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Pirates come into Coors Field second in the NL Central with a 49-39 record. They had been in sole possession of first place for the previous week until losing two out of three in Milwaukee over the weekend. Pittsburgh has been able to get it done with a good pitching staff (107 ERA+ as a team) that is mostly anchored by the bullpen, as well as the efforts of a guy who has arguably been the best player in baseball this year.


Andrew McCutchen

#22 / Center Field / Pittsburgh Pirates

5-10

190

R

R

Oct 10, 1986


AVG OBP SLG
2012 - Andrew McCutchen .371 .423 .651


McCutchen has had an unbelievable 2012 in the Steel City. After racking up three more hits yesterday (and seven total over the weekend), Cutch leads the NL with a .371 batting average. He also leads the league in slugging percentage (.651), OPS (1.074), OPS+ (195), and total bases (209). He's doing this in a league that features players such as Joey Votto, David Wright, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, et cetera et cetera. He has 43 extra-base hits on the season as well, 21 of which have traveled over the wall. His home/road splits are insignificant, and he hits lefties at a .462/.500/.795 - much better than his pedestrian .342/.399/.605 line against righties. Pffft. Defense matters, too, and while Fangraphs' UZR/150 doesn't like him (-11.2), BB-Ref's total zone is okay with him (8). Sounds like a wash to me.

McCutchen hasn't done everything by himself, although if you've watched the Bucs lately, you might disagree. While nobody on the team is on the same planet as him in terms of OPS+, there are a few above-average hitters. Among full-time players, Neil Walker tops the list as Cutch's main sidekick, as he has posted a 118 OPS+ while leading the team in plate appearances with 360. Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez are similar high-power/low-OBP guys, as both have sub-.300 OBPs and near-.500 slugging percentages. Jones has 12 homers and a 113 OPS+, while Alvarez's 17 bombs have helped him to a 112 OPS+. Casey McGehee (103 OPS+) just climbed over the average mark recently, while Drew Sutton (119 OPS) has been good in limited playing time. Then there's former Rockie Michael McKenry, who has used his giant quads to help him jack seven homers in 124 plate apperances. He is second on the team in slugging percentage to McCutchen (.505), and has a 127 OPS+.

James McDonald has been the one real bright spot in Pittsburgh's rotation this season. The former Dodger, who was inexplicably traded for Octavio Dotel a couple of years ago, has used a K/BB ratio of almost 3 (including 8 K/9) and a 2.59 ERA to post a team-leading 146 ERA+. The only other full-time starter on the club that is even average in terms of ERA+ is A.J. Burnett (an even 100). Kevin Correia and Erik Bedard have regressed quite a bit since the start of the season, but the Pirates got a temporary boost from Brad Lincoln during his short time in the rotation, as he has posted a 125 ERA+/3.04 ERA in five starts and 18 bullpen appearances. Jeff Karstens also gives their rotation and HAR a significant boost, as he has been good since his return from the DL despite having a couple of poor outings before landing there.

The bullpen is anchored by closer Joel Hanrahan, who has 24 saves and a 2.31 ERA while striking out more than a batter per inning. One-time Rockie Jason Grilli has arguably been their best reliever overall, though, as he has a 1.82 ERA/209 ERA+ while posting a K/9 rate of 14.3.

Pitching matchups (including tonight's, which features two pitchers with elite-level DERPitude) and more after the jump.

Tonight at 6:40 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Jeff Karstens (2-2, 3.94) vs. Jeff Francis (2-2, 5.19)

Tomorrow at 6:40 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Erik Bedard (4-10, 4.80) vs. Christian Friedrich (5-6, 5.60)

Wednesday at 1:10 PM MT (ROOT Sports/MLB Network)

James McDonald (9-3, 2.59) vs. TBA


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Andrew McCutchen 84 321 61 119 17 5 21 64 30 66 14 4 .371 .423 .651
Eric Fryer 4 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333
Neil Walker 86 321 45 94 21 0 7 44 34 75 7 3 .293 .359 .424
Drew Sutton 16 61 8 17 8 1 1 6 3 20 0 1 .279 .308 .492
Garrett Jones 74 225 32 60 13 1 12 37 8 57 2 0 .267 .288 .493
Casey McGehee 78 220 24 55 12 1 7 31 22 50 1 1 .250 .321 .409
Michael McKenry 37 107 11 26 7 0 7 18 12 37 0 0 .243 .323 .505
Alex Presley 60 215 28 52 9 3 6 13 10 43 8 4 .242 .276 .395
Jose Tabata 72 252 32 58 13 3 3 11 17 43 8 9 .230 .295 .341
Matt Hague 30 70 5 16 2 0 0 7 3 14 1 0 .229 .270 .257
Josh Harrison 54 123 19 28 7 3 2 9 6 19 5 3 .228 .286 .382
Pedro Alvarez 79 266 38 60 15 0 17 51 28 94 0 0 .226 .299 .474
Rod Barajas 60 186 19 40 8 0 7 18 17 39 0 0 .215 .287 .371
Clint Barmes 79 253 17 52 11 0 4 22 4 60 0 2 .206 .228 .296
Brad Lincoln 24 10 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 .200 .200 .200
Yamaico Navarro 25 45 4 8 0 0 1 4 5 12 0 2 .178 .255 .244
Kevin Correia 17 26 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 1 .154 .154 .154
James McDonald 20 35 5 5 0 0 0 1 3 17 0 0 .143 .211 .143
Nate McLouth 34 57 4 8 2 0 0 2 5 18 0 0 .140 .210 .175
Jordy Mercer 8 16 1 2 1 0 0 0 2 5 0 1 .125 .222 .188
Gorkys Hernandez 17 21 2 2 0 0 0 2 1 5 2 0 .095 .136 .095
Erik Bedard 17 24 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 .083 .083 .083
Jeff Karstens 6 12 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 .083 .083 .083
A.J. Burnett 16 29 0 2 0 0 0 1 2 16 0 0 .069 .129 .069
Charlie Morton 9 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Chris Resop 33 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .000 .333 .000
Jared Hughes 34 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jason Grilli 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Juan Cruz 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Evan Meek 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Joel Hanrahan 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Tony Watson 37 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Doug Slaten 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Jason Grilli 1-2 36 0 0 0 1 1 34.2 18 8 7 4 16 55 1.82 .98
Jared Hughes 2-0 34 0 0 0 1 0 43.1 36 16 10 3 14 22 2.08 1.15
Joel Hanrahan 4-0 36 0 0 0 24 3 35.0 20 9 9 5 19 36 2.31 1.11
James McDonald 9-3 20 18 1 0 0 0 114.2 84 36 33 8 36 102 2.59 1.05
Juan Cruz 1-1 36 0 0 0 3 0 30.1 33 10 9 3 15 32 2.67 1.58
Doug Slaten 0-0 10 0 0 0 0 0 13.0 9 4 4 1 8 6 2.77 1.31
Brad Lincoln 4-2 24 5 0 0 0 1 53.1 47 19 18 8 13 53 3.04 1.13
Chris Resop 0-3 33 0 0 0 1 0 44.0 45 18 16 5 18 31 3.27 1.43
A.J. Burnett 10-3 16 16 0 0 0 0 100.0 97 43 42 8 33 86 3.78 1.30
Jeff Karstens 2-2 6 6 0 0 0 0 32.0 34 15 14 1 5 24 3.94 1.22
Kevin Correia 6-6 17 17 0 0 0 0 97.1 96 50 46 14 28 41 4.25 1.27
Charlie Morton 2-6 9 9 0 0 0 0 50.1 62 30 26 5 11 25 4.65 1.45
Erik Bedard 4-10 17 17 0 0 0 0 86.1 90 48 46 9 39 78 4.80 1.49
Tony Watson 4-1 37 0 0 0 0 1 27.0 25 16 15 4 11 22 5.00 1.33
Evan Meek 0-0 10 0 0 0 0 0 10.2 13 9 9 1 3 8 7.59 1.50


Pittsburgh Pirates Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Charlie Morton elbow 05/30/2012

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Gustavo Nunez ankle 02/20/2012

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