One of the most surprising aspects of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ very good first month of the season wasn’t necessarily the fact that they were over .500 and close to sitting alone in first place in the National League Central.
It was the fact that they did so without much production from Andrew McCutchen.
With expectations very high coming off a very good 2012 season, Cutch came out of the gates very slowly through April.
McCutchen hit just .217 (20 for 92) through April 29 with only two homers and 14 RBIs. Not exactly how a potential MVP candidate would want to come out of the gates.
But as the weather has started to warm up, so has Cutch, which is a welcome sign for the Pirates. In his last seven games, McCutchen has hit .464 (13 for 28) with a pair of home runs.
Seeing Cutch heat up could be a sign that the Bucs offense may avoid big slumps and may get very hot before June and July, which has been their best months of the season in the past.
With Starling Marte getting on base at the rate he is, it’s important that the Pirates’ No. 3 hitter get hot and take advantage of chances to drive in runs.
As much as Marte means to the Bucs right now, the Pirates offense ultimately runs through McCutchen. With three multi-hit games over the last week (he only had four multi-hit games before that), McCutchen is certainly getting back on track with a 1.197 OPS during his past seven games.
His .217/.284/.370 slash line through April isn’t the McCutchen Pirates fans are used to seeing.
Don’t look now. Cutch is heating up and that’s bad news for the rest of the National League.