I’ll just leave this here…
I ran into Jared Hughes in the clubhouse after the Pirates’ Saturday night walk-off victory against the Cardinals. I thought he summed up the victory in the best way possible. Not only Saturday’s win, but Sunday’s walk-off win, the whole series against the Cardinals, and the Pirates first half as a whole.
“I was in the clubhouse icing, and I said ‘Unbelievable’! Clint [Hurdle] was in here, and he goes ‘No, no, no; that is believable!’ He was right.”
All over Twitter, on the radio, on television, and all around me, the most used word to describe Sunday’s walk-off victory was “Unbelievable.” Clint Hurdle disagrees. What this team is doing is definitely believable, and their first half reflects upon that. Rather than trying to sum up in words some of the major stories, not only of this series, but of the first half, I decided to let some numbers speak for themselves.
0 – After the game on May 5th, Andrew McCutchen exclaimed that he was “sick and tired of going 0-for-freaking-4.” Since that date, McCutchen has been everything the Pirates have needed him to be.
From the beginning of the year until May 5th, McCutchen had a line drive rate of 9.1% and a ground ball rate of 44.2%. Since then, his line drive rate is at 27.6%! That’s a difference of +18.5%. Coincidentally, McCutchen’s ground ball percentage went down 31.5%.
Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs wrote in June how the weight transfer in McCutchen’s swing was not normal early in the season, probably somehow impacted by the left knee that was bothering him.
McCutchen called himself out after that 0-for-4 night at the plate against the Cincinnati Reds on May 5th. The Pirates were 12-14 at that point and already 8.0 games back of the Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, the Pirates are 41-21.
0.12 – Statistics weren’t exactly on the Pirates side to win after going down in the 10th inning last night. According the @numberfire, the chance that the Pirates would be able to overcome a deficit in extra innings three consecutive times in two games, and win both, was at a rousing 0.12%.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, “it marked only the eighth time in modern major-league history that a team had won two consecutive games, both after having fallen behind during extra innings.”
5 – The Pirates and Cardinals have split their season series so far this year with 5 wins a piece. The Pirates were swept in the beginning of May in St. Louis, losing every game in extra innings on a walk-off. The Pirates took 2-of-3 from the Cardinals in Pittsburgh the following week. This past weekend, the Pirates took 3-of-4 from the Cardinals, winning twice in walk-off fashion in extra innings. Five of those tens games ended in a walk-off for the home team.
8 – The Pirates are 8-0-1 in their last nine series against the Cardinals at home.
10 – The Pirates have swept ten series so far this year. They swept five series all of last year and nine in 2013. 10 sweeps by the Pirates are their most since 1998 according the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Pirates have won 10 games in their final at-bat this season.
18 – At 53-35, the Pirates are a season high 18-games over .500. At the All Star break in 2013, the Pirates were 57-36 and one game back of the Cardinals in the Central. In 2014, the Pirates were 49-46 at the break and 3.5 games back in the Central. This year, they are 2.5 GB after winning 3-of-4 from the Cardinals over the weekend.
Also, Andrew McCutchen’s hitting streak ended last night at 18 games. McCutchen became the third player in the modern era to extend a single-season hitting streak to 15 or more games by hitting a walk-off home run on Saturday (Elias Sports Bureau). McCutchen hit .355/.677/1.183 during his streak.
20 – The Pirates are 20-13 in one run games at the break, leading the league in one-run wins.
40 – The Pirates have the best record in Major League Baseball at 40-19 since May 9th.