PITTSBURGH — When it comes to offense, the youth is leading the way for the Pirates.
I wrote extensively about the hot start of Adam Frazier yesterday and talked about Josh Bell’s power surge earlier in this home stand. But it’s important to note that not only are both of those players showing positive signs when it comes to their development, they’re also driving the entirety of the Pirates’ offense right now.
The Pirates have four players with a wRC+ over 100 and they are Frazier (136), David Freese (126), Bell (123) and Josh Harrison (119).
That’s not exactly a murderer’s row, but it’s been enough for the team to go 5-2 since both Freese and Frazier returned to the starting lineup May 13. The contributions of the younger players has certainly not gone unnoticed.
“It’s fun to see,” Freese said Saturday. “The young guys are keeping us afloat a little bit. They’re studs. They’re mature. It’s nice when you can kinda talk to them every now and again and learn from them. Just because they’re young doesn’t mean you can’t earn something from them. You watch the young guys, the way they take ABs, it’s admirable.”
Perhaps the more impressive thing is the way they’ve seemingly gone on unflappably with the rest of the offense collapsing around them.
“There comes a point in time in every hitter’s career, if they’re going to take another step, there’s got to be confidence without results,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You can’t let the game steal your joy and you can’t let the game steal your confidence.”
Bell went 0 for 4 on Saturday, but he’s already displayed that type of confidence in his approach when the results are not necessarily coming for him or the rest of the team.
“You can’t get too upset by it because the process is there and you’re still squaring up the baseball,” he said. “If they’re not falling for you at the time, you can’t change too much. The game gets tough at times, but you just turn the page.”
KUHL WITH A CHANCE OF SHOWERS
Chad Kuhl has had more than his share of misfortune over his last few starts. He was removed from a game after being struck with a line drive, had a rain delay shorten an outing, got off to a slow start and had his best stuff come up with some of worst results. There is rain forecast for Sunday, as well, meaning Kuhl may have to deal with some more adversity. Hurdle said that focusing on his execution will be key for Kuhl.
“You eliminate distractions,” he said. “You go back to your strengths. You boil it down to making the next good pitch.”
**RHP Josh Lindblom said that his left side discomfort is in the oblique area and that the buildup of innings and pitches without the structure of being in the starting rotation probably had something to do with it.
**OF Gregory Polanco hit off the tee and played catch on Friday; his first activity since heading to the DL with a strained left hamstring. He’s expected to do more of the same activity Sunday and if all goes well, take batting practice on Monday in Atlanta.
**RHP Mitch Keller is feeling “better,” according to general manager Neal Huntington. He is throwing off flat ground and his back tightness is expected to be “a short-term thing.”