Andrew McCutchen Wraps Up One of the Best Months of His Career

PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 2 on Friday in the Pirates’ 13-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

He also walked and was hit by a pitch to reach base all four times in his final game of the month of June and close the month with an eight-plate appearance streak of reaching base.

June ended sometime after McCutchen left the game after fouling a ball off his foot. He said he’ll be OK about the foot. But he might not want June to end. After all, it was the second-best month of his entire career.

McCutchen finished June with a 1.193 OPS. In his MVP season of 2013, he never had an OPS over 1.019 in a month. In fact, the only single month he’s done better was July of 2012, when he posted a 1.249 OPS.

This June, only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (1.202 OPS) bested McCutchen. Put simply, for the last 30 days, McCutchen has been the best hitter in the National League and he’s also been one of the best versions of himself ever.

It’s made even more impressive by the fact that May was among his worst. He had a .682 OPS this May, which was his worst May on record and the fifth-worst month of his career. As soon as the calendar changed — or perhaps more accurately, as soon as he got two days off in Atlanta and made some adjustments to his swing — McCutchen flipped the switch from barely league average to absolute superstar.

“It was good to see where I started from and see where I’m at now,” McCutchen said. “It was a good month. But I’m not focused on my months. I’m focused on my days. So, I’m going to continue to keep focusing day by day like I have been doing and keep pushing forward.”

While that’s fine and probably appropriate for McCutchen, that doesn’t exactly give justice to his performance. How about this one — it was the 11th-best month of June ever recorded in the history of the National League by a player with at least 100 plate appearances.

“He’s an elite player,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We lose sight of that. We’ve lost sight of that. … He’s in a good place. He’s confident. He’s convicted in the box. He’s showing us the ability he’s had.”


Gerrit Cole got roughed up for seven runs on 10 hits over 5.1 innings. The line looks a little bit worse than Cole actually pitched.

He gave up a solo home run on a well-located pitch to Denard Span in the first. In the third, a walk, a misplay and an error contributed a run. In the fourth, he had Johnny Cueto up with two outs and one on and Cueto’s ground ball when right back up the middle for a hit to extend the inning.

“We just had our fair share of balls that were hit hard that just didn’t go our way tonight,” Cole said. “I thought there was a lot of good execution out there tonight. I thought, on the flip side, there was a lot of good execution from their perspective as well, in terms of their approach and in terms of the pitches they were able to spoil and pitches they were able to put in play and get rewarded for.”

Hurdle thought that some of Cole’s fastballs might have been a bit more elevated than they should have been.

“Well the ball was more elevated tonight like it had been,” Hurdle said. “We didn’t get to talk about how he was dominating the bottom of the zone. You saw some of it tonight, but not with the consistency we were seeing it in the past.”


The bullpen melted down behind Cole, with Antonio Bastardo (one run in zero-plus innings), Jhan Mariñez (three in one), Wade LeBlanc (one in 1.2) and Edgar Santana (one in 0.1) all giving up runs.

“Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out for us,” Mariñez said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. “I went out there and I tried to do my best and do me, but unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”


Josh Bell hit his 30th extra base hit of the first half, a Pirates rookie record. … John Jaso drove in two runs.

  • Trouble ahead trouble behind is brilliant

  • Cole’s an underachieving turd for a 1st pick in the draft. Trade Cutch while you can. Jaso’s worth a trade as is Harrison and Mercer. Ask the world for Rivero and you might even get it after last year’s return on relievers. Play Osuna and bench Polanco until he gets the point. Don’t anoint meadows as the starting center fielder. He’s been a turd too. Bostick is more deserving. The return on the trades should give options too. And PP, our outfield is obviously not set through 2018 and beyond. Polanco never solidified his spot. Marte solidified himself as a cheater. Cutch is less than a month removed from being a six hole poor defensive center fielder. And Meadows has a stellar sub .700 OPS in AAA with a boo boo. This team needs a new identity and it’s young with something to prove. Not old and complacent with a couple playoff appearances. Cutch had the second best month of his career and we went .500? Blow it up.

    • Dude, take a deep breath and get a grip on reality. This was one loss to a team who has championship pedigree and is playing much better of late. It’s certainly not a season defining loss like you seem to think it is.

      Have the Pirates underachieved so far? Yes. Is the middle relief corp in need of help? Most certainly. But to act like the organization is on the precipice of a nuclear holocaust, is a complete and utter mischaracterization of reality.

    • Fuzzy – Please take your meds and find another team to ‘root’ for. I cannot imagine any team, managers, FO or group of players will make you happy, I am just glad I am not your dog or cat because I cannot fathom how much abuse you must heap on them,.

      • Thanks doctard! Really educated response and such a vivid imagination. If medicine doesn’t work out for you, it’s good to know you can still make it as a children’s fiction writer. What was the dog’s name? Was he a big dog? Way to get personal over my baseball comment on a baseball site, genius!

  • Also, Bastardo is beyond abysmal… Cole needs to take up yoga or something to calm the hell down… and Stewart should play once a week, maybe twice. Diaz needs to start.

  • “Andrew McCutchen Wraps Up One of the Best Months of His Career”…

    Yep, better trade him and build around Marte, Polanco and Hermansen 2.0 in the short term and acquire some guys you can deal in four years for more guys. THAT’S the ticket!


    • Meadows has to beat Frazier out first. Polanco may get beat out too. Or at least be a platoon.

    • Meadows is 22. Hasn’t even played a single game in Pittsburgh, and you’re labeling him a bust.

      Let me guess, you named your children Doom and Gloom.

      • No, it’s just that I’m done with the hype. Much like Hermansen, the hype of Meadows is insane – show me something on the field for a few years.
        Like, say, McCutchen.

  • Cutch may earn the Player of the Month award for June. Quite a turnaround!

  • White Sox’s Melky Cabrera hits a walk off. Guess who was on first (and is hitting over .300) and whose mad dash made it all possible?

    • The former top Bucco prospect with superior speed and defensive skills name Hanson. The White Sox and their fans are delighted with the gift.
      Our management chose Frazier…..time will tell if this was a blunder.

    • Hitting over. 300 since joining the Sox. #smallsamplesizes

    • I’m starting to think the Pirates miss manage latin players. Too many failures and under achievers. My perception is that the White Sox do a much better job.

  • When is Cole going to start pitching like the ace he’s supposed to be? Too hittable, not good enough command and can’t keep his cool when something doesn’t go his way. Kip Wells with better stuff but the same maddeningly inconsistent results.
    Watching Nova and Taillon grind out wins the previous two nights and then last night’s Cole performance was eye opening.
    Maybe the discussion in the dugout last night was the Cole inconsistency starting to wear on Hurdle and Searage.

  • Wabbit_Season
    July 1, 2017 7:56 am

    Starters gotta go 7, man. Would solve a lot of bullpen problems.


  • Great to see Andrew perform at this level. Cole grow up. Gregory Tabata please remember how to hit big league pitching. NH please give it up and either add quality players or leave the planet. Please fire Hurdle.

  • Boy they are a bad team right now. Not sure you can over haul a whole bull pen in season. By then end of July Bastardo will be dfad
    If they get good offers trade everyone under 4 years of service. Blow this puppy up.

    • “trade everyone under 4 years of service”? Did you mean to say trade all of the young guys?

      This team started June 6 games under .500 and ended June 6 games under .500. ‘Cutch raised his average 60 points and his OPS 160 points in June and Cole went 4-2., and the team still only played .500 ball.

      Astro’s, Yankees, LAD, and possibly 4 or 5 others will be making contact leading up to the AS Break. The next few weeks should be very interesting.

      • I meant over 4 years of service. Damn. Late night. Lol. They may have 3 quality starters and 1 bull pen arm. You can’t fix that during the season. Go with the young guys and see what happens. But the problem is there is not much help in the near future. 3 of their top 4 prospects are having bad years. The 4th Keller has been hurt and doesn’t project to help in the next two years anyway.

      • As context a report says half of MLB has contacted the Marlins about David Phelps. So yeah only imagine how that translates to Cole. But Cutchs rebound definitely helps the pirates sell their we won’t let you push a buy low trade with a premium player stance. And Yankees fading fast they don’t have a pitcher they can be confident with in the wild card game.

    • Overreaction based on one bad game. The team has been playing much better of late. Won last two series vs quality opponents, and split 4 game series on road vs 1st place team.

      The only part of this team that is bad is middle relief. Bullpen arms are temperamental, which means it’s very possible guys like Watson and Hudson could start dominating hitters again.

      5 games back on July 1st is not the time to hit the panic button, let alone the eject button.

      • I don’t know. I love your optimism. But under 500 is under 500. Those teams don’t win the championship. If you get good value trade everyone who won’t be under team control in 3 years. If you could resign Cutch for 4 years I would do it. But out his option years and add two. But I just don’t see them committing the payroll with attendance dropping. Cutch and Harrison are due 25m next year. Payroll will be around 90m. Do you think they could keep the roster in tact, including keeping Cutch and add to it? I don’t. The hillbilly prince has to go.

      • The rotation is bad too. If Cole was pitching better the rotation might be ok at best.