Maybe it has not quite reached Curse of the Bambino proportions, but the fact remains that the Pittsburgh Pirates have not seen any post-season action since Barry Bonds left in 1992.
But it’s June 11 and your Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for first place in the National League Central. They have won four straight games and show no signs of slowing down.
The Pirates just swept the Kansas City Royals. According to Rob Dutton of The Kansas City Star it was, “the Pirates’ first interleague sweep in 50 series dating to June 15-17, 2001 against Cleveland here at PNC.”
Your number one Barry Bonds curse buster: Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen is a legitimate 30/30 candidate and may come close to that goal this season.
Just 56 games into the season McCutchen is batting .325, with 11 home runs and 36 RBI. He has 11 stolen bases as well.
Yesterday he went 3-4 with one home run, one double, one stolen base and three RBI to help complete the sweep of the Royals.
He is charging his way toward what should be an All-Star game start with a stellar June performance. But, as of June 11, McCutchen only has 457,233 votes. Good for only tenth place in the All-Star voting race.
In nine games this month McCutchen is batting .294, with three home runs and 11 RBI.
The scary part is McCutchen is only 25.
According to Roger Schlueter from mlb.com:
One player in franchise history has reached 200 extra-base hits and 100 steals through his age-25 season: Barry Bonds. And in looking at Bonds and McCutchen through their first 476 games, the similarities stick around. When Bonds had played 476 Major League contests, he owned 203 extra-base hits, 96 stolen bases and a .256 batting average, a .345 on-base percentage, and a .466 slugging percentage.
Schlueter notes, “the center fielder now has 189 career extra-base hits, 89 stolen bases, and a .282/.367/.470 line.” This is in the same 476 game time-frame. (mlb.com)
In addition to McCutchen, the Pirates have had one of the best pitching staffs in the National League this season.
Their team ERA of 3.25 is good for third best in the NL. Opponents are only batting .238 against Pittsburgh this season, also good for third best in the NL. (CBSSports.com)
With solid pitching and a superstar in the making, the Pirates seem poised to make a strong postseason run.
Pittsburgh looks like a team ready to start a new chapter in their history books. This chapter starts with McCutchen.
Unless otherwise noted, all stats are from baseball-reference.com