Will Andrew McCutchen be the Next Pittsburgh Icon to Go?

Is Andrew McCutchen next?

Local sports fans just gave Marc-Andre Fleury a long good-bye when he and about half a million of them exchanged waves during the Stanley Cup parade.

His good-bye piece in the Player’s Tribune put a nice finishing touch on it and showed why he was so popular. It’s hard to remember any star in any Pittsburgh sport getting a better send-off or having been more deserving.

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3 Up, 3 Down: June 19th-25th

Welcome to 3 Up, 3 Down: a weekly recap and preview for the Pirates. This post refers to games from June 19-25: a stretch where the Pirates split a four game series in Milwaukee (6/19-6/22) and took two of three on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals (6/23-6/25).

3 UP

Gerrit Cole picked up a pair of wins this past week, going 13 innings with 10 strikeouts. He did allow two solo home runs, but those were the only runs he surrendered. He has a 1.35 ERA in his last three outings after a four game swoon in late May, early June. It’s probably safe to say Andrew McCutchen is back. He hit .391 this week (9/23) with two home runs and six walks. He was also the most popular topic of discussion at Pirates Talk Now this week. ESPN’s Aaron Boone talked to me about him

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Sunday Night Baseball Preview with ESPN’s Aaron Boone

The Pirates and Cardinals will conclude their three game series at 8:08 tonight on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Pirates Talk Now sat down with ESPN’s Aaron Boone to discuss the matchup and some of the main focal points about the Pirates’ season so far.

ON THE MATCHUP

This is the second of three scheduled Sunday Night games for the Pirates this season, and their first against St. Louis. They will be the prime time game again on August 20 in Williamsport.

Boone: “I think in the case of the Cardinals, you have a wildly popular and consistently successful franchise. It’s just one of those teams that their is undeniable.

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Pirates Flashback #4: OF Chad Hermansen

Welcome to Pirates Flashback, a weekly look back at some of the best players of the worst teams in Pirates’ history.

Today’s player is Chad Hermansen, who played for the Pirates from 1999-2002.

BEFORE THE BUCS

Hermansen was drafted out of Green Valley High School by the Pirates with the 10th pick in the 1995 draft. He quickly rose through the Pirates’ farm system, reaching AA in 1997 and AAA in 1998. Despite being younger than just about everyone at his level, he hit at least 20 home runs every year of his development besides the abbreviated 1995 campaign.

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McCutchen should stick in the six spot

Moving Andrew McCutchen to the six hole has been the best thing to happen to the Pirates’ offense this season.

In a way, he was due. I wrote for Fangraphs on May 15th that his batted ball in play average (BABIP) was far too low (.221 at the time). Fangraphs’ editor Dave Cameron wrote about his hot streak this past week, again citing a much higher BABIP average (.356). The league average is usually around .300. Entering play Friday, McCutchen was at .284, so he has almost caught up to even ground.

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3 Up, 3 Down: June 12th-June 18th

Welcome to 3 Up, 3 Down: a weekly recap and preview for the Pirates. This post refers to games from June 12-18: a stretch where the Pirates took two of three against the Colorado Rockies (6/12-14) and lost two of three to the Chicago Cubs (6/16-18).

3 UP

Jameson Taillon returned to the Pirates Monday, going five shutout innings and picking up the win against the Colorado Rockies. While he had a much worse outing against the Cubs Sunday (5 IP, 4 ER), Taillon’s return is a big one for the rotation and team morale. Pirates Talk Now’s John Perrotto wrote about his return Tuesday. The First year Draft was Monday-Wednesday. The Pirates’ top pick was high school right-hander Shane Baz, who has already signed with the team. I recapped all three days of the draft for PTN. Day 1 can be found here

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The Pirates’ Most Underused Pitch is Marinez’s Slider

The Pirates’ bullpen is in trouble at the moment. Felipe Rivero is continuing a surefire All-Star worthy campaign, but there is not much of a bridge to get to him.

Juan Nicasio is suffering from fatigue and might be used less for the time being. Daniel Hudson has looked OK in recent high leverage situations, but he was batted around in late innings earlier in the year. He also does not seem to have much of a leash, which is why Clint Hurdle pulled him after one hit Saturday. Tony Watson is at the end of his rope.

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