July 8, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (right) is greeted in the dugout after McCutchen hit a two run homerun against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The only really bad thing about this one is that Casey McGehee left the game with a pulled groin, but even that sounds like it's not terribly serious.
There are so many good things going on right now that it's hard to even name them all, but here's a sampling:
-P- McCutchen now has 18 homers and an OPS of 1.039. That's basically a superstar stat line from 1999. Only one player, Jose Bautista, had an OPS higher than 1.039 last year, and only one other, Miguel Cabrera, was even above 1.000. Only one player, Joey Votto, had a higher OPS than 1.039 going into today's games.
-P- Not only are McCutchen's numbers amazing, his play looks amazing too. Remember, PNC isn't an easy park for righties to hit homers in, so it's not as if he's racking up homers by hitting cheapies over the left-field wall in Houston or something. He's drilling no-doubters all over the field. His first homer today was an opposite-field shot that went several rows deep. His second one, also to right center, earned him a curtain call.
-P- Walker, whose five hits included a homer and a double, has a 12-game hitting streak going, during which he's 23-for-47. Anyone still concerned about him?
-P- The Pirates are now 11 games over .500, and they've scored 32 more runs than they've allowed. Their run differential now rivals that of the Reds. The Cardinals' is 37 runs better, but the Pirates at least have a three-game cushion on them.
-P- A.J. Burnett bounced back after his last start against Houston, going 6.1 innings while striking out five and walking two.