The Pirates are 15-1 in AJ Burnett's last 16 starts. They are 16-3 overall when he starts and 44-51 when anyone else starts.
Burnett is 7-0 with a 2.00 ERA at home this year. Assuming the rotation stays the same, Burnett is due to pitch the homestand-opener against AZ, homestand-finale against the LAD, and the Saturday night game against the SDP.
Speaking of Saturdays, the Bucs are 15-2 on Saturdays this year and 9-0 at home on Saturdays.
On the flip side of that coin, the Pirates are 2-8 in Bedard's last 10 starts. During that same stretch, they are 33-11 when anyone other than Bedard takes the hill. This includes a record of 8-2 when Correia takes the mound. Makes you wonder if it was the right choice to take away Correia's spot in the rotation.
Over that 10 game stretch, Bedard failed to pitch out of the 5th inning in 50% of his starts. Meanwhile, Correia was 10-for-10 at getting through the 5th inning. Since June 1st, Correia is 7-1 with a 4.18 ERA. Bedard, since June 1st, is 2-7 with 6.54 ERA. Bedard has walked at least two batters in 12 straight starts. Correia hadn't walked more than two batters in his final 12 starts before being demoted. Even though the eye test still makes you think Bedard is the better option heading forward, these factors are all cause to think about the decision that was made when Wandy joined our team.
Neil Walker's 123 OPS+ leads all NL 2nd basemen. It also ranks 2nd in all of baseball among second baggers, behind only Robinson Cano. Using B-R's WAR, he is first among all NL 2nd basemen and 2nd overall. Using FG's WAR, he is 2nd in the NL (behind Aaron Hill) and 3rd overall. He's not in Cano territory by any means, but given his age (26), affordability (not arbitration eligible for another year), team control (four more years), I'm not sure I'd trade him even up for any 2nd baseman in the game right now . He figures to cost about $50 million less than Cano over the next four seasons, though, so I think I would rather have him right now than anyone else at his position. Nobody at that position right now is providing that type of bang for the buck and guys like Uggla, Utley, and Phillips (formerly the 3 top 2nd basemen in the NL) are now looking up at Walker in terms of production. The question now with Walker is "has he showed us enough to make a contractual commitment to him long-term?" I would think the answer now is yes. He's in the same position as Cutch was this offseason--heading into his last pre-arbitration year. I'm not advocating giving him $51 over 6 years, but I do think there is a common ground that would reward Neil for his solid play, give the team some financial stability in terms of managing his contract, and also allow us to buy out a year of his free agency year at a below-market rate. Does $37.5 million over 5 years sounds like a sensible contract?
Lastly, speaking of Cutch, He is currently leading the NL in the following categories:
Batting Average- .373- 25 points higher than 2nd place
Slugging %- .628- 28 points ahead of 2nd place
OWAR- 6.2 (an astonishing 1.6 points ahead of everyone else)
Runs scored- 72 (tied with Bourne)
Adjusted OPS- 193 (12 points ahead of Votto)
Total Bases: 237 (13 ahead of Braun)
He is also 2nd in hits and OB%
You have to think that barring injury or catastrophic collapse, he is going to be the NL MVP this year.
Here's where it gets fun though. McCutchen projects to have an OWAR of 9.7 this year, which will be the best total in the last 100 years.
He is 26 points from setting the franchise record for slugging %.
He is on pace for 369 total bases. The franchise record is 369 (kiki cuyler)
He is on pace for 76 adjusted batting runs. The franchise record is 75 (bonds in 92).
While we sit in anticipation of a division crown, a home playoff game, a wild card spot, it's just as much fun to watch Cutch possibly make some history.