This past Sunday's Trib contained an article on how Andrew McCutchen has managed to be so effective, compared to the average MLB hitter, in 2-strike counts. I found this ironic, considering that we have watched Cutch flail horribly (in a Barmesian fashion?) and then walk back to the dugout in a disheartening number of said counts of late. Certainly, after ripping off an incredible June and July, you'd think opponents would crack down to find out how to get McCutchen out, and now it seems surprisingly simple. Get him down 0-2 or 1-2, and throw your best junk low and away.
Here I will pause to apologize, because I wanted to do my first sabremetric-y post, but I may need someone else's help as I'm not finding a way to compare how Cutch has hit in certain pitch counts from month to month. I think his walk/strikeout/average totals are interesting though:
H/t to Fangraphs....The first thing that jumps out at me: Andrew has drawn more walks and struck out more times this month than in any other month. That's with four games yet to play. This coincides with his average plummeting to .234, nearly 70 points below the next-worse month, and only five extra-base hits. This is the guy who led the majors in total bases for much of the season, and is still tied with Josh Hamilton for third overall with 265 (Miguel Cabrera has ran away with the lead at 287, Braun has 268).
Some of this is regression to the mean, but from what I've seen recently, the problem is Cutch becoming too selective early in the count. He's letting good pitches go past for strike one or strike two, then chasing waste pitches. He needs to get more aggressive early in the count.
Drawing walks and making pitchers work are desirable traits, but Andrew McCutchen has a rare ability to put bat on ball and make hard contact WAY more often than just about anyone else on the planet. This team needs him to do that if they're to have any hope of making the playoffs.