Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Michael McKenry has only suited up for three games this season. However, after his phenomenal performance Sunday afternoon the Pirates must give him more playing time.
McKenry, who is the backup to starting catcher Russell Martin, played a huge part in Pittsburgh’s improbable come-from-behind victory in the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds. The 28-year-old went 2-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs.
The first home run was a solo shot off of starting pitcher Mat Latos to lead off the seventh inning. He then tied the game in the eighth inning with a two-run blast off of reliever Jonathan Broxton. Pirates outfielder Starling Marte then crushed a 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence to give Pittsburgh their first sweep over the Reds since April 16-18, 2010.
McKenry is batting .333 with two homers, three RBI, one double and three runs in nine at-bats this season. Obviously, a majority of his offensive production came in two plate appearances on Sunday. Regardless, the Pirates would be foolish not to give the three-year player more chances to showcase his talents.
Pittsburgh signed Martin to a two-year, $17 million contract this past offseason for him to be the starting catcher. This means they do not plan on decreasing his playing time just because McKenry is performing in his limited opportunities. However, Martin is batting a meager .065 with one RBI and four strikeouts in 31 at-bats.
Clearly, the Pirates would be wise to continue playing McKenry just to see where the hot streak takes them. This does not guarantee that he will continue playing at a high level because he gets more at-bats, but who knows.