The reigning National League MVP, Andrew McCutchen is returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, and the franchise and fans are all giddy about it. With good reason.
The team is currently second in the NL Central, 5.5 behind the Milwaukee Brewers, but their best chances of getting into the playoffs right now is by landing one of the wild-card slots for a second straight year. They currently find themselves only 1.5 games out of the second wild-card, but 5.5 games separate six teams. With the addition of McCutchen, the Pirates easily become much better overnight.
McCutchen leads the team in most major offensive categories including batting average (.311), hits (128), home runs (17), doubles (32), runs batted in (67), and on base percentage (.411). The Pirates are 3-7 in the clubs last ten games, and a lot of that has be given to McCutchen’s absence from both the lineup and in center field.
Given McCutchen’s return, he will give them the boost they need with the bat and glove, but also as a vocal leader. He is not shy. He likes being the center of the universe and taking much of the pressure off of his teammates especially as the playoff race begins to heat up. He stays calm and cool in the biggest moments and looks to do whatever is needed to help the team walk off the diamond with a win under their belt for the night. The team has already began to raise the Jolly Roger with his expected return tomorrow knowing the injury is not more serious than it seemed a few weeks ago.