Andrew McCutchen hit a key two-run bomb to help lift the Phillies over the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 on Wednesday night. The win keeps the Phillies’ slim Wild Card hopes alive as they sit 4.5 games out with 10 games left in the regular season.
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Ke’Bryan Hayes is in his first full season. After putting up impressive numbers during the 2020 season, Hayes was determined to come back in 2021 ready to make an impact.
During the 2020 season he appeared in 24 games and hit .376 with five home runs and 11 RBI. His bat was lit and the energy he infused into the Pirates faithful was reminiscent of when Andrew McCutchen helped take Pittsburgh from the losingest franchise in North American sports to World Series contenders.
Hayes, the son of former MLB player and World Series champion Charlie Hayes, put the baseball world on notice and his glove garnered praise similar to that given to such webmasters as Manny Machado, Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt.
Those are some numbers that will catch people’s attention and it certainly caught the Pirates’ attention. In fact, Hayes is the only reason most people outside of the state of Pennsylvania even watch Pirates games.
This season, our MLBbro has seen a lot more action and he has put together solid numbers. The Texas native dealt with injuries at the beginning of the season and now he’s trying to finish on a strong note. He’s batting .248 with five home runs and 27 RBI through 69 games.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 22, 2021
Hayes recently went on a six-game hitting streak this month. During that span he recorded eight hits and had a .363 batting average. Such offensive explosiveness is the reason why the Pirates selected him in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft. They saw the potential in him six years ago and now it’s all starting to show.
When you look at the future of the Pirates, you have to envision Hayes as a leader of the pack because he has the physical tools and natural leadership qualities. And he’s just scratching the surface of his peak as a player.
Now he has struggled a little bit this season due to a wrist injury and some other issues, but he’s also shown strong signs of being a franchise player. The Pirates are looking to find their identity and having a young, exciting player like Hayes on the team certainly helps.
When the team traded it’s top infielder Adam Frazier, Hayes was not a happy camper because Hayes always received some positive words from his former teammate.
“He came to where I was sitting at on the plane and talked, and he just told me to keep working hard, keep going, keep your head level and keep fighting every day, because I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Hayes told the Post-Gazette. “He was talking to me about that, he was telling me just be aggressive at the plate and have positive thoughts and keep working.”
“Losing Frazier kind of sucks,” Hayes added. “Him and [center fielder Bryan Reynolds], they’ve been our best hitters this year. You’ve just got to look at the bigger picture with what they’re trying to do in the next few years, once we’ve gotten the guys down in the lower levels up and as guys like me — this is my first full year — being able to get some experience. That way whenever I’m in a position like Fraz to help kind of lead the team for the younger guys that are coming in, like how I came in last year.”
Hayes is 24-years-old and he already believes that the Pirates will be in a good position down the line.
“I feel like we’re going to get there, because we have a ton of talent, the trades that we’ve had already, bringing in some pretty good young prospects,” he said. “So I think it’s just taking it day by day and just building that chemistry with everyone to get to that end goal.”
When McCutchen first came to Pittsburgh, the francise was a bottom feeder. Instead of leaving, he stayed the course, signed a six-year, $51 million extension, won an MVP and before the franchise dumped him at age 30 (following a 28-homer season), he led them back to the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds roamed the outfield.
“It used to be that people didn’t want to get traded to the Pirates and people didn’t want to come here unless they were trying to redeem their careers,” McCutchen told S.I.com back in 2013. “Now we’ve got guys who come here and want to be here. They see what we have and they want to be a part of it.”
Hayes has the same optimism oozing from his persona. Hayes is becoming the face of the Pirates and the key the franchise;s future.
In 2019, Andrew McCutchen had surgery on his left knee after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament.
Recently, the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder felt some discomfort in the same knee and he was sent to the injured list on August 1st.
McCutchen has been an important part of the Phillies lineup and his bat has helped the team scratch its way to the top of the NL East.
He came through clutch on July 26th, hitting a walk-off three-run home run to lead the Phillies past the Washington Nationals.
Some Second Hand Smoke 💨 from Andrew McCutchen again?
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) July 28, 2021
While McCutchen was sent to the injured list, the veteran has been feeling good despite being sidelined.
“We’re progressing in the right direction,” McCutchen told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m hoping the closer we get to the 10 days I’ll be ready to go.”
When he started feeling discomfort in his knee, he got an MRI and it revealed that it was only inflammation.
Now that’s good news for Phillies fans because the team can’t afford to lose McCutchen for the rest of the season with the way he’s been playing.
At the same, the Phillies definitely wanted to be cautious with McCutchen and not let him play through it.
“Initially I was like, ‘Shoot, [it’s] a knee. Let’s figure this thing out,’ ” McCutchen said. “But once I got the OK that I’m OK, I was like, ‘All right, I can get back out and go after it.’ ”
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) July 29, 2021
McCutchen has dealt with injuries throughout his career, so he’s no stranger to body care.
McCutchen knows that if it was up to him he would be playing, but the Phillies have something different in mind.
“I can go out and run right now, but of course they want to have a plan,” he said. “My plan is different from theirs. I could be out shagging fly balls right now. I’m sure I’ll be doing some type of running or something [Friday] and kind of go from there.”
The five-time All-Star hopes to return to the lineup soon and even maybe sooner than expected.
Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game and the Phillies want to make sure McCutchen is at full strength before he returns.
Not only has McCutchen been one of the top hitters for the Phillies, he’s been one of the top sluggers in the National League over the last two months.
Going into play on August 5th, McCutchen ranked seventh in slugging percentage (.574), tied for seventh in home runs (13), and tied for 10th in RBI (37) since the beginning of June.
Our MLBbro made a complete turn around from the beginning of the season to up to this point now.
He’s shown that he’s still a force to be reckoned with at the plate and the power is still there at 34-years-old.
Through 98 games he’s hitting .234 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI.
Once he returns to the lineup, McCutchen will continue to play a key role for the Phillies as they look to make the playoffs.
Bros at The Show Sunday in ATL. Jabari Brown and Nahaj Brown (@GuttaBlak) enjoy the Braves game at Truist Park.
This week Andrew McCutchen was vibing like he did during his 2013 National League MVP season.
He terrorized the Washington Nationals by hitting three home runs on three consecutive game days including a walk-off three run game winning shot in Monday’s game.
For that, he earns the top spot on our Week 16 MLBbro #HighFive list.
1. Andrew McCutchen
“Cutch” was up with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning with two ducks on the pond during Monday night’s game against the National. The vet came through in one of the biggest moments of the Phillies season, deciding to call “game” by hitting a walk-off home run over the right field fence.
Andrew McClutchen. pic.twitter.com/3wkVn00nOX
— MLB (@MLB) July 27, 2021
This week is no anomaly, as Andrew McCutchen has been on a redemption tour this entire season.
The former National League MVP and five-time All-Star hit his 20th home run of the season during Thursday’s double-header (which already equals his total for both 2019 and 2020 combined).
With two months left in the season, he also has a chance of reaching the 30-homer plateau for the second time in his career. The other being in 2012.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 28, 2021
McCutchen batted .346 with three home runs, six RBI, six runs, six walks and a .731 slugging percentage over the last week.
This weekend he’ll travel to Pittsburgh to face Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pirates.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 29, 2021
2. LaMonte Wade Jr.
LaMonte Wade Jr. impacted one of the biggest rivalries in all of baseball when his first-place San Francisco Giants met the Dodgers, earning him his first appearance on our #HighFive list this season.
On Wednesday night, he put the nail in the coffin during a four-run comeback in the top of the ninth inning in L.A.
Then Wade Jr. put in overtime with his work at the plate over the weekend. He had three home runs in two days.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 25, 2021
Over his past seven games Wade has three home runs, seven RBI, and a .917 slugging percentage.
Wade has found comfort in the leadoff spot for the Giants.
LaMonte Wade Jr. stayed calm in a huge moment
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 23, 2021
3. “The Real Deal” Akil Baddoo
BADDOO MANIA is back as he has officially begun campaigning for the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Baddoo is the only person to reappear on our list from Week 15. He homered three times this week including a solo shot during his 2-for-5 day at the plate on Tuesday.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 28, 2021
Since coming back from the All-Star break, Baddoo has gotten off to the same hot start he did at the beginning of the season.
Over his last 15 games he has a .297 batting average, five home runs and 15 RBI.
Ask not what you can do for Baddoo.
But what Baddoo can do for you. pic.twitter.com/7zVRXKqYsC
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 22, 2021
Baddoo and his Tigers will take on Cedric “CM Storm” Mullins and the Baltimore Orioles in a four game set this weekend..
4. George Springer
George Springer has recovered from the bumps and bruises that impeded the first half of his season and is tearing the cover off of baseballs, as well as being one of the more elite defensive outfielders in the game.
He was recently named as Rob Parker’s Home Boi Highlight.
In this week’s Home Boi Highlights @RobParkerFS1 tells you about Toronto Blue Jays centerfielder George Springer who is finally 100% healthy and has his game turnt up in every aspect https://t.co/8XADivxVGl #WeAreBlueJays #MLBbros pic.twitter.com/T4umO7CXua
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 26, 2021
This past Saturday night, Springer made one of the best catches you will ever see when he did a lit Jumpman impression by diving for a catch in center field.
George Springer Is Back, For Real !! https://t.co/WTqeHA4JNC
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) July 25, 2021
This weekend Springer will get another chance to play in front of a Canadian audience during Toronto’s series against the Kansas City Royals.
5. Cedric Mullins
Mullins’ first half All-Star nod was not a fluke as he’s still among MLB’s best hitters.
Mullins hit home run number 17 during Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins and has also climbed to sixth place MLB’s batting title chase.
Mullins also leads MLB outfielders with a 4.1 WAR and is leading all American League outfielders in hits, OPS and is tied for the lead in triples and doubles.