If there happens to be any issues with the Pirates’ team charter, delaying tonight’s flight to Detroit, I’m pretty sure the Nationals would be willing to pay for a commercial ticket for Andrew McCutchen.
At this point, I think they’ll do whatever it takes to get the guy out of D.C.
McCutchen has worn out the Nationals in his career, and that didn’t change today. The Pirates’ center fielder went 2-for-4 with two home runs against the Nats tonight, the second of which came in the sixth and ended up serving as a key insurance run.
In this two-game series, 25-year-old McCutchen had four hits, and is batting .588 (10-for-17) with four homers and six RBIs against Washington this season.
“We certainly haven’t figured out how to pitch him. He looks awful comfortable in there,” manager Davey Johnson said. “If we’d had a base open any time, I’d have probably walked him. He’s had an impressive series against us.”
McCutchen’s a nice player, batting .281 in his career. But he apparently does his best work when he faces the guys from the nation’s capital.
In 23 career games against the Nats, McCutchen has a ridiculous .441 average, 10 homers and 21 RBIs. He nearly boosted those numbers even more with a third longball today, but a third-inning deep fly curled just around the foul pole in left.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget that fifth-inning Web Gem when he robbed Adam LaRoche of an extra-base hit with a leaping grab at the wall.
“Yeah, he does pretty good against us,” Ryan Zimmerman said with a wry smile. “I mean, he’s a good player. They try to pitch him away (his first at-bat), and he hits it away. They bring one in, and he almost hits one down the left-field line. And then the next at-bat, I’m hoping he was sitting first-pitch slider. Because if he’s not sitting one, it seemed even more impressive.
“He’s one of those special players that can do everything. He’s fun to watch. I just wish we didn’t have to watch him so much when we play him.”
Luckily, the Nats are done facing McCutchen this season, as their season series with Pittsburgh is now complete. But Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed both of the homers to McCutchen today, is already jotting down some mental notes on how to attack the Pirates’ young star next time he sees him.
“I think we’ve got to bust him in next time we face him,” Zimmremann said. “I think he was sitting on that slider. And the fastball he hit in the first inning was a little up, and he just drove it the other way. He’s a good player, and you’ve just got to make your pitches.”
Zimmermann, meanwhile, needed to battle to get through six innings tonight. He kept the Nats in it, but while he had allowed two home runs in his seven previous starts combined, he gave up three longballs tonight.
“I didn’t feel very good at all,” Zimmermann said. “I was flying open, and I wasn’t able to locate my fastball at all. The breaking stuff was good, but when you can’t locate your fastball, you’re going to be in trouble and it’s going to be a long game.”