PITTSBURGH - Since some of you might have missed the stats I shared last night on Andrew McCutchen’s dominance against the Nationals, I feel the need to pass them along again.
Sorry. While it might sting to look at these numbers, they’re so ridiculous that I feel like they have to be shared.
In 24 career games against the Nats, McCutchen is batting .456 (41-for-89) with 11 home runs, 22 RBIs and an insane 1.448 OPS.
“He’s not going to hit a home run every time,” said Ross Detwiler, who allowed a solo shot to McCutchen last night, “but it almost seems like against us he does.”
The McCutchen home run was the Pirates’ first longball of the day off Detwiler. The second probably never would’ve taken place if the Nats had been able to execute a pickoff play one batter before Jordy Mercer launched a two-run shot to left that gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead in the fifth.
With two outs, Starling Marte reached on a single, and then with Detwiler preparing to fire to Mercer, Marte took off for second. Detwiler saw Marte’s first move and threw over to first, behind the runner.
Adam LaRoche stepped out toward home plate to try and give himself a better throwing lane to fire down to second base to cut down Marte, but he couldn’t find a grip on the baseball in his roomy first baseman’s mitt. That inability to get off a quick throw allowed Marte to swipe second base cleanly, and instead of the inning being over, it continued, allowing Mercer to smack an 0-1 sinker into the seats.
“It’s one of those, it’s a high, slow leg kick. I know how fast the guy is,” LaRoche said. “And I’ve got one shot at it. And that’s the only negative of having a big glove is times like that where I go in to get it, can’t find it for a split second, it can cost you when a guy can fly on the bases.”
Those are the types of plays that, when you’re clicking, go your way. Maybe LaRoche makes a clean throw. Maybe Marte stumbles trying to get into a full sprint. Maybe Detwiler responds to the botched pickoff by retiring Mercer and notching the third out of the inning.
When you’re not clicking, those are the situations that backfire on you. That’s what happened last night.
The Nationals scored just a single run, and that two-run blast after the failed pickoff was the difference in the game.
“Fun game, isn’t it?” LaRoche said.