A’s, as in the Oakland Athletics, are in a pennant race for the first time since 2006. We have the second wild card to thank for this, but the no-name A’s have been the hottest team since July 1. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you assemble a competent pitching staff.
While the wiry Pittsburgh centerfielder with dreadlocks continues his march toward his first MVP, does the season he has put together rank among one of the all-time best?
We’ll be able to judge the full season later but from May 9 to July 13, McCutchen had an impressive 56-game run rivaling that of the legendary Joe DiMaggio in 1941.
During that historic streak, Joe D hit .403 with a .459 OBP and .691 slugging for a 1.150 OPS. Not bad. (Not as impressive as rival Ted Williams’ stretch during the same time period, but that’s a column for another day.)
McCutchen’s numbers are right there with DiMaggio’s. He hit .396 with a .442 OBP and .733 slugging for a 1.174 OPS. Arguably better.
DiMaggio hit safely in all 56 games, which is what makes that streak so special, obviously, and McCutchen hit safely in only 45 and reached by hit or walk in 51.
The Yankee Clipper was surrounded with a much better lineup and scored 57 times and collected 36 extra-base hits. McCutchen scored 45 runs and rapped out 33 extra-base hits.
So, maybe it’s not quite DiMaggio-esque, but it is curious that DiMaggio wasn’t walked intentionally a single time during his streak. American League pitchers never shied away from DiMaggio, presumably one of the hottest of any major leaguer ever. McCutchen was passed intentionally six times during his 56-game stretch, a sign of respect, or possibly disrespect for the Pirates’ lineup.
No one will remember McCutchen’s 56-game streak from May 9 to July 13, 2012, but it’s worth mentioning when talking about hot hitting stretches since McCutchen came in the league in 2009.
In the 17 seasons that have concluded with a postseason since baseball expanded to the three-division format in 1994, 66 of the 102 teams that were in first place at the All-Star break went on to win their division (64.7%). Of the 136 teams in line for a playoff spot, 87 of them actually made the playoffs (64.0%). So, there’s a pretty good chance that four of the six division leaders will hang on to their leads.
Athlon Sports looks back at the previous week's best baseball players
Each week Athlon Sports looks back at the previous week's best baseball players in the American and National Leagues and recaps the most outstanding pitching performances. Here are last week's —July 1-July 8 — standouts.
Who are the top four players in Pittsburgh history?
MLB Mt. Rushmores
by Charlie Miller
The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.
You already know about the Dodgers and Mets financial issues, that Adam Dunn has two hits (in 58 at-bats) off of lefties this season, and that the Cubs are…well, the Cubs. Now it’s time to focus on the positive news from the first half of the baseball season. Here’s my starting nine: