On May 23, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen found himself going hitless in five at-bats in a 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His average dropped down to .200. It was the lowest point in the season and many questioned what kind of future the former National League MVP would have in Pittsburgh.
John Jaso doubled to the RF corner and now has a higher batting average (.207) than Andrew McCutchen (.202).
— Joshua (@DCParallax) May 24, 2017
And then suddenly, something clicked.
McCutchen caught fire.
In his last 56 games, from May 26 through July 31, ‘Cutch’ has hit .356, the best batting average in the National League. His slugging percentage of .687, and on base percentage of .473 is also number one in the NL.
“I don’t look anywhere specifically,” McCutchen said to Fan Graph about his slow start in April and May. “The struggle of the season, in the beginning, has nothing to do with the location of pitches, it has to do with me, from the start. It has to do with my setup in the box, it has to do with my preparation, being ready to hit whatever is thrown at me. The reason I was struggling was because of what I was doing prior to swinging the bat.”
On Sunday July 30, McCutchen hit three home runs against the Padres, to cap off a phenomenal month of July where he averaged .322 with 8 home runs and 19 RBI.
— Pirates (@Pirates) July 31, 2017
Back in 2016, McCutchen, an outspoken Christian, shared about platform and how he has made it his mission to use the platform that baseball has given him to give back to others and point people back to the God that created him.
“A lot of people feel that in order to make a difference, that you got to be this big person,” said McCutchen. “You have to be this famous person. You got to have this much money. But the fact is, if you’re for God, you’re making a difference already. Just a small gesture goes such a far way.”
Cutch talked about how his faith in Jesus Christ is what he focuses on and when he deviates from that, things get all messed up.
“The more I started to concentrate on God, the less I started to concentrate on individual accolades and stats and baseball,” said McCutchen. “I just started looking at things from a different spectrum. Reach toward God, look toward Him, the game is just different. I play it differently.”
The Pirates begin the month of August three games below .500 at 51-54, but remain 5.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. They’ll need more hot hitting from Andrew McCutchen if they want to be playing baseball in October.