Morning Pirates Buzz
— Coming off a thrilling come from behind victory Tuesday night, Andrew McCutchen was the hero Wednesday night in extra innings, getting the Pirates back to .500.
McCutchen led off the 12th by taking a 3-2 pitch from Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zach Kroenke (0-1) just inside the left-field foul pole for his 10th home run of the season.
It was McCutchen second walk off homer of his career.
The victory improved the Pirates record to 30-30, their best record this late in the season since the 2005 season when they were 30-30 on June 11, 2005.
“We’re .500 and that’s about the significance of it to us,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It will have more significance later in season when we’re 500. I understand the importance of it to the fans…. though, when I’m walking the streets, having lunch, having dinner, doing things around the Burgh. I’m glad people are excited about it, but we don’t want to be satisfied with being .500 in June.”
It was an excellent win by the Pirates who got clutch contributions in several areas.
A win tonight against the Diamondbacks and the Pirates will go above .500 for the first time this late in the season since 1999. Jeff Karstens (3-4) gets the start for them.
— Andrew McCutchen has had an up and down first two months of the season but he’s showing signs of possibly breaking out into the star caliber of player that some thought he could this season.
McCutchen (.282 – 10HR – 34 RBI) has a seven game hitting streak and is batting .517 during that span, going 15-29 with 1 home run, 7 RBI’s, 9 runs scored and just 3 strikeouts.
— The Pirates entered the season with little to no interest in retaining Paul Maholm beyond this season but if the Pirates intend on trying to develop a winning culture, the best bet could be to keep Maholm.
Maholm pitched 6 shutout innings Wednesday night, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 4. He has lowered his ERA to 3.39 on the season.
He is just 28 years old and while Maholm is not a guy you want as a No. 1 or 2 starter and he’s likely reached his “ceiling”, the Pirates would be better off keeping him around to stabilize the rotation and act as a possible mentor for the Pirates up and coming pitching prospects, such as Rudy Owens and Gerrit Cole who could be up with the team in late 2012 and full-time by 2013.
Maholm who is excellent in the community, is said to have a strong interest in sticking around. A 3 year deal worth $15 to 18 million is something the Pirates should consider.
— The Pirates losing Chris Snyder (back) for an extended period of time would be a significant blow. With Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo also on the shelf, the Pirates could be forced to look elsewhere. Baltimore recently placed Jake Fox on waivers.