Andrew McCutchen emerging as maybe the best player in the National League is the biggest story of the season for the Pirates but starter James McDonald (9-3, 2.37 ERA) is not far behind.
McDonald flashed “top shelf stuff” in the Pirates 3-1 win over the Giants, securing the Pirates to go into the All-Star Break after today’s game of no worst than being tied for first place.
McDonald dazzled, allowing 4 hits and 1 run in seven innings of work, while striking out 10 and walking NONE. By striking out 10 and walking none and getting the win at home, McDonald become the first Pirates pitcher since Doug Drabek to accomplish that feat who had 11 strikeouts and no walks in his 8-4 complete-game victory over the Cubs on April 22, 1988 at Three Rivers Stadium, ” via Elias Sports Bureau.
“I love the 0-10. That’s good stuff, ” manager Clint Hurdle said raving about McDonald’s performance on Saturday.  “Major League top-shelf stuff, ” Hurdle added. McDonald has won four straight starts and the big thing for McDonald was the zero walks after walking five in his previous outing against Houston on July 2. “Straight A’s {across the board},” Hurdle said of McDonald. “Vogelsong pitched a good game but James pitched a better game. Good downhill angle on his fastball, the breaking ball for strikes and chase.  He was very efficient.” McDonald had great command of his fastball but his slider and changeup was also clicking. “I had a pretty good arsenal today, ” McDonald said yesterday. “Slider was better than it has been, the fastball command was good and I  threw some good changeups.”
McDonald who has thrown 10 strikeouts or more in three games this season, now ranks in the top-10 in several categories in the National League.
 3rd in NL in ERA (2.37) | 3rd in NL in WHIP (0.97) | 6th in NL in W% (.750)  7th in NL in W (9)
— Manager Clint Hurdle will move Erik Bedard to 5th in the rotation as the team resets their rotation following the All-Star Break. Hurdle wants to Bedard to get some additional work with the coaching staff.
Andrew McCutchen (.359 – 16 HR – 56 RBIs) has been selected to hit in the Home Run derby and while there’s concern from the fan base, manager Clint Hurdle said this morning for McCutchen to go get it. “It’s not going to wreck his swing, ” Hurdle said. “He’s a smart kid.”
Neil Walker (.280 – 5 HR – 39 RBIs) enters today’s game with an 11 game hitting streak and has his batting average at .280 on the season. Walker is batting .313 with 12 doubles and 22 RBIs since June 1.
Pedro Alvarez (.235 – 16 HR – 50 RBI) enters today’s game with 15 RBIs in his last nine games. Alvarez has driven in runs in seven of his last nine. He’s currently on pace for 31 home runs and 96 RBIs.
PITCHING MATCHUP SFG Tim Lincecum (3-9, 6.08 ERA) Vs PIT A.J Burnett (9-2, 3.74 ERA)
1. Drew Sutton, LF
2. Neil Walker, 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Garrett Jones, RF
5. Casey McGehee, 1B
6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
7. Rod Barajas, C
8. Clint Barmes, SS
9. A.J. Burnett, P