Player to Watch: Pirates
Andrew McCutchen: If McCutchen played in any other market besides Pittsburgh, there’s a good chance he would be a household name with lucrative endorsements and a starting spot on the All-Star team. Unfortunately, because of Pittsburgh’s lack of success (understatement) McCutchen goes largely unnoticed. It’s a shame, given his slash line of .326/.384/.550 to go along with 11 home runs and 37 RBI. That said, this series is going to play out one of two ways: Either the Indians limit McCutchen’s damage and they win at least two games, or McCutchen channels his inner Brandon Philips and the Indians struggle.
Player to Watch: Indians
- Carlos Santana: His concussion may very well have thrown him out of whack at the plate, but even before that he was struggling. Dating back to May 18th, Santana has exactly zero multi-hit games and is hitting only .137. He has 13 strikeouts to just 8 walks and has driven in only six runs. His lack of an impact of any kind is one of the primary reasons why the Indians have struggled so much as of late. If this keeps up it might be time to move him down in the lineup in favor of Michael Brantley or Jose Lopez.
Series Trivia: Despite the fact that the Pirates have been so bad for so long, they have still managed to win more games as a franchise than the Indians: 9,473 to 7,743, respectively. However, the Indians have posted a slightly higher winning percentage than the Pirates, .510 to .508. The reason: the Pirates have been in existence 24 years longer and played 18,659 games to the Indians’ 15,189. Cleveland and Pittsburgh have played 30 games head to head all-time with both teams having won 15.