Though the Pittsburgh Pirates spent the last few days trading away more of their top players, at least one member of their current roster appears to have a real future with the organization.
After a career night from rookie center fielder Andrew McCutchen(notes) highlighted their latest victory, the Pirates look for a third straight win in the continuation of a four-game series versus the lowly Washington Nationals on Sunday at PNC Park.
Even without those players, the Pirates snapped a five-game losing streak by winning the first two against Washington (32-72), which has lost four in a row and has the worst record in the majors.
Pittsburgh hasn’t won three straight since winning four in a row June 24-27.
“It was one of those days where everything worked, everything went your way,” said the Pirates leadoff hitter, who had four hits and six RBIs. “It’s just a day I know I won’t forget. A day I know I’ll remember.”
The 22-year-old McCutchen, who’s 6 for 8 in this series, could be a player the cash-strapped Pirates might decide to build around as they again try to revamp their roster with young talent.
“He’s a great athlete,” Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman said of McCutchen, a 2005 first-round draft pick who’s batting .293 with 31 RBIs since being called up from the minors June 4. “You’ve read about him for a year or two now, and now he’s here and he’s going to be a force to deal with.”
Morgan is batting .402 in 26 games since Pittsburgh traded the center fielder to Washington in order to give McCutchen more playing time.
Maholm (6-5, 4.70 ERA) looks to bounce back after allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss at San Francisco on Monday for his first defeat in six starts, a span that includes three outings without a decisions.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in five starts versus Washington. He allowed one run and struck out seven in six innings, but didn’t factor in the decision of a 2-1 win over the Nationals on May 20.
The right-hander, who’s 4-8 in 17 career starts, allowed two runs and five hits in six innings of an 8-3 win at Milwaukee on Tuesday.