Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Getty Images
ATLANTA — Good … morning? afternoon? evening? I’ve lost track. It’s all been a blur since last night’s rain delay. Anyway, let’s get back at it.
>>> I would not be shocked if Andrew McCutchen is moved down in the batting order as soon as today. McCutchen went 0 for 5 last night — and twice hit into double plays with runners in scoring position — which dropped his batting average to .200.
Manager Clint Hurdle after the game refused to say what he thinks might be ailing McCutchen at the plate. Hurdle, who was ejected in the first inning (the second game in a row he got an early exit), saw McCutchen’s ABs on TV instead of from his usual dugout view. “I’ve got to watch from a different angle the last couple of nights, so I might have some new thoughts to bring to the table (on Wednesday),” Hurdle said.
In the first inning, Adam Frazier fell behind 0-2, but worked a leadoff walk. After fouling off a bunt attempt, Josh Harrison lined a single into center field. Up came McCutchen, who went into the game batting .229 with runners in scoring position. Two on and none out. A chance for to set the tone early. McCutchen grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Josh Bell, who batted cleanup for the fifth time in six games, salvaged something in the inning by blooping an RBI double into left field.
The Pirates had a chance to blow it open in the fourth. With one out, Tyler Glasnow singled. Frazier walked. Harrison singled to load the bases. McCutchen fell behind 1-2, then hit a bouncer to third base for an inning-ending double play.
>>> UPDATE 5 p.m. – After discussing early this morning with Hurdle, McCutchen has been benched for today’s game. Hurdle did not indicate whether this will last more than one game. “We’re taking it day by day,” Hurdle said.
McCutchen said he will use today to put in extra workon some mechanical problems. He said the reason for his slump is not mental — he’s not over-thinking things at the plate.
“The thing is, I don’t think when I hit, ” McCutchen said. “Honestly, what can you think about when the ball is coming in there, it’s getting to you in four-tenths of a second? You really can’t think about too much. When I hit, I don’t think. That’s what makes me the hitter I know I can be. When I’m hitting, people ask what I’m thinking about. I don’t know. I just go up there and try and hit the ball. That hasn’t changed at all. I do my thinking in the cage. I do my thinking when I’m sitting there and working with my hitting coaches and working on certain things. When the game starts, I go and play. It’s just about it translating from the cage to the field. Right now, it’s some work I’ve got to do. once that translates on the field, I know I’ll be good. Want it to work now, but I know sometimes that doesn’t happen. At least I know what I’m doing. It’s just about fixing it, and it’s about it sticking and being able to stay in that position.”
>>> UPDATE 6:40 p.m. – Gregory Polanco (hamstring) ran the bases at full-speed without incident, according to head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk. Polanco seems set come off the DL when he’s eligible tomorrow instead of going on a minor league rehab stint. … Also, Antonio Bastardo (quad) is set to throw one inning tomorrow in extended spring training. Bastardo likely will go to a minor league affiliate within the next couple of days. … Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer) will throw another bullpen tomorrow morning.
>>> A two-out single by Alen Hanson in the seventh inning last night snapped a streak of 15.1 hitless innings by the Braves’ bullpen. The run spanned 51 at-bats and 56 batters. All those measures are franchise records.
>>> During the third inning last night, warning buzzers went off and a message flashed on all the videoboards telling fans they needed to evacuate SunTrust Park. A few fans left their seats, but the warnings were quickly disabled and the game went on as normal. A tweet sent by SunTrust Park’s account said a “malfunction” was to blame for the disturbance. According to The Associated Press, a pan fire in the Chop House restaurant in right field triggered the alarms.
>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:
Braves 6, Pirates 5: A long, wet night ends with 13 runners stranded on base and a gut-punch defeat
Notebook: In which Taillon pines for normalcy, Polanco says he’s ready, and Freese chirps
>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Braves, 7:35 p.m. SunTrust Park, Atlanta. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Danny Ortiz 8, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 6.04) 1
Braves: Ender Inciarte 8, Brandon Phillips 4, Nick Markakis 9, MKatt Kemp 7, Matt Adams 3, Tyler Flower 2, Rio Ruiz 5, Jace Peterson 6, RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 5.47) 1
Gamecast: Williams has faced the Braves just once before. On April 9, he retired six of the seven batters he faced and recorded four strikeouts over two scoreless innings of relief at PNC Park. … Pirates UTIL Adam Frazier reached base safely in three of five plate appearances on Monday. Since being reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on May 12, Frazier’s 17 hits ties him for the most in the National League with Charlie Blackmon, Ender Inciarte and D.J. LeMahieu.
>>> Thursday: Pirates at Braves, 12:10 p.m. SunTrust Park, Atlanta. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (4-3, 2.63) Braves: RHP Bartolo Colón (2-4, 6.28)
>>> Friday: Mets at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74) Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85)
>>> Saturday: Mets at Pirates, 7:15 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Fox. Radio: 93.7 FM
Mets: TBA Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36) Note: LHP Tommy Milone (1-2, 7.91) was slated to start, but today was placed on the DL.
>>> Sunday: Mets at Pirates, 8 p.m., PNC Park. TV: ESPN. Radio: 93.7 FM
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.