An Uncomfortable Conversation: Is it time for Joe Girardi to sit Andrew McCutchen?
There’s no denying that Andrew McCutchen is off to a rough start this season. The Phillies fan-favorite and former National League Most Valuable Player is slashing just .151/.300/.231 though his first 80 at-bats. McCutchen is hitting into ground balls on 58.3% of his at-bats. Well above his career average of 41.2%.
McCutchen’s advanced stats are tough to swallow as well..
Through 19 games:
- OPS .530
- OPS + 52
- -0.3 WAR
McCutchen isn’t just struggling to get going at the plate. His defense has been flat-out tough to watch, especially for a guy who once won a Gold Glove roaming centerfield in Pittsburgh. It sure looks like his offensive struggles are bleeding into the other aspects of his game.
This play with 2 outs against the Giants allowed them to take the lead. While the Phillies would go on to win the game 6-5, the lack of concentration from a 13-year veteran is something you can’t have on a winning team.
Again on Sunday, Cutch let a routine liner get past him and roll all the way to the outfield fence giving up a triple and allowing a runner to score.
Joe Girardi was honest and upfront when answering questions regarding McCutchen from douchebag Howard Eskin following Sunday’s 12-2 drubbing in Denver. Girardi acknowledged that although they need better play from a team leader and veteran, there really isn’t a better option at this point.
The Phillies are dangerously thin at every positional group other than catcher. They have quality utility guys in Matt Joyce and Brad Miller, but expecting anything more than a decent stretch or asking them to stop the immediate bleeding in LF is too much. For this team to truly succeed, Cutch has to be starting and thriving near the top of the lineup.
I am not ready to enter full panic mode. There are plenty of star players who have similar stretches where they seem lost at the plate. And while 80 plate appearances is a small sample size for a guy who may end up with 600. This is a disconcerting trend for McCutchen who has clearly been regressing in the back half of his career.
I believe Joe Girardi is nearing the point where he may have to ask a former MVP to hit the pine for a few games to regroup and refine his approach. I also believe Joe Girardi has the respect and trust of the clubhouse where he may be able to pull this off.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY