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Bearcats in the Big Leagues: A Mixed Bag

In this week’s episode, Josh Harrison beats up on Milwaukee and Connor Walsh gets a promotion.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Josh Harrison

The last seven games have been book ended by stellar performances from Harrison. On Aug. 20, against the Miami Marlins, Harrison went 3-for-4 with an RBI in a 3-1 loss. Yesterday, exactly seven days later, he again had three hits, while also collecting two stolen bases and a pair of RBI in a 9-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Overall this week, he had eight hits in 29 at-bats (32 plate appearances) during a 3-4 stretch for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are currently the last team out of the NL playoffs, sitting 1.5 games back of the second wild card spot behind the St. Louis Cardinals. After battling the Brewers this afternoon, Harrison and the Pirates will visit the Chicago Cubs for three games before spending next weekend hosting Milwaukee. This season (and in his career overall), Harrison has struggled against the Cubs (.176/.263/.265 in 2016, .216/.266/.346 career) while hitting well against the Brewers (.325/.386/.475 in 2016, .289/.329/.438 career), so this week may be another mixed bag.

Ian Happ

While Harrison had a few strong games, Happ was struggling down on the farm with the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League. The former Bearcat went 2-for-19 this past week, collecting more strikeouts (six) than hits. However, he did manage to launch his fifth home run of the season in Double-A (12th overall this season) in a 10-7 win over the Jackson Generals. Happ has a slash line of .256/.312/.384 in Double-A, showing that he will likely need more time to develop before he advances once again.

Tony Campana

It was a light workload for Campana this week and that’s putting it mildly. He played in two games, but only as a late-game defensive substitution. Its not a major surprise considering his struggles at the plate this season (.217/.277/.232 combined between Triple-A Syracuse and Triple-A Charlotte).

Connor Walsh

I’ve got some good news and bad news about Walsh. First, the good news. On Aug. 19 he was called up from Single-A to Double-A, earning a spot with the Birmingham Barons. The bad news is he struggled mightily in his first outing for the Barons, allowing three runs on three hits in 23 innings of work. He settled down in his next appearance, pitching a scoreless inning of relief in a 1-0 loss.

Ryan Atkinson

Atkinson made one start for the Missoula Osprey this week. The game had some silver linings but was mostly a dreary effort. Atkinson did strike out six batters in four innings of work, but he also allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and was saddled with the loss. He is now 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four games (three starts) for Missoula.