The most famous of the Bearcats in the Big League crew has put together more than a few highlight reel worthy moments since our last episode. From a game-winner, to some fielding wizardry, he’s been getting stuff done for the Pittsburgh Pirates, even if his team has been falling more often than not. His most vital contribution over the last week or so has got to be the walkoff single he had in the rain against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 6. In the bottom of the 10th inning, with the scored tied 1-1, Harrison took a Carlos Torres offering into right center for a single, driving in Gift Ngoepe for the game-winning run.
Harrison went 2-for-5 in that game and he added another multi-hit game against the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday, swatting three hits, including a double, in four at bats. For Harrison, who has been hovering around the .300 level in terms of batting average since the end of April, he needed a big night to stop his average from dropping below .280. Entering last night’s action he was slashing .283/.349/.460 but his three-hit night improved those numbers considerably (.299/.362/.479). With a wRC+ of 126 and a fWAR of 0.9, Harrison is playing well as we reach mid-May and improving on his work from 2016. What’s interesting, is that Harrison has gotten off to such a great start even though he has the same BABIP as he did last year (.323).
On Sunday, Happ returned to the field after missing eight days with a bruised left thumb. With the injury behind him, Happ has gotten back to mashing. On Sunday he went 1-for-2 with an RBI and followed that up with an explosive 2-for-5 game on Monday, as he belted a home run and drove in five runs. Click here for video of the dinger.
His power is undeniable, with nine home runs in 95 at bats, while he has slashed a solid .263/.336/.589. Once again, the only cause for concern is his patience, as he has walked only 11 times, compared to 25 strikeouts. Still, that can be overlooked when he is sending balls into orbit at such an accelerated pace.
It has been smooth sailing for Walsh between posts. He has only pitched twice in that time, but his ERA has fallen by a little more than a run and a half thanks to five innings of scoreless relief work. On May 4 he pitched the final three innings of a 3-0 loss to the Mississippi Braves and only allowed a single hit. Then, on May 9, he earned his first hold of the season by tossing two scoreless innings against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Walsh has now pitched in nine games (17 innings) and struck out a batter an inning while holding opponents to a .169 average.
Like Walsh, Atkinson bounced back from some troubles he had endured when last we met. The right-hander pitched excellently in his last start, allowing just one hit and no earned runs across six innings, helping the Visalia Rawhide to a 4-0 victory over the Inland Empire. Atkinson earned the win and is now 4-1 with a 3.48 ERA in six starts (31 innings) this season. He is striking out a little less than a batter per inning (29 total) and has twice as many punchouts as walks (13).