After a day off on Saturday, Harrison looked plenty refreshed on Sunday in the last game before the All Star break. Batting in the leadoff spot, Harrison got the first inning of the Pirates tangle with the Cubs started with a line drive single to center field. He would come in to score on a Josh Bell single later in the inning. But that wasn’t his only appearance in the first frame, as he walked and scored on a Francisco Cervelli grand slam later in the inning as the Pirates hung up 10 runs on Cubs starter Jon Lester.
The offensive fireworks allowed the Pirates to coast to a 14-3 win as they go into the break. Harrison added to the run total with his 10th home run of the season, part of a 3-for-5 day for him overall. Harrison’s power production has mirrored that of the entire league, as his 10 home runs have him on pace to shatter his previous personal best of 13. He reached that total in 2014, the first time he was selected for the All Star game. Unsurprisingly, he will be taking part in this year’s festivities on Tuesday in Miami before getting an actual break.
Happ has already reached 13 home runs this season, having hit an opposite field dinger on Saturday. However, he did not close out the first half on much of a high note, just like the Cubs as a whole. Although he did drive in a run, Happ went 0-for-5 on Sunday and finished with a WPA (win probability added) below zero. Despite a poor final game of the first half, Happ has played extremely well in his first stint in the bigs, and has been particularly impressive with his power. We’ll see if he can keep it up starting next weekend.
Another uneventful day for Walsh, as the Birmingham Barons reliever did not pitch in the team’s 5-3 loss to the Mobile BayBears.
I expect Atkinson to start for the Kane County Cougars on Tuesday, so he was off the mound entirely on Sunday.