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Bearcats in the Big Leagues: Harrison Rising, Happ Falling

Josh Harrison is on a tear but Ian Happ is struggling.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Harrison

Its hot streak time for Harrison, who has been lighting up the San Francisco Giants this week. He went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, giving him his fourth-straight multi-hit ballgame. Its the first time since May 23-26 that Harrison has had a streak of such a length and if he gets two knocks against the Padres on Thursday then it will be his longest multi-hit streak this season.

But before we look ahead, let’s dive into his efforts from yesterday, which still didn’t help Pittsburgh avoid a 2-1 loss. Harrison ranked second among Pirate position players in WPA and also stole his 11th base of the season. Harrison is not a Billy Hamilton-level threat on the base paths, but he has stolen at least 10 bags in the last four seasons and is gunning for his personal best of 19, which he set a year ago.

Ian Happ

MLB pitchers may be adjusting to Happ because he has just been struggling since the All-Star break. He went 0-for-5 in the No. 6 spot in the lineup on Tuesday. It didn’t hurt the Cubs, who beat the White Sox 8-3, but it certainly did nothing for Happ’s individual numbers. With a game-worst WPA of -.126, Happ, who also struck out twice in the game, has hit just .211/.302/.263 since the break with a 25.6 percent strikeout rate. Things have been even worse in the last seven games, with Happ slashing .136/.240/.136 with a 32 percent strikeout rate. After excelling in the first phase of his MLB career, Happ now needs to make strides in the second phase aka when the league figures him out.

Connor Walsh

He may not be pitching super frequently, but Walsh is building up his resume as a closer. He earned his third save in his last four appearances on Wednesday, throwing 1 23 shutout innings in a 3-1 win for the Birmingham Barons over the Chattanooga Lookouts. Granted, the Barons have not had many save chances thanks to a 39-62 record, but Walsh deserves more playing time. Aside from the saves, Walsh has a 0.55 ERA and 21 strikeouts over his last 10 outings (16 13 innings).

Ryan Atkinson

It was still not Atkinson’s turn in the rotation yesterday. He is 1-5 with a 2.72 ERA and 81 strikeouts across his last 10 starts (59 23 innings).