Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen might be struggling, but don’t tell Tigers righthander Eulogio De La Cruz that.
Cruz, who struck out 20 in his last two starts–both of which were complete games–allowed one run on two hits and whiffed eight more over seven innings of Double-A Erie’s 5-1 win at Altoona.
It’s just that one of those hits went somewhere around 500 feet behind him.
In the bottom of the fourth, McCutchen, who is hitting .187/.241/.355 in 107 at-bats, turned around a 96 mph fastball from De La Cruz that went over the bleachers in left-center field at Blair County Ballpark and landed on the grass halfway up the berm behind the seating area.
“He turned it right around,” said a scout with an American League club. “It was just an effortless, quick, short swing. I know he’s been struggling, but I saw it all–raw power, game power, speed . . . He’s got tools galore. They’re pounding him down and away right now and he’s not making that consistent adjustment.
“But I think De La Cruz saw what happens if you make a mistake to him. He’s 20 years old. He’s going to make the adjustments and he’s going to be fine.”