“Stubborn” like a bull? Well, of course

The reinvention of Pedro Alvarez, begun last October, continues, and it is pretty astounding.

Getting to five homers quicker than any Pirate since Willie Stargell in 1971, or becoming the first Pittsburgh player ever to notch a pair of two-homer games within the first eight of the season, isn’t astounding; Alvarez’s power is recognized.

But how about two strikeouts in his last 30 plate appearances — during which he has drawn six walks? Who is that guy?

Manager Clint Hurdle attributes this to Alvarez “becoming more stubborn with his approach, and being aware of where he gets pitched.”

How about his .353, 3-homer, 6-RBI Division Series against the Cardinals? That seemed to put him over the top, as far as his confidence is concerned.

“Yeah,” Hurdle said, “I do think that was a big help, to perform with that slow heartbeat under that magnifying glass. He probably had the most consistently competitive at-bats of anybody in our lineup that whole series. I do think that was a big confidence builder.”

In Thursday’s game, Alvarez batted fourth in the lineup for the first time ever against a left-hander (the Cubs’ Travis Wood) — cementing his role as the cleanup hitter Hurdle has foreseen for him for years.

Alvarez’s big blow, the three-run winner in the seventh, of course came off a different lefty, James Russell. Alvarez screwed up enough pitching moves even in 2013 to collect 13 RBIs off southpaw relievers.


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Whatever he was doing then, he isn’t doing now. He’s back to trying to pull everything. He and Marte are watching great pitches go by and swing at pitches that are on the dirt. The entire team lets boarder line 3-2 pitches, especially Pedro, go by for strike 3. They should all watch film of Clemente. He made a hall of fame career out of either going with the pitch or fouling it off. If he struck out, he swung and missed. He wouldn’t stand there and look at a boarder line pitche and hope it was a ball. If it was six inches off the plate, he’d hit it somewhere, fair or foul. The Pirates made Cueto look better than he was yesterday. If this keeps up we will be in big trouble. With the shifts put on Pedro. He would be able to get a hit to left every time. When he does succeed at that, he goes back to hitting the long ball for a game or two and then disappears for a week or two. I know he is working hard but he would have a much higher average and at least 10 more home runs if he would make it a habit to hit to left. He knows this but when it looks like he has figured it out, he abandons the strategy. It would certainly give the team a boost.

John Corfield

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