“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.