DETROIT -- Pet phrase in Pirates land for offensive efficiency: Taking ownership of at-bats. Andrew McCutchen has owned the entire Washington Nationals. Judging by comments following Thursday night's game, the Nats want to foreclose on McCutchen.
After McCutchen added two home runs to his ledger against the Nationals, their manager, Davey Johnson, opined that he looked too comfortable at the plate. On cue, starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann said Nationals pitchers facing McCutchen in the future will have to "bust him inside."
"It's funny," McCutchen said. "They did that in Pittsburgh. One of their bullpen guys [Craig Stammen] threw up and in and I hit one out. And we saw what happens when they busted me in [Thursday] night -- I hit a 450-foot bomb, a little foul."
Four other bombs McCutchen has hit in five games this season against the Nationals stayed fair, part of his 10-for-17 (.588) card that improved his career average against that team to .442, with 10 homers and 21 RBIs in 23 games.
"It's not like they're not throwing me inside already," McCutchen said. "I'm either hitting the pitches, or they're balls and I'm taking them. Unless they mean bust me in with a purpose, off the plate. Other than that, I just need to continue. They have to try to adjust to me. I have the upper hand right now, so I just need to stay where I'm at."
Stay tuned ... a long time. The teams are done with each other for this season. The 2013 schedule will come out sometime in the autumn.