PITTSBURGH -- June was kind to Pedro Alvarez, as it was to several other Pirates, underscoring the offensive revival of the club.
The Bucs' third baseman batted nearly .300 (.299), with one-third of his hits going for extra bases -- five doubles, a triple and three homers.
Yet, both his manager and his only true rival as an offensive threat in the lineup had the same curious take on Alvarez's solid month.
"He can do better," Andrew McCutchen said. "The most impressive thing about it was, he hasn't even warmed up yet."
"I'm not impressed. We can all cherry-pick numbers. He's done more than this," said Clint Hurdle, who perhaps has tired of laurels being thrown at Alvarez in his good stretches, and thorns in the lulls.
"We need more consistency," Hurdle added. "The ability to square up balls, to drive in runs, to score runs -- we need him to be a more consistent run producer."
The irony in Hurdle's comment is that Alvarez has driven in precisely 14 runs in each of the season's first three months. It would be impossible to be more consistent than that, of course, but Alvarez certainly is a threat to be more productive.
An All-Star last summer, as well as a cog in the National League's Home Run Derby wheel, Alvarez wound up tied for the league's homer crown with Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, each finishing with 36.
With Goldschmidt in town for a three-game series, it's a good time to compare how the two of them are handling the encore. The Arizona first baseman has 15 homers and 53 RBIs, to Alvarez's 13 and 42.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less