Pittsburgh Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen has been named National League Player of the Month for July, the second straight month in which he’s taken the honors.
McCutchen is the first Pirate to win consecutive POTM honors since Bobby Bonilla in 1988.
July started well for McCutchen, who attended his second All-Star Game and first Home Run Derby. In games before and after the break, Cutch hit five home runs in four games, part of his seven for the month.
The Pirates’ star center fielder earned the title on the strength of a .446/.510/.739 triple-slash line with seven home runs and 15 RBI. McCutchen managed to win the title in June with a .370 average, or .076 fewer batting average points.
McCutchen is now hitting .373 on the season with 22 home runs, 66 RBI, 140 hits, a .432 on-base percentage, 1.064 OPS and an NL-leading 5.9 WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.
No MLB player has won back-to-back POTM honors since 2006, when Ryan Howard did so for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pittsburgh (60-44, 2nd NL Central) enters into a crucial three-game set with the MLB-leading Cincinnati Reds (64-41, 1st NL Central) Friday.
Though the Pirates have won six of ten and own the fifth-best record in baseball, they find themselves trailing the Reds by 3.5 games.
If Pittsburgh wants to keep close in the race for the NL Central title, they’ll need McCutchen to continue his MVP-level play into the month of August.