The Pittsburgh Pirates are set to get a big boost today, as the reigning National League MVP is set to return to the field for the first time since August 3rd. McCutchen was dealing with a muscle injury in his torso after a taking a swing against the Arizona Diamondbacks two weeks ago.
McCutchen expects to be at full strength for the Pirates stretch run, and there is no doubt that they need him back and fully healthy. Since his injury, the Pirates have gone 5-10, and are currently riding a six-game losing streak, their longest of the season. It's also their worst stretch of baseball since they opened the season with a 7-15 stretch from April .9th through May 5th.
Due to their recent struggles, Pittsburgh is fading away from the National League Central chase, currently sitting six games back of Milwaukee with just 37 games left to play.
McCutchen is hitting .311/.411/.536 on the year with a wRC+ of 167, earning him top marks in the National League. He's set to outpace his home run total from last season, and with a good stretch will outclass last year's numbers in RBI and doubles. If he manages to repeat as the NL MVP, he would be the first player to win in consecutive years since Albert Pujols won the award in 2008 and 2009.