"Just as loose as can be all the time," Burnett said. "He wears his pride on his sleeve when he plays."
When McCutchen gets to the plate, though, he fills another role for the Pirates.
"He's the catalyst," Burnett said. "And he's been the catalyst."
Never more so than Sunday, when McCutchen had two hits and two walks, started three rallies and scored twice to lead the Pirates to a 5-3 victory over the
An All-Star in three of his five big league seasons and a .296 career hitter, McCutchen has toiled in anonymity in front of a half-empty stadium in Pittsburgh for much of his career. But with the Pirates back in the postseason for the first time since Fay Vincent's last year as commissioner, he's getting a chance to introduce himself to a national audience.
The fans at home already know him, though, which is why a
"It's awesome to hear from our home crowd. But I'm not too focused on that," said McCutchen, whose .317 regular-season average was seventh in the league. "I'm just worried about what I can do to help the ballclub win."
He got started on that in his first at-bat, drawing a two-out walk.
After the Cardinals tied it in the fifth inning on
Beltran tied the score, 3-3, with a home run in the eighth inning, but guess who led off the bottom of the inning for Pittsburgh. This time McCutchen doubled. And though he was retired at third base trying to advance on a ground ball, the rally continued with
When it was all over, McCutchen had reached base in all four plate appearances. Four games into his first postseason he's hitting .538 with five walks.
"This is an opportunity, once in a lifetime maybe," he said of the playoff atmosphere. "I'm making the most of it."
And now the catalyst and his teammates have a chance to keep it going. By winning one of their next two games, Monday in Pittsburgh or Wednesday in St. Louis, the Pirates would move on to meet the winner of the
McCutchen would just as soon wrap up things in Pittsburgh where, he says, baseball has become so hot his dreadlocks no longer get him mistaken for NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"Let's do it at home," he said.