Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Mlb-astros-pirates

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year about Pedro Alvarez, it’s that he doesn’t just have one good game. He’s been a very streaky player, and in most cases when he has a big game, it is usually the start of a nice hot streak.

We saw this in mid-April. Alvarez snapped out of a 1-for-24 start to the season by going 1-for-3 with a homer on April 18th. From then until May 4th, he hit for a .367 average and a 1.224 OPS in 49 at-bats, with six homers.

Alvarez had a few good games after that, but didn’t see another streak until June 16th. After seeing his average drop to .189 and his OPS drop to .627, the third baseman went 2-for-4 with two homers. It was the start of a hot streak that lasted over a month, seeing Alvarez hit for a .308 average with a 1.115 OPS in 104 at-bats, along with 13 homers.

He started to cool again in late July, and carried that cold streak in to August. In the first 15 games in August, Alvarez hit for a .200/.289/.200 line in 40 at-bats. Then on August 16th he went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. That started a streak where he hit for a .342 average and a 1.058 OPS in 38 at-bats, heading in to tonight’s big game.

Those hot streaks can be defined through the benefit of hindsight, and we can’t exactly use that to suggest Alvarez will continue hitting this way. Or, for that matter, we can’t say how long he will hit this way if he does.

What we can say is that if there’s ever a time the Pirates needed a hot streak from Alvarez, it’s now. The win over St. Louis tonight moved the Pirates to two games back in the Wild Card race. A win tomorrow puts them one game back, and still very much in the race. From there, the Pirates have an advantage over St. Louis. They only play one winning team between now and September 28th, and that’s a three game series in Cincinnati. They play the Cubs and Astros a combined total of 13 times, the Brewers six times, and the Mets four times in that stretch. The Cardinals have games against losing teams, but not as many (18 vs 23 for the Pirates).

Even with 23 games against teams with losing records, wins won’t be guaranteed. We saw that this month. But it will be much easier to get those wins if Alvarez is hitting like he was from mid-June to mid-July. He’s the type of guy who can change the game with one swing, either giving the Pirates a big lead, or bringing them back in to a game. Andrew McCutchen is the MVP of the team, but when Alvarez is swinging the bat well he might very well be the better option, especially if the team needs a homer.

Perhaps tonight (and the performance over the last week) is the start of another Pedro Alvarez hot streak. It would be a great time for that to happen, since the team needs his bat more than ever with some of their other top players slumping lately.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat the Cardinals 9-0.

**Pirates Notebook: Alvarez Locked in at the Plate; McDonald Needs to Seek Greatness.

**Pittsburgh Pirates September Callups Preview.

**Prospect Watch: Six Shutout Innings for Irwin; Howard Has a Birthday Blast.

**Herrera Puts GCL Pirates One Game Away From Championship.

**DSL Pirates1 Advance to Second Round of DSL Playoffs.

**Irwin Pitches Six Scoreless Innings As Indians Shut Out Toledo.

**Pirates Recall Chase d’Arnaud.

**Minor League Schedule: 8/29/12.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Athletics trade Derek Norris to Padres

Dodgers not happy with Padres GM over Matt Kemp trade

Mario Balotelli banned match for offensive Instagram post

Marc Trestman: Benching Jay Cutler could revive QB's career

Rob Gronkowski jokes about Tom Brady saying he's grown up

Rajon Rondo traded to Mavs for three players, picks

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Washington Post has perfect description for Titans-Jaguars

Wilbon angry at DC for not supporting Wizards

Urban Meyer says Tim Tebow still wants to play in the NFL

Keenan Lewis: Saints preparing 'funeral' for Falcons

Chris Christie defends being a Cowboys fan

Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be 'boon for Beantown'

Extremely rare set of Air Jordan 7s selling for $45,000

Five reasons why Alabama will win College Football Playoff

Hugh Freeze proud of Ole Miss’ record 2.57 team GPA

Youngstown St. addresses Bo Pelini's profanity-laced rant

It's been almost 40 years since NFL's last untelevised game

The NHL has finally fined a player for diving

Ben Roethlisberger: Le’Veon Bell is having an MVP season

Jim Harbaugh comments on the reported offer from Michigan

Michael Jordan's college Converse shoes sell for $33,387

Week 16 NFL game watchability rankings

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chicago Bears are the Monstrosity of the Midway

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins, other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.