Pirates’ Josh Bell taking place alongside league’s best hitters
After 37 games, the Pittsburgh Pirates (20-17) are three games over .500 and owners of an 8-3 record after ending an eight-game losing streak April 30.
One of the big reasons is the emergence of Josh Bell as one of the game’s top hitters.
Bell tied a career high with four hits and set a personal best with five RBIs in the Pirates’ 10-6 victory Sunday in St. Louis.
Bell’s 34 RBIs lead the team, rank seventh in the majors and are two more than the next two players on the Pirates’ list — Starling Marte and Colin Moran — combined. He also has 10 home runs. Marte and Jung Ho Kang (tied for second) have only four apiece.
It’s too early in the season, and Bell hasn’t been in the majors long enough to be considered in the same class as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but let’s compare their seasons, anyway.
Bell has them beat in five important statistical categories: home runs, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Josh Bell might just be the hottest hitter in baseball right now.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 12, 2019
With mom in attendance, Bell has a career day on Mother's Day. #RaiseIt
— Pirates (@Pirates) May 12, 2019
By the way, the victory Sunday was the Pirates’ first by more than three runs since March 31.
It might be too early to declare the offense out of its early-season slump. After all, the Pirates needed great pitching to win back-to-back 2-1 decisions against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday.
But scoring a total of seven runs in two late innings Sunday was impressive, especially for a team whose season high for an entire game was only seven.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .