It did not draw the same amount of attention as Allen Iverson’s infamous “practice” rant or Terrell Owens’ exercise routine on his circular South Jersey driveway, but if they ever get around to handing out awards for best sports media Zoom sessions — the Zoomies, perhaps? — Andrew McCutchen’s April 28 interview after getting the game-winning hit for the Phillies in St. Louis deserves consideration.

The veteran left fielder stepped to the plate in the seventh inning with the score tied 3-3. He had just witnessed teammates Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius being nailed by consecutive upper-90s fastballs from Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera. Harper got hit in the face; Gregorius was nailed in the back.

» READ MORE: Is it too soon for the Phillies to worry about Andrew McCutchen? | Scott Lauber

McCutchen swore he wasn’t fearful of becoming Cabrera’s third straight human target. He just wanted to get a hit to lift his teammates and his anemic .152 batting average.

“I was ready to hit, because when you hit a couple of our guys, I want to pick my team up,” McCutchen said.

McCutchen, after being benched by manager Joe Girardi in the previous two games, came through with an RBI single to left-center field. His raw personal emotions about the way he was playing also came through that night.

“Of course, it felt good,” he said. “You know, the last thing you want to do when you’re playing is [stink], right? You don’t want to [stink]. You come here and you want to hold up your end of the bargain. Right now, I have been [stinking], so I want to be better than where I am. … I know I’m going to get better … and, quite frankly, not [stink].”

Here we are three weeks later and McCutchen, quite frankly, is playing exceptionally well. After hitting .154 with a .300 on-base percentage and a .531 OPS in his first 19 games, he batted .284 with a .405 on-base percentage and .957 OPS in his next 19 games. He had one homer and six RBIs in his first 19 games. He had five homers and 12 RBIs in the 19 games after that.

“He was self evaluating and understanding that he was very much capable of playing better,” Girardi said. “Everyone wants to feel like they’re helping the team and I think Cutch understands that he can help this team in a big way, so he just didn’t want to [stink], he said, I guess. It’s kind of funny he’d say that. I’m not so sure that’s how I would have termed it, but I think Cutch is a good self evaluator and he knows what he needs to do to be productive.”

Reports of McCutchen’s demise were out there in April, but he considers them a compliment even if they were greatly exaggerated.

“Everyone has to have some kind of reason for me not playing well and I take that as a positive,” McCutchen said Tuesday before contributing a sacrifice fly and a couple of walks to the Phillies’ win over the Miami Marlins. “They expect you to do well because you have shown in the past that you can do well, so when you don’t do well then they’ll say, ‘This is what I think.’”

» READ MORE: Ronald Torreyes comes off COVID-19 list and delivers big hit in Phillies’ 8-3 comeback win over Marlins

Time and punishment do take a toll on an athlete’s body and McCutchen is 34. In nine of his first 12 seasons, he played at least 146 games. That durability played a big part in former general manager Matt Klentak’s decision to give McCutchen a three-year deal worth $50 million that includes a $15 million team option for 2022.

McCutchen was one of the 10 best left fielders in the game when he suffered the torn ACL that ended his 2019 season after 59 games with the Phillies in first place. He was not the same player last season, so it was natural to wonder if he could recapture the form he flashed two years ago when he got off to a miserable start this season.

“Is it fair? Probably not,” Girardi said. “But I think that’s just the nature of the business. It’s the world we live in. When you’re young … they say you’re not ready. When you’re in the middle and you struggle, they say, ‘He’ll come around, he’s just off to a slow start.’ When you’re older, they say, ‘Maybe Father Time is catching up to him.’ We didn’t feel that with Andrew. We just thought he was off to a slow start.”

McCutchen has a history of being a slow starter. His career average in April is .242 and his career OPS in the first month of the season is .747. In every other month, he has hit .275 or higher and had an OPS of .833 or higher. McCutchen said he’s pretty sure he has spoken similarly about slow starts to the way he did after that April game in St. Louis.

“I have had slow starts early in the season during my career,” he said. “This particular start was more of a slower start than usual, but I don’t accept that it’s OK to have a slow start. At the end of the day, I just want to be better because, like I said, it’s not good to [stink].”

McCutchen’s best month during his career has been June and the Phillies are hoping for the first time since they signed him that they’ll get to see him in midseason form this season.