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Pirates Preview: Pirates & McCutchen Come Home to Face White Sox

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Pittsburgh Pirates- Andrew McCutchen

The Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2) are home and will start a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox (3-4). What a special moment it will be when Andrew McCutchen returns home for the first time back with the organization.

The Pirates are on a bit of a hot streak after sweeping the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon by a score of 4-1.

Mitch Keller dazzled through seven strong innings, and Bryan Reynolds belted another home run to propel them two games above .500.

First pitch at PNC Park is set for 4:12 p.m. and can be viewed on AT&T Sportsnet or listened to on the Pirates radio station, 93.7 The Fan.

Weather

The temperature at the first pitch will be around 54 degrees, with mostly cloudy coverage throughout the game. There will be a northwest wind blowing from 7-10 mph through the evening.

Starters

The Pirates will send out the veteran left-hander, Rich Hill.

Hill had to battle in his first start of the season against the Cincinnati Reds. Hill’s line against the Reds was five innings pitched, three hits, three earned runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts.

Hill’s sixth strikeout of that game was a special one; with his strikeout of T.J. Friedl, Hill recorded his 1,300th strikeout of his career.

Hill’s fastball had some rough numbers behind it in his last start, with an average EV of 93.9 mph, and had six balls put into play and five balls go foul on 35 thrown.

If Hill can get his curveball going, and locate his fastball on the edges, he should be able to handle this White Sox lineup.

Hill holds a 0-3 record in 19 games (five starts), with a 5.79 ERA in 28.0 innings pitched against the White Sox.

The White Sox will send out, righty, Lucas Giolito.

Giolito’s five innings had to be earned against the Houston Astros on April 1.

Giolito threw 97 pitches (63 strikes) to Astros’ batters and evenly distributed his four-seam (35 pitches), changeup (31 pitches), and slider (30 pitches).

Giolito’s four-seam got hit rather hard, with an average of 94.3 mph exit velocity with five balls in play with 11 foul balls. Giolito has faced the Pirates in four games (four starts) with a 1-0 record and holds a 3.09 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched.

One of those starts against Pittsburgh was a no-hitter back on Aug. 25, 2020.

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Elvis Andrus is 1-11 against Hill in his career.

Andrew Benintendi is 0-7 against Hill.

All active White Sox batters are a combined 2-31 against Hill

Carlos Santana is 4-21 against Giolito with one homer, six walks, and six strikeouts.

Tidbits

  • In his start on Wednesday, Keller threw 78 strikes against the Red Sox. That is the most thrown strikes by a Pirates’ pitcher since April 24, 2015, when Gerrit Cole threw 78 of his 108 pitches for strikes.
  • The last pitcher to throw 78+ strikes on 107 pitches or less since data started being tracked in 1988 were Zach Duke (2010), Esteban Loaiza (1996), and Rick White (1994).
  • As of 5:24 eastern, Bryan Reynolds leads the majors in home runs with four. The last time a Pirate outright led in home runs was Colin Moran on Aug. 1, 2020, with five.

Links

Perrotto: My Five Most Memorable Pirates’ Home Openers

Demilio: Pirates’ Bullpen Has Been Pleasant Surprise in Early Stages (+)

‘Blackout PNC:’ Ex-Pirates Call For Fans to Wear Black For Home Opener

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