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Pirates Preview: Rich Hill Looks to End Bucs Four-Game Skid

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Rich Hill

The Pittsburgh Pirates (20-12) return home after being on the wrong end of a three-game sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Pirates will start their homestand against the Toronto Blue Jays (18-14).

The Pirates fell in game three 3-2 after Vince Velasquez left the game early due to right elbow discomfort, but nonetheless, they put up a valiant effort in the ninth with the tying run at second base.

The Pirates went 3-4 on the road trip, but still stand in first place despite losing four games in a row. The Brewers currently sit 1.5 games back in the Central.

First pitch at PNC Park is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. You can watch all of the action on AT&T Sportsnet, or listen to it on the Pirates radio network, 93.7 The Fan.

Weather

There will be mostly cloudy skies Friday night with a temperature around 63 degrees at first pitch. There will be a slight wind of 3-4 mph throughout the game and blow northeast.

The Pirates will send out LHP Rich Hill (3-2, 4.18 ERA)

In his last start on April 29, Hill put forth his longest outing as a Pirate, going 6.1 innings.

In addition, Hill allowed eight hits, two earned runs, walked none, and struck out five Washington Nationals on 103 pitches (75 strikes).

For the most part, Hill has limited the hard-hit balls with an average exit velocity of 87.8 mph; the last time he had an EV lower than that on the season was in 2020 with 86.8 mph.

Hill has faced the Blue Jays 13 times (six starts) and holds a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 4.96.

The Blue Jays will send out RHP Chris Bassitt (3-2, 5.18 ERA).

Bassitt’s last start was back on April 30 against the Seattle Mariners, and it was less than ideal.

In five innings pitched, Bassitt allowed four earned runs, two hits, walked four, and struck out seven on 96 pitches (61 strikes). Bassit has allowed three or more walks in four out of his six starts in 2023.

The righty offers a plethora of pitches but will stick mainly with his sinker (36.9%), curveball (12.8%), cutter (12.4%), and sweeper (12.2%).

In addition, Bassitt has offered a four-seam (9.6%), changeup (9.2%), slider (6.6%), and even a split-finger pitch twice.

Bassitt has faced the Pirates three times (three starts) and holds a 2-0 record with an ERA of 2.00 in 18 innings of work. Two out of the three starts were at PNC Park.

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Blue Jays Hitters

  • Brandon Belt: 6-15 with two doubles and a homer against Hill
  • George Springer: 4-12 with a double, triple, and a homer against Hill
  • Kevin Kiermaier: 0-9 against Hill

Pirates Hitters

  • Rodolfo Castro: 2-5 with a double against Bassitt
  • Carlos Santana: 3-9 with a double and two homers against Bassitt
  • Jack Suwinski: 0-5 against Bassitt

Tidbits

  • Thursday afternoon, Colin Holderman recorded an immaculate inning in the eighth inning against the Rays. That is the third immaculate inning from a Pirates pitcher since 2000, with the last one occurring on July 4, 2016, when Juan Nicasion did it.
  • Bryan Reynolds extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the fourth inning against the Rays Thursday afternoon.
  • The Pirates went 0-18 with runners in scoring position during the Rays series before Carlos Santana drove in two runs in the ninth inning with a double.

Links

Vince Velasquez Leaves Game Against Rays With Right Elbow Discomfort

Perrotto: Pittsburgh Pirates Could be in Right Place at Right Time in 2023

Subscribe to the best Pittsburgh Pirates coverage with PBN+

Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch: Tres Gonzalez Does it All in Greensboro Debut

Perrotto: Mitch Keller Answering One Remaining Question (+)

Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League Hitting Coach Jon Nunnally Talks Coaching Philosophy (+)

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