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Pirates Preview: Rich Hill Looks for Third Straight QS

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Rich Hill

The Pittsburgh Pirates (14-7), will play game three against the Cincinnati Reds (7-13) after another close win on Friday night by a score of 4-2.

Mitch Keller sparkled through six innings of work, as the Pirates were gifted a late-inning run after an error, enabling them to take a lead for good.

Carlos Santana gave the Pirates some insurance in the eighth inning, plating Andrew McCutchen with a double making it 4-2 good guys.

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

Weather

The weather in Pittsburgh Saturday evening is looking a little spotty at first pitch. There is a 35% chance of rain through 7 p.m. but should be good to go after that. Temperatures will range from 52-57 degrees throughout the game and have winds of around seven mph blowing west.

The Pirates will send out LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 5.57 ERA)

Hill put forth one of his most impressive starts of the season on April 17 against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

Hill pitched six full innings and allowed just one run on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Holding a team to just one run in Colorado is extremely hard to do, and Hill did it to perfection.

Out of 25 swings on his curveball against the Rockies, only nine were put into play, and they averaged around 86 mph in exit velocity.

For the entirety of the game, Hill allowed an average exit velocity of 87.3 mph and kept 33.3% of the balls in play on the ground.

Hill has faced the Reds 15 times (13 starts) and holds a 5-4 record with an ERA of 3.61.

The Reds will send out RHP Luis Cessa (0-2, 13.50 ERA).

Cessa got rocked in his last start on April 16 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

In three full innings, Cessa allowed 14 hits, 11 earned runs, walked three, and struck out none on 88 pitches (54 strikes).Phillies hitters carried a .417 average that game.

In his last two starts combined, Cessa has pitched 6.2 innings, threw 159 pitches, had 23 occasions of hard-hit balls, and had an average exit velocity of 98.3 mph (April 11) and 92.9 mph (April 16).

Cessa relies on a four-pitch mix with a slider (38.4%), changeup (24.4%), four-seam (19.4%), and a sinker (17.8%).

The lowest opponent batting average on Cessa’s pitches is .333, and it is on his slider.

Cessa has faced the Pirates nine times (two starts) and holds a 1-1 record with an ERA of 3.86. Four of those appearances came in PNC Park.

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Reds Hitters

  • Wil Myers: 3-25 with one homer and 14 strikeouts against Hill
  • Curt Casali: 0-7 against Hill
  • Nick Senzel: 0-5 against Hill

Pirates Hitters

  • Ke’Bryan Hayes: 1-8 against Cessa
  • Andrew McCutchen: 1-6 against Cessa

Tidbits

  • The Pirates secured their first five-game winning streak Friday night. The last Pirates team to do that was back in 2019.
  • Pirates starters have now gone 11 straight quality starts, with Keller making it through six innings Friday.
  • The Pirates have now inched closer to the National League lead for stolen bases with 22 after Mark Mathias swiped second base Friday night. They are now tied for first in the N.L. with the Chicago Cubs and are tied for third in all of MLB.

Links

Perrotto: Jovial Ji Man Choi in Wrong Place at Wrong Time (+)

Kevin Newman Finds It ‘Strange’ to be Visitor at PNC Park

Pittsburgh Pirates Place Endy Rodriguez, Travis Swaggerty Placed on Injured List

What Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starting Pitchers Have Done is Simply Remarkable (+)

Around The Network

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: 6 Things Mike Sullivan Got Right, and Wrong This Season (+)

Steelers Now: Call Him Big Ken? Kenny Pickett ‘Put Some Size On’ This Offseason

Pittsburgh Sports Now: Pitt Guard Taisha Exanor Transfers to Monmouth

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