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Pirates Preview: Rich Hill Needs to Get on the Right Track & Fast

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Rich Hill, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates (7-4) will go for the series win against the Houston Astros (5-7), Wednesday afternoon.

The Pirates evened the series Tuesday night after an epic walk-off finish by Ji-hwan Bae’s three-run homer over the Clemente Wall for a 7-4 dramatic win.

The 2022 Pirates would’ve folded or found a way to lose Tuesday’s game, but after some costly errors, they mustered enough offense to get the job done.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 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

The weather is looking good for the series finale. Should be mostly sunny with a temperature of 71 degrees. A 13 mph will be present, and it will be blowing west.

The Pirates will send out the wily veteran lefty, Rich Hill.

Rich Hill hasn’t looked good in his first two starts as a Pirate.

Hill has given up a combined five home runs in nine innings pitched, which is nearly half of his hits given up (11 hits in total). Something has to change.

Hill has yet to get his bread-and-butter pitch working (curveball), and hitters are obliterating his four-seam. Hitters are averaging an exit velocity of 95.5 mph, and his curveball isn’t far behind at 91.2 mph

The main thing Hill was brought in for, other than a veteran presence, was to be an innings eater, and it’s hard to be an innings eater when you can’t make it past five innings in this league.

Hill holds a 3-2 record against the Astros in 12 games (eight starts) with an ERA of 3.11 in 46.1 innings pitched.

The Astros will send out, righty Jose Urquidy.

Urquidy offers a five-pitch mix-up with a sweeper, four-seam, sinker, curveball, and changeup.

In his two starts on the year, Urquidy has yet to have a decision and is carrying a solid 3.86 ERA. His best start so far came in his last start on April 7 against the Minnesota Twins, where he went 5.1 innings and allowed just one run on seven hits.

Where the Pirates may do some damage is with his four-seam fastball, which Urquidy uses 28.2% of the time. He averages around 93 mph, but so far has an average exit velocity of 92 mph, and opponents are hitting .333 with a slugging percentage of .583 against it.

Urquidy has never faced the Pirates in his 351.1 career innings pitched.

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Carlos Santana is 1-8 with one homer and one walk against Urquidy

Jose Abreu is 2-5 with two walks against Hill

Martin Maldonado is 0-5 with four Ks against Hill

Tidbits

  • Prior to Tuesday’s game, Mitch Keller’s five previous outings at PNC Park were stellar. Keller recorded a 1.55 ERA in 29 innings pitched.
  • Andrew McCutchen has 294 career doubles as a member of the Pirates, which is tied with Bill Mazaroski for eighth all-time in the Pirates organization. Dave Parker is seventh with 296.
  • The Pirates improved their record to 6-0 when leading after six innings on Tuesday night. On the other end of the spectrum, the Pirates are 0-4 when trailing after six.

Links

Pittsburgh Pirates Claim RHP Eli Villalobos From Marlins; Move Oneil Cruz to 60-Day IL

Perrotto: Potentially Career-Altering Opportunity Awaits Rodolfo Castro (+)

Ji Hwan Bae’s Walk-Off Homer Gives Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4 Win Over Astros

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