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Pirates Preview: Hill, Velasquez to Face Nationals in Twinbill



Vince Velasquez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Since mother nature decided to show up and take matters into her own hands Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-8) will play a split doubleheader against the Washington Nationals (9-15).

Game one will go as originally planned and start at 1:35 p.m., and game two is scheduled to go around 6:05 p.m.

The last time the Pirates played a doubleheader was Sept. 13, 2021, against the Cincinnati Reds, where the Pirates won both games and scored a combined seven runs and only gave up one run combined.

You can catch both games on AT&T Sportsnet or listen to them on the Pirates radio network, 93.7 The Fan.


It will be a cloudy day the entire day in D.C., but thankfully there is no rain expected throughout Saturday. Temperatures will range from 63-70 degrees and have a slight wind blowing east/southeast throughout the day.

In game one, the Pirates will send out Rich Hill (2-2, 4.50 ERA)

After a rough start to the season, Hill has really settled down and has shown some veteran savvy in his last three starts.

Over his last three starts, Hill has a combined 17 innings pitched and has given up four earned runs, 17 hits, seven walks, and 14 strikeouts.

In his last start on April 22 against the Cincinnati Reds, Hill went five strong innings and struck out seven with just one run given up.

One of the main reasons Hill succeeded against the Reds was keeping hitters off balance with his curveball/four-seam combo, and because of that combo, he gave up an average EV of just 88.2 mph.

Hill has played in 11 times (eight starts) and holds a 2-4 record with an ERA of 4.07.

The Nationals will send out LHP, Patrick Corbin (1-3, 5.88 ERA) to face Hill

Despite his record, Corbin has put forth a good effort in his last few starts.

In his last start on April 23, Corbin pitched six full innings and gave up seven hits, three earned runs, two walks, and struck out six Minnesota Twins.

Unfortunately for Corbin, he took the loss.

The 33-year-old offers a four-pitch mix with a sinker (43.5%), slider (39.7%), four-seam (9.9%), and a changeup (6.8%). Corbin will stick mainly with his sinker/slider combo throughout the game.

Good news for the Pirates, Corbin’s sinker has awful numbers attached to it this season, with opponents hitting .421 with an average EV of 90.9 mph.

The lefty has faced the Pirates 12 times (12 starts) and holds a 5-2 record with an ERA of 2.94.

For game two, the Pirates will send out RHP Vince Velasquez (3-2, 3.76 ERA)

Velasquez was tremendous in his last outing on April 23 against the Reds.

The righty went seven full innings against the Red Legs and gave up two hits, no earned runs, two walks, and struck out a season-high ten.

Velasquez had his slider going that game, using it 49% of the time and inducing ten out of a total of 15 whiffs with it, while also striking out nine out of ten with the slider.

The 30-year-old has faced the Nationals 11 times (ten starts) and holds a 2-2 record with an ERA of 5.13.

In game two, the Nationals will send out former Pirate, Chad Kuhl (0-1, 7.36 ERA).

Kuhl has had some issues this season keeping his pitch count down, and as a result, he can’t get out of the fifth inning.

In his last start on April 22, against the Minnesota Twins, Kuhl managed to go just 3.2 innings despite giving up one earned run on three hits, but the walk numbers hurt him with four.

Kuhl threw nearly 100 pitches in his last outing with 96 and only threw 49 strikes which is just around a 51% strike rate.

The former Pirates pitcher has mainly four pitches with a slider (42.8%), sinker (25.4%), four-seam (14.4%), and a curveball (11.6%). He will also throw an occasional changeup (5.8%).

Kuhl’s sinker has been the nail in his early coffin so far, with opponents hitting an astonishing .600 average with an EV of 100.2 mph.

Kuhl has faced his former club once (one start) and holds a 1-0 record with an ERA of 2.08

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Nationals Hitters

  • Luis Garcia: 3-6 with three doubles against Hill
  • Jeimer Candelario: 1-6 against Hill
  • Victor Robles: 2-5 with a double against Velasquez
  • Dominic Smith: 1-8 with a double and four Ks against Velasquez

Pirates Hitters

  • Ke’Bryan Hayes: 2-2 with one double against Kuhl and 3-10 against Corbin
  • Bryan Reynolds: 4-10 with three walks against Corbin
  • Andrew McCutchen: 11-47 with two doubles, three homers, seven walks, and nine strikeouts against Corbin
  • Connor Joe: 1-7 with a triple against Corbin


  • The Pirates scored a total of 21 runs against the Dodgers and scored at least six runs in each of the three games. During their 18-8 start, the Pirates have scored at least six runs in eight different games. In 2022, the Pirates scored six or more six times in April.
  • Ji-Hwan Bae is currently ranked third in the N.L. with ten stolen bases. The only other players ahead of Bae are Jazz Chisholm, with 11, and Ronald Acuna, with 13.
  • With three stolen bases on Thursday, the Pirates have surpassed the Cleveland Guardians for MLB’s lead in stolen bases as a team with 37 total. (The Guardians have 33).
  • Against the Dodgers, the Pirates stole a total of 12 bases during the series, which is tied for third-most in a three-game set in the modern era.


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