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Pirates Preview: Velasquez & Crew Aiming for Two Straight Series Sweeps



Vince Velasquez, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates (15-7) aim for their second straight sweep Sunday afternoon and will face the Cincinnati Reds (7-14) in game four at PNC Park.

The Pirates, again, got their offense rolling in the early stages with a lead-off triple from Ke’Bryan Hayes and a sac-fly from Bryan Reynolds, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

The Pirates would take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth after a double from Carlos Santana and then another double from Jack Suwinski on back-to-back pitches, ultimately giving the Pirates the edge in a 2-1 win.

First pitch at PNC is scheduled for 1:35 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.


It will be a cold and cloudy day in Pittsburgh. Temperatures will range from 50-53 degrees, and there will be an 11 mph wind blowing west throughout most of the game.

The Pirates will send out RHP Vince Velasquez (2-2, 5.12 ERA)

Velasquez has put together two straight quality starts, with his most recent one coming on April 18 against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

Velasquez gave up three earned runs on five hits, walked three, and struck out seven.

Early on in his Pirates tenure, Velasquez has limited the hard-hit balls, ranking in the 73rd percentile in average exit velocity with an average of 87.1 mph.

Velasquez has started to lean on his slider more often than not, with a 42% usage on April 18, and it paid dividends with an average EV of 72.7 on 11 balls put in play.

Velasquez has faced the Reds six times (four starts) and holds an 0-2 record with an ERA of 6.00.

The Reds will send out RHP Hunter Greene (0-0, 4.24 ERA).

After getting hit by a line drive to the leg on April 17, Greene should be good to go for the Reds Sunday afternoon.

Previous to April 17, Greene pitched on April 12 against the Atlanta Braves and showcased why he was so highly touted in the Reds system.

Greene pitched six full innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits, no walks, and struck out ten on 101 pitches (71 strikes).

Greene’s four-seam has had some issues early on in the season, with an opposing batting average of .350 with an average EV of 94.3 mph.

Greene’s slider has had much better results with soft contact at 85.2 mph average EV and an opposing batting average of just .208, and an xBA of .156.

Greene has faced the Pirates three times (three starts) and holds an 0-1 record with an ERA of 2.16.

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Reds Hitters

  • Jason Vosler: 2-4 with one homer against Velasquez
  • Wil Myers: 0-8 with four Ks against Velasquez
  • Kevin Newman 1-6 against Velasquez

Pirates Hitters

  • Ji-Hwan Bae: 3-4 with one double against Greene
  • Bryan Reynolds: 1-6 against Greene
  • Jack Suwinski: 0-7 with six Ks against Greene


  • The Pirates have now extended their winning streak to six straight games and lay claim to the best winning streak in baseball right now. The Baltimore Orioles are on their trail, having won five in a row coming into Sunday.
  • The Pirates’ quality start streak has ended at 11 in a row, with Rich Hill failing to go six full innings, but Hill still put forth five very solid innings of work.
  • With Hayes’ triple in the first inning, the Pirates have now hit seven triples total as a team with Hayes (2), Connor Joe (2), Tucupita Marcano (1), Reynolds (1), and Canaan Smith-Njigba (1). The Pirates are tied for first in all of MLB in total triples as a team.


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