Game 81: Halfway Point

Tonight’s game officially marks the halfway point to the Bucco’s 2016 season. Currently, they are 39-41 and have won five out of the last seven. After a miserable June, Pittsburgh has slowly turned that page and looks to have a productive July to keep their playoff aspirations alive. They’ll kick off the second game of the month tonight at 10:05 against the A’s.

Tonight faces a matchup between two pitchers with very different stories. Rich Hill looked to be a very prominent pitcher for the Chicago Cubs but never lived to his expectations and was traded to the Orioles in 2009. He only lasted in Baltimore for one season as he posted a horrendous 7.80 ERA in 57.2 innings. He predominately pitched for the Red Sox after the Cubs tenure, but bounced from team to team until he found himself playing in the Independent league last season. The Red Sox took one last shot on him and he was given the call at the end of the season and tallied off 29 innings of 1.55 ERA baseball.

As he was now a free agent in the offseason, those 29 innings were apparently enough for Billy Beane to feel confident to offer Hill a $6 million contract for one season. As many shook their head on this transaction, Hill has lived much to the deal and owns a 2.25 ERA in 64 innings this season. The lefty is displaying ace quality pitching and will return from the DL tonight to face the Pirates, who may be looking first hand at a potential trade piece they could acquire at this year’s deadline.

Chad Kuhl, on the other hand, is fresh off of his first MLB start where he took down the great Clayton Kershaw for his first victory in the majors. Kuhl, has had a fantastic career in the minors and is poised to maintain his status of a major league pitcher for the rest of this season. In that game, Kuhl lasted five innings and surrendered three runs on four hits and four walks. It was a pretty effective outing for the most part, though he did pitch himself in and out of jams that evening. Tonight, Kuhl will face a lesser lineup and hope to string a few wins together.

With the lefty on the mound tonight, David Freese will take over first base duties while Jordy Mercer will bat lead off. Even though the team has won five out of the last seven, the offense has been pretty anemic. For the past seven games, they’ve still hit just .238 while getting on base at a .304 clip.  Hopefully, they can expect some rust with the 36 year old, Rich Hill, and get to him early to secure another victory in Oakland.

Pirates Lineup:

  1. Mercer SS
  2. Freese 1B
  3. McCutchen CF
  4. Kang 3B
  5. Polanco DH
  6. Marte LF
  7. Rodriguez RF
  8. Harrison 2B
  9. Kratz C

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