Benz: ‘The Phillies Series Was Fun But…’

This commentary by Tim Benz on Pirates Talk Now is sponsored by Blush Gentlemen’s Club, Pittsburgh’s #1 Gentlemen’s Club! Blush has Happy Hour Specials and a all new Sports Bar located on the 3rd floor. Blush is located at 135 9th Street in Downtown Pittsburgh.

I’ll admit it. This is probably “the wrong” reaction to have to that Pirates 6-3 win last night in Philadelphia.

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Hurdle Changes His Mind, Plus News on Taillon

During his pre-game gathering with the media, manager Clint Hurdle dropped a few pieces of interesting information regarding the current roster.

First thing, Hurdle says that Jameson Taillon will return to the starting rotation next week. At this point, no public decision was announced as to who Taillon will replace in the starting five. Barring either Ivan Nova or Gerrit Cole going to the disabled list, the decision will come down to either Tyler Glasnow or Chad Kuhl.

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Chad Kuhl’s Options Against Lefties

Lost in the middle of a 14 inning, rain delay loss Wednesday was a solid start by Chad Kuhl. He was lifted after five frames because the Pirates needed a pinch-hitter, but with only two runs and three hits on his ledger, it was an encouraging sight in what has been a trying season.

Kuhl has a 6.02 ERA over his first 11 outings, averaging just 4.5 innings a start. He’s been fine against righties, holding them to a .694 OPS, but he has struggled with lefties. Entering play Wednesday, they had a .337/.406/.660 slash line against him. The Mets took advantage of that massive split this past Friday, stacking the lineup with eight lefties. He was chased in the fifth after five runs and eight hits. Other teams will likely follow suit.

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Pirates-Diamondbacks Preview Capsule

Pirates (23-28) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (31-21)

Monday: RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.93) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.82), 4:05 p.m.

Tuesday: RHP Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83) vs. LHP Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45), 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29) vs. RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99), 12:35 p.m.

NOTES: The Pirates are in last place in the National League Central, 4 ½ games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. … The Diamondbacks are in the third place in the NL West, two games behind the division-leading Colorado Rockies. … The Pirates lost two of three to the New York Mets over the weekend. … The Diamondbacks have lost two games in a row following a five-game winning streak. … Pirates 2B Josh Harrison is on a 10-game hitting streak, going 17-for-44 (.386) with two doubles, four walks and five strikeouts. … Diamondbacks C Chris Iannetta is 8-for-28 (.286) in his last eight games with two doubles, three home runs, one walk and eight strikeouts. … Williams and Nova are both 1-0 against the Diamondbacks in their careers while Kuhl has never faced them. … Delgado is 0-1 against the Pirates in his career while Ray is 0-2 and Godley has no decisions.

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Pirates-Mets Preview Capsule

Pirates (22-26) vs. New York Mets (19-26)

Site: PNC Park

Friday: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.56), 7:05 p.m.

Saturday: RHP Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74), 7:15 p.m.

Sunday: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36), 8:08 p.m.

NOTES: The Pirates are in last place in the National League Central, four games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs. … The Mets are in third place in the National League East, 8 ½ games behind the first-place Washington Nationals. … The Pirates have won two games in a row and eight of their last 12. … The Mets have lost two games in a row and 10 of their last 13. … The teams are meeting for the first time this season after splitting six games last year. The Pirates are 18-8 against the Mets since the start of the 2013 season. … Pirates LF Adam Frazier is 20-for-47 (.426) with two doubles, two home runs, nine walks and six strikeouts in his last 12 games. … Mets LF Michael Conforto is on a seven-game hitting streak, going 11-for-26 (.423) with two doubles, four home runs, six walks and 11 strikeouts. … Cole is 1-2 against the Mets in his career while Kuhl and Glasnow have never faced them. … deGrom is 0-2 against the Pirates, Harvey is 0-1 and Wheeler has never faced them.

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Pirates-Brewers Preview Capsule

Pirates (12-16) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (15-14)

Site: PNC Park

Friday: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.26) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 5.34), 7:05 p.m.

Saturday: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50) vs. RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38), 7:05 p.m.

Sunday: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97) vs. RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07), 1:35 p.m.

NOTES: The Pirates are in last place in the National League Central, four games behind the division-leading Cubs, while the Brewers are 1 ½ games back in second place. … The Pirates have lost two games in a row and four of their last five. … The Brewers have won three of their last four games. … The teams are meeting for the first time in 2017 after the Pirates won last year’s season series 10-9. The Pirates and Brewers are 57-57 against each other since the beginning of the 2013 season. … The Brewers have scored 57 runs in their last nine games while the Pirates have given up 28 runs in their last five games. … These mark the Pirates’ only three games at PNC Park in a 17-game stretch from April 28-May 14. … Pirates 3B Josh Harrison is 15-for-44 (.341) in his last 11 games with two doubles, one triple, four home runs, four walks and seven strikeouts. … Brewers C Jett Bandy is 11-for-32 (.344) in his last nine games with two doubles, three homers, three walks and six strikeouts. … Kuhl is 1-0 against the Brewers in his career while Cole is 2-3 and Glasnow has never faced Milwaukee. … Nelson has a 5-3 lifetime record against the Pirates while Garza is 3-6 and Davies is 0-2.

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Kuhl Gets Routed by Cubs But Refuses to Lose His Cool

Sometimes it is easy to forget that Chad Kuhl had made just 18 starts in the major leagues and been in the big leagues less than a year.

Few 24-year-olds possess the mound presence of the Pirates right-hander. He never seems to rattle, which he proved in his major-league debut last June 26 when he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers and three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

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