Pittsburgh Pirates Set to Host Cleveland Indians in Three-Game Series

May 20, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) reacts in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
May 20, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) reacts in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JUNE 12: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on June 12, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JUNE 12: Chad Kuhl #39 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on June 12, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

When it comes to the starting pitching… the Pittsburgh Pirate appear to be out-gunned

In Friday night’s game one the Indians will send righty J.C. Mejía to the mound. Mejía made his MLB debut earlier this season, having made 6 appearances and 3 starts thus far. Mejía owns a 4.26 ERA, but a strong 2.29 FIP and 26.5% strikeout rate. He has not allowed a home run yet, either.

Opposing Mejía on Friday night will be righty Chad Kuhl. Kuhl has struggled to the tune of a 6.52 ERA, 6.51 FIP, 15.1% walk rate and a 1.55 HR/9 in just 29 innings pitched this season. These 29 innings of work have come across 7 starts, coming out to Kuhl averaging just 4.1 innings per start this season. In 3 starts since coming off the injured list, Kuhl has allowed 10 earned runs on 14 hits,  home run, 5 walks and just 9 strikeouts in 13.1 innings pitched.

Saturday afternoon the pitching matchup once again appears to favor Cleveland heavily. Cal Quantrill is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Indians, while the Pittsburgh Pirates plan to send Wil Crowe to the mound.

Quantrill has already pitched in 21 games this season, but just 3 of them have been starts. Overall, the righty has been very good for the Indians posting a 3.11 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 7.4% walk rate, 19.8% strikeout rate and a home run rate of 0.72 HR/9 in 37.2 innings pitched.

As for Crowe, while he is coming off of his best start with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he still leaves a lot to be desired. In 8 starts this season Crowe has pitched 35.1 innings, posting a 6.62 ERA and 5.34 FIP. Crowe has walked 10.1% of batters faced as a starter, struck out 21.5% and he’s allowed 7 home runs (1.78 HR/9). Opposing batters also own a 22.6% line drive rate and 30.2% hard hit rate off of Crowe this season when he starts. If Crowe is going to find success at the Major League level, odds are, it will be as a reliever.

That brings us to Sunday afternoon’s matchup which is the line pitching matchup that may favor the Pirates. Struggling lefty Sam Hentges is scheduled to start for the Indians. Hentges owns a 7.86 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 11.5% walk rate and a 1.71 HR/9 in 26.1 innings pitched this season. These 26.1 innings pitched have come across 10 games, 4 of which were starts.

As for the Pirates, righty JT Brubaker is scheduled to start on Sunday afternoon. Brubaker is having a breakout season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Through 12 starts this season he owns a 3.88 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 5.4% walk rate and a 22.7% strikeout rate in 65 innings pitched. He’s only poor stats this season are his 1.38 HR/9, which is more mediocre than poor, and 5.4 innings per start this season. That said, multiple times this season, including his most recent start against the Nationals, Derek Shelton has pulled Brubaker for no apparent reason while he was pitching while. Hopefully, he will be given a long leash on Sunday afternoon if he is pitching well.

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