The Pittsburgh Pirates got off to a good start on their seven-game road trip by winning three of four against the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend.
They’ve hit a wall in Colorado, where they have lost the first two of a three-game series against the Rockies. They get a chance to salvage a win when the teams meet Wednesday.
Pittsburgh will send Chad Kuhl (2-4, 5.05 ERA) against Colorado’s Jon Gray (4-6, 3.97) in a battle of right-handers.
The Pirates scored 21 runs in the four-game series against St. Louis; but, through the first two games at hitter-friendly Coors Field, they’ve yet to push across a run. In fact, on Tuesday night, they were nearly victims of the eighth no-hitter in the majors this season.
German Marquez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Ka’ai Tom led off with a single to right.
Things won’t get much easier Wednesday against Gray, who is making his second start since being activated from the 10-day injured list due to a right flexor strain. Gray is 4-2 with a 3.25 ERA in eight home starts this season. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Arizona earlier this season.
Gray looked sharp in his return to the mound over the weekend. He tossed five shutout innings and struck out 10 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I felt very confident, very calm out there,” said Gray, who gave up five hits but didn’t walk a batter in Milwaukee. “I felt I was doing everything one pitch at a time. Nothing got scrambled out there. One thing we didn’t do was get behind a lot of guys or walk guys.”
Gray hasn’t had a lot of success against Pittsburgh in his career. In five starts, he is 1-2 with a 7.94 ERA.
Kuhl will make his 10th start of the season, and his last two outings have been strong. Kuhl has given up just two runs in 12 innings and has recorded wins in both games, the last an 8-2 victory at the Cardinals on Thursday night.
Kuhl has started three games against Colorado in his career and is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in those outings. He lost his only start at Coors Field, which came July 22, 2017.
The Pirates were down a player in Tuesday’s loss. Colin Moran, who was hit on the left wrist with a pitch in the first inning of Monday’s 2-0 loss was out of the lineup on Tuesday.
It has been a struggle for Moran, who was out most of May and early June with a hamstring injury. He was also hit by a pitch on the hand on June 9.
“It’s challenging because of the fact that he’s had a couple of injuries that he’s had to battle through, and he was swinging the bat well before that,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “Now, he’s trying to find his groove, then he gets hit again. We just need to get him, No. 1, healthy, and then, No. 2, back to where he was in April.”
–Field Level Media