I’ve been on the road the last few days, so I missed a couple big pitching prospects as they pitched live. On Sunday morning, I was able to watch the games from Chad Kuhl and Clay Holmes from Saturday. Then I got to see Tyler Glasnow’s game in the afternoon, though I watched his last three innings live, then saw the first two innings later. I finished up with Tyler Eppler’s outing on Sunday night. I managed to fit all four games in by only watching the pitching prospects and skipping the rest through the magic on MiLB TV. I thought I’d give quick analysis on each game.
Chad Kuhl – 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
I saw the boxscore before watching this game and expected it to be a dominating performance throughout. It wasn’t really until the last two innings. Kuhl had a 12:0 GO/AO ratio in this game, which was the main reason I was expecting a great pitched game. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have a feel of a great game because he worked hard in each of the first four innings. He was constantly in deep counts in the game, so despite walking only two batters, he had a lot of 3-1 or 3-2 counts. There also weren’t a lot of swing and misses from the opposition. The fastball/sinker looked good at 93-95, and he was using his change and slider often with some success. Kuhl retired the last ten batters he faced and after two long at-bats to end the fourth inning, the fifth and sixth were easy frames due to six straight grounders. He didn’t look his best, which is a little scary for the opposition with that pitching line. Jacob Stallings really helped him out with two caught stealing that weren’t great pitches to throw on, yet he got both runners easily.
Clay Holmes – 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
Just like with Kuhl, I went into this game with expectations due to the pitching line. Unlike Kuhl, Holmes looked better than the pitching line would suggest (it would suggest horrible). Holmes allowed four runs in the first inning on four hits. Two of the hits were just normal grounders, one found a hole and the other was played by shortstop Chris Diaz, who couldn’t get the runner. He also gave up a triple, which got by Barrett Barnes, who dove for the ball. It’s possible that if Barnes took a conservative approach on it, Holmes would have gotten out of the inning with three runs, but that assumes everything else would have happened the same afterwards.
The second inning was what really killed Holmes and it’s a fairly unique situation. He got a ground out for the second out, but the opposing manager argued that Jose Osuna’s foot was off the bag. Multiple replays didn’t show anything to suggest it happened, but the umpires got together and over-ruled the call. That brought out Altoona manager Joey Cora who argued for a long time before getting thrown out, then he continued to argue some more. Meanwhile, Holmes went close to ten minutes between pitches and had a guy on first base who probably shouldn’t have been there and one less out. He ended up throwing a lot more pitches that frame and his control got worse as the inning went along. Safe calls at first usually don’t get overturned like that, and replay has cut down on manager arguments.
Holmes hasn’t had his fastball, curve and change all working at the same time this season. Usually one is off. He threw some really nice curves in this game, and even some terrific fastballs that he buried down and in on right-handed hitters. In one of his last at-bats, he threw three consecutive fastballs down and in and got a strike and some weak fouls. Then he drilled the guy in the middle of the back. That was typical of this game with the fastball. It was on and then really off, switching between great and poor quickly. It looked like he had a game plan to work the inside to righties and he just wasn’t able to hit the corner. He flashed some nice pitches, but in the end his control and some solid timely hits did him in. The good part was the flashes of two strong pitches between all the bad parts.
Tyler Glasnow 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 SO
This game was all about dominating despite poor command. Glasnow looked real bad in the first inning, with two walks and two solid hit outs. For the next three innings, the command was slightly better and he got through them without allowing a hit. In the fifth, Norfolk collected two hits and Glasnow walked a batter to load the bases. The walk could have easily been called a strikeout on the 2-2 and 3-2 pitches, so it’s hard to fault him for that one. He made two great pitches the umpire didn’t give him. The important part is that Glasnow really used his change-up a lot. It looked better and got better results in his last game, but the important part is that he used the pitch. Just like with his pick-off move, it’s an area he needs to work on and the only way you get better is using it in games. Speaking of pick-offs, while it isn’t fun for the crowd, it’s good to see him holding runners better than he used to do, throwing over to first base often.
So his outing was good and bad. The good was the frequent usage of his change-up and keeping runners close. His curve was also very strong this game throughout. The fastball hit 96 a couple times, but was mostly 93-95, with a lot of 93’s at the end. He didn’t have the best command of it and that led to the high pitch count. You obviously don’t want to see five walks and 91 pitches in five innings, but you’ll always take the five runs. As I said after his last game, if he repeated that performance a couple more times in a row, he would probably be ready to move up. This game showed that he still has some work to do.
Tyler Eppler 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO
Eppler went at least six innings in each of his first four starts. He also walked a total of three batters in those games, so Sunday’s performance was different in two ways. Eppler threw 89 pitches with 55 for strikes, which isn’t a bad split. He seems to give up runs on in odd ways, where the other team will hit the ball hard a couple times and nothing will happen, then two bloops fall in and a run scores. In this game, Eppler looked like he had strike three twice on the first batter of the third inning. That batter singled, then scored on a two-out homer. Eppler was trying to go in with a fastball and he missed over the middle of the plate. That ended up being the only runs he allowed. He worked down in the zone with his fastball all game, leaving a couple balls up that were hit to the warning track. Eppler gets good downhill plane coming out of his 6’6″ frame. He was hitting 93-94 MPH in this game and is usually in the 92-94 range, touching higher. His slurve looked very good at times, getting a couple chases for strikeouts. It wasn’t really a bad start, just some minor hiccups in control and one pitch sent a long way because he missed his target.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 6-5 to the Reds on Sunday. They now play the Chicago Cubs at home with Gerrit Cole taking the mound. He went six innings in his last start in Colorado, allowing two runs. Prior to that, he threw six shutout innings in San Diego. Jason Hammel will go for the Cubs, making his fifth start. He has an 0.75 ERA in 24 innings, with 22 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP. He shutout the Reds for six innings in his last start.
In the minors, Mitch Keller goes for West Virginia, while Steven Brault starts for Indianapolis. Brault struck out 11 batters in his last outing. That followed up a game in which he struck out nine batters. In Keller’s last outing, he allowed two runs and a walk over six innings. Prior to that game, he had three straight starts with no runs or walks. He has struck out ten batters twice in a game this season.
MLB: Pittsburgh (15-10) vs Cubs (17-6) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.78 ERA, 6:19 BB/SO, 22.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (12-10) vs Durham (11-14) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (1.93 ERA, 8:25 BB/SO, 19.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (9-14) @ Erie (10-12) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (6.23 ERA, 13:10 BB/SO, 17.1 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (10-14) vs St Lucie (14-10) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (5.40 ERA, 9:12 BB/SO, 18.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (15-9) vs Asheville (10-13) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (0.86 ERA, 1:28 BB/SO, 21.0 IP)
Here is a strikeout from Chad Kuhl’s outing mentioned above.
4/30: Jared Hughes activated from the disabled list. Rob Scahill sent to Indianapolis.
4/27: Sam Street placed on the temporary inactive list. Jose Regalado added to Bradenton.
4/25: Pedro Florimon added to Indianapolis roster. Antoan Richardson released.
4/25: Austin Meadows added to Altoona roster. Justin Maffei assigned to Morgantown.
4/25: Jake Burnette placed on disabled list. Logan Ratledge assigned to West Virginia.
4/22: Pirates recall Jason Rogers. Cole Figueroa optioned to Indianapolis.
4/21: Pirates release Michael Morse.
4/21: Jhondaniel Medina assigned to Altoona.
4/21: Cory Luebke assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
4/20: Jared Hughes assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
4/19: Julio Vivas added to West Virginia roster. Logan Ratledge assigned to Morgantown.
4/18: Jung-ho Kang assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
4/16: Trevor Williams placed on disabled list. Jhondaniel Medina promoted to Indianapolis.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, all of them pitchers and they lasted a total of 13 games between them. Jose Ascanio pitched ten games, split between 2009 and 2011. Clay Carroll pitched two games for the 1978 Pirates and Freddy Sale pitched for Pittsburgh on June 30,1924. With the Pirates losing 7-3 to the Cardinals that day, Sale came on for the eight inning and gave up two singles to the first two hitters. Two batters later, he got an out and a double play without allowing a run and his big league career was over.
The Pittsburgh Pirates played their first game in franchise history 134 years ago today. That day, the Alleghenys defeated the Cincinnati Red Stockings on the first day of baseball in the American Association. It was a league that lasted ten years total and for the first five, Pittsburgh was a member, before moving to the National League for the 1887 season. The first batter in team history was Ed Swartwood, who led the league in runs and doubles in 1882 and became the first Pirates/Alleghenys player to lead the league in average (.357) the next season.