Chad Kuhl (0-0, 2.00 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.25 ERA)
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds will meet for the second time in this four-game series. The Pirates won just their fourth game of the season on Thursday with a 9-6 win. Anthony DeSclafani was touched up early for 2 runs and the bleeding didn’t stop there.
DeSclafani finally left the game after allowing 9 earned runs in 2 innings. What a frustrating game it was for DeSclafani, as he was going into the day with a lot of momentum. He hadn’t allowed a run up until that terrible performance against the Bucs of all teams.
He may not have taken the Pirates seriously and he paid for it. The Pirates are 4-13 on the season with the win, so nothing to get too excited over. That was a winnable game that the Reds let get away from them early. They scored some runs but a 9-0 deficit was too much to erase.
The Pirates scored 9 runs in the first two innings and then couldn’t score another run in the next seven frames. You want to be more consistent than that, because all it indicates is that a pitcher was having a really bad day. Once DeSclafani excited the game, the Reds started to pick up the pieces on the bump.
While it was a terrific performance by the Pirates, this is still a 4-13 club that isn’t going anywhere in the NL Central. They only have two more wins that a team, the Cardinals, that have played just five games this season. The Pirates are 9.5 games behind the Cubs for the lead in the division.
The Pirates will have to settle for finding small individual wins on their roster. What I mean by that is seeing younger players develop and show promise for the future. Other than that, there isn’t much to play for in this shortened campaign. 27-year-old Chad Kuhl hopes to do just that tonight in Cincinnati.
He’s been mediocre over his first three seasons and seeking improvements. For Sonny Gray, all he needed was a ticket out of the Bronx to find his rhythm again. Kuhl and Gray are scheduled to start on Friday. Head below for our free Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds pick for August 14, 2020.
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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Prediction:
Sonny Gray has been a reliable pitcher throughout his eight-year career in the major leagues. Besides a terrible stint with the New York Yankees that is. Gray was a shell of himself in the Brox playing with the Yankees. All of the success he had with the Athletics in Oaklawn went out the window as a Yankee in the Bronx.
The Yankees had the right idea trading for Gray, but he buckled under the pressure. Back in a smaller market, Gray has thrived with the Reds. Gray posted an ERA of 2.87 and 1.08 WHIP last year in his first season in Cincinnati. This was after the worst season of his career in 2018. He recorded a 4.90 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in New York.
He has been solid against the Pirates in his career with 1 home run and 5 runs conceded in 63 at-bats. Note that’s only against current Pirates. Gray has been excellent at home in two starts this season. He’s notched a 0.96 ERA and 0.70 WHIP. The opposition is hitting just .129 against him in 18.2 innings.
After getting touched up for 6 hits and 4 earned runs against the Brewers in his most recent outing, I can see him settling in and having success against the Pirates in this one. The Bucs went wild for an inning yesterday, but they came back down to earth rather quickly after DeSclafani left the game.
Chad Kuhl has been the definition of average over his first three seasons. He finished with an ERA of 4.20, 4.35, and 4.55 the last three seasons. The breakout year that the Bucs wanted in 2018 didn’t come. However, maybe he heads in that direction in this 60-game season. So far so good for Kuhl, as he’s recorded an ERA of 2.00 and 1.00 WHIP through 9 innings.
Kuhl has received only one start thus far, though, and that was at home against the Tigers. He has a 6.75 ERA and 2.25 WHIP in 1.1 inning on the road against the Cubs. Kuhl must be much better than that on Friday for the Pirates to win here. I’m expecting the Reds’ pitching staff to bounce back with Gray on the hill, so that leaves Kuhl in a tough position. Expect a response from the Reds at home in this one.