Pirates look to continue quieting Rockies' potent bats (Jun 14, 2017)

BY AP • June 14, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- The Colorado Rockies have the most runs in the National League with 344, but they've mustered just four over the first two games of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Pirates starters Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole kept the Rockies bats' quiet on Monday and Tuesday.

"That's a good offensive team that back-to-back nights we've executed some pretty good pitches (against)," manager Clint Hurdle said on Tuesday.

But they weren't completely shutting them down. The Rockies had 11 hits against Taillon and others Monday. While Cole and the bullpen gave up just four hits Tuesday, they also walked four and allowed another to reach on an error, meaning the Rockies had plenty of baserunners.

From the Pirates' perspective, pitchers are coming through in big spots while the Rockies' hitters are unable to produce a big hit.

"They got the big hit," Rockies manager Bud Black said, referring to the Pirates' three home runs on Tuesday. "That's what it comes down to in close, well-pitched games.

It will be Chad Kuhl's turn to try to hold down the Colorado offense on Wednesday. Kuhl has a 5.63 ERA and a 3-9 record on the season, but he's been better lately.

Over his last four starts, he's allowed eight runs for a 3.72 ERA and he's coming off one of his best outings of the season. He allowed one run over five innings against the Baltimore Orioles on June 7. Kuhl has never faced the Rockies.

Kuhl has pitched beyond the fifth inning just twice this season and the Pirates bullpen has been active, with late-inning hurlers Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero having thrown three of the last four days.

The Pirates' bullpen has been good, with a 3.95 ERA, but that figure is buoyed by the outstanding numbers of Nicasio (1.23) and Rivero (0.78). Beyond them, demoted closer Tony Watson (4.13 ERA) and setup man Daniel Hudson (5.33 ERA) have been much more hittable.

For the Rockies, rookie German Marquez will make his 13th major league start. Called up on April 25 after making his debut last September, Marquez (4-3) has had some bright spots, including an eight-inning shutout of the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs on May 10. But his last start was also his shortest at just three innings in 80 pitches.

His overall numbers (4.44 ERA) are inflated by a rough season debut, when he allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings. Over his last five turns, he has a 4.01 ERA. Marquez has never faced the Pirates.

Marquez is one of several young pitchers in the Rockies' rotation whose future is far from guaranteed. Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray are both closing in on their returns to the rotation and some players won't make the cut once that happens.

"We are going to see how all of these guys throw and see what's going on with their pitching," Black said. "We'll make a critical evaluation."



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