Preview: Brewers at Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates might want to scratch out a scouting report on Brent Suter — as a hitter — before their series finale Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.
Suter is strong enough on the mound. The left-hander is 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA going into his expected start against the Pirates, and over his past six starts he is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA.
That includes a 13-2 win over Philadelphia Friday, when Suter allowed one run and six hits while tying a career high with seven innings pitched. But he seemed more excited about what he did at the plate in that game.
Suter drove in a run after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, reached on an error and singled in a run in his three plate appearances against the Phillies.
“I feel locked in at the plate,” he said. “I’m a little late on fastballs, but I’m seeing the ball well. I’m seeing offspeed down. Any way you can help your team win is a good way to help your team win.”
Suter is 3-for-10 since he hit a 433-foot homer off American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber May 9. He was 4-for-28 before that, including 1-for-8 this season.
“There’s a confidence there,” Suter said. “Hitting is one of my favorite parts. I love hitting. I’ve loved it my whole life. Even when I’m struggling, I still like going up there and trying to whack it.”
As for his “day job,” Suter will be trying to help the Brewers (43-30) take the series and keep hold of first place in the National League Central.
Milwaukee won 3-2 Tuesday to end a three-game losing streak.
Pittsburgh (36-37) had won four of five before Tuesday and will be trying to win its second straight series after losing eight in a row.
Suter will oppose Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (5-4, 3.76 ERA).
In his past five starts, Kuhl has allowed eight earned runs in 30 1/3 innings. Over his past eight starts, he has a 2.89 ERA.
Part of his recent success is tied to mixing in a lot of breaking balls.
“It’s a heater-hunting league, especially when you throw a hard heater. Guys are trying to hit the heater, it’s no secret,” Kuhl said. “Throwing that [slider] a ton. Feel really comfortable with it. It’s gotten me out of some really big jams, gotten me some strikeouts and some early action. It kind of does both for me. Just being able to throw that in any count has been huge.”
Against Milwaukee, Kuhl is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA, and the Pirates are 6-0 in his starts. This season, he gave up one hit and tied a career high with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings May 6 in a 9-0 win.
“When you know you’ve had success and remember some pitches that may have worked for you, you’re able to use that to your advantage, but every game is different,” Kuhl said.
Suter is 1-0 with 1.80 ERA in eight games — three starts — against the Pirates.