After a few less than impressive performances to begin his major league career, Chad Kuhl had done quite well in August for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which should earn him a permanent spot on the team’s rotation in 2017.
Kuhl, 23, made his debut for the team on June 26, making four starts through July 17. The Pirates did win the four games, but Kuhl was allowed only 19.1 innings, finishing with a 4.19 ERA, and striking out only 2.6 batters per walk. He got back on the mound in August, and has been a lot better.
In four starts this month, Kuhl has a 2.96 ERA, allowing a .233 batting average and .692 OPS, and while his strikeout to walk ratio remains the same (2.33), he’s been in much better command, with his velocity around the low 90’s, averaging pitches at around 93 mphs, which is a tad slower than his four original starts, but he has shown more control, while never throwing less than six innings, or more than 6.1.
The Pirates need to find in-house solutions to their starting pitching situation, regardless of how well they do this season, and if they make the playoffs or not. Both Ivan Nova and Ryan Vogelsong are free agents, and Jeff Locke is a non-tender candidate. And if that wasn’t enough, Gerrit Cole has an elbow injury that has bothered him for quite some time, and could result in surgery, and perhaps getting shut down for this season, with some long term effects.
The Pirates looked like sellers around the trade deadline, but have done quite well recently, hounding the St. Louis Cardinals in the division and the wild card race. They’ve won their last 8 road games, and are only one game behind the second wild card ticket, hoping to be in some sort of postseason play (lost wild card game in 2014 and 2015) for the fourth consecutive season.