Sports Magazine

Game 82: Giants at Pirates 07.02.2017

By Kipper @pghsportsforum,game=491333
"By Jonathan Toye / | 7:18 AM ET + 0 COMMENTS
Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams was a late addition to the rotation, filling in for Jameson Taillon after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. But Williams did enough to stay in the rotation when Taillon returned and has given the Bucs two straight quality starts. He will try to make it three in a row Sunday against Jeff Samardzija and the Giants in the series finale at PNC Park.
Williams joined the rotation May 8. After a shaky start, Williams has settled in his new role. He allowed three runs in six innings June 21 against the Brewers and limited the Rays to two runs in seven innings Tuesday, pitching into the eighth for the first time in his Major League career. He credits fellow starters Gerrit Cole and Ivan Nova, in part, for his recent success.
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"It's just watching the veterans do it," Williams said. "There are a lot of veterans in this clubhouse and it's fun to watch them."
Samardzija is also coming off back-to-back quality starts, allowing five runs in 13 1/3 innings in that span. He has completed six innings in 13 of his 16 starts and entered Saturday ranked seventh among National League pitchers with 105 innings.
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Andrew McCutchen enjoyed one of the best months at the plate in Pirates history, slashing .411/.505/.689 in June. He led the National League in batting, OPS (1.193) and on-base percentage. He became just the 11th Pirates player to top .500 in on-base percentage in any month since 1913. Part of his success has been his ability to lay off sliders. McCutchen whiffed at 16.5 percent of sliders in April and May but he reduced that number to 3.3 percent in June, according to Statcast.
Jordy Mercer is expected to return to the lineup after a scheduled off-day Saturday. The Pirates shortstop had an 11-game hitting streak in the month of June, but has recorded one hit in his last four games. He still slashed .297/.347/.462 in June.
• Hunter Pence will look to continue his success at the plate at PNC Park. His .333 career average entering Saturday was tied with Anthony Rizzo for the second-highest average among active players at PNC Park behind Albert Pujols (.376).
Jonathan Toye is a reporter for based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."

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