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Gamethread: Red-hot Pirates invade Denver

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates, coming off a four game sweep of the division leading Brewers at home, open a three game series in the Mile High City as Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.57) faces Rockies’ rookie Jeff Hoffman (6-1, 4.33) at 8:40 p.m. Eastern on Root AT&T Sports something-or-other.

The 48-48 Pirates have won 11 of 13 and are now in third place in the National League Central, only three games behind the Brewers. The Rockies own the NL’s fourth best record at 56-41, having won four in a row, but rank third in the West behind Los Angeles and Arizona.

Williams has a 3.95 ERA and .699 OPS allowed in the 12 starts since his disastrous first one in Los Angeles, and had a string of effective outings, but has posted game scores of only 38 and 44 in his last two, allowing 16 hits in 9 13 innings.

The hard throwing Hoffman was drafted out of East Carolina by the Blue Jays as the 9th overall pick in 2014, but was traded a year later to the Rockies. Rising rapidly, he made six starts last year for Colorado, only two years after being drafted, and this year has gone 6-1 in 10 starts since being recalled on June 4th.

Hoffman has averaged 2.5 walks and 7.7 strikeout per 9 innings this year, relying on his 94.7 mph four-seam fastball 65% of the time, followed by the curve at 17% and slider and change each at 9%.

In 94 innings in his MLB career, Hoffman has shown a reverse split, allowing a .831 OPS to right-handed batters and .701 to left-handers, although the lefties make better contact. When swinging at the first pitch, Hoffman has allowed batters to hit 327/333/505 (.838 OPS) while only 227/318/416 (734) when taking. The first time through the order, batters have hit 180/248/320 (569) with a 202 BABIP off Hoffman, but 305/371/469 (839) the second time through and 301/348/590 (938) the third.



1 R Starling Marte, LF

2 R Josh Harrison, 2B

3 R Andrew McCutchen, CF

4 S Josh Bell, 1B

5 R David Freese, 3B

6 L Gregory Polanco, RF

7 R Francisco Cervelli, C

8 R Jordy Mercer, SS

9 R Trevor Williams, RHP



1 L Charlie Blackmon, CF

2 R D.J. LeMahieu, 2B

3 R Nolan Arenado, 3B

4 L Gerardo Parra, LF

5 R Ian Desmond, 1B

6 L Carlos Gonzalez, RF

7 R Trevor Story, SS

8 L Tony Wolters, C

9 R Jeff Hoffman, RHP