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Game Thread: The return of Andrew McCutchen

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I still get this weird feeling upon seeing Andrew McCutchen in a uniform not featuring Black & Gold. This weekend he’s back in Pittsburgh, donning the orange of the San Francisco Giants, which may evoke similar memories of 25 years ago. Cutch reportedly made good use of his day, taking his son to a doctor’s appointment and visiting his favorite pizza shop before reporting to the ballpark.

McCutchen has been struggling for his new team early on in the season, with a batting average below the Mendoza Line as late as April 27th (and much of that coming in one game in which he had six hits) but over his last 11 games he’s hit 394/533/485, raising his overall season line to a more respectable 250/377/379. Tonight he’ll bat second and play right field.

Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.42) takes the mound for the Pirates and will be opposed by the 25 year old rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez, who MLB career consists of three starts to far this year. Drafted in the second round as a senior out of the University of Miami in Florida in 2015, Suarez only had 16 starts in Triple-A before his promotion. So far he’s been averaging 91.9 mph on his fastball which he uses only 49% of the time, followed by a slider (28%), curve (16%) and change (7%). Suarez throws strikes, averaging only 2.1 walks along with 7.9 strikeouts per 9 innings in his minor league career. In his three starts with the Giants he’s issued only two walks while punching out 18 batters in 17 23 innings, good for a 3.06 ERA.

Against the left-hander, manager Clint Hurdle will sit three of his four left handed bats, Adam Frazier, Corey Dickerson and Colin Moran, with only Gregory Polanco remaining in the starting lineup. Despite the lefty, Jose Osuna remains on the bench as Sean Rodriguez gets the start in left field.

Former Pirate Alen Hanson will start at second base for the Giants.

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GIANTS

1 L Gregor Blanco LF

2 R Andrew McCutchen RF

3 R Buster Posey C

4 L Brandon Belt 1B

5 R Evan Longoria 3B

6 L Brandon Crawford SS

7 S Alen Hanson 2B

8 R Austin Jackson CF

9 L Andrew Suarez LHP

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PIRATES

1 S Max Moroff 2B

2 L Gregory Polanco RF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 R Francisco Cervelli C

6 R David Freese 3B

7 R Sean Rodriguez LF

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 R Jameson Taillon RHP