By Jason Shetler
When the Pirates acquired Drew Hutchison from the Toronto Blue Jays at this year’s trade deadline, there was speculation if he would join the Pirates rotation right away or head to AAA Indianapolis. The Pirates decided on the latter. Hutchison pitched in seven games (six starts) for the Indians before getting called up to Pittsburgh earlier this week. Chad Kuhl was originally slated to pitch Saturday’s game versus Cincinnati, but had his start skipped because of an innings limit. Hutchison was named the spot starter for that game instead. Here is my assessment of his Pirates debut.
Hutchison started the game off well, pitching three scoreless innings. The Pirates offense handed him a four run lead to work with, and it seemed as though things were looking very promising. However, Reds batters had a much better approach against Hutchison second time through, as five singles and a hit by pitch resulted in a four run, fourth inning to tie the game.
Although Hutchison threw 46 of his 73 pitches for strikes and didn’t allow a walk, he left a vast amount of fastballs in the zone during that fourth inning, and wasn’t really fooling any of the Cincinnati hitters. Specifically, he just didn’t appear comfortable at all pitching in the stretch, constantly not hitting his spots. What looked like the makings of a promising debut for Hutchison turned into a subpar one, and looks even worse considering that this was a game the Pirates could not afford to lose.