Scouting Wednesday's Pirates-Padres game
• Gerrit Cole's slider was inconsistent in his last start against the Diamondbacks and his feel for the pitch has run hot and cold throughout his rookie campaign. However, if the slider is on, Francisco Liriano showed Monday night the Padres will chase out of the zone. The Pirates struck out 17 Padres on Monday, matching a franchise-best mark in an nine-inning game. Cole's strikeout rate has improved to 8.01 Ks per nine in the second half, up from 5.4 in the first half in large part due to his developing slider. ... The most recent time Cole returned to pitch in his native state he reached 100 mph or better eight times vs. the Angels in June.
• Padres RHP Ian Kennedy has allowed five or more runs in four of his past eight starts. Kennedy's ERA (5.12) and walk rate (3.67) are the worst since his 2008 rookie season with the Yankees.
• Pirates GM Neal Huntington is with the club in San Diego. Despite the passing of the non-waiver trade deadline, Huntington said the waiver wire has been active and he has continued to explore for potential offensive upgrades.