• Gerrit Cole's velocity declined during his June 3 start at San Diego and his velocity also declined in his first start back against the New York Mets last weekend. Cole was still touching 95 mph in his last inning of work, but it's something to keep an eye on. Cole relies heavily on his fastball but opponents are hitting below .200 against each of his off-speed pitches. Perhaps he will increase off-speed usage as he did in the second half last season.
• The Pirates have combined for a .241 career average against the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Roberto Hernandez has always struggled with fastball command and is walking 4.5 batters per nine innings.
Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy could be an excellent trade target for the Pirates — if the Pirates are looking for pitching. McCarthy's 5.11 ERA is unslightly but his fielding-independent numbers suggest he is much better as McCarthy's xFIP stands at 2.92. McCarthy is a free agent after the end of the season and owed $4.5 million.
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