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Friday's scouting report: Phillies at Pirates

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, July 3, 2014, 8:15 p.m.
 

• 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.

The Buzz

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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