Chad Kuhl Looks to Continue Second Half Improvement

Manager Clint Hurdle says he’s seen confidence grow in the 25-year-old.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 23, 2018 - 10:03 am
Chad Kuhl

93.7 the Fan

He’s one of the few Pirates from 2017 who you could point to steady improvement throughout the season.  Chad Kuhl made 31 starts and finished 8-11 with a 4.35 ERA .  This after Kuhl started April with a 6.26 ERA, but the last three months of the season were all under a four earned run average (July 3.27, August 3.62 and September 3.18).

For those numbers to continue in 2018, Kuhl has to improve against lefties.  The splits are alarming-giving up 10 homers in 7 1innings and his ERA was 5.78 against left-handers.  So Kuhl worked on his change-up and curve ball and has had some success this month gearing up for Opening Day.

“I think it’s putting him in a really good place to be able to compete and be able to have a better attack plan against left-handers,” said manager Clint Hurdle.  Who added he’s seen Kuhl’s confidence grow.

Getting lefties out is not the only area pitching coach Ray Searage is working on with the 25 year-old righty and Searage said he won’t use kid gloves this year.

“One of the biggest things with Kuhl is learning how to be aware of the situation and start to learn that way,” Searage said.  “Read hitters swings.  ‘I don’t need to go with the slider.  I could go with the curveball.  I could go with my change-up’.” 

“You grow and you change,” Kuhl said.  “I think I’ve gone through a ton of changes figuring out what works best for me.  Worked on the curveball, worked on elevating the fastball more up in the zone; having those different weapons have made me such a better player.”

There is also emotion that often comes with Chad Kuhl.  Fans saw it in his first ever start against the Dodgers where he quickly endeared himself to the fans with his fist pumps.

“He had to control that that adrenaline animal that he’s got in him, and channel it better,” Searage said.  “And then when it timed up really good, you guys saw the difference.”

The Delaware native essentially had to learn how to pitch, admitting he coasted by in the minors.  Searage said he never had a good foundation of how to pitch because he was able to blow away hitters in high school and college.  Searage also believes his game is firming up.

“I don’t think he knows how good he can be.”