PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies are showing a glimpse of the future during the season's last few weeks.
With all the September call-ups now in Philadelphia, the team trotted out a young lineup Wednesday night with the oldest player on the lineup card all of 27 years old in catcher Cameron Rupp. It looks like the Phillies will continue to let some new players get comfortable in the big leagues, including when they close out a series with Pittsburgh at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night.
One of the most recent additions for the Phillies has been center fielder Roman Quinn, who has six hits through his first four major league games. After going hitless in his debut Sunday, the 23-year-old has had three consecutive two-hit games, including a 2-for-5 showing Wednesday with a double.
He also threw out a runner at home plate in the ninth inning of the Phillies 6-2 victory on Wednesday night.
"He's an aggressive hitter," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Quinn. "He can run. He can throw. He covers a lot of ground in the outfield and it's a good first impression in the big leagues."
The Phillies offense is also getting production from 26-year-old Freddy Galvis, who has found his power stroke recently. Galvis hit his 19th homer of the season Wednesday night, his eighth in 24 games.
Philadelphia is looking for a win in the four-game series, while Pittsburgh is trying to avoid sinking further into a tailspin that has dropped the team six games out of a National League Wild Card spot. The Pirates have lost 13 of 16 and sit four games below .500 at 70-74.
In those 16 games, the Pirates have been held to two runs or less six times, including Wednesday when they grounded into a trio of inning-ending double plays.
"We hit into three double plays on the night, and unfortunately that's been a common theme," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "If you don't meet the demands of the game, you put yourself in positions to lose. We had opportunities to meet those demands but we didn't do it."
The Phillies are sending one of their most-seasoned starters to the mound in the series finale. Jerad Eickhoff will face the Pirates for the first time in his career.
Eickhoff, 26, is in his second major league season and will be making his 30th start of the season for the Phillies. He has a 3.73 ERA on the season and has been consistent in his last five starts -- all of which have lasted exactly six innings. Eickhoff dealt six scoreless innings against the Nationals in his last start, but left with a no decision.
He will be opposed by one of the potential Pirates arms of the future in Chad Kuhl. A 24-year-old rookie, Kuhl enters his 11th major league start with a 4.09 ERA.
Kuhl had a rough start his last time out, surrendering three runs on four hits and three walks in just two innings against the Cardinals on Sept. 5. The Pirates skipped his turn in the rotation after the start.
Kuhl will be pitching near where he grew up. The right-hander is from Bear, Del. and played high school baseball in Middletown, Del., a town just about 60 miles southwest of Philadelphia.