When Mitch Keller takes the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight in Cincinnati he needs to have a spot in the starting rotation solidified
At 7:05 this evening the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds will do battles in the second game of a day/night doubleheader. In this game, the team’s top prospect – Mitch Keller – will make his long overdue MLB debut. With this start, it is time for the Keller Era to begin in Pittsburgh.
Sixths season, the Pirate starting rotation has been depreciated by injuries. Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams are currently on the injured list. Chris Archer has also spent time on the IL this season, and has pitched poorly in his last three starts. So, it goes without saying that the rotation needs help.
Despite the problems with the Pirate rotation this season the team remains firmly in the postseason race with a 25-25 record. Keller has the opportunity to help fix some of these issues, at least with the starting rotation, if the Pirates will allow him to do so.
Kingham will start the first game on Monday’s DH, while Brault will start on Wednesday in Cincinnati. In 11 games (two starts) and 24 2/3 innings pitched this season Kingham owns a 8.76 ERA, 5.04 FIP, and an 11.8% walk rate. In 25 1/3 innings pitched across eight games (two starts) Brault owns a 7.11 ERA, 6.14 FIP, 13.7% walk rate. Neither of these pitchers have been anywhere near good enough to warrant continued starts.
Even if Keller struggles on Monday night, he should still remain in the rotation moving froward. Remember, one bad start is not indicative of a player’s capable. Even the best players in the league have bad outings. That said, my gut says Keller will pitch well tonight.
Additionally, at the Triple-A level this season, Keller owns a 3.45 ERA and a 27.6% strikeout rate in 47 innings pitched. While you would like to see slightly better results, he has pitched well for the Indianapolis Indians this season.
Most importantly, he is an upgrade over Kingham and Brault. He is also a part of the Pirates future, unlike Kingham and Brault. It is time for Keller to be in the Pirate rotation and for it to be a permanent move.