Tuesday’s Start Can Get Mitch Keller On Track For The Pittsburgh Pirates


Mitch Keller will have a golden opportunity to get on track on Tuesday night after struggling in his first two MLB starts

On Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates will start a two-game series at home against the Detroit Tigers. Both teams enter this series with their fair share of problems. The Pirates will carry a 32-39 record into Tuesday night, while the Tigers are a miserable 25-43.

When this series kicks off at 7:05 on Tuesday night, right-handed pitcher Mitch Keller will be toeing the rubber for the Pirates. Keller entered the season as the team’s top pitching prospect, and one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Through his first two MLB starts, however, things have not gone as Keller or the Pirates would have hoped.

Two starts into his MLB career Keller owns a 15.43 ERA and a 4.18 FIP in 7 innings of work. He lasted 4 innings in his first start, 3 in his second, and has allowed 17 hits and 12 earned runs in these starts. Part of his problem, especially in his most recent start, was the Pirates not allowing him to throw his best pitch – his curveball – more often. But that is a conversation for another day.

Tuesday night will provide Keller with the opportunity he needs to get back on track. Not only will it be his first career start at PNC Park, which is a good pitcher’s park, he will also be facing a poor Tigers lineup. So far this season, the Tigers are last in the American League in both runs scored (239) and home runs hit (59). In fact, they’re the lone AL squad to have hit less than 70 HRs so far this season and one of just two that has hit less than 80.

In Keller’s first two starts he pitched against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves on the road. While the Reds have not been as good as expected offensively this season, Great American Ballpark remains arguably the best hitter’s park in all of baseball.

The Reds are just 13th in the National League in runs scored this season, they still average 4.9 runs per game at home. As for Atlanta, on top of Sun Trust Park being for hitter friendly than pitcher friendly, the Braves can flat out rake. The Braves entered play on Monday second in the NL in runs scored and and fifth in HRs clubbed.

So, it goes without saying that the light hitting Tigers should not pose nearly the threat that the Reds or Braves did in Keller’s first two starts. This Detroit lineup is not much better than most of the lineups Keller faced at the Triple-A level this season.

Next. Takeaways From Series Victory In Miami. dark

Following Tuesday night’s game Keller may be on his way back to Triple-A no matter what. The Pirates will not need five starters again until June 29th and by then Jordan Lyles should be back off the injured list. Chris Stratton also appears close to returning from the IL, and will require a roster spot.

However, Tuesday night’s start will still be a great opportunity for Keller to get on track. Even if it is his last start at the MLB level for a few weeks, it is one he should pitch well in to develop some confidence. Something that Keller has not yet been able to do at the MLB level.