Another poor start from Mitch Keller forced the Pittsburgh Pirates to play catch up from the early innings of the game, resulting in another blowout loss against the Cincinnati Reds
There is a lot to take in from Monday night’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately, very little of it is good for the Pirates. Following a 14-1 loss the Pirates have fallen to 14-20 on the season.
A 6 run 4th inning from the Reds gave them a big lead early, and it did not get any closer after that. From that inning on, the game was a tough watch for Pirate fans. Following the latest blowout loss in the season series, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 0-4 this season against the Reds, having been outscored 44-9. Yikes.
After five straight very efficient outs from Mitch Keller to start the game slugging infielder Eugenio Suarez connected on a fastball in the middle of the zone and sent it over the Clemente Wall to make it 1-0 Reds. This was just the beginning of another poor start for Keller.
Jacob Stallings would waste little time to get that run back as he led off the home half of the second with a bomb to left field to tie things up at 1.
The 4th inning would prove to be the deciding factor in Monday night’s game as the Reds struck for 6 runs. With runners at first and second with nobody out Mike Moustakas ripped a single into center that brought home a run. That was followed by a Tyler Naquin double to the right field wall that brought in another and made it 3-1. Later in the inning, Tucker Barnhart doubled into deep left center to bring home two more. A Nick Senzel single with the bases loaded would make it 7-1 and the damage was done.
Cincinnati starting pitcher Tyler Mahle would drive in a run in the sixth on fielder’s choice to second that scored Barnhart and made it 8-1.
The blowout continued as Naquin crushed a three-run homer off of the right field foul pole to extend the lead to 11-1. This came off of Luis Oviedo who allowed 4 runs in 2 innings pitched on Monday night.
Doubles from Senzel and Castellanos scored three more for the Reds in the 8th which gave Cincinnati two touchdowns on the day and a 14-1 lead. This came off of Geoff Hartleib who struggled in his 2021 season debut to the tune of 3 runs on 2 hits, 3 walks and a hit batter in 2 innings pitched
Mitch Keller Struggles Continues
After having a great start against the Padres in San Diego his last time out the hopes among Pirate fans and the organization were that he would be able to carry that success into his start against the Reds on Monday night. Unfortunately, this was not the case as the Reds shelled Keller on Monday night.
Keller started strong with a six-pitch 1-2-3 1t inning, and even rebounded very nicely after giving up a homer to Suarez. However, his way-too-familiar woes would come back in the 4th.
Keller gave up a leadoff hit to Jesse Winker, a walk to Nicholas Castellanos, an RBI base hit to Moustakas, and an RBI double to Naquin to start the inning. Then, after getting Suarez to fly out, he gave up a 2-RBI double to Barnhart and walked the pitcher to load the bases.
Keller was pulled after that tough stretch of batters, but his night was not over. Senzel added a 2-RBI single to right off of Duane Underwood Jr. and the runs would be charged to Keller.
The final line for Keller was a disappointing 3.1 innings on 65 pitches, he allowed 7 runs on 7 hits, a home run allowed and a pair of walks. On the season Keller now has a 7.91 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.30 HR/9, 13.0% walk rate and a 19.8% strikeout rate. While it’s through just 23 MLB starts, Keller is beginning to look like a major bust for the Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to even up the series against the Reds on Tuesday night at PNC Park. The pitching matchup will feature JT Brubaker (2-2, 2.78 ERA) for the Pirates and Jeff Hoffman (2-2, 4.35 ERA) for the Reds. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM ET on AT&T Sports Network.