The Pittsburgh Pirates wasted arguably the best start of Mitch Keller’s MLB career on Wednesday afternoon on their way to getting swept in Milwaukee
Some times in sports a loss can be more than just a loss. The Pittsburgh Pirates and starting pitcher Mitch Keller are hoping that will be the case with Wednesday afternoon’s 4-2 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Following the loss the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 5-7 on the season after being swept in the house of horrors in Milwaukee. As we will get into in further detail the reason the Pirates and Keller are hoping this loss will prove to be more than a loss is because it was arguably the best start of Keller’s career.
Has Keller finally found something and turned a corner? Well, as a wise man once said, time will tell. If that has indeed happened then this loss will indeed prove to be more than just another loss for the Pirates and Keller.
Mitch Keller looks like a completely different pitcher
Keller started the day strong by retiring the Brewers in order in the 1st inning. While he missed a spot to Rowdy Tellez in the 2nd inning resulting in a solo home run, that was it for bad Keller on Wednesday. When his day was over Keller had allowed a run on 4 hits, no walks and 7 strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched.
Keller’s stuff looked as good as ever. Keller threw 10 pitches that hit at least 97.5 MPH on the radar gun and generated 10 whiffs. He threw a first pitch strike to 18 of the 20 batters he faced, did not walk a batter and threw 58 of his 75 pitches (77%) for strikes.
In a pleasant change from so many Keller starts in the past he looked confident on the mound. He pitched aggressively. Not only did Keller command all of his pitches he executed his pitches as well, they had movement and deception throughout the start.
Has Keller found something? Let’s hope so. While it will take a lot more than one strong start for Pirate fans to begin to believe in Keller, and rightfully so, this was definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully the confidence, execution, and aggressiveness from Keller will carry over into his next start and beyond.
Pirate can’t solve Brandon Woodruff
Righty Brandon Woodruff started for the Brewers. As he has done so many times in the past he kept the Pirate offense off balance throughout the day. In fact, for the majority of his start Woodruff flirted with a no-hitter.
Woodruff pitched 6 scoreless innings. The lone hit he allowed was a one-single by Daniel Vogelbach in the 6th inning. Woodruff struck out 9, and also issued walks to Vogelbach and Andrew Knapp.
It was clear from the early going that Woodruff had his good stuff working on Wednesday afternoon. While Keller did all he could to keep the Pirates in the game, the offense never did muster anything against Woodruff.
Tough luck 7th inning puts the game away
After Anthony Banda got the final two outs of the 6th inning, Miguel Yajure took over in the 7th inning. To start the inning Hunter Renfroe hit a perfectly placed dribbler down the right field line into no man’s land for a double. Omar Narvaez then blooped a ball into shallow right field that at worst should have been a single, but went as a double after a poor throw by Diego Castillo who, in his defense, had never played the outfield professionally before today. There was also a golden opportunity to nail Narvaez trying to go to second base that the Pirates could not capitalize on.
Pirate killer Keston Hiura then stepped to the plated a launched a 3-run home run into the right field seats. This home run by Hiura made the score 4-0 Brewers. It was the 1st home run of the season for Hiura and 37th of his MLB career. 11 of those 37 home runs have come against the Pirates.
8th inning rally not enough
Brent Suter started the 8th inning on the mound for the Brewers. After allowing back-to-back singles to a pinch-hitting Michael Chavis and Kevin Newman to start the inning, Suter retired a pinch-hitting Roberto Pérez and Vogelbach before being lifted for Devin Williams.
Bryan Reynolds put together a hell of an at-bat, which included laying off a perfectly placed 2-2 changeup, to draw a walk. Ke’Bryan Hayes then ripped a single through the left side of the infield to score a pair, cutting the Brewer lead to 4-2. Williams then struck out Yoshi Tsutsugo looking to end the threat.
Josh Hader then slammed the door shut on the Pirates in the 9th inning.
Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is a four-game series at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Bryse Wilson (5.40 ERA, 6.65 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates while the Cubs plan to send righty Mark Leiter Jr. (18.90 ERA, 8.15 FIP) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:40 PM ET.