Pittsburgh Pirates: Mitch Keller, Offense Struggle in Bad Loss Against the Oakland A's

Jun 6, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23)
Jun 6, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates suffered arguably their worst loss of the season as their ace struggled and the offense was even worst against the lowly Oakland A's

After scratching out an ugly win over the Oakland A's on Monday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent their ace to the mound in search of locking up a series victory. Unfortunately, the Pirates were unable to do so as they got blasted by one of the worst teams in baseball history in an embarrassing loss.

Following an 11-2 loss, the Pirates are now 32-28 on the season. Entering the game the A's were just 5-26 on the road. This included having lost 15 straight road games. This now sets up a game the Pirates really need on Wednesday afternoon. They absolutely can not afford to drop a series to a team as awful as this A's team.

Pirate offensive struggles with runners in scoring position continues

For much of the month of May the Pirate offense was dreadful with runners in scoring position. During their offensive explosions to finish off the Giants series and start the Cardinal series, the problems with RISP subsided.

The past four games, however, the RISP struggles have returned.

Despute having won each of the games, in their previous three games entering Tuesday night the Pirates were just 5-for-25 with RISP. Facing James Kaprielian, who had been arguably the worst starting pitcher in baseball thsi season, the Pirates had plenty of opportunities to bust the game open in the early going but they were never able to do so.

The Pirates scored a run in the 1st inning to take a 1-0 lead, but this run scored when Jace Peterson committed an error on what should have been a routine double play ball that would have ended the inning.

Their second run of the night came when Josh Palacios reached on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded in the 5th inning. It wasn't a hit, but it was a RBI for Palacios and it tied the game at 2. After Ke'Bryan Hayes grounded out to end the 5th, the Pirates were 0-for-11 with RISP.

Entering the day Kaprielian had pitched as poorly as any starting pitcher in baseball. However, he heled the Pirates to 2 runs, jsut 1 earned, in 6 innings of work. This came despite entering the game with a 8.12 ERA, 5.83 FIP, 12.1% walk rate, and some of the worst opposing contact rates in all of basbeall.

The Pirates did not have any more success against the Oakland bullpen. Bucco hitters went on to finish the game 0-for-13 with RISP.

Mitch Keller battles throughout his start

Keller posted a zero in the 1st inning, but it came after 20+ pitches and a pair of walks. He allowed a solo home run in the 2nd inning, then allowed another run in the 3rd inning after allowing a pair of doubles.

After walking two batters, Keller had loaded the bases with just one out in the 3rd inning. To his credit, he induced a much needed double play ball to end the inning. After allowing a lead off single in the 4th inning he once again got a double play ball, this time with a big assist to the always smooth Ke'Bryan Hayes at third base.

In the 5th inning Keller finally got his first strikeout of the game He also got his first 1-2-3 inning of the night. Although, that did include a well struck fly out to the right-center field wall that looked like a home run off the bat of Seth Brown.

After the Pirates tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the 5th inning, the A's got it right back off Keller in the 6th. Two more hits and a walk made the score 3-2 Oakland, and put runners on the corners with one out. At this point Keller was pulled.

After Keller was pulled an ugly rest of the 6th inning ensued. The A's got a jam hit bloop single to right field, Connor Joe committed an error, and the A's got an infield hit with the bases loaded. This closed the book on Keller.

Keller seemed to struggle with consistent follow through and release point throughout the start. This led to the ball often times running on Keller. In what was his shortest outing since May 3rd, Keller lasted just 5.1 innings allowing 4 runs on eight hits, four walks, and just one strikeout. Considering the opponent, this was probably the worst start of the season for Keller.

Chase De Jong absolutely must go

Chase De Jong was desiganted for assignment by the Pirates earlier this season. To the surprise of absolutely no one he went unclaimed and joined the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Unfortunately, he was re-called to the majors by the Pirates on Sunday.

Making his first appearance since being re-called De Jong showed why he was DFA'd and went unclaimed. Facing a woeful A's lineup De Jong allowed 4 runs on a pair of home runs in the 8th inning. This allowed the A's to break the game wide open. To quote Billy Mays, "but wait! There's more!" De Jong returned to the mound in the 9th inning and allowed anotehr 2-run home run to Jace Peterson, the second in as many innings for Peterson.

De Jong now owns a 13.60 ERA, 11.05 FIP, 10.0% walk rate, and a 4.76 HR/9 this season. There is zero reason for De Jong to ever throw another pitcher for the Pirates. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. He MUST be designated for assignment before first pitch on Wednesday.

Next up

Roansy Contreras (4.82 ERA, 4.69 FIP) is slated to start for the Pirates in Wednesday afternoon's series finale. Lefty Hogan Harris (6.97 ERA, 3.38 FIP) is set to start for the A's. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 12:35 PM ET.

Pirate pitching staff mastering two pitches. dark. Next. Mastering sweeper