Pittsburgh Pirates: Starting Pitching Struggles & More Takeaways From Embarrassing Series Loss vs A's

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Mitch Keller stuck in a slump

Pirate ace Mitch Keller is in a slump. Through his first 10 starts this season Keller owned a 2.44 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 5.6% walk rate, 30.7% strikeout rate, and a 0.72 HR/9. Three starts later, his stats on the season are now a 3.60 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 6.3% walk rate, 28.6% strikeout rate, and a 0.90 HR/9.

Across his last three starts the Pirates are 2-1, but Keller has allowed 15 earned runs in 17.1 innings pitched (7.79 ERA). He's walked 8.6% of batters faced, struck batters out at just a 21.0% clip, and he's allowed three home runs (1.56 HR/9), leading to a 4.96 FIP.

In his start against the Giants some poor defense hurt Keller. He's also been hurt by batting avergae on balls in play across these three starts owing a .415 BAbip. In his start this series against the A's Keller struggled with his mechanics and release point.

Whatever is plaguing Keller, he and the Pirates need to figure it out. If this team is going to keep hanging around in the National League Central race they will need their ace to pitch like just that - an ace.