This evening the Pirates began their final series of season as they traveled to Cleveland to take on the Indians. In the first of three games, Pittsburgh fans would get one more look at Mitch Keller, with his previous outing being the controversial six inning no-hitter from which he was pulled by Derek Shelton and potentially the medical staff due to a reported pitch count of 85; a decision I fully support by the way. Another point of interest, and maybe the only one aside from seeing Ke’Bryan Hayes continuing his September hot streak, is the battle for last place in MLB that has gotten closer by the day; a battle that someone forgot to tell Pittsburgh they were in, evident by the late season surge.
Coming into tonight’s contest the Pirates had won three in a row, tied for their longest on the year, while the Indians had strung together five victories, including a sweep of the Chicago White Sox in the midst of tight AL Central race; preparing for the playoffs. Two teams on completely different paths, but each of them with something to play for.
What I personally wanted to see from Keller was command/control and consistent velocity on his fastball. In the first inning, needless to say, I was a little disappointed as he couldn’t find the zone or a feel for any of his pitches; walking the bases loaded with only two called strikes, and it never really got a whole lot better. Over the next four innings he would go on to give up five more free passes. However, on a positive note he was always able to work his way out of every situation and did not allow a single hit before exiting after the fifth.
Carrasco on the other hand was absolutely dealing; striking out six Pirates batters in the first three innings. This was until he ran into Gregory Polanco, who put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1 with his seventh home run on the year. Ke’Bryan has would add an insurance run on a single in the top of eighth, which looked to be enough until the Indians came up in the bottom of the ninth.
Chris Stratton walked the first batter and gave up a double to former Pirate Jordan Luplow; bringing the Indians within one. A few batters later Delino Deshields would single in Luplow to tie the game up. Ultimately another single would bring in DeShields, lifting Cleveland to a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh. Stratton who had been solid for the majority of the season was just left out there dry and I really have no explanation as to why.
In a game they should have lost, but then seemed to find a way to win; the Pirates eventually let it slip away to drop to 18-40 on the season. With only two games left in the season, the Pirates and Indians will be back at it tomorrow night. Joe Musgrove (0-5, 4.68) assumes the usual position against Anthony Civale (4-5, 3.99) for the 7:10 start.
News and Notes:
- Mitch Keller totaled 11 innings of no-hit ball to end the year, although the first six went a lot smoother than the last five.
- Gregory Polanco has 24 total hits on the season. Over half of them have been extra base hits; 6 doubles and 7 homers. He is also batting just .158.
- Jared Oliva gets his first MLB stolen base after totaling 36 in AA last year.
- I can’t believe what I witnessed tonight. 5 innings of no-hit ball with eight walks, Gregory Polanco trying to play hero, Stratton blowing it in the ninth and almost everyone Twitter, including media members, “cheering” for a Pirates loss.