Following an effective and efficient outing by Mitch Keller on Saturday, Pirates Fans were looking for much of the same from the young right-handed starter this afternoon. Unfortunately these hopes were quickly washed away by a flood of hard contact from the San Diego Padres from the words play ball. After five hits, that included a single, three doubles and a Manny Machado two run homer, Keller and the Pirates quickly found themselves down 4-0. In top of the second things only got worse as a double, a walk, a wild pitch and a single equaled two more San Diego runs. After all was said and done Keller’s day ended with a line of 7 earned runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 1 strike out on 81 pitches across 3.1 innings.
With the bats, Pittsburgh experienced some success, but couldn’t seem to string enough hits together to get back into the game; even as the Pirates mostly reliable bullpen kept the Friars from completely blowing things open.
In the end, the result was a series split as the Pirates fell to the Padres on a chilly afternoon at PNC Park 8-3.
News and Notes:
- Just when I thought it could be time to stop being concerned about Keller, a rough outing like this gets the wheels turning again. For example this game pitching in the zone did not seem to be a problem, at least in the beginning, as 51 of his 83 pitches went for strikes. The real issue seemed to be sequencing and execution of the curve, slider and fastball.
- Anthony Alford got his first hit of the season on a pinch hit 68.7 MPH single, in his 20th at bat of the season. I don’t mean to be a complete downer, but this realistically doesn’t change my opinion of what the Pirates should do with Alford when Ke’Bryan Hayes returns from injury.
- Colin Moran continued his strong start to the season with a 2 for 4 day. He is really seeing the ball well and is taking it to all parts of the park.
- I can’t help but continue to worry about Kevin Newman. By in large his defense has been above average, but at the plate, most balls are smacked directly in the ground; causing him to use his speed to try to leg out infield singles or beat a double play.
- If the Padres left fielder, Tucupita Marcano , didn’t drop a Bryan Reynolds’ line drive the game could very easily have been 8-1.
Tomorrow the Pirates travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brew Crew for a three game weekend series. For Pittsburgh, JT Brubaker (1-0, 1.93 ERA) will take the mound against Adrian Houser (1-1, 1.80 ERA), to begin a nine game road trip.