I am not going to lie, that was fun. Beyond my initial concern as to why Mitch Keller was pulled from the game after only 45 pitches, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Once again, the solid one to three delivered; especially with Ke’Bryan injected into the lineup. The Younger Hayes has lifted some of the pressure from Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds, as they can now feed off each other instead of feeling like they have to carry the team.
His energy is contagious, making it seem as if it is a brand new ball club; and this is without Colin Moran batting clean up behind them, which will be coming soon. Now I don’t think want you to think I am going to say something crazy like this team can contend for anything meaningful this season, but with a solid top of the order and a strong bullpen the Pirates will at least be able to compete from game to game; consistently lowering the chance that they will be laughed out of town like they were in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago, or Cincinnati in the second series of the season.
Sure there will be a few bumps along the way, and they will look like the inexperienced team that they are from time to time; however there will also be some near complete performances just like the one we watched last night; although it didn’t seem like a guarantee after the Marlins tied up the game in the top of second as an exhausted Mitch Keller walked the bases loaded and gave up a two run double.
Luckily the bullpen combination of Duane Underwood, Jr., Chasen Shreve and Chris Stratton were up to the challenge, and delivered with seven scoreless innings; allowing only three hits, walking one and striking out seven. Meanwhile the bats kept rolling as the built a lead; finally breaking through for five runs in the bottom of the sixth, as they put a cap on a 9-2 victory on Friday night.
News and Notes
- After he exited from the game it was eventually announced the Mitch Keller had left with a “heat illness”. In his two innings of work Keller allowed two runs on 2 hits, to go along with the aforementioned three walks and two strikeouts.
- Frazier, Hayes and Reynolds combined to go 6 for 12 on the night, and knocked in six runs.
- Chris Stratton pitched 3.2 innings for the save, which is the longest save opportunity since Jason Christianson in 1998, when he threw four innings against the Expos.
- Kevin Newman simply can’t get things going consistently with the bat this season. Currently he has a .212 AVG, a .503 OPS and only seven extra base hits, however, he does have minuscule 5.6%, so making contact isn’t the problem; it’s the quality of contact that continues to be the problem.
- Chase De Jong pinch hit for Mitch Keller. It really doesn’t mean anything, but it was also a very odd choice.
With the win last night, the Pirates are guaranteed to at least split the four game series with the Marlins.
For Pittsburgh, the pinch hitter Chase De Jong (0-0, 1.87 ERA) takes the mound at 4:05 PM EST at PNC Park, with Trevor Rogers (6-3, 1.87 ERA) on the bump for Miami.