On Opening Day against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t muster a run in the 9-0 loss, so the fact the club scored here of course is an improvement, but the offense still has a ways to go.
Things started off great for Pittsburgh in this one, forcing starter Miles Mikolas to pitch 41 times in the first inning and getting three hits in a row that resulted in Daniel Vogelbach scoring the first run of the 2022 season on a Yoshi Tsutsugo sacrifice fly. The downside? The Pirates had the bases loaded twice in the inning and could only get the one run out of it, immediately losing their lead in the bottom of the first inning on a Nolan Arenado double to score Dylan Carlson.
Mitch Keller, who has had tons of hype around him for years and even more this offseason with his uptick in velocity, struggled out of the gate and worked out of multiple jams, but the Pirates offense did him no favors and he would eventually lose a 2-1 Pirates lead in the bottom of the third on an Arenado single and Paul DeJong two-run home run.
Keller’s final line, 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 Ks, left a lot to be desired from the 26 year old pitcher who may be on his last strike if he can’t tap into the top-100 prospect talent he showcased just a few years ago.
The Cardinals would add two more runs after taking the 4-2 lead by way of a Corey Dickerson RBI single and another Arenado RBI double off of Roansy Contreras, who made his 2022 debut after being called up Friday due to Duane Underwood Jr’s Opening Day injury that placed him on the 10-day IL.
Despite yet another loss to begin the season, there were some bright spots here. For starters, Ke’Bryan Hayes is healthy as ever after exiting Thursday’s contest for precautionary measures and he showcased his 70-million dollar contract worth by reaching base three times with a single, double and a walk to his credit while also making some fine defensive plays as usual. On his single, he had an exit velocity of 110 mph, something worth noting when fans want to see his offense continuously improve.
Yoshi Tsutsugo also played well again, continuing his success from Thursday by starting the season with another multi-hit contest and a .571 average through the first two games. Even in his at-bats that didn’t result in hits, Tsutsugo has done a phenomenal job making good contact and it is a welcome sign this early in the season to see him hit the baseball well. Tsutsugo is also the only Pirate on the team right now with an RBI as he was the beneficiary of both Pirates runs in this contest.
Heath Hembree, Anthony Banda and David Bednar did good jobs in relief, combining for 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Ks and 0 BB. Banda and Hembree are not likely to be longterm fits in the bullpen, but Bednar is the likely candidate for most eighth and ninth innings moving forward.
Tomorrow’s game is another afternoon contest with the probable pitchers being Bryse Wilson facing off against Steven Matz. Wilson will look to get off to a good start to 2022 after a 2021 that saw him post a 5.35 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP after being acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Richard Rodriguez deal.