This is what you want to see from Mitch Keller.
The Pirates lost 1-0 to the Orioles last night, with Keller giving up the lone run and getting no support from his offense. The right-handed starter pitched six innings, allowing eight hits and one walk, with one strikeout.
Keller has been outstanding since adding a new sinker to his repertoire. He started heavily incorporating the sinker heavily on May 25th. In 12 starts with the new pitch, he has a 3.14 ERA in 71.2 innings.
For some perspective on how much of a shift this is for Keller, consider his inconsistent past. Prior to the 2022 season, Keller didn’t have more than two starts in a row with a game score above 50. He didn’t even have back-to-back instances in all of 2021.
In June, Keller put together four starts in a row with a game score over 50. His current streak, after last night’s start, is five games. Keller has reversed his trend, now rarely seeing bad outings.
This is what you want to see from this Pittsburgh Pirates season.
The Pirates are one of the worst teams in the league. The offense disappears on a lot of nights. The pitching has provided some hope for the future, but also a reminder of how much the Pirates need to add to their MLB staff.
Having Keller stepping up like this is huge.
It’s still only a dozen starts, but this is a different Mitch Keller than we’ve ever seen in the majors. He’s consistent and he’s good, and that’s not a combination the Pirates have seen often from their pitchers the last few years.
The Pirates need more than Keller. In my breakdown of the roster yesterday, I had Keller and Roansy Contreras leading the 2023 staff, with Quinn Priester and Mike Burrows on the way. If Keller can maintain this production, he will make things easier on those other younger pitchers by removing the need for them to lead the staff right away.
Another pitcher who could help out in the future is JT Brubaker. He goes today against the Orioles, and has seen his own success in June and July.
PIRATES @ ORIOLES
Time: 5:05 PM EST
Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (2-9, 4.40)
Orioles Starter: Austin Voth (1-1, 5.54)
Brubaker Notes: Brubaker didn’t have a great start his last time out, giving up seven earned runs on 12 hits in 4.1 innings to the Phillies. That snapped a streak of eight starts in a row where he pitched five or more innings. Brubaker was impressive during this stretch, with a 3.17 ERA in 48.1 innings.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 6, 2022
1. Cedric Mullins (L) CF
2. Adley Rutschman (S) C
3. Anthony Santander (S) RF
4. Ryan Mountcastle (R) 1B
5. Terrin Vavra (L) DH
6. Ramon Urias (R) 3B
7. Rougned Odor (L) 2B
8. Jorge Mateo (R) SS
9. Brett Phillips (L) LF