Altoona has steamrolled through the playoffs on the backs of their starting pitchers. In 36 innings, the group of Mitch Keller, Alex McRae, Austin Coley, Brandon Waddell and JT Brubaker posted a 1.50 ERA and they picked up the wins in all five games. The bullpen has thrown nine innings total in the five games, with four of the eight bullpen arms not even making an appearance yet. Brubaker pitched a great game last night, putting Altoona one win away from the Eastern League title.
The series now shifts to Altoona for the final three games (if necessary) of the best-of-five series. Tonight is the final start of the season for Mitch Keller, although he will continue on in the Arizona Fall League, with a likely stop in the Fall Instructional League in between. His trip to Instructs will just be for him to keep throwing before the start of the AFL on October 11th. I’m sure the Pirates will give the Altoona players going to the AFL a little bit of time off before they head to instructs, which still hasn’t started yet due to the hurricane.
Keeler faced Trenton on the road in his Double-A debut and allowed two runs over six innings. He then faced them again just six days later in Altoona and allowed two runs over six innings. In the second start, he gave up no walks and struck out nine batters. Keller finished his regular season in Altoona with a 3.12 ERA in 34.2 innings, with 45 strikeouts, a 1.04 WHIP and a .197 BAA. That led up to his outstanding performance in game one of the division series against Bowie a week ago today. In that game, Keller allowed one hit and two walks over nine shutout innings. He got through that outing on 90 pitches, with 59 going for strikes.
Trenton will send 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Will Carter to the mound. He faced Altoona three times this season and bounced back from a bad outing the first time, to shut them down the final two times. On June 20th, Carter allowed four runs over 2.1 innings in his season debut. He then threw three shutout innings against them at the end of July, before making his first start of the season five days later. In that third game, Carter shutout Altoona for five innings on one hit and two walks. His regular season high for strikeouts in 15 games this season is three, which he did twice, but he stepped up during his playoff start against Binghamton in the first round. Cater gave up one run over 6.1 innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.
Altoona went 5-8 in the season series between these two clubs and Trenton went 6-4 in games played in Altoona. With the two playoff wins, Altoona has almost made this an even series over the year.
** Just a reminder with Altoona one win away from the title, this could be the final Morning Report until next April. If it is, thanks for reading all year. If they don’t win, I’ll be back tomorrow.
(Durham won the series 3-1)
9/6: Indianapolis 3, Durham 10
9/7: Indianapolis 0, Durham 2
9/8: Indianapolis 5, Durham 0
9/9: Indianapolis 3, Durham 4
(Altoona won the series 3-0)
9/7: Altoona 2, Bowie 0
9/8: Altoona 8, Bowie 4
9/9: Altoona 6, Bowie 1
Eastern League Finals
(Altoona leads the series 2-0)
9/12: Altoona 2, Trenton 1
9/13: Altoona 4, Trenton 2
9/14: Game Three VS Trenton 6 PM
9/15: Game Four VS Trenton 6 PM (If necessary)
9/16: Game Five VS Trenton 3 PM (If necessary)
The Pirates trail in their division by 12 games. They are 12.5 games back for the second wild card spot.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 8-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. The Pirates have off today, followed by a three-game series in Cincinnati against the Reds, which starts on Friday night. Chad Kuhl is scheduled to start the opening game of the series.
MLB: Pittsburgh (68-79) @ Reds (63-83) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (4.21 ERA, 68:131 BB/SO, 147.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (79-63) (season preview)
AA: Altoona (74-66) vs Trenton (92-48) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (4.44 ERA, 45:109 BB/SO, 129.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (70-62) (season preview)
Low-A: West Virginia (69-67) (season preview)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (40-35) (season preview)
Rookie: Bristol (17-49)
GCL: Pirates (26-34)
DSL: Pirates (36-34) (season preview)
Here is Brandon Waddell picking up his sixth strikeout on Tuesday night. Video includes the entire at-bat.
9/10: Pirates recall Tyler Glasnow, Johnny Barbato, Dan Runzler, Jack Leathersich, Jacob Stallings and Edgar Santana
9/9: Cole Tucker placed on disabled list. Kevin Kramer added to Altoona roster.
9/8: Gregory Polanco and Adam Frazier activated from disabled list.
9/7: George Kontos activated from disabled list.
9/6: Jack Leathersich added to Indianapolis. Cody Dickson assigned to Bradenton.
9/4: Pirates claimed Jack Leathersich on waivers from Chicago Cubs.
9/3: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list. Christopher Bostick recalled from Indianapolis.
9/3: Austin Meadows placed on disabled list.
9/3: Anderson Feliz and Justin Maffei promoted to Indianapolis. Mitchell Tolman and Casey Hughston promoted to Altoona
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the first baseman in the first game in franchise history. We start back in 1882 with Jake Goodman, who hit .317 in ten games with the Alleghenys. When Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati back on May 2, 1882 in that first game, Goodman batted fifth. He was soon replaced at first base, despite the nice average. That was the end of his Major League career, with his only other playing time coming in 1878 for Milwaukee (NL).
Other players born on this date include four pitchers, three of them lefty relievers.
Jerry Don Gleaton, lefty reliever for the 1992 NL East champs. He had a 4.26 ERA in 31.2 innings over 23 appearances in his only season in Pittsburgh.
Frank Carpin, 1965 reliever. Another lefty with one season for the Pirates. Carpin had a 3.18 ERA in 39 games for the Pirates. He was taken by the Astros in the Rule 5 draft following the season.
Fred Green is the third lefty reliever and he stuck around a little longer. He was a member of the 1960 World Series champs, posting a 3.21 ERA in 70 innings. He pitched three times in the series and got hit hard, allowing ten runs in four innings. Green played for the Pirates from 1959 until 1961 and then again in 1964.
Don Williams, righty reliever. He pitched briefly for the Pirates in 1958 and 1959, posting a 6.75 ERA each season. He signed with the Pirates in 1953 and was sold to the White Sox during the 1961 season. He missed two years due to military service.