It wasn’t his greatest start, but Mitch Keller still looked good.
As has been his recent trend, he mixed up his pitch usage against the New York Mets. He threw 84 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes. His four seam fastball (39%) lead the way, with his sinker (25%) second. Keller used his curveball (17%) and slider (15%) with near identical usage, and his changeup last (4%). His fastballs accounted for 54 of his 84 pitches.
Keller dabbled with a sub-4.00 ERA during the game but ultimately couldn’t hold it. He’d give up three earned runs across six innings while giving up five hits, two walks, and a HBP to go along with six strikeouts. He also set a new career high of 143.0 IP in a season.
Some of the more interesting metrics on the night involve that he generated 10 whiffs and 18 called strikes. He had an average exit velocity of 82.5 MPH on the evening. His four seam only had three balls-in-play with an average EV of only 72.5 MPH. His slider also had five more inches of horizontal break than his average. A sinker breaking 16 inches one way and his slider 18 inches the other is going to create some fun looks for hitters.
The offense didn’t provide Keller with much run support, as they were only able to manufacture one run while he was on the mound. That one run came in the fifth inning when Michael Chavis singled to score Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Manny Banuelos took over for Keller in the 7th with a 3-1 deficit. Banuelos gave up an earned run in his only inning with two hits and a strikeout. The first three batters all reached with a double, fielding error by Cruz, and then a bloop single that Cruz ran towards LF for but couldn’t run down, leading to the run.
Cruz then came out in the eighth inning and hit a monster 429 ft two-run HR to cut the lead to 4-3. It was his 16th of the season, which ties him with fellow rookie Jack Suwinski as second on the team behind only Bryan Reynolds.
Duane Underwood Jr. pitched the bottom of the 8th and got out unscathed after only allowing a walk to Daniel Vogelbach. Terrance Gore replaced Vogelbach and stole 2B before moving to 3B on a Tyler Heineman throwing error. Gore would end up not scoring though.
Edwin Diaz had replaced Mets starter Taijuan Walker after the Cruz 8th inning HR and was left to finish off the game in the 9th. He had very little trouble with the Pirates having retired both hitters in the 8th and then facing the minimum in the 9th. Ben Gamel initially walked and was replaced by Greg Allen who was thrown out attempting to steal second. It was a controversial play with Mets second baseman blocking the bag, but was reviewed and deemed legal.
Pirates fell 4-3 and back below the Detroit Tigers.
Pirates @ Mets
Time: 7:10 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Bryse Wilson (3-8, 6.03)
Mets Starter: Chris Bassitt (13-8, 3.44)
Wilson Notes: This will be Bryse Wilson’s 22nd appearance and 18th start of the season. He’s just six innings shy of 100.0 IP on the season. His last start against the Cincinnati Reds involved a lot of contact but he was still able to record his third win of the season.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 17, 2022
Saturday in the Citi. #LGM
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 17, 2022