Mitch Keller did the stopper thing, throwing a complete game shutout against Colorado to put an end to the Pirates’ seven-game losing streak. The 2-0 win marked the Pirates’ first complete game shutout since Trevor Williams threw one on July 23, 2018.
Colorado has been hitting very well in winning six of their last seven, but Keller came out with his best stuff. All he allowed on the day was three singles, a double and a walk. He fanned eight and threw 77 of 103 pitches for strikes.
Keller only got stronger as the game went along. He retired the last ten Colorado batters. In the seventh, eighth and ninth, he needed just nine, eight and seven pitches.
The Pirates’ offense, meanwhile, spent most of the game inventing new forms of ineptitude. In the first four innings, their only threat came with two on and nobody out in the third. Austin Hedges, botched a sacrifice attempt, producing a force at third that perfectly set up a double play grounder from Ke’Bryan Hayes.
The Pirates got two on again in the fifth, this time with one out, but Chris Owings struck out and Rodolfo Castro was caught stealing on the play. That was the Pirates’ second strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play of the game. They were 0-for-3 overall trying to steal off Elias Diaz.
The bumbling didn’t stop there. In the sixth, Hedges broke his 1-for-20 streak with a leadoff double. Hayes got an infield hit, with Hedges holding second despite the fact that nobody was covering third. Sure enough, Bryan Reynolds hit into a double play and, after a walk, Carlos Santana grounded out.
Finally, in the seventh, Castro followed a leadoff single by Connor Joe with a blast into the visiting bullpen. It was his fourth home run of the year and the Pirates’ first with anybody on base in nine days.
And that was all the scoring. In fact, nobody came close after that. The Pirates didn’t even get David Bednar up in the bullpen. Game time was 1:55.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.
I am glad we have Connor Joe on the team instead of Ben Gamel
I’m sure others noticed this as well.
They put Bae in CF for the top of the 9th for defensive replacement?!?!?!
WTF are they thinking? Suwinski is clearly a better defender out there. They’re still very much having tryouts at the MLB level. But, why in a game like that?
Better arm? That’s all I got.
Jack has the better arm and better all-around OF’er. Bae has not looked good out there.
Meaning Jack, in RF.
Last complete game shutout was April 8, 2018 by Jameson Taillon.
He held the Reds to one hit and 2 bb’s.
Coincidentally, Keller pitched April 8, 2018 for Altoona. Keller went 6 innings, 2 hits, 2 bb’s, 8 k’s and zero earned runs.
Reynolds and Hayes were also in the lineup that cold April afternoon.
Williams threw one July 23 that year. It was, however, a shortened game, so he only went six.
Ah, he went 6 shutout innings in a rain shortened game. Local media is not acknowledging that as a complete game shutout.
I don’t think MLB acknowledges a no-hitter, unless it’s at least 9 innings.
I am happy for Keller. He has figured things out it appears. If you can get him to sign an extension it would be a good idea. I have a feeling (as the team is configured right now) this is how the team will be. Beat the teams they should (those with losing records) and struggle against the Rays, Blue Jays of the world. Still have a few to many holes in the line up to compete with the top tier it appears. They didn’t look remotely close the last 7 games prior to tonight.
What do people project as an extension offer in years/dollars Keller would sign?
What are the chances Bob opens his checkbook this soon after the Reynolds extension?
I don’t believe that they will pay him more than Reynolds, so I am thinking 5 years and $60M-$65M. I’m not sure that it gets it done but it would be hard to turn down that kind of money.
I’m not good at doing the yr/$$ computations, but Keller is just into his arb years and he’s had just under a year of being good. There’s still a lot of risk on both sides, so there should be lots of incentive on both sides to do a deal that’s neither a monster nor a super-bargain.
Nutting did say that he hopes there would be additional extensions coming, and surely Keller would be at or near the top of the list. A performance like last night, though, could have added roughly $1MM per year which is crazy to think about but when you’ve shown what you can do…
It would need to be very team friendly. Pitchers like Keller get 30M+ on the open market.
I know he’s vastly younger (and frankly, he’s been better than Keller even over Keller’s outstanding stretch), but I wonder about something like Spencer Strider as a starting point. That’s six years, 72 mil right? Good lord is that a bargain for Atlanta. Maybe 5 years 75 million for Mitch? Or 90 million?
According to THE FANS twitter account, Keller was on air this morning and confirmed to Crowley & Dickerson that there have been talks about a contract extension.
Since Skenes was a topic of discussion yesterday, when Keller did his “stopper thing” I couldn’t help but think that’s the argument for drafting Skenes. You put a stopper or two in your rotation, you don’t have to endure weeks like last week.
Well, Keller pitched nearly as well in St. Pete. You still need a real team behind him.
Agreed. If someone didn’t see his start vs Rays they may not be impressed with line. But I thought it was dominant performance. I think he was forced to get 5 or 6 outs vs them in 3rd or 4th inning.
Absolutely. 2 Top pitchers are better than 2 batters. Skenes is the Man. 1-1 draft pick
I understand the feeling but disagree. Pitchers are much more likely to get injured.
I am on all in on Crews.
This team has not hit in over a week either.
Trivia note: the last 5 Pirate pennant winners had a superstar in RF. Paul Waner (2), Clemente (2), Parker….I would rather dream on that with Crews.
This is certainly valid. To balance that risk factor, I’m thinking Skenes stuff may be more likely to hold up at the MLB level than is Crews batting, given how good MLB pitchers are at exploiting weaknesses. I guess that will be the key–how confident are our scouts that Crews doesn’t have a weakness that can be exploited? It appears they missed on Gonzales and it’s too soon to say about Davis or Johnson.
I’m probably wrong about this, but Skenes looks like he could get MLB hitters out now but I feel certain Crews would struggle against MLB pitching (as is Torkelson, for example), so Crews takes a bit more projection than does Skenes. Usually the less projection required, the lower the risk. But then there is that injury risk…
I don’t think there’s a scenario where I draft a RH corner bat 1-1 over a seemingly generational arm.
Certainly there’s risk and that’s ok. You go for the upside and that is Skenes.
I’d consider the Pirates’ track record with pitchers in the top five:
Benson — good but done in by injuries
Bullington — disaster
Lincoln, Moskos — nope
Taillon — good, not great, and had to get healthy elsewhere
Cole — the one guy who was everything they thought and he had to go elsewhere to capitalize on it
Not one had a major impact on the franchise. Four of six had none at all.
And consider Keller. With hindsight, probably an early 1st rd talent, but look what he went through. He’s doing what he’s doing for them now because there was a FO change before he could get Glasnow’d.
And before you say “different FO,” consider that this FO has a clear preference for 1st rd hitters. If we’re going to trust them to draft and develop a pitcher 1-1, maybe we should first trust their judgment about pitchers that high.
I know a lot is being made of the FO’s preference for position players in their three drafts, but it’s only been three drafts and I don’t think there’s been a pitcher anything like Skenes in those drafts.
I wouldn’t say this FO has earned my trust yet in terms of drafting and developing, but I’ll be happy with any of the top three so it’s not like I’ll complain if they don’t pick Skenes. I just can’t watch his videos without getting excited about his potential.
A year to the day ago Keller had given up 5 earned runs in 4.1 innings to raise his ERA to 6.11. In his next outing he also gave up 5 earned runs in less than 5 innings taking his ERA to 6.61. Hard to believe how far he has come in less than a year!
I think his last 30 starts, his ERA is like 2.8
Wonderful performance by Keller, the rest of the team not so much. Again it comes down to really wanting to compete, Keller did but the rest NO…
That’s a bit much, no? They’re just struggling to score runs. It isn’t a lack of will that’s holding them back. They’re a mostly young club that is gonna go up and down quite a bit and they’ve got some serious holes talent wise.
I don’t doubt that they’re giving 100% but as Brown said repeatedly during Sunday’s broadcast, what felt like a dozen times, they seem to be playing tight. That’s where I’d think good coaching and veteran leadership should come in. And in fact, when things were going well Brown and others were heaping praise on the coaches and veterans for keeping things loose as a reason for their success.
Great pitching from Pirate Ace Mitch Keller, and very timely hits from both Connor Joe and Rodolfo Castro to get him a few runs in the bottom of the 7th. A bounce back game for the Pirates, and for Castro – in addition to the Game Winning HR, I liked the defensive play to end the game, perfectly backhanding a GB up the middle followed by a perfect throw to first.
I was so happy for Castro. And while I think it’s coincidence, I did offer one justification for moving Owings to SS was to let Castro play 2B with hopes that being more comfortable on defense might help his offense. Again, almost surely coincidental, but in any case let’s hope that this gets him going.
I agree with that line of thought regarding having someone else (Owings) at SS, but Marcano had better fielding numbers at SS in AAA than Owings. If I am not mistaken, Castro’s only error at 2B this year was the glove flip that could have been caught by Joe, or the play should have been ruled a hit by the official scorer. That play was way to close to assign anybody an error!
Ayooiii, it was my birthday today. So at 6:50pm, we all went to get dinner. Stellar. By the time we got home around 9:30ish, the game was still on TV but saying “Thanks for Watching!” So I rewound about 14 minutes and saw the last three outs from Mitchie. I also saw Mitch absolutely exuberant because of a miraculous 9IP shutout! And you could tell! My man was hyped! I’m hyped! Let’s go! Skid ended! Mitch’$ first shutout! Life is good, baby.
What a timely gem by Mitch. Clearly an ace like performance.
I had some errands to run after work. I got home at 8:30 and the game was over.
Great performance Mitch! I think that the FO better call him agent soon.
I am sure there has been some contact with Excel to at least have an idea what each side is thinking. 😁
Every time the Pirates would butcher another inning at bat, I’d go away for just a minute or two, hoping by the time I got back Keller would have an out or two. Then I’d get back and it’d be partway into the Pirates’ next inning. Keller was slicing and dicing so fast I couldn’t keep up.
Any win to finally snap the 7 game losing streak might feel special but this truly was something else from Keller. He wasn’t going to let the team lose any longer. Was hesitant about pitcher extension but starting to wonder if it really is time to extend Keller… 🙂
They need to forget the veteran leadership gibberish. Keller persevered through several very frustrating years and he’s come out of it strong. Leadership is a guy overcoming adversity, and going out and performing like this when the team needs it, not a guy bunting into force outs. And, yeah, it’s absolutely time to extend him.
Keller, brilliant, was within 4 pitches of a “Maddux” . . . many McMahon foul balls in the first inning being the difference.
The young players begged for veteran leadership after the shitshow that was 2022.
How many days until Endy can come up?
I assume mid June, so about a month?