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Pirates Preview: Can Keller Keep it Rolling?

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Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates (57-71) fell to the Chicago Cubs (67-60) in the first game of their four-game series on Thursday night at PNC Park.

Despite six-strong innings from Andre Jackson and a home run from Josh Palacios, the Pirates fell 5-4 in 10 innings. Ian Happ delivered the knockout blow in the 10th and a misplay from right fielder Connor Joe allowed an extra, costly run to score.

The Pirates will now look to even the series behind All-Star Mitch Keller on Friday night.

First pitch is set for 7:05 ET and the game will be aired on AT&T SportsNet.

Weather

The thunderstorms forecasted earlier in the day should clear by game time with partly cloudy skies and temperatures around 80 degrees for first pitch. Winds W at 5-10 mph.

The Pirates Will Send Out RHP Mitch Keller (10-8, 4.22 ERA)

Keller is coming off of back-to-back strong starts for the Pirates. In each of those games, the right-hander worked 6.0 innings and allowed a total of four runs (three earned).

His last win on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins was his first earned victory since June 28 against the San Diego Padres.

Prior to his last two starts, Keller was 0-4 with a 9.11 ERA over his previous five outings from July 18-Aug. 8.

In his career against the Cubs, Keller is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA across nine appearances (eight starts). This will be his first time facing his National League Central counterparts this season.

The Cubs Will Send Out RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 3.83 ERA)

After being sidelined through late May to begin the season, Hendricks has been performing well for the Cubs.

In his last start against the Kansas City Royals, Hendricks allowed only one run in 6.1 innings to earn his fifth win of the season.

In 27 starts against the Pirates in his career, Hendricks is 9-11 with a 3.69 ERA. His last start against the Pirates came earlier this season and he limited Pittsburgh to three runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings on June 27.

Cubs Hitters vs. Keller

  • Ian Happ: 7 for 16, one double, two home runs, three RBIs, five walks, four strikeouts
  • Dansby Swanson: 4 for 7, three doubles, three RBIs, one walk, one strikeout
  • Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 5, one RBI, one strikeout
  • Nico Hoerner: 1 for 3, one double, one RBI
  • Patrick Wisdom: 0 for 3, two strikeouts

Pirates Hitters vs. Hendricks

  • Andrew McCutchen: 9 for 39, two doubles, one home run, three RBIs, two walks, eight strikeouts
  • Bryan Reynolds: 5 for 24, two triples, one home run, two RBIs, one walk, three strikeouts
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes: 6 for 15, one double, two home runs, four RBIs, four strikeouts
  • Connor Joe: 3 for 5, one double, one RBI, one walk, one strikeout
  • Josh Palacios: 1 for 3, one double, one RBI
  • Ji Hwan Bae: 0 for 3

Tidbits

  • After going 2 for 2 with two walks and a sac fly on Thursday night, Joe has reached base 13 times in his last 19 plate appearances.
  • With the loss, the Pirates fell to 0-7 vs. the Cubs on the season and have lost 12 of their last 13 games against them overall.
  • With Jackson throwing 6.0 innings in relief on Thursday, it marks the second time this season the Pirates have had someone work 6.0+ innings out of the bullpen (also: Bailey Falter on Monday vs. Cardinals). It’s the first time two Pirates’ relievers have worked 6.0+ innings in the same year since 1984.

Links

Andre Jackson Might be More Than Typical Low-Cost Pickup

Perrotto: Pirates Have Reasons for Keeping Jack Suwinski in Big Leagues

Demilio: No Question About It, Oneil Cruz Shouldn’t Play Again in ’23

Subtle Leader, Sneaky Bat: Derek Shelton on Andrew McCutche

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