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Pirates Preview: Bucs Face Tough Test in Kirby, Mariners



Pittsburgh Pirates-Mitch Keller

The Pittsburgh Pirates (25-24) failed to take their first series in May against the Texas Rangers, but they have a fresh chance against the Seattle Mariners (25-24) in Seattle.

Johan Oviedo really settled in after an extremely rough first inning on Wednesday against the Rangers, but the Pirates’ offense failed to cash in on several opportunities yet again.

The offensive approach has got to change in some form or fashion, or the Pirates run the risk of sinking below .500 again and staying there for good.

First pitch at T-Mobile Park is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. You can watch all of the action on AT&T Sportsnet, or listen to the game on the Pirates radio station, 93.7 The Fan.


T-Mobile Park has a retractable roof, so no worries about the weather this series.

The Pirates will send out RHP Mitch Keller (5-1, 2.44 ERA)

Mitch Keller faces yet another test on his brilliant season so far.

In eight of out his last nine starts, Keller has gone at least six innings or more, and in that span, Keller’s high for earned runs in a game stands at three.

In Keller’s last three starts combined, he’s pitched 22 innings with 11 hits, two earned runs, one walk, and 29 punchouts.

Keller has faced the Mariners once (one start) and holds an 0-1 record with an ERA of 3.60 in five innings pitched.

The Mariners will send out RHP George Kirby (5-3, 2.62 ERA)

Kirby has had a fairly solid May for the Mariners. In four starts (27.2 IP), Kirby has allowed 27 hits, seven earned runs, three walks, and struck out 23.

In his last start on May 21, Kirby faced the Atlanta Braves. Kirby pitched seven innings with six hits, three earned runs, one walk, and punched out six Braves in a losing effort.

Kirby offers a five-pitch mix with a four-seam (40.3%), sinker (21%), curveball (18%), slider (15.1%), and a changeup (5.7%).

Kirby’s four-seam has allowed an opposing batting average of .193 and averages 95.3 mph on the radar gun. In terms of overall exit velocity, Kirby has been excellent, with an average EV of 87.6 mph.

Kirby has never faced the Pirates during his short tenure in the majors.

Mariners Hitters

  • J.P. Crawford: 1-2 with a walk against Keller
  • Eugenio Suarez: 2-10 with a homer, three walks, and six strikeouts against Keller

Pirates Hitters

  • Austin Hedges: 0-1 against Kirby


  • Coming into Friday night’s game, Mitch Keller is ranked eighth in MLB with a 2.44 ERA. Bryce Elder leads the National League with a 2.01 ERA.
  • In addition, Keller is ranked fourth in MLB with 77 strikeouts and is 20 away from the leader in Spencer Strider, who has 97.
  • Despite not winning a series in May, and going 4-6 in their last ten, the Pirates are only two games back of the Brewers in the N.L. Central.


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