Pirates Preview: Will the Offense Break Through in Detroit?
The Pittsburgh Pirates (22-19) are coming off the heels of a wonderful pitching performance from Mitch Keller on Sunday, and look to build off of that momentum against the Detroit Tigers (18-21) in game one of two.
Keller pitched seven wonderful innings on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, and for the first time in May, the Pirates scored more than three runs (four on Sunday).
Still, the Pirates converted with runners in scoring position just 28.5% of the time on Sunday and need to break through even more, if they plan on sustaining success in 2023.
First pitch at Comerica Park is scheduled for 6:40 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.
Partly cloudy skies are to be expected throughout the ball game, with temperatures ranging from 60-68 degrees. The wind will vary from 13-14 mph and blow northeast.
The Pirates will send out RHP Luis Ortiz (0-1, 3.60 ERA)
Ortiz was the victim of some shoddy defense in his season debut on May 9 against the Colorado Rockies.
The young righty managed to trudge through five full innings and gave up seven hits, five runs, two earned, one walk, and one strikeout on 74 pitches (50 strikes).
It would appear that Ortiz has introduced a new pitch with a sinker, as he used it as his main weapon at a 38% clip, and he dropped his four-seam usage to 26%.
Out of 16 total swings on his sinker, six balls were put in play at an average of 94.5 mph in exit velocity. Long story short that is not a good first impression.
In fact, out of all four pitches he used, only one (his slider) averaged over 90 mph in exit velocity on May 9.
Ortiz has never faced the Tigers in his career.
The Tigers will trot out RHP Michael Lorenzen (1-2, 4.18 ERA).
Lorenzen has been on a roll in his last two starts for the Tigers.
Over his last two starts, Lorenzen has pitched a full seven innings in each and given up two combined runs, two walks, nine hits, and struck out four.
In his last start against Cleveland, Lorenzen was the unfortunate victim of no run support in a 2-0 loss after going seven strong.
Lorenzen has the capability to throw seven pitches but mainly sticks to his four-seam (32.7%), changeup (22.2%), slider (17.9%), and sinker (13.8%).
In addition, Lorenzen has thrown a sweeper (6.3%), a cutter (4.3%), and a curveball (2.7%).
Lorenzen has faced the Pirates 42 times (four starts) and holds a 6-2 record with an ERA of 2.96
Interesting Batting Match Ups
- Zach McKinstry: 1-2 with a walk and a strikeout against Ortiz
- Austin Hedges: 3-6 against Lorenzen
- Carlos Santana: 2-9 with two homers and three strikeouts against Lorenzen
- Andrew McCutchen: 2-14 with one homer against Lorenzen
- Keller has earned the National League Player of the Month after giving up no runs in a combined 16 innings pitched while striking out 21 and walking only one batter.
- In addition, Keller is currently ranked third in the National League with 69 strikeouts and is ranked fourth in all of MLB.
- The Pirates already have 50 stolen bases on the season. In 2022, the Pirates combined for 89 in the entire year.
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