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Pirates Preview: Keller Needs to Break Out of Funk

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Pittsburgh Pirates-Mitch Keller

The Pittsburgh Pirates (33-30) lacked an offensive spark Saturday night against the New York Mets (31-33), as they managed just one run while giving up five in a 5-1 loss.

The Pirates still have a chance to take the series in Sunday’s game-three rubber match.

Johan Oviedo pitched another good game going 6.1 innings and giving up just two earned runs along the way. The Pirates’ offense went 0-4 with runners in scoring position, and couldn’t figure out Kodai Senga.

Andrew McCutchen went 0-3 at the plate and drew a walk, as he must wait for Sunday’s game to try and achieve 2,000 hits.

The first pitch at PNC Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Sunday’s game will be aired on AT&T Sportsnet. You can also listen to the game on the Pirates radio station, 93.7 The Fan.

Weather

The Pittsburgh skies are expected to be cloudy throughout the contest, with temperatures ranging from 81-83 degrees. 8 mph winds are to be expected and will blow south/southwest.

The Pirates will send out RHP Mitch Keller (7-2, 3.60 ERA)

Keller got off to a red-hot start in 2023, and over his last three starts, things have started to slow down a bit.

In his last three starts, Keller has pitched 17.1 innings while giving up 25 hits, 15 earned runs, struck out 17, and walked an uncharacteristic seven.

In his last start on June 6 against the Oakland Athletics, Keller was very wild with his fastball and couldn’t seem to hit his spots properly with four walks and more than a handful of juicy pitches left over the plate.

The number one goal for Keller has been to fill up the strike zone and work ahead in the counts, so if he can harness his control against New York, he should be fine.

Keller has faced the Mets twice (two starts) and holds a 1-1 record with an ERA of 2.25 in 12 innings.

The Mets will send out RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 5.94 ERA)

Carrasco finished May with two very strong outings going a combined 12.2 innings pitched with 11 hits, two earned runs, three walks, and eight strikeouts.

In his first start in June (his last start), Carrasco struggled against the Braves, only going five innings and giving up four earned runs on 86 pitches (52 strikes).

The 36-year-old has a five-pitch arsenal with a four-seam (33.5%), changeup (28.8%), slider (17.6%), sinker (10.4%), and a curveball (9.8%).

Carrasco’s four-seam averages 92.2 mph, and opponents are hitting .357 against it with a slugging of .619. Carrasco’s best pitch has been his changeup, with an opponent average of .111.

Carrasco has faced the Pirates four times (four starts) and holds a 2-0 record with an ERA of 2.78 in 22.2 innings pitched.

Mets Hitters

  • Omar Narvaez: 4-8
  • Francisco Lindor: 2-5 with four walks and one strikeout
  • Jeff McNeil: 0-6

Pirates Hitters

  • Ke’Bryan Hayes: 0-5

Tidbits

  • After giving up an earned run on Saturday, Dauri Moreta ended a streak of 16 straight appearances without giving up an earned run. The last time Moreta gave up a run before Saturday was on April 26.
  • After just 0.1 innings of work on Saturday, Jose Hernandez extended his scoreless appearances to eight straight games. The last time Hernandez gave up a run was on May 12, when he gave up two.
  • Oviedo, after going 6.1 innings, has surpassed his career high for innings pitched in a season. Oviedo currently sits at 71.1 innings pitched in ’23. His previous high was in 2021, when he pitched 62.1 innings.

Links

Perrotto: Pirates Starting to Run Low on Next Men Up

Demilio: Oviedo Giving Pittsburgh Pirates More Than Bargained For

Is Jared Jones Establishing Himself as Best Pitcher in Pittsburgh Pirates’ System?

Vince Velasquez Undergoes Season-Ending Elbow Surgery

Pittsburgh Pirates Recall Canaan Smith-Njigba; DFA Chase De Jong

Perrotto: Rodolfo Castro Knows What Needs Fixing (+)

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