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Pirates Preview: Keller Needs to Find Sea Legs Again



Pittsburgh Pirates-Mitch Keller

The Pittsburgh Pirates (45-57) managed to take two out of three against the San Diego Padres after their 3-2 victory over the Friars.

The Pirates now return home to face cross-state foes, the Philadelphia Phillies (55-47) for a three-game weekend series.

The Pirates’ series victory in San Diego was their first series victory in the month of July, and their first since June 27-29 when they swept the Padres at home.

First pitch at PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. You can watch all of the action on AT&T Sportsnet or listen to the game on 93.7 The Fan.


Scattered thunderstorms are supposed to roll in around first pitch and have no stop in sight. As of now, thunderstorms are supposed to continue through 9 p.m. Saturday night.

The Pirates will send out RHP Mitch Keller (9-6, 4.01 ERA)

Keller has fallen off of a cliff since the All-Star break, and it has become quite concerning. In his last seven starts, Keller has amassed a 1-4 record with an ERA of 5.27.

In his last two starts combined, Keller has given up an atrocious 14 earned runs in 11 innings pitched with three walks and eight strikeouts.

While Keller is keeping the average exit velocity down, it seems like teams are starting to figure out his cutter. As of now, teams are hitting .281 with a slugging of .500 against his cutter.

Keller has faced the Phillies three times (three starts) and hold an 0-2 record with an ERA of 7.80 in 15 innings pitched.

The Phillies will send out RHP Zack Wheeler (7-5, 3.88 ERA)

In his last seven starts, Wheeler has posted some good numbers. In 42.1 innings pitched, Wheeler has posted a 3-1 record with an ERA of 3.61.

In his last two starts combined, Wheeler has pitched in 14 innings and given up just four earned runs in that span. Unfortunately for Wheeler, he took a loss in his last start despite only giving up one earned run in seven innings pitched.

In six out of his last nine starts, Wheeler has gone at least six innings, and in three of those six, he has gone at least seven. Can the Pirates force an early exit Friday night?

Wheeler has faced the Pirates five times (five starts) and holds a 3-0 record with an ERA of 2.30 in 31.1 innings pitched.

Phillies Hitters vs. Keller

  • Nick Castellanos: 7-24 with two doubles, two homers, three walks, and seven strikeouts
  • J.T. Realmuto: 5-8 with a double, triple, homer, walk, and strikeout
  • Kyle Schwarber: 5-8 with three doubles, two walks, and a strikeout

Pirates Hitters vs. Wheeler

  • Andrew McCutchen: 3-15 with a double, walk, and four strikeouts


  • The Pirates traded Carlos Santana Thursday afternoon. Santana was acquired by the Brewers for SS Jhonny Severino.
  • The Pirates have now used 50 different players this season, which is the third highest in the National League. The two teams in front of the Pirates are the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds.
  • The Pirates have now gone 68-straight innings without committing an error. This streak dates back to July 18 in the second inning.


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