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PBN Three Stars of the Week

Pittsburgh Pirates Three Stars of the Week: Aug 15-22

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Another week of Pirates baseball is in the books. The Bucs began the week in a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers, dropping all three games. After an off day Thursday, the Pirates took two out of three at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first series win for the club since July 30-Aug 1 against the Phillies.

In last week’s edition, Kevin Newman earned the first star, followed by Bryan Reynolds and Colin Moran as the second and third stars respectively.

Who performed the best this week for the Pirates? Let’s discuss.

Third Star: Mitch Keller – 5ip 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS

Though he made just one appearance, Keller turned in arguably his best start of the year, earning his first win since May. Keller acted the part of a stopper as his efforts led the Pirates to victory over St. Louis and snapping their five game losing streak.

Keller, who has struggled for much of his career to date, had good command of his pitches against St. Louis – most notably his fastball. By spotting up his pitches on the corners, and getting the Cardinals to swing and miss on a fair share of pitches, Keller limited free passes and racked up strikeouts.

While an encouraging start for Keller, showing more consistency moving forward how effective he will truly be, and how many appearances he will make as one of the three stars of the week.

Second Star: Yoshi Tsutsugo – .294/.294/.765 5 for 17, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 6 games

After signing with the Pirates on August 16, Tsutsugo made an immediate impact, especially in the power department.

Despite a game Sunday where he struck out four times, Tsutsugo displayed the power potential he was heralded for since coming to Major League Baseball from Japan with four of his five hits going for extra bases.

Tsutsugo provides some versatility, playing both first base and left field, and should get more playing time if he continues to play well.

First Star: Steven Brault – 9.2ip 8 H, 1 ER, 3 BB 5K, 0.93 ERA, 2 GS

Though he did not pick up a win in either performance, Brault continued his dominant stretch since the start of the 2020 season.

Making only his third and fourth starts of the season with the Pirates, Brault now has the highest WAR of any starter on the team’s roster. Thanks to only surrendering one run in the two starts combined, Brault lowered his ERA on the season to 1.93.

Control and command have been the most notable change for Brault so far this year, walking just 1.9 batters per nine, compared to his 4.5 BB/9 career mark.

Brault did it with the glove too:

The Pirates begin a three-game series with Arizona Monday night at PNC Park, before again playing St. Louis in a four-game set in Pittsburgh. Check back next week for the three stars of the week ahead.

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