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Game Thread G2: It’s Keller time

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MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates
Mitch Keller in Spring Training 2019
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

After taking game one of Monday’s double header at Cincinnati by a score of 8-5, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect Mitch Keller heads to the mound for the very first time in the minor leagues. He’ll face the Reds’ Sonny Gray(1-4, 3.78) at 7:10 p.m. Eastern.

Gray faced the Pirates in each of his two starts this year, being hammered the first time around for five hits and four walks in two and two thirds innings, but pitched well in the encore, surrendering just one run in six innings on three hits and no walks.

Gray throws a 93.3 mph fastball nearly 60% of the time, alternating almost evenly between four-seam and two-seam. He backs that up with a curve 20% and slider 13%

Keller was selected by the Pirates in the second round of the 2014 draft (the 64th pick overall) out of high school in Iowa. Since then he’s compiled a 3.06 career minor league ERA in 95 starts, including 3.45 this year in nine starts at Triple-A Indianapolis, with 20 walks and 56 strikeouts in 47 innings (10.7 K’s per 9)

Keller’s fastball sits in the mid 90’s and has touched 98. He has a good curve and is working on a change and slider. My Oliver Projections have Keller at 242/333/387 vs left-handed batters and 232/289/412 vs right-handers, with much better control but more homers against the right-handed batters.

Joey Votto is out of the starting lineup for the Reds in game two, as they send only two left-handed batters to face Keller.

Adam Frazier sits out for the Pirates, with Jose Osuna starting at third base and Colin Moran sliding over to second base.

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PIRATES

1 R Starling Marte CF

2 L Gregory Polanco RF

3 S Bryan Reynolds LF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Colin Moran 2B

6 R Jose Osuna 3B

7 R Jacob Stallings C

8 S Cole Tucker SS

9 R Mitch Keller RHP

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REDS

1 R Nick Senzel CF

2 L Jesse Winker LF

3 R Eugenio Suarez 3B

4 L Derek Dietrich 1B

5 R Yasiel Puig RF

6 R Jose Iglesias SS

7 R Jose Peraza 2B

8 R Curt Casali C

9 R Sonny Gray RHP