So if you were busy with another thing and turned on today’s Pirates/Padres game in the middle of stuff, you might have seen this:
Formal headline: The Pirates lost to the Padres today 8-3.
Informal headline: #TankForEli
This was a game where pretty much from the moment Mitch Keller threw his second pitch, which Trent Grisham lined into right field, that it was going to be a long day. Keller, who looked so good on Saturday, reverted to spring training form.
He was ... not great, Bob, in spring training.
Before the first inning came to a merciful end, the score was 4-0 Padres, courtesy of a Manny Machado two-run homer and timely doubles by Jake Cronenworth and Tucupita Marcano which brought home Grisham and Cronenworth respectively. In the second, walks were Keller’s issue. Jerickson Profar had doubled, and Keller walked Cronenworth and Machado on eight straight pitches. An Eric Hosmer single brought Profar and Cronenworth home to make it 6-0 Padres.
The second inning was also when the Pirates got on the board, thanks to two doubles by Colin Moran and Erik Gonzalez, the latter scoring Redbeard. Keller managed to get through the third inning with only a walk, but he was pulled in the fourth after Grisham and Profar both singled and Cronenworth sacrificed to score Grisham. All seven runs were earned, and Keller only got one K. I know that Derek Shelton and Oscar Marin like to see if a pitcher can get himself out of trouble, but Keller was already sunk so deep that I think Shelty was kind of “well, let him get his pitches in.” The whip stops hurting after it’s hit you fifty times.
The Bucs got their final two runs in the fifth, when Anthony Alford, pinch-hitting for Keller’s replacement Clay Holmes, singled and Adam Frazier doubled. After Kevin Newman lined out, Marcano made a blooper reel-worthy error to put Bryan Reynolds on base and score Alford and Frazier. The Padres scored one last run in the sixth inning off a Machado sacrifice after a Profar walk by Luis Oviedo.
Everyone was hoping after Keller’s performance on Saturday that he’d begun to turn things around, He’s got the stuff to get guys out, but he needs to develop something other than that swift but hanging fastball that just begs to be knocked out of the park. Again, I’m in “dude, it’s April” mode, but the Pirates’ starting pitching?
Not great, Bob.