In what’s becoming a distressing regularity, the Pirates not only failed to close out a sweep, they failed ... period.
Today, they crashed and burned against the Phillies, 15-4, at PNC Park.
Mitch Keller, in his first Bucs start since returning from Triple-A Indianapolis, seemed more confident on the mound than he had looked before his demotion. He also did not walk anyone or give up a home run.
That was about it for the pluses. Doubles are what dogged Keller today, starting in the first inning when Travis Jankowski hit one and came home on a J.T. Realmuto single. In the second, Jean Segura got in on the two-bagger action, scoring Odubel Herrera and pitcher Kyle Gibson to make it 3-0.
Pitchers helping their teams on the basepaths wasn’t limited to the Phillies. Keller walked in the third inning, advanced on a Ben Gamel single, and scored when Wilmer Difo hit a line drive. Bryan Reynolds walked to load the bases, but with two outs Gregory Polanco grounded out. In his Phillies debut, Gibson was solid, giving up only two runs and five hits in six and two-thirds innings. He may have been on one of the few teams worse than the Pirates this year, but he showed why he was an All-Star.
Back-to-back doubles by Bryce Harper and Realmuto made the score 4-1 Phillies in the fifth, which marked the end of Keller’s day. Cody Ponce came on in relief, if by “relief” you mean “give up more runs.” Keller gave up eight hits and four runs in five innings. Ponce gave up seven hits and four runs ... in two. Meanwhile, Luis Oviedo watched this and said to his bullpen mates “Sostenga mi cerveza.”
(That’s “hold my beer” in Spanish. Bucs Dugout is multilingual today)
He only gave up one hit, true. But he walked four and got no outs, and Nick Mears didn’t help matters. By the time the Phillies finally made their last out in the eighth inning, it was 13-2. They added another two runs in the ninth against ... John Nogowski. Hey, Nogo can’t always be the hero, you know.
But what about one of the newest Buccos, “a”Hoy Park (thanks to @bhmbill on Twitter for that one)? Well, he went 1-4, with that hit being a double in the seventh, and scored on a Kevin Newman sac fly. The Bucs mounted a last-gasper in the ninth, with Rodolfo Castro singling and Michael Perez hitting the game’s only dinger off new Phillies reliever Ian Kennedy.
Now that it’s August, it seems like auditions for the 2022 Pirates will begin shortly.
At this point, why not?