It wasn’t that long ago that I began paraphrasing a famous line from The Wizard of Oz to Mitch Keller’s starts—”is he a good Mitch or a bad Mitch?”
Lately, Keller’s been a good Mitch, and he was today. Detroit rookie right-hander Alex Faedo, however, was just as good in today’s matchup, and the Pirates’ bats were kept largely silent in the 3-1 loss to the Tigers at PNC Park.
Keller looked strong and confident, going six innings with seven strikeouts, using his newfound sinker to considerable effect. His only stumbles were in the top of the second inning when he gave up a triple to Daz Cameron that scored Eric Haase, who had reached base on a forceout that knocked off Spencer Torkelson, one of Keller’s two walks on the day.
But Jack SuWINski was in the lineup today, and we know what Jack-Jack likes to do:
That was one of ... four Pirates hits. The other three were scattered singles by Diego Castillo, Yu Chang, and Michael Perez.
The nail in this particular coffin came in the top of the eighth inning. After Harold Castro singled off Wil Crowe, Jonathan Schoop hit a bloop to center field. Bryan Reynolds dove valiantly and appeared to make a miraculous catch for the out, but the replay showed that it hit the ground before it hit his glove. With two on base, Miguel Cabrera lined another single at B-Rey and brought the Other Castro home for a Tigers lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Daz Cameron, who earlier in the game invoked the Wrath of Rocket by cutting off Kody Clemens on a catch in center field, doubled in Haase in the ninth off Chris Stratton. The Pirates had an anemic rally in the bottom of the ninth with a Daniel VogelWALK and the aforementioned Castillo single, but Detroit closer Gregory Soto struck out Cal Mitchell to end the game.
The Pirates head to Atlanta tomorrow for a four-game series against the Braves. Grab the rum and incense, because Jobu badly needs to wake up the Pirates’ bats.