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Keller Struggles, Pirates Lose 5-3

The Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten off to a great start in 2024, reeling off five straight victories to begin the campaign.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for their starter and staff-ace hopeful Mitch Keller.  After a shaky start in the season-opener against the Miami Marlins last week, the Bucs’ right-hander struggled once again on Wednesday night, as the Washington Nationals handed the Pirates their first loss of the season, 5-3.

Keller fell to 0-1 on the season, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks in 5.1 innings.  In his two starts so far in this young season, he has a 6.55 ERA.  Former Pirate Trevor Williams tallied the victory for Washington, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks in 5.1 innings on the mound.

Pittsburgh got off to a good start, scoring a pair of runs in the second inning.  Michael A. Taylor’s single to left field scored Jack Suwinski and Andrew McCutchen to make it 2-0.

Unfortunately, the lead did not last long, as the Nationals responded by tagging Keller for four runs in the bottom of the inning to take control of the game.  A solo homerun by Joey Gallo got the Nats on the board, and was later followed by an RBI double by Luis Garcia Jr. that tied the game.  A two-run single by CJ Abrams later in the inning scored Garcia Jr. and Trey Lipscomb to make it 4-2.

Suwinski’s solo homerun, his first of the season, cut the Washington lead in half at 4-3, but once again, in the bottom of that very inning, the home team got the run back.  Ildemaro Vargas doubled home Garcia Jr. to make it 5-3, which would be the final score.

This was a disappointing night for the Pirates and their fans.  It wasn’t a letdown because the team lost the game.  This is baseball and there are 162 games in a season…you can’t win them all.  But the main worry is Keller’s lackluster start to the season, which bares resemblance to seasons’ past.  If this Pirates’ team has any hopes of seriously contending in their division, they need top-notch starting pitching, and that starts with Keller.

The Pirates and Nationals will meet up on Thursday afternoon for the rubber match of this three-game series.  Martin Perez will be on the mound for Pittsburgh against Josiah Gray for Washington.  First pitch is slated for 4:05pm.

Record vs. Nationals: 1-1

Record vs. N.L. East: 5-1

Record on the Road: 5-1

Overall Record: 5-1

And…

As Aways…

Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor