Padres mum on starting pitcher vs. Pirates

MLB Baseball

The mystery surrounding the Padres’ rotation these days gets more intriguing by the hour.

The five-man rotation at the moment has only three dependable arms — none of whom were available Monday night or Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But before Monday’s game — when the starter was an almost forgotten, and unexpectedly successful, Miguel Diaz — Padres manager Jayce Tingler said he would name Tuesday’s starter after the game. When the time came for the announcement, Tingler deferred for the second time in three days.

“I don’t mean to push it off,” Tingler said of announcing a starter.

Then he did.

The choices that Tingler didn’t identify are Ryan Weathers or Dinelson Lamet, who have been supposedly in the mix since Sunday — although there’s always a chance Chris Paddack could be activated from the injured list, since he was placed there April 28 due to an unspecified “medical reason” and not an injury.

For now, it’s unknown who will start for the Padres against Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller, who is 1-3 this season with an 8.20 ERA, a 1.982 WHIP, a .308 opponents’ batting average and a .979 opponents’ OPS.

Keller, 25, has already faced the Padres once this season on April 15 in Pittsburgh. The Padres got to Keller for seven runs on nine hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings. Manny Machado hit a homer off Keller, who took the loss. It was Keller’s only career start against San Diego.

Keller has pitched only 18 2/3 innings in five starts this season. He has allowed 17 runs on 24 hits and 13 walks with 19 strikeouts. His career stats aren’t much better: He has a 3-9 record in 21 starts with a 6.32 ERA, a 1.721 WHIP, a .297 OBA and a .893 opponents’ OPS. He has 100 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings in his career, along with 47 walks.

And there seems to be a trend for his starts this year — good, bad, good, bad. He is due for a good.

“I think there is a lot of frustration with Mitch,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said after Keller’s last outing against the Kansas city Royals when he lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and five walks with two strikeouts.

“When you can’t throw the fastball in the zone, there is going to be frustration,” Shelton continued. “When the fastball isn’t in the zone, the curve loses its effectiveness.”

And because the Pirates haven’t scored in two games, there isn’t much room for error. Ask left-hander Tyler Anderson, who took a no-hit shutout into the seventh inning Monday night against the Padres in San Diego — and lost, although the hosts got only three hits.

Meanwhile, Diaz was the first of six Padres pitchers to combine for the shutout, allowing just one hit in three innings to start the game.

Did the Padres start Diaz Monday in what became a bullpen game thinking the odds were much longer against Anderson than Keller — no matter who started for the Padres on Tuesday?

Lamet is currently on the injured list due to an elbow that restricted his only start of the season to two innings. Weathers departed his last start after one inning due to soreness.

However, once the mystery of Tuesday’s starter is resolved, the Padres still may need to patch together a second bullpen game in as many days.

–Field Level Media

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