Garrett Mitchell will try to continue the hot start to his major league career when he and the Milwaukee Brewers host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday night.
Mitchell, a speedy outfielder, has driven in four runs in his first two starts to key a pair of victories.
Mitchell, a 2020 first-round draft pick out of UCLA, delivered a two-run single in the fourth inning of his big league debut on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. The hit gave the Brewers the lead for good in a 9-7 victory.
In the series opener against the Pirates on Monday, Mitchell walked and scored in the third inning to help Milwaukee take an early 3-0 lead. He came through in the clutch in the eighth inning, delivering a two-run homer to tie the score 5-5, and the Brewers went on to win 7-5.
“I’m going to be honest, I barely remember anything,” Mitchell said of his first big-league home run.
He shared a tearful hug with his father, Antony, postgame.
“He’s doing what he’s always done, but to do it like this, it got me,” Antony Mitchell said, per MLB.com. “It got me. It was total excitement to start off with. Then I started losing my breath. Then it got me.”
Mitchell, who bats left handed, will likely be back in the starting lineup on Tuesday against Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller, who hasn’t lasted four innings in either of his past two outings.
Keller (4-10, 4.50 ERA) gave up seven runs (two earned) and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings during a 14-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
It was an improvement over his previous outing on Aug. 16, when Keller lasted just two innings in a 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, surrendering five runs (four earned) and five hits.
Keller made back-to-back starts against the Brewers in April. He took a 4-2 loss in Milwaukee on April 20 after allowing one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Keller faced the Brewers at home six days later and wound up with a no-decision in a 12-8 win. He surrendered four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
He is 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA in three starts overall against the Brewers.
Willy Adames, who had three hits in the series opener on Monday, is 4-for-9 in his career against Keller with a home run and two doubles.
The Brewers are planning to send Jason Alexander (2-1, 5.26 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. It will be the first start for the right-hander since July 12 after five relief appearances, four of them since his latest call-up from the minors on Aug. 7.
Alexander is 2-1 with a 4.34 ERA in seven starts this year, 0-0 with a 7.47 ERA in seven relief outings.
Pirates rookie shortstop Oneil Cruz, who has six of his 11 home runs against the Brewers this season, scorched a three-run homer in the fifth inning on Monday. The ball left the bat at 118 mph, the hardest-hit homer from a Pittsburgh batter since Statcast began tracking all hits in 2015.
“It feels great, especially because I’ve been putting a lot of work in,” Cruz said via an interpreter, per MLB.com. “Just getting better at-bats, taking a better look at the pitch sequences and also just getting a better eye of the zone.”
–Field Level Media