Before we get to the game action, lets talk a little bit about the minor league baseball streaming experience. First, for whatever reason, today’s game was not available via the MLB.TV app despite the fact that it was televised. Instead, I had to use the free Bally Live app. Now I don’t mind that the only available audio was the radio broadcast for the Gwinnett Stripers. The broadcast kept a running tally of the current viewers in the bottom right corner of the screen and after the rehabbing Max Fried exited the game (immediately following his 35th pitch, despite being in the middle of an at-bat) the view count dropped from 65,000 to 11,000. So the streams aren’t exactly money-makers.
However, the app was technically atrocious. There is no TV app nor an available casting button. Even worse, once I had selected the game from the schedule and tapped the full screen button I was treated to distorted video as the aspect ratio was stretched wide so it could keep a little bit of the schedule menu at the bottom of the screen. However the nail in the coffin was that, despite the fact that I have fiber internet and it was running perfectly well, the game kept freezing every few seconds making it nearly impossible to tell what was going on.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk results.
Angel Zerpa had a pretty good rehab start, certainly his best one at Omaha. He pitched five innings without allowing a run and struck out three while walking only one. He looked fairly sharp, though not completely lights out. Unfortunately, after he was removed, Brad Keller entered the game and became the story.
Keller managed to record only a single out and walked four on his way to allowing six runs, four earned. His last four results were walk, hit by pitch, walk, walk. The last three pushed home runs. Since he began his rehab assignment he has walked 13 batters and recorded 14 outs. He has given up nine runs, seven of them earned. Again, that’s against only 14 recorded outs.
Some have suggested that the Royals are so desperate for pitching that Keller could rejoin the rotation once he’s healthy regardless of how his rehab assignment goes. But if this is how he’s going to pitch - and remember, he walked 40 in 43.1 innings for the major league club before he was injured - he’s completely unplayable. The last couple of years we saw a Brad Keller who was no longer good but could at least record outs. The 2023 iteration can’t. Brad Keller will be lucky at this point to simply be demoted to AAA following his rehab stint. It would be more than reasonable for the Royals to simply designate him for assignment and be done with him. In fact, I think that’s what is most likely to happen as the Royals continue their late-season roster churn and attempt to find some players worth having on their roster. If nothing else, Angel Zerpa is on the 60-Day IL and will need a roster spot whenever he’s done rehabbing.
Between Keller and reliever Walter Pennington, Omaha allowed all of Gwinnett’s eight runs in the sixth inning. When Tucker Bradley doubled home Logan Porter in the top of the seventh it was far too late. Omaha is now 41-42 as they head into the All-Star Break. They’ll resume play Friday night against hosting Indianapolis.