The Pittsburgh Pirates have a pair of All-Stars in outfielder Bryan Reynolds and rookie right-hander Paul Skenes, but staff ace Mitch Keller remains conspicuously absent from the National League roster.

For a brief moment, it felt like Keller’s time may have come when former Pirates pitcher Tyler Glasnow became the latest All-Star pitcher to hit the injured list ahead of the Midsummer Classic after the Los Angeles Dodgers placed him on the 15-day IL with back tightness on Tuesday. The veteran right-hander, who leads the National League with 143 strikeouts, was set to make his All-Star Game debut in his ninth MLB season (his first with the Dodgers).

Major League Baseball was quick to announce, however, that Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene – not Keller – would replace Glasnow on the National League roster.

Both Keller and Greene have 18 starts this season. The former is 10-5 with a 3.40 ERA, 102 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP, while the latter is 5-4 with a 3.45 ERA, 116 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP.

Keller’s first-half numbers – with one start remaining before the break – are similar to last year, when he earned the first All-Star nod of his career alongside Pirates reliever David Bednar. At the 2023 All-Star break, he was 9-4 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP through 19 starts. He registered 129 strikeouts and 34 walks in 117 innings and held opposing hitters to a .220 batting average.

Seriously, what more does this guy have to do to get to Dallas this year?

Keller expressed some disappointment when he learned that he had been left off the All-Star roster, but he claims there are no hard feelings.

“No, man. After yesterday, just flushed it. Nothing I can do about it,” Keller said via TRIB Live’s Kevin Gorman. “Super happy for Paul and Reynolds. They both deserve it. So, yeah, I flushed it after yesterday. Had one day to be disappointed about it. … I mean, it sucks when you don’t get the chance to go, but there’s literally nothing I can do about it. Not gonna worry about it.”

Undoubtedly motivated by the snub, Keller let his work speak for itself on Monday in a dominant performance against the New York Mets that reminded us all why he is one of the top starters in baseball. In an eight-inning masterpiece, Keller allowed two runs on seven hits without a walk while recording six strikeouts to help Pittsburgh seal the 8-2 victory at PNC Park.

“That was an All-Star performance,” Pirates manager Shelton said after the game. “If that’s not an All-Star, I’m hard pressed to see what is.”