Pittsburgh Pirates: Mitch Keller's Personal Catcher & More Takeaways From Series Loss vs Twins

Recapping the Pirates' weekend series in the Twin Cities

Aug 20, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (13)
Aug 20, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (13) / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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Jason Delay is becoming Mitch Keller's personal catcher

It has been an odd season for Pirate starting pitcher Mitch Keller. The first time All-Star has struggled for the better part of the last three seasons, but put together a strong start agaisnt the Twins on Saturday night by striking out 12 batters while allowing just 2 earned runs in 6 innings pitched.

With this start, Keller now owns a 4.22 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 7.1% walk rate, and a 26.0% strikeout rate in 155.2 innings pitched across 26 starts this season. The biggest takeaway from his strong start against the Twins is that Jason Delay appears to be turning into Keller's personal catcher.

Saturday night was Keller's fourth start since the Pirates traded Austin Hedges to the Texas Rangers. After Endy Rodriguez started the first of those four starts, Delay has caught Keller in the last three. Keller has posted a 3.18 ERA with a 5.4% walk rate, 31.1% strikeout rate, and he's allowed just one home run in 17 innings pitched.

Now, long term, this is something that can not continue. The future of the catcher position for the Pirates is Rodriguez. However, Keller will have all of next spring to work with Rodriguez and develop that pitcher/catcher rapport that is necessary. For now, it appears that Delay will continue to catch Keller down the stretch this season.