Pirates will continue to keep struggling Keller in rotation

Shelton said it’s a matter of fastball command
Mitch Keller gives up HR
Photo credit Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Struggles continue for Pirates starter Mitch Keller, but there are no plans for the 25- year-old to be sent to the minors or go to the bullpen.

“No,” manager Derek Shelton said when asked about the options.  “I think we need to continue to work on what we are working on here.  That would be a decision that we would talk about.  It’s more fastball command stuff.  We have to isolate on why and then how it needs to transfer in games.”

Since May 4, an already up-and-down season has taken more of a downturn.  Here are the numbers

23 innings
20 runs
30 hits
14 walks
4 HBP
27 strikeouts
8.69 ERA

Shelton said they have not found a common thread to the mistakes, other than it’s about fastball command.

“I think we have a good plan,” Keller said.  “It’s just me going out and executing.  I had two batters 0-2 in the third inning (Thursday against the Dodgers), if I don’t hit ‘em.  It’s a whole different game.”

“Just executing pitches it what it boils down to.  Executing and getting ahead, when I do that I’m pretty good.  When I don’t, stuff like that happens today (Thursday).”

He may not look like it, but Keller said ‘he’s the most ticked off person in the locker room right now’.  He did not use the word ‘ticked’.

“I think he’s handled it well,” Shelton said.  “Obviously, he’s frustrated because of the fact he is looking for consistency.  It’s just part of the maturation process for him.”

“Tomorrow is a new day,” Keller said.  “I just have to take a step back and look at the outing and see what I can go forward with.  Look at the positives, look what I need to get better at and keep going from there.  Work on that in my next side and do everything I can to get ready for the next start.”

In the meantime, the team will continue to roll him out there at the MLB level for more opportunities.

“It’s good, I guess, to know they have faith in me,” Keller said.  “Every conversation we have is really good.  We’re making strides forward.  Just going through it right now and just trying to get out of it.”