It’s been quite a year for first-time All-Star Mitch Keller, and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher added another accomplishment to his impressive 2023 campaign.
Keller entered Tuesday night’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies six strikeouts shy of surpassing A.J. Burnett’s record of 209 strikeouts in a season, the most by a right-handed pitcher in franchise history.
After recording five strikeouts through 4.2 innings, Keller punched out Nick Castellanos looking to end the fifth. The strikeout gave him his sixth of the game and 210th of the season, which set the new franchise mark for righties.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 27, 2023
In his last outing against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Keller became just the sixth different Pirates’ pitcher all-time to record 200+ strikeouts in a single season. He joined Bob Veale, who did so four times, Oliver Perez, Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole along with Burnett.
The last time a Pirates’ pitcher had 200 or more strikeouts in a season came in 2015 when both Liriano (205) and Cole (202) did so.
Keller now needs four more strikeouts to surpass Veale’s 213 strikeouts during the 1969 season for fifth-most in Pirates’ history, regardless of handedness.
Keller entered play 11th in baseball and sixth in the National League with 204 strikeouts, which already shattered his previous career-high of 138 punch outs set last season.