Home News Corbin Burnes, Victor Caratini have great rapport

Corbin Burnes, Victor Caratini have great rapport

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This story was excerpted from Adam McCalvy’s Brewers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers haven’t typically done “personal catchers” during the Craig Counsell era, but perhaps they are making an exception for Corbin Burnes as he tries to lock in with midseason approaching.

Victor Caratini has caught each of Burnes’ last three starts and seven of Burnes’ last nine after William Contreras caught three of the first four. The Brewers’ primary catcher, Contreras, has received high praise for his development as a receiver — and he deserves it — but for whatever reason, the Burnes-Caratini battery has fared better.

Here are Burnes’ numbers this season by catcher, going into Tuesday’s scheduled start at Minnesota:

Burnes has surrendered more total bases (47) with Contreras as his catcher than he has with Caratini (43) — in almost exactly half the innings.

That is absolutely not to disparage Contreras, who, again, has done a nice job. But there’s something about the rapport Burnes has developed with Caratini since the Brewers acquired the latter hastily at the start of last season. They needed a catcher at the very last minute when Pedro Severino was slapped with a PED suspension, and picked up Caratini in a trade with San Diego for outfield prospect Korry Howell and catcher Brett Sullivan.

“I’ve thrown to Vic a lot over the last couple of years, and he knows that if a certain pitch is not working, or certain sequences are not working, to keep going to it,” Burnes said. “He knows what to say, what to [call], to get everything back on track. 

“It’s pretty easy for anyone to go back there when you have your ‘A’ stuff out there. That’s pretty easy to call a game. But it’s the games you’re struggling through command-wise, or struggling with some pitches, that for whatever reason, he just knows how to get me locked in.” 

Burnes was locked in throughout his most recent start against the Orioles, when he threw 96 pitches over eight scoreless innings and allowed two hits with no walks. He put the execution percentage — Burnes’ personal measure of success — over his two other best starts this year, an April 11 outing in Arizona in which Burnes worked eight scoreless innings, and a May 17 start in St. Louis when Burnes allowed a season-high eight hits and three runs in six innings. That’s a perfect example of how the box score doesn’t always reflect how a pitcher executed his plan. 

“There have been a couple that have been up there, but this one I think will top them all,” Burnes said of his outing on Wednesday night. “One three-ball count tonight, so we attacked the zone pretty hard. To throw 96 pitches through eight innings, that’s kind of what we want to do.”

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