Jeff Karstens doesn’t typically get the headlines. He is a replacement level pitcher that although he pitched rather well in spring training didn’t make the opening day roster. Karstens was left at AAA Indy and came to Pittsburgh after most other pitchers had failed. After a 2-0 Pirates win over the Cardinals, now Karstens has two of the Pittsburgh Pirates biggest wins of the young season. He is used to being overshadowed and one could argue his mound opponent from the St. Louis Cardinals, the left-handed rookie Jamie Garcia, did that last night.
Garcia threw 110 pitches. Karstens threw about 35 less. Garcia allowed one run and fanned seven in over six innngs. Karstens doesn’t really care about strikeouts.
So who on this planet would have thought one run would be enough for the Karstens and the Pirates bullpen? Sure, the Cards have scored two or fewer runs in 10 of their 12 losses and one or none in eight games, but seriously, Jeff Karstens was on the mound. Surely, one run wouldn’t be enough for the Pirates.
Funny enough though, one run was all the Bucs would need. Suddenly, the pitching staff is healed we are told. Now the Pirates brass has a herculean decision to make. Do they send down Jeff Karstens after such an impressive performance last night when he pitched a three hit shutout over six innings? Or do the Pirates demote Brian Burres who was equally impressive the other night. Hell, flip a coin.
The Cardinals are used to making teams’ fifth starter looking Cy Young-eque. Earlier this season Houston’s Bud Norris and Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick fired blanks at the Cards.
The Pirates went station to station for their first run in the second inning. Steve Pearce singled to left center and he went to third when Jason Jaramillo, who had three hits, took an outside pitch from Garcia and flicked it into the right field grass for a single. Ronny Cedeno hit a screamer that David Freese was not able to get a handle on which allowed number 51, Steve Pearce to score from third base..
JHammer did it again when he singled off reliever Mitch Boggs to drive home the Pirates’ second and final run of the game.
The bullpen team of D.J. Carrasco, Jack Taschner, Joel Hanrahan and Octavio Dotel did the job of closing out the last three innings.
The Cardinals’ scored in the sixth inning. It just didn’t count. The home-plate umpire Marty Foster called out Ryan Ludwick. It sure does appear to my eye that Jason Jaramillo clearly missed the tag, but Marty Foster rung him up in an apparent attempt to get the hell out of the frigid temperatures at PNC Park.
Ludwick would be even more sad in the eighth inning. He took a pitch from reliever Joel Hanrahan off his left hand. I thought for sure the ball was deflected to the pitching mound.
On Pirates Extra Innings with Rocco, Hanrahan talked about his slider grip, that “some guy in Indianapolis” helped him develop. Sure hope that “some guy in Indy” keeps to himself. Hanrahan is nasty. Hanrahan got Albert Pujols to strike out on a nasty Hanrahan slider for the final out of the eighth. [Hanrahan said he quick pitched in this story.]
“I did a no-look pitch — I didn’t look at the runners — and I think that might have messed up (Pujols’) timing a little bit,” Hanrahan said. “It was a good pitch, well-located.”
Adam Wainwright will be hurling for the Cardinals against lefthander Paul Maholm.
I never did get one of these Mark McGwire picture baseballs.
Brendan Ryan had a remarkable play to get Andrew McCutchen tonight by a millisecond. He is the new Sheriff in town although Cards fans will easily argue with that point.
On that Pirates Extra Innings podcast you will hear D.J. Carrasco randomly call in to the show, apparently wait on cue for his turn, and then talk baseball and stock market tips with equal proficiency.