Cage Those Red Birds
By Tom Smith
Jeff Karstens (1-1, 5.19ERA) goes against RHP Mitchell Boggs (1-0, 3.50ERA).
The Pirates have won five straight against the Cardinals. PNC Park is becoming quite the birdcage as well with the Bucs taking six of their last seven against them. After tonight the Bucs and Cards don’t see each other again until August 7.
Karstens doesn’t have a hit at the plate yet. 0-for-6. Normally, that wouldn’t stand out, but the way the Pirates pitchers are hitting and bunting this season is commendable. Thank you Coach Beasley. It’s the little things that make the difference. You think Duke’s hit the other night wasn’t a catalyst? You are crazy.
Karstens is coming off a solid start against the Mets. He gave up two runs in the first and went on to scatter seven hits over six innings. He struck out three Mets and walked none. In his first career appearance against the Cards, we are looking for another solid outing to send the Cards packing and welcome the Rockies in for the weekend tilt. Paul Maholm will pitch tomorrow for the Pirates.
Karstens has held right hand batters to a .236 average while allowing lefties to hit .286.
Getting it started at the top of the order: Nyjer Morgan has hit safely in six of his last seven games, and nine of his last eleven games. Freddy Sanchez has a seven game hitting streak after another solid outing last night. Freddy is 12-for 42 this month.
Much can be said for how the Pirates play in closing out this series against the Cards tonight. Want to make the fans forget that awful streak? Finish off the sweep tonight. We couldn’t do it against Atlanta, in fact Pittsburgh was smoked 11-1 when going for a sweep on April 19. The next series, the Pirates swept the Marlins and a nice buzz was created.
Sweep the Cards tonight? It will be back.
Then take a few from the Rox before heading to DC….now we have something to build on.
Getting it done at the plate versus the Cards this year: Morgan is hitting .344, Freddy .400, Wilson .375, Moss .333
Not getting it done: McLouth .138, LaRoche Brothers-Adam .192; Andy .105
Crazy stat: As bad as the Pirates have played…they have scored 142 runs and allowed 142 runs.