Jeff Karstens was overmatched, although he continues to eat innings and keep the score manageable. The FSN guys compare him to Jeff Suppan, and that's probably as good a comparison as you'll come up with; a competitive, dependable back of the rotation pitcher.
His control wasn't as sharp today as it's been, as shown by the nine hits he gave up in 6 innings. But he would have needed a repeat of his near perfect game to match pitches with Santana today.
And to add injury to insult, Brandon Moss sprained his ankle while running out a grounder. It's not broken, and they'll poke and probe him some more tomorrow to figure out the extent of the injury.
But the biggest disappointment was that the Pirates lost with 36,000+ fans in the house. The last four games have been played in front of 145,000, and the Bucs have given the crowd four losses and some very uninspired play to remember. That's no way to turn Skyblast and Kid's Day fans into baseball fans.
On the draft front: What do the Bucs think of the draft? Well, Jack Splat's a little bitter. MLB.com reports:
Many think the $6 million the Pirates spent on third baseman Pedro Alvarez before Friday's midnight ET deadline was money well spent. In several ways, it was. But in other ways, like Jack Wilson pointed out, it's "a joke."
"No one in here cares about Draft picks, because the fastest guy will be here in three or four years," said Wilson, whose 2008 salary is $6.5 million. "The fact of the matter is that if we sign our No. 1 pick, he's going to be the highest-paid player on our team. So the Draft is completely out of control."
On the minor league front: RF Joey Bats hit a home run and double, collected three knocks, and drove in four to lead Indy to a 12-5 win. SS Brian Bixler (.283) added three more hits, a walk and a stolen base, as did CF Andrew McCutchen (.280) who scored twice and had an RBI.
SS Luis Cruz (.328) and 3B Neil Walker (.237) each had a pair of hits. C Ronny Paulino (.388) doubled and had 3 RBI, and DH Ryan Mulhern (.243) hit his 10th home run.
RHP Daniel McCutchen (4.04 ERA) lasted only 4-2/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three. RHP Matt Capps went 1-2/3 innings and escaped unscathed, although he gave up 3 walks. RHP Mike Thompson (3-3, 5.23 ERA) went 1-1/3 perfect innings for the win.
> Altoona scored four times in the ninth to pull out a 5-4 win this afternoon. RHP Yoslan Herrera (3.45 ERA) went the first five, giving up 2 runs on nine hits and striking out two. The winner was LHP Josh Shortslef (5-2, 2.67 ERA), who went the last 2-1/3 innings giving up a hit and a walk.
Melvin Dorta (.292) pinch hit and came through with a two-out, two-run single to plate the winning runs. LF Jonel Pacheco (.272) had two hits, two runs, and an RBI.
> Lynchburg lost the lead in the ninth, rallied to tie it, and then lost in ten innings, 6-5. The winning run was set up by a wild pick-off attempt.
RF James Barksdale (.258) had three hits, a double, a stolen base and a pair of tallies. DH Miles Durham (.235) had two hits, a double, a swipe, and 2 RBI. 1B Kent Sakamoto had two hits with a run and RBI.
> Hickory gave up 5 long balls and lost 14-6, after falling into a 13-1 hole.
Hickory has surrendered nine home runs in the three games of the Kannapolis series and 17 in the seven games of the current homestand. The Crawdads, league leaders in round-trippers allowed with 135, have served up home runs in 14 of their last 15 games, 11 times allowing multiple homers. Ouch!
RF Keanon Simon (.231) had a 4-5 game, with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. 3B Matt Hague (.320) also added two RBIs and a run, going 1-4 with a two-run double. 2B Greg Picart (.263) notched a pair of singles on the night.
Though hitting just .231, Simon has been afire lately. He's now 16-33 (.485) with nine runs, six RBI and five doubles through the first seven games of the homestand.
> Bradenton slapped out 14 hits and won 4-2 this afternoon. RHP Emilis Guerraro, 22, threw 6 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits, walking one and striking out 6. He's had an odd year, stopping in every minor league town in the Pirate system but Indy during the season. He was just sent from State College to the GCL.
The way the Spike's season is going, shouldn't those pitching exchanges be going the other way?
RF Victor Sanchez (.315) had three hits, and 1B Alex Vargas (.262), 2B Freizer Pedron (.220), 3B Andury Aceveto (.228), and CF Kyle Saukko (.218) each had a pair of hits.
> State College, working with a short bullpen, lost 4-3 tonight when it gave up two runs in the ninth. DH Quincy Latimore (.262) had three hits, including a double, and RF David Rubenstein (.206) added a pair and scored.