Saturday, August 25, 2012

Karstens Does It All In 4-0 Win; JK & JT Hurt

Jeff Karstens and Shaun Marcum put on a clinic. Soft stuff, kissing the edges - Doug Edding has a quite generous strike zone - and after four, it was scoreless with each side held to a knock apiece.

Aramis Ramirez had the only Brew Crew hit, a knock to open the second that was quickly erased via the DP, smartly started by Clint Barmes. A-Ram started off the fifth with a two bagger and stayed there. Karstens was throwing a slow curve and a 90 MPH heater and was at just 53 pitches after five.

Neil Walker got aboard in the Bucco half when center fielder Carlos Gomez dropped his fly, bringing up Pedro. He was ahead of a Marcum change up and popped out. But not The Fort; he ripped a double to The Notch to put the Bucs up 1-0. He came around an out later when JK singled to right to make it 2-0; The Lord helps those...

And the Bucs piled on; JT smacked a Notch-bound two bagger to plate Karstens. And holy smokes, Snider singled him home. Gotta love two out lightning! Cutch chopped one to short, but that didn't end the fun; Jeff Bianchi booted it and Snider rolled into third. The inning ended on a patently Pirate play; Cutch was caught stealing. Still 4-0 is a good start. Tabata was taken out with left groin discomfort, close enough to the quad that landed him in hot water earlier in the year. Garrett Jones went to RF, Snider to LF, and Gaby Sanchez to first.

After an out in the sixth, the Brewers' bats woke up. Travis Ishikawa and Norichika Aoki stroked back-to-back knocks to put runners at first and second. Ricky Weeks whiffed swinging at a curve to bring up Ryan Braun. The Pirate killer popped out to first to keep the Bucs up by four.

Jose Veras took the hill in the sixth. GI Jones legged out an infield knock to open the frame. After an out, Pedro took an 0-2 slider away to left for a single, putting runners at first and second. Veras escaped easily, and it was nine outs to go. Make that six; JK tossed a 1-2-3 seventh, and is at an amazingly efficient 76 pitches. Livian Hernadez did even better for the Brew Crew; he struck out the side.

Bianchi opened the eighth by taking a curve off his shoetop and rolling it into left for a knock, his first big league hit. Nyjer Morgan beat out an infield knock to bring up the top of the order. JK tossed a ball to Aoki, then grabbed his right hip. Karstens went 7 innings, giving up seven hits and fanning four on 84 tosses. Tony Watson came on to toe the rubber with Jason Grilli heating up for the righties.

He got Aoki to bounce into a force to short, putting Brewers on the corners. Watson did his job against the lefty, and Grilli climbed the bump. He fanned Weeks and got Braun on a bouncer to keep the tally at 4-0. Hernadez got the Bucs out cleanly again, survivng a Walker drive to the fence in right.

Clint Hurdle brought on Hanny the one time he had his option of arms; guess he wanted Chad Qualls fresh. Hopefully, it won't bite the team tomorrow. A-Ram greeted Hanrahan with a knock. Corey Hart banged into a force and Martin Maldonado lined to left. But what's a ninth without a little Hanny drama? He walked Jonathan Lucroy on four pitches and Bianchi singled to juice the sacks. The curtain fell with Nyjmo's swinging K, missing a slider, and the Bucs got back on the winning track with a 4-0 win.

We won't even harp on the 10 whiffs tonight; ya gotta be hacking when Doug Edding is calling the plate. The Bucs did that enough to put together one frame, and it was good enough. More worrisome are the injuries to JT and JK. Tabata's last bout with a bad groin got him sent to Indy, and Karstens' rehab was delayed considerably when he injured his hip at Altoona. Alex Presley is the obvious choice if Tabata is Dl'ed; Karstens could be replaced in-house by KC or by Indy's Jeff Locke.

There may be no action at all; Karstens says he doesn't think he'll miss a start, and JT said he felt OK after the game and was waiting to see how it feels tomorrow. So we'll see what the docs say after some poking and probing.

Mark Rogers faces Erik Bedard in the rubber match tomorrow afternoon.

  • Tonight's attendance was 37,460, the Bucs 15th sellout of season.
  •  Starling Marte is due back from the DL on September 3rd, but we haven't heard of him involved with any baseball activity yet, so the Bucco OF is thin, especially if JT goes on the DL.
  • Indy RHP Kyle McPherson went seven scoreless frames, surrendering two hits, two walks and punching out five.
  • The Altoona Curve won its 1,000th game tonight, 3-0 over the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Kris Johnson picked up the win, going seven frames of three hit ball with two walks and five whiffs.

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