Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Karstens Effort Wasted, Bucs Fall 1-0

Ya know, the Pirate pitching has been so terrible lately that we tend to overlook how bad the Pirate hitting has been. Well, it came to the forefront tonight.

Jeff Karstens, Jared Hughes and Jose Veras held the D-Backs to one run and five hits - and the single tally came on a broken bat homer, with half the stick ending up by third base - by Justin Upton that had to withstand review. Upton's homer, his 31st, dropped into the first row of the left center field stands. A fan caught it and the review was to see if it cleared the wall. It did, and that was enough to propel Arizona to a 1-0 win.

The Pirates mustered two hits; the only knock before the ninth was a Karstens' single. Alex Presley tripled with one out in the final frame, and had The Pittsburgh Kid and McCutch behind him. But Walker bounced out to first, freezing Presley, and McCutchen K'ed for the third time on the night. He wasn't alone alone. It was the thirteenth whiff of a Bucco. They've scored four runs on 22 hits in the past four games with 44 K's.

Charlie Morton takes on Daniel Hudson tomorrow.

  • This was Jeff Karstens last start of the season. The Bucs are skipping his last appearance, as he's worked 162-1/3 innings in 2011, 40 more frames than his previous high set last year.  JK finished the year at 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA, a tremendous showing especially considering he started 2011 as a long man in the pen before Ohlie went down in early April.
  • The Pirates set a team record for K's in a season Sunday against LA. They're now up to 1,243 strikeouts with eight games to go, an average of 8 whiffs per game. They're among the bottom feeders in that stat in the NL with Washington and San Diego. More than pitching, this should be addressed as shortcoming #1 going into 2012. The compound problem is that the Pirates have used the second highest number of players in the NL during the season, have the youngest senior circuit squad, and consequently don't seem to have much of a plan during their at-bats, all of which were brutally exposed in the second half of the season.
  • The Pirates have three guys with 100+ K's - McCutch, Walker and Garrett Jones - and three more that will finish the year with 75+. The Pirates have just five more hits (1,248) than whiffs, and six current position players have more K's than knocks: Jones, McKenry, Alvarez, Wood, d'Arnaud, and Ludwick. Steve Pearce, Josh Rodriguez, Dusty Brown and Wyatt Toregas, when they were playing, also had more strikeouts than hits.

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