Found August 07, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens hopes this start against the Arizona Diamondbacks goes better than his first.
Based on how he's been pitching lately, his dominance at home and his previous success in the series, he would seemingly have better luck in the rematch.
Karstens tries to win his fifth straight decision and help the Pirates move 17 games over .500 for the first time in 20 years Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks.
Pittsburgh (62-46) opened a season-high 11-game homestand with a 4-0 win over Arizona on Monday and improved to a major league-best 34-16 at home. The Pirates collected nine singles to go with Clint Barmes' fifth-inning double, while Erik Bedard and two relievers combined on a two-hitter.
The owners of the league's second wild-card spot pulled within 3 12 games of NL Central-leading Cincinnati, and are trying to move 17 games over the break-even mark for the first time since ending the 1992 campaign 96-66 - the season of their last winning record and playoff appearance.
The Diamondbacks (55-54) have lost six of seven in Pittsburgh and 14 of their last 22 road games overall. They were shut out for the second time in three days Monday as Paul Goldschmidt had their only hits. Arizona's slumping offense could again have trouble against Karstens (4-2, 3.70 ERA) after he allowed a run and three hits in five innings in Wednesday's 8-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The right-hander was making his seventh start since a two-month stint on the disabled list, and improved to 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA in the last six. He landed on the DL after leaving his start in Arizona on April 17 following a two-run first inning with shoulder inflammation.
If he can stay healthy, things would figure to go better this time, considering he is 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three home starts this season. He also had a 0.41 ERA in his first three starts versus the Diamondbacks prior to April's injury-shortened outing.
Despite his success in the series, some of Arizona's top hitters have given him problems. Miguel Montero is 5 for 10 lifetime against him, while Justin Upton is 4 for 8 with a homer. Upton was batting .400 during a five-game hitting streak before going hitless in three at-bats Monday.
Andrew McCutchen had two hits and scored twice in the opener, and is batting .481 with 21 RBIs in his last 21 home games. He also leads the majors with a .443 average against left-handers and will be facing one Tuesday in Patrick Corbin (3-4, 3.60), who began his third stint with the Diamondbacks on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
Called up from Triple-A Reno last week, the 23-year-old allowed two hits and two walks in six innings of a 4-0 win. It was his sixth major league start and first since May 21.
"I feel a lot more comfortable now and I feel like I should be up here," said Corbin, who also made five relief appearances from June 28-July 13. "That's the biggest difference - feeling comfortable and going out there knowing you can pitch against these guys."
This will be his first opportunity to pitch against a Pirates team that since June 1, leads the NL in runs with 298 and homers with 84.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
According to a source, Jeff Locke is headed to Pittsburgh to join the club.
Kevin Correia is slated to spot start on Wednesday for the Pirates. Locke, who was scheduled to start for Triple-A, was promoted likely as insurance arm.
The move is not yet official. No word yet on the corresponding roster move.
Arizona Diamondbacks backup catcher Henry Blanco is scheduled for surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and could miss the rest of the season.
An MRI performed Tuesday in Phoenix revealed the tear. Blanco was injured Sunday in a game at Philadelphia when the Phillies' John Mayberry slid into his mitt at home plate.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said...
Yesterday afternoon, like two hours after I mused on Twitter about a Justin Wilson call-up to be used as a LOOGY down the stretch, the Pirates announced that Wilson would be moved to the bullpen. Given that Wilson throws hard as a reliever and that a lot of his control problems stem from his breaking stuff and that Tony Watson is occasionally homer-happy, having Wilson as an option...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. Rankings are from the post trade deadline update.
1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Altoona (2-4, 3.93) - 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Bradenton (6-7, 3.91) - DNP
3. Luis Heredia, RHP, State College (2-1, 2.28) ...
Earlier in the day we covered seven former Pirates players born on this date. That article can be read here. In part two we have Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, who also played with the Pirates. There are also five transactions of note, including the signing of a Pirates legend, plus we have a Jolly Roger Rewind from John Fredland, dealing with a scoring outburst during a long...
When general manager Kevin Towers passed on trading deadline deals that would have thinned the Diamondbacks minor league system, the recent performance of Patrick Corbin was the sort of thing that informed his thinking.
Corbin has made two quality starts since returning from Class AAA Reno to the rotation Aug. 1. He beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with six shutout innings that day...
A.J. Burnett remained undefeated against the Cincinnati Reds this season and Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking two-run triple to help the Pittsburgh Pirates salvage the finale of their three-game series with a 6-2 win on Sunday.
Neil Walker hit a two-run home run and All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen added a solo shot as Pittsburgh snapped Cincinnati's win streak at five...
AJ Burnett since the All-Star break:5 games, 39 2/3 innings, 30 strikeouts, 7 walks, 25 hits, 9 runsRate stats: 6.8 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 4.3 K/BB, 2.04 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .181/.226/.319 againstThe Pirates are 4-1 in Burnett's five starts, including wins his his last four. The Pirates are 13-9 since the All-Star break. You can do the math.
This is what the Pirates needed. After AJ Burnett struggled in the first inning and gave the Reds a 1-0 lead, things seemed pretty bad. Two straight losses, an early deficit, a ton of pitches for Burnett in the first ... I said before the game that a sweep wouldn't have been the end of the world and I'll stay by that assessment, but I'll also say that it would've...
The weekend matchup with the hottest team of all time had the interest of everyone already on the Buccos’ bandwagon and those looking to join. A sweep by the Bucs would have brought on full-fledged Pirate Fever and a sweep the other way would have given the bandwagon a severe case of Oregon Trail dysentery. Anything in between and we’d get to continue the pennant race that...
CINCINNATI (AP) -- A.J. Burnett remained undefeated against the Cincinnati Reds this season and Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking two-run triple to help the Pittsburgh Pirates salvage the finale of their three-game series with a 6-2 win on Sunday.
Neil Walker hit a two-run home run and All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen added a solo shot as Pittsburgh snapped Cincinnati'...
The Pirates entered the night 53-0 when leading a game after seven innings. That’s how good the back end of the bullpen has been (plus some luck, since the few times the ‘pen blew a lead the offense managed to bail them out).
All good things must come to an end, unfortunately, and that’s what happened on Tuesday. The Pirates were poised to win their third in a row in exciting...
You know, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't necessarily playing *bad* lately...the issue is that the Reds just can't be stopped. After losing two straight to being the weekend, the Pirates needed to win yesterday to attempt to salvage a bid at winning the division. Well, they did that with a 6-2 win, but are still 4.5 games out of the division lead. The Pirates are 2...