A trip to Philadelphia usually doesn't turn out well for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but this could be a different year.
This is definitely a different Phillies club in 2012.
The Pirates plan to give Jeff Karstens his first start in two months Monday night as they begin a four-game series against the last-place Phillies.
Pittsburgh (38-33) has dropped 18 of 23 at Citizens Bank Park since it opened eight years ago, and the club hasn't won a series in Philadelphia since taking two of three at Veterans Stadium from April 4-6, 2003.
However, the Pirates begin their seven-game trip with plenty of momentum after winning six of eight to move within one game of NL Central-leading Cincinnati. Pittsburgh is hitting like a first-place team, averaging 5.6 runs in those eight games.
Despite going 0 for 4 in a loss to Justin Verlander and the Tigers on Sunday, Andrew McCutchen is batting .469 (15 for 32) with two homers and eight RBIs during that stretch, while Pedro Alvarez is hitting .462 (12 ...