Athletes are always admired for their toughness and playing through injuries but there reaches a point where a player playing hurt becomes a detriment to the team and that was the case last night with Jeff Karstens who after facing just six batters was pulled out of the game after being hit hard for four runs in just one/third of an inning in the Pirates 9-3 loss to the Brewers. Karstens allowed 5 hits and 4 earned runs on just 20 pitches.
Karstens last week tweaked his hip in a start and clearly wasn’t healthy enough to pitch last night and although Clint Hurdle said afterwards he believed Karstens was healthy enough to pitch, Hurdle’s face said it all when he pulled Karstens in the first inning.
“If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have started him,” Hurdle said via Tribune-Review. “Our training staff did its testing, he threw a bullpen, he got ready and made his pitches.”
“If I would’ve known this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have taken the ball today,” Karstens said. “I’ve got to know myself better than that. I know how important these games are. It’s disappointing to feel like I let the team down.”
— Andrew McCutchen’s day off for a start of a series was immediately met with criticism yesterday when the Pirates released their lineup in the afternoon. Hurdle sought a 48-hour break for McCutchen. “He’s been laying it all out there every night, and it seemed like a good time to piggyback with an off day to give him a 48-hour rest, ” Hurdle said. McCutchen hit .252 with two home runs in August but is hitting .500 with 4 home runs and 9 RBI’s in six games at Milwaukee this season…… – There’s been no confirmation yet that McCutchen was late for a mandated 6:00 a.m laser tag team function on Thursday’s off-day which prompted McCutchen being ordered to sit from Bob Nutting…..
— The Pirates made five more roster moves today, recalling pitchers Jeff Locke and Justin Wilson and catcher Eric Fryer from Triple-A Indianapolis. The team also selected pitcher Chris Leroux and infielder Brock Holt from Indianapolis. The Pirates 40 man roster is now full. On Friday the Pirates added Kyle McPherson and Alex Presley to their active roster making those two eligible for their playoff roster.
— Neil Walker is regarded as a longshot to play in the final two games of the series. He missed his fourth straight game on Friday.
— With the Cardinals stumbling a bit, a Brewers sweep over the Pirates this weekend could get them into the wildcard discussion with a month to go. They are 7.5 games behind the Cards but this team has the hitting ability where they could go on a run if the bullpen can hold up.
— The Pirates (70-61) went 11-17 in the month of August to drop 10 games back of the NL Central leading Reds after being three games out on August 1st. Pitsburgh is just a half game back of St. Louis for the second wildcard spot.
— Tonight’s matchup features A.J. Burnett (15-5, 3.67 ERA) vs. Brewers Marco Estrada (2-5, 4.02 ERA). Burnett has a 6.29 ERA in his last four starts.
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