Pirates fall to Reds 3-1
W: J. Cueto (6-3)
L: J. Karstens (8-5)
S: F. Cordero (19)
— The Pirates (51-45) failed to sweep the Cincinnati Reds (48-50), losing to the Reds 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.
The Pirates managed just five hits in the game as Johnny Cueto (6-3, 1.98 ERA) threw six strong innings, allowing 4 hits and 1 earned run.
Jeff Karstens (8-5, 2.28 ERA) pitched effectively, allowing 7 hits and 3 runs ( 1ER) in seven innings pitched. Karstens lowered his ERA to 2.28 following today’s start.
Karstens threw 58 strikes on 77 pitches but had bad defense behind him, most notably from shortstop Chase d’Arnaud who had two errors in the game, which gives him seven for the season.
Today figured to be the last game for d’Arnaud as the Pirates starting shortstop with Ronny Cedeno expected to return to the starting lineup on Friday.
While d’Arnaud has shown some flashes, he’s also batting just .225 with a .250 on base percentage.
The Pirates offensively missed a lot of opportunities and failed to move runners in key situations.
Andrew McCutchen drove in the Pirates only run, a double to deep center in the 4th, scoring Neil Walker.
Neil Walker’s hitting streak ends at 14.
Pirates inquire about Wandy Rodriguez?
— The Pirates have looked into Astros right fielder Hunter Pence and at least according to Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review, the Pirates have also checked in on Astros left handed starter Wandy Rodriguez.
New Astros owner Jim Crane has reportedly told Astros executives to shed $60 million in salary with Rodriguez a top target to move in a salary dump.
Rodriguez who is 32 has a big financial committment, owed $36 million over the next three seasons. Rodriguez is owed $10 million in 2012, $13 million in 2013 and has a $13 million vesting option with $2.5 million buyout in 2014.
Rodriguez is 6-6 this season with a 3.67 ERA and has great strikeout ability, although his strikeout numbers are down this season.
Rodriguez is risky due to his age and salary, but making a move for him would be a big a sign from Pirates ownership that they are serious about building a contender in 2012.
Setback for Tabata
— Left fielder Jose Tabata has had another setback, leaving today’s rehab game with tightness in his strained quad. Tabata just returned to playing rehab games yesterday after suffering a setback last week.
It’s going to be at least a few more weeks.