Latest Pirates Buzz

Insider Only Pirates Notes: Winning in PHI, vs below .500 teams, Karstens

Coming off a 4-2 homestand, the 38-33 Pittsburgh Pirates sit one game out of first place in the National League Central behind the division leading Cincinnati Reds (39-32) and are currently tied for the top wildcard spot in the National League.


Pittsburgh hits the road for a seven game road trip that starts tonight in Philadelphia for a four game series. Winning in Philadelphia has been daunting task for the Pirates who have dropped 18 of 23 at Citizens Park, and haven’t won a series in Philadelphia since taking two of three from the Phillies in Philadelphia, all the way back to April 4-6, 2003.
The Pirates though have feasted on below .500 teams this season, going 20-9 against teams currently with records below .500 and winning 9 of 10 series thus far. The 34-40 Phillies currently sit in last place in the NL East, nine games out of first place and are 7-15 in their last 22 games.
The Pirates have become a very tough out at home, boasting a 23-13 record at PNC Park, tied for the second most wins in the National League at home. Pittsburgh though must improve their play on the road at somepoint if they want to push for first place. The Pirates are 15-20 on the road this season and no team currently in first place in the Majors has a below .500 record on the road.
Jeff Karstens (0-1, 4.50 ERA) makes his first Major League start in two months tonight. Karstens who last started on April 17th, was not expected to join the rotation until next week but the Pirates feel he is ready to go. “They saw what they saw {during Thursday’s bullpen session} and came to the idea that I would start Monday, ” Karstens said. “I’m happy about it, and will try to keep this team doing what they’ve been doing.”
Karstens faces the Phillies for the second time this season. In his season debut on April 7, Karstens allowed 5 hits and 1 run in six innings of work in the Pirates 2-1 win.
The Pirates have posted a 2.13 ERA in their last eight games and Karstens return to the rotation pushes the rotation back a day, while Brad Lincoln heads back to the bullpen: Erik Bedard (Tuesday vs PHI), James McDonald (Wednesday vs PHI)), A.J. Burnett (Thursday vs PHI) and Kevin Correia (Friday vs STL).
Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.04) takes the mound tonight for the Philles and right hander has been awful of late, posting a 7.44 ERA in his last seven starts. Blanton gave up three home runs in his last start and has given up at least one homer in each of his last eight outings.
The Pirates rank 29th in the Majors with 249 runs scored but the Pirates are hitting like a team that is starting to turn the corner. In their last eight games, Pittsburgh is averaging 5.6 runs and they have been led by the likes of Andrew McCutchen (.340 – 13 HR – 45 RBI) and Pedro Alvarez (.223 – 13 HR – 35 RBI) during the stretch as the two have combined for 18 RBIs. McCutchen went 0-4 on Sunday against the Tigers, but is still hitting .469 in his last eight games.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

Comments Disabled

Comments have been disabled for this post.