Morning Pirates Buzz
— The Pirates (33-33) are back at .500 behind a dynamite effort from Jeff Karstens (4-4, 2.66 ERA) who combined with five Pirates relievers to pitch a 1-0 shutout and limit the Houston Astros to just 4 hits.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 10 pitchers used in the game is only the third nine-inning 1-0 game in major league history in which 10 pitchers were used.
— The Pirates pitching staff and closer Joel Hanrahan (18 saves, 1.42 ERA) have been the talk of baseball and have been pivotal to the team remaining competitive at the 66 game mark as the team ranks 25th in baseball in runs.
The Pirates team ERA of 3.48, ranks 7th in the Majors. Four of their five starters have an ERA under 4.00 and three of them have an ERA under 3.15, while is very impressive after nearly 10 weeks of the season.
— The Pirates luckily received some fortunate bounces on the injury front early in the season. If it wasn’t for Scott Olsen (projected No. 5 starter) coming to spring training out of shape and being the knucklehead everyone around baseball knew him to be, Charlie Morton emerging as one of the ace’s of the staff may never have happened as Morton would could have been destined for Triple-A Indianapolis to start the season.
The Ross Ohlendorf injury has also worked out for the better as Jeff Karstens has emerged as one of baseballs best No. 5 starters in 2011.
Karstens who has pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings in his last 2 starts, has given up just three runs in his last three starts (23 2/3 innings) and has allowed 2 runs or less in his last seven starts.

— There’s been much talk of which Pirates have the best All-Star credentials at this point. While Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton have flashed some All-Star credentials, the two obvious choices right now are Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan.
Neil Walker was previously in the mix but he’s played himself out of the discussion for now.
— Andrew McCutchen’s (.292 – 10 HR – 37 RBI) numbers in the month of June:
.500 Avg – 1 HR – 10 RBI – 21 H – 9 R – 5 BB – 6 SO – 1 SB – .551 OBP – .690 SLG – 1.241 OPS