May 9: Pirates (12-17) @ Mets (15-13)

Nothing much to report in terms of pregame news, though that gives me a few minutes to step back and revisit something from Friday’s game that I wasn’t able to go into in-depth last night. Overshadowed by the way Friday night’s game ended was the start from Jeff Karstens, who admitted afterward to feeling like his spot in the rotation was not going to be guaranteed if he didn’t have a decent performance.

Between his last start and Friday’s, Karstens threw three bullpen sessions. Usually, a pitcher throws one in between starts. He and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan did some minor mechanical tweaking (mostly in making sure Karstens is more aligned toward the plate to keep all his momentum there).

“When I play catch I’m so free,” Karstens said. “But when I get on the mound, I tense up and try to create. And usually when you do that you create less. I was just trying to stay within myself.”

That adjustment helped him throw more first-strike pitches — 19 of 24 to be exact.

But the biggest change was in Karsten’s preparation and use of his time each day before the start. That, he insisted, made most of the difference.

“I knew if it didn’t happen, I probably wasn’t going to be here,” he said. “After that last start, it was more of a reality check. I went home, looked myself in the face. I felt like there was more I could do to prepare myself.”

He’s partially right, in that he hadn’t done enough recently to completely solidify his spot. However, with most of the starters scuffling in Triple-A, the Pirates really didn’t have any other legitimate replacements at the time.

His next start is Thursday.

As for today…. if there is any good news, it’s that the Pirates are 4-0 on Saturday’s this season. They’ve scored 38 runs in those four games. Continuing that Saturday trend would be a huge relief for this scuffling offense, which, as manager John Russell said on Friday, could really use a breakout game where everything and everyone clicks.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (SS)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Mets lineup:

  1. Jose Reyes (SS)
  2. Luis Castillo (2B)
  3. Carlos Beltran  (CF)
  4. Carlos Delgado (1B)
  5. David Wright (3B)
  6. Gary Sheffield (LF)
  7. Fernando Tatis (RF)
  8. Ramon Castro (C)
  9. John Maine (RHP)

 

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