Truer words were never spoken than this analysis before yesterday’s game from skipper Clint Hurdle, when asked how to beat the Phillies: “You’ve got to pitch well. Change speeds. Pitch to the bottom of the zone, go up top when you want to. They know they can be pitched to. There’s been discussion about the spurts that a lot of the major offenses in the game have gone through. Boston’s gone through one. These guys just went through one. Sometimes, hitters amp themselves up and get outside their comfort zones. You’ve got to be aggressive. You can’t try to pitch away from the barrel. You’ve got to pitch to the strike zone and change speeds.”
That’s exactly what Jeff Karstens did last night. The righty was brilliant; without his effort, there’s no way the Pirates are in position to pull out that 12-inning win.
Karstens gave up one run in seven innings and lowered the Pirates’ staff ERA to 3.65, which ranks fifth-best in the NL. Over the past 15 games, Pirates starters are 7-3 with a 2.10 ERA.
»»» Know thy enemy? Here is a link to a pretty good and somewhat flattering (albeit brief) take on what to do in Pittsburgh, as judged by a Philadelphian. I was dahn the Strip this morning, shopping with my family, and the place was crawlin’ with Phillies fans. Many thanks to our brethren from across the Commonwealth for pumping up the local economy.
»»» The Phillies are 12-21 at PNC Park — a .364 winning percentage that is the Phils’ lowest at any of current NL venue. The Phils have won just two of 10 series here (in 2001 and 2008) and has never swept a set on the North Shore. Of the 33 Phils-Bucs games at PNC, 21 were decided by three or fewer runs.
Lineups for tonight’s game:
Phillies (34-23) – 1. Jimmy Rollins ss, 2. Placido Polanco 3b, 3. Chase Utley 2b, 4. Ryan Howard 1b, 5. Shane Victorino cf, 6. Raul Ibanez lf, 7. Domonic Brown rf, 8. Dane Sardinha c, 9. Kyle Kendrick (3-3, 3.18)
Pirates (27-29) – 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Xavier Paul rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Chris Snyder c, 7. Brandon Wood 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Charlie Morton rhp (5-2, 2.51)