According to Dejan Kovacevic, Kevin Hart will be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starter on Saturday against the Houston Astros. DK mentions that Chris Jakubauskas will be called up tonight to help out the bullpen, which we heard as a possibility from Jennifer Langosch yesterday. This means that Indianapolis will have to look for a new starter tonight, as Hart was scheduled to make his regularly scheduled start.
Hart has only made three appearances this season at the AAA level, with an unusual workload. In those appearances he has a 4.35 ERA in 10.1 innings. Hart’s debut was cut short when he was ejected for throwing behind Carlos Santana, an inning after Brian Friday was hit by a pitch. Hart wasn’t looking too good in that outing, control wise. Hart only went three innings, allowing two runs on two hits, with three walks, two strikeouts, and a home run.
Hart was suspended for three games, but came on in relief for Brad Lincoln in his second appearance, pitching three shutout innings. The appearance came a day before Hart was scheduled to start his suspension. Hart walked just one and struck out three batters.
In his most recent start, Hart looked much improved. He went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, with two walks and six strikeouts. However, most of the damage came in the fifth inning, and might have been due to Hart’s workload. Hart was pitching on four days rest, following his three inning outing in his second appearance.
On the season, opposing hitters are batting for a .162 average against Hart. Since his first game, Hart has a 9:3 K/BB ratio in 7.1 innings, with no homers allowed. The Pirates need that type of performance from Hart, considering the pitching woes lately. I’m only speculating here, but if Hart does well, there’s a good chance that he could replace Daniel McCutchen as the fifth starter once Ross Ohlendorf returns from the disabled list next week.