Karstens Embracing Getting the Ball on Game Two of the Season

After the Pirates 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, media surrounded the Bucs next starter to take the mound on game two of the 2012 season. Right-hander Jeff Karstens has came a long way over the last few seasons.

The 2011 season was the first year with the Pirates that Karstens spent the majority as a starter in the Majors. After pitching in relief to start the 2011 season from the ‘pen, Karstens was moved into the rotation after Ross Ohlendorf went on the disabled list in April. And from there, Karstens never looked back as he finished the season with a team-leading 3.38 ERA. He established career high’s in wins (9), starts (26), innings pitched (162.1) and strikeouts (96).

To get the nod for the second game of the season is pretty special.

“As a little kid, you dream for these things,” Karstens said. “A couple years ago I was in the bullpen. Now I’m starting against Cliff Lee in the second game of the season. I’m excited for it. I’ve worked really hard over this offseason. I’m just going to go out and embrace it. I’m not pitching against Cliff Lee, I’m pitching against the Phillies. That’s the way I look at it.”

“They’ve got experience. That goes a long way in this game. I’m just going to have to try and counter, play a little chess game with them and see where it takes us.”

Karstens will take the ball tonight at 7:05 in game two of the season. The right-hander’s last start came on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays in Grapefruit League action. Karsten’s pitched three scoreless frames before allowing a his lone run in the fourth.

 

Jose Tabata 9
Alex Presley 7
Andrew McCutchen 8
Casey McGehee 5
Matt Hague 3
Neil Walker 4
Rod Barajas 2
Clint Barmes 6
Jeff Karstens 1
  • Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle shuffled the lineup tonight with a lefty on the mound. Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez will set in order to add more right-handed bats into the lineup.  Jose Tabata and Alex Presley switched in the lineup for tonight’s game as well. Presley hit leadoff on Opening Day on Thursday.

“Just a different look,” Hurdle said. “Both of them have leadoff for us. Both of them have done well. We looked at this a few times during spring training, we’ll see tonight against [Cliff] Lee. If there’s an extra at-bat to have, I wanted Tabby to have it. We’ll see how the game plans out. I think it’s something we have the opportunity to do more of if we need to, if it works, if it feels good.”

  • Neil Walker is batting sixth in the lineup tonight. He hit in that spot just two times last year. Hurdle moved him down in the order to give Hague and McGhee more at-bats against the lefty starter.
“I think right now we’ve got some guys that have had a little more success against left-handed pitching then Neil has,” Hurdle prior to the game. “He’s really trying to improve upon, working hard to get better at that. So we’re going to add some guys that I think that can step up in front of him. He’s worked hard. I think he’s in a better place this year, then he was last year. We’ll see how that plays out now. He’s had some good at-bats this spring from the right side. A lot of hard work was put in. I kind of like the way that Hague and McGhee have been swinging the bat. “
  • Phillies lineup vs. Pirates:
  • Shane Victorino 8, Placido Polanco 5, Jimmy Rollins 6, Hunter Pence 9, Laynce Nix 3, John Mayberry 7, Carlos Ruiz 2, Freddy Glavis 4, Cliff Lee 1

 

 

 

 

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