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Final: Pirates 5, Astros 1
WP: Jeff Karstens (7-4)
LP: Wandy Rodriguez (6-5)
Seriously, what can be said about Jeff Karstens? I say that after every single start. The guy has literally been on a season long hot streak. He pitched 7+ innings today and gave up just 1 run, and that was on a solo homer. Can’t ask for any more than that.
Brandon Wood put the Bucs ahead early on with a 2-run homer to right center field in the 2nd inning, his 4th of the season. He would also add an RBI single in the 4th inning to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
2 more Pirate runs would cross the plate in the 6th inning when the Pirates loaded the bases up with no one out. Michael McKenry would hit an RBI sac fly to right field, and Jeff Karstens would execute a perfect squeeze play to finish the scoring for the Bucs.
Matt Diaz was 3 for 4 with an (OH MY GOD) extra base hit! Neil Walker and Lyle Overbay would also each add 2 hits a piece to go along with Wood’s to knocks.
Jose Veras and Chris Resop each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to close things out. The win moved the Pirates into a tie with the Brewers for 2nd place in the NL Central and are 1.5 games out of 1st place. Charlie Morton looks to complete the sweep tomorrow against the Astros and Bud Norris.
Mel Rojas, Jr. was the Pirates’ 2nd round selection in the 2010 draft, and as I tweeted during the game I saw of him, it is very easy to tell that he is the most talented of all the Power position players. He is a 5-tool guy who obviously has a lot of development to do, but you can definitely see those tools in these videos.
Rojas had an excellent night at the plate going 3 for 4 with a single in his first at-bat, a double in his 2nd at-bat, a strikeout in his 3rd at-bat, and a triple in his 4th at-bat. Check them out:
Rojas was definitely drafted as a project and looks like he could be slow to develop. But as I mentioned before, it is easy to tell he has the talent, it is just a matter of him putting it all together.
Drew Maggi was the Pirates’ 15th round pick in the 2010 draft out of Arizona State as a draft-eligible sophomore. He signed for an above-slot $468,000 bonus. This is his first full year of pro ball and he got off to a horrendous start, however he is starting to heat up thanks to a June that saw him put up a .933 OPS.
He was in the starting lineup batting lead off in the game I saw and finished 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. He struck out in his first 2 AB, grounded out to 2nd in his 3rd AB, and singled to right center field in his 4th at-bat. Here are those at-bats for you:
Due to the lack of middle infield prospects the Pirates possess, it would be nice if Maggi could develop into a solid prospect. His defense definitely needs some work as he made his 17th error of the season this year, that allowed the game winning run to score.
Victor Black was chosen by the Pirates 49th overall in the 2009 draft in the supplemental portion of the 1st round. He had some injury issues last season that limited him to just 2 outings in 2010. Black is projected to be a late inning reliever due to his stuff. He pitched the 7th inning on July 4th and I have every at bat from that outing.
Black has put up very good numbers this season, but he was kind of knocked around a bit in the inning I saw from him. He started off good with a groundout back to the mound. But then he gave up a single, then a stolen base (which the runner ended up getting to 3rd due to a throwing error), then another single, and then threw a wild pitch. He would then get a second out with a fly out to center field and would finally get out of the inning when the next batter singled to left field, but Rogelios Noris would gun the runner from 2nd trying to score at home. Here’s every at-bat:
I’m not sure if Black is still being affected by his arm issues from last year, but his velocity was no where near where I expected it to be from scouting reports. His fastball sat 88-89 all inning. He threw low to mid-90′s when he was drafted back in 2009.