Right-hander Jeff Karstens will make his 26th start of the season Monday. Karstens is having a solid year, going 9-8 with a 3.45 ERA, but he has lost four of his last five decision dating back to July 20. Karstens has been excellent against Arizona throughout his career, however. He is 1-0 with a 2.01 ERA in six games (two starts) vs. the D-backs and has not allowed a run in two career starts against Arizona. He pitched seven scoreless frames on June 9 but received a no-decision as the Pirates eventually lost, 2-0. His lone win came on Aug. 6, 2008, when he took a perfect game into the eighth inning of a 2-0 victory. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington met with reporters at Dodger Stadium and discussed a number of key issues regarding the Pirates this offseason. Among those was the status of Ross Ohlendorf, who will be arbitration-eligible for the second straight season. Huntington said outings like he had Thursday are encouraging in terms of whether the club will tender him a contract. D-backs: Hill, McDonald acclimating well
Newcomers Aaron Hill and John McDonald, acquired via a trade with the Blue Jays on Aug. 23, are drawing rave reviews for fitting in so well with their new club. Hill went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run Sunday, and McDonald went 2-for-4. D-backs hitting coach Don Baylor praised them for their seamless transition -- something he dealt with after getting dealt to the first-place Twins in 1987. "You want to not disrupt anything," Baylor said. "The Twins were a game and a half up when I got there. My thing to [manager] Tom Kelly was, 'I want to keep you there or higher.'" Utility man Willie Bloomquist also expressed his admiration for McDonald, even though the shortstop has significantly cut into Bloomquist's playing time. "He's a man after my own heart -- always scrapping for playing time," Bloomquist said. Worth noting
The D-backs will play their final nine games at home -- three contests each against the Pirates, Giants and Dodgers. The Pirates are 17-30 all-time in Arizona, going 1-2 last year and a 4-12 record since 2006. Their last winning series at Chase Field came when they took three of four from May 5-8, 2005.