All of a sudden it seems like the Pirates have decided that losing 100 games wouldn't be so good after all. The Bucs defeated the Cubs twice today on the strength of strong starting pitching from Charlie Morton in the afternoon and Jeff Karstens in the evening. Pat has a good account of Morton's start, which involved a complete-game shutout, four hits and eight strikeouts, and essentially it seems like Morton took a little more than usual off his fastball and thus got more of them over the plate. Morton finished the year very well, knocking almost an entire run off his ERA in his last three starts.
In Karstens' starts I'm always watching from between my fingers, hoping that all the long fly balls he gives up stay in the park. That's a pretty scary proposition in Wrigley, but tonight, at least, it worked. Donald Veal came on in relief of Karstens and walked two batters in a third of an inning. Fun fact: Did you know Veal has a 2.15 WHIP? 2.15!
Ryan Doumit, meanwhile, went nuts, with a single and two doubles, and a towering homer to right in his final at bat. His name wasn't quite Andy LaRoche territory, but it wasn't far off either.
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I just had an article about the Pirates' streak of seventeen straight losing seasons published at Failure Magazine. Yes, it's an e-zine about failure.