Commentary

If You're Hardcore: Back of Pirates rotation

Updated: August 8, 2008, 12:27 PM ET
By Will Harris | Special to ESPN.com

Paul Maholm, Ian Snell and Zach Duke have been mainstays on the Pirates' starting pitching staff this season, but the back end of the rotation has been a trouble spot. Efforts to fill the slots of the injured Phil Dumatrait and the demoted Tom Gorzelanny with Yoslan Herrera and John Van Benschoten have proven unsuccessful. Each made five starts this year, and each posted an ERA right around 10, with about the same number of walks as strikeouts. Consequently, the Pirates have shipped Herrera and Van Benschoten back to the minors, turning now to newcomer Jeff Karstens, acquired in a trade from the Yankees, and converted reliever Jason Davis. Can either become the elusive fantasy commodity that is a Pirates pitcher with actual value?

[+] EnlargeJeff Karstens
AP Photo/Matt YorkJeff Karstens has made a splash in his first two starts in Pittsburgh.

Karstens is off to a great start, blanking the Cubs for six innings in his first start, then retiring the first 23 batters he faced en route to a shutout of the Diamondbacks in his second turn.


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