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Plenty of ups and downs

Thursday's afternoon game between the Pirates and Astros was called a "businessperson's special" but in reality it was torture.  It was a professional pitching at its lowest.  Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens made his first start of the season.  The only positive thing to say is that it can't get much worse.  The only reason why the Astros could get three runs off of Karstens is because Houston is a bad team.  Karstens threw 87 pitches in five innings — 40 of which were balls.  Houston pitcher Russ Ortiz wasn't much better.  He tossed 99 pitches and had only 54 called for strikes.  The relief pitching wasn't much better.
     Karstens' performance only shows how important it is for Paul Maholm and Zach Duke to have big years because the rest of the rotation is shaky.
     On the bright side, the Pirates got another quality start from Nyjer Morgan in the lead-off spot.  Jack Wilson continues to hit, and Adam La Roche thinks it's August.
     The only concern is that the offense remains inconsistent.  Seven runs one game, only a couple hits the next night.  In yesterday's game, the Bucs scored three runs in the first two innings then went to sleep — maybe it was the pitching that did it.
     After two weeks, the Bucs appear to have purchased the ride-all-day season pass on the MLB roller coaster.  So let's enjoy the ups, because the dips are downright dreadful.
By Jim Spezialetti