PITTSBURGH — Welcome to rainy Pittsburgh where, if the forecast holds, we may be saying that an awful lot this weekend as the Nationals look to rebound from dropping the final two games of their series in St. Louis with a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It’s going to be a busy weekend for the Nationals in the personnel department with a roster move expected today and perhaps two more with Ian Desmond set to take paternity leave at any minute and Todd Coffey expected to come off the disabled list.
But the most pressing matter for the Nationals this weekend is seeing if they can ignite their offense against two right-handers and a left-hander in Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia and Paul Maholm.
First up is Karstens who is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and is making the start for the injured Ross Ohlendorf. Karstens didn’t do much to instill confidence that he can fill in for Ohlendorf while the right-hander recovers from upper back soreness by allowing five earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings his last time out.
The Nationals will counter with Livan Hernandez who is off to a solid start to the 2011 season with a 2-1 record on the season and a 2.88 ERA. In his career, Hernandez is 5-5 with a 5.52 ERA in 16 starts. Inside PNC Park, he’s 1-4 with a 6.17 ERA.
Here are the Nationals’ career numbers against Karstens:
Danny Espinosa: Never faced
Rick Ankiel: Never faced
Jayson Werth: 0-for-2, 1 K
Adam LaRoche: Never faced
Wilson Ramos: Never faced
Michael Morse: Never faced
Ian Desmond: 0-for-2
Alex Cora: 1-for-2 (.500)
Livan Hernandez: Never faced
Ivan Rodriguez: 2-for-6 (.333), 1 2B, 1 BB, .429 OBP, .500 SLG
Jerry Hairston Jr.: 1-for-6 (.167)
Matt Stairs: 1-for-5 (.200), 1 BB, .333 OBP, 1 K
Laynce Nix: 1-for-3 (.333), 1 K