The Pirates were 11-7 on April 26 after taking two games in a three-game series with the Padres in San Diego. However, the Bucs have gone into a nosedive that has dropped them to 12-15. They were swept in a three-game series in Milwaukee, went 1-5 on a homestand against Cincinnati and the Brewers and then lost to the Cards.
"We've got to keep grinding," Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "We can't get down on ourselves. We're hitting a lot of balls hard but right at people. Things will turn around. We have to stay positive."
Unless the offense perks up the Bucs are careening toward a 17th consecutive losing season.
KARSTENS STRUGGLES: RHP Jeff Karstens' has an ugly strikeout/walk ratio through four starts and 20 innings this season. Nine strikeouts and 13 free passes.
CAPPS SIDELINED: RHP Matt Capps will miss at least one more game than originally expected because of a sore pitching elbow. Capps was supposed to be available for action Friday night when the Pirates open a three-game series with the Mets in New York but instead will throw in the bullpen before the game. If his throwing session goes well, he will be able to pitch Saturday for the first time since giving up four runs in one inning while taking the loss Monday night against Milwaukee.
DOUMIT REPORT: C Ryan Doumit had the stitches removed from his right wrist, which will enable him to begin working out again, although he won't be able to swing a bat or throw for at least two more weeks. Doumit broke his wrist April 19 while swinging at a pitch and underwent surgery four days later.
HANSEN STILL HAMPERED: RHP Craig Hansen, on the disabled list with neck spasms, stayed behind in Pittsburgh as the Pirates began their five-game road trip Wednesday. Hansen was examined by a specialist in an attempt to learn why he has been slow to recover from his injury.
WILSON REHAB: SS Jack Wilson (sprained left middle finger) went on the 15-day disabled list April 25. He is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Indianapolis on May 9.