Randy Wells (3-3, 4.79 ERA) vs. Ross Ohlendorf (0-3, 5.11 ERA)
Wells threw 16 pitches to six batters in the first inning of his last start on Friday against the Cardinals and was pulled before he retired anyone. All six Redbirds got hits. It was an “embarrassing” outing, Wells said. He was assigned to the bullpen on Saturday as a backup. So far, he’s 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA at home and 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA on the road. He faced the Pirates on May 6, and was roughed up, giving up seven runs (six earned) on five hits in two innings. Pittsburgh scored five runs in the first.
Since Ohlendorf has been back from the disabled list at the beginning of May, he’s had mixed results. He’s coming off a solid performance Wednesday vs. Cincinnati when he allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings but took the loss, and against Chicago on May 16, he pitched six innings and gave up four hits and two runs. But he’s also had a couple of rough outings as well. Ohlendorf hasn’t won a decision this calendar year (0-3 in the regular season and 0-3 in Spring Training), so he’ll look for a change of pace vs. the Cubs.
Strength – Owns the ideal pitchers’ frame. Can throw an array of pitches but his best is his nasty sinker. Can be used as both a starter and reliever.
Weakness – When his sinker doesn’t sink, batters tend to tee off on him. Therefore, he must keep the ball down and limit his long balls against.
Ted Lilly (1-4, 3.63 ERA) vs. Jeff Karsens (1-1, 4.78 ERA)
Lilly threw seven shutout innings in his last start against the Dodgers, giving up three hits and striking out five. But he did not get a decision as the lefty exited when the game was tied. The Dodgers felt Lilly tried to get an edge by positioning himself in front of the rubber a little bit and even asked the first-base umpire about it. But no fine was levied and there was no penalty. Expect the umpires — and the Pirates — to watch Lilly’s footwork very closely in this game.
Karstens is expected to take Charlie Morton’s start against the Cubs on Tuesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Strength – Is versatile enough to start or relieve as necessary. Has proven capable of pitching effectively in the rotation in the minors.
Weakness – Is far too hittable at the major-league level and also lacks the ability to strike batters out with consistency.
Carlos Zambrano (1-6, 6.12 ERA) vs. Zach Duke (3-5, 5.09 ERA)
This will be Zambrano’s first start since April 20. The right-hander moved to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for Ted Lilly and also to give the team a potent setup pitcher. He was effective until May 14 against the Pirates, when he gave up three runs on four hits over one inning. Zambrano then said he wasn’t comfortable in the role and wanted to go back to the rotation. Since that game against the Pirates, he has given up one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Big Z tuned up with a 73-pitch simulated game last Monday. In four starts, Zambrano was 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA. He’s made 13 relief outings, including Saturday, when he needed just two pitches to get a double play and end the eighth against the Cardinals.
Duke has lost five of his past six decisions after winning his first two, with the Pirates giving him little run support. He allowed just one earned run in his previous two starts, getting a win and a no-decision, before allowing 12 hits and seven runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss Friday in Atlanta. Although Duke is 1-2 at home, he has a 3.57 ERA in his six starts at PNC Park this year, and he is the all-time wins leader there with a 27-26 record. Duke will be facing the Cubs for the first time this season. He has allowed 85 hits in 63 2/3 innings, including seven homers, while striking out 40 and walking 23.