How Did Jeff Karstens Get Ignored?


Remember earlier in the year when Jeff Karstens threw six shutout innings against the Cardinals?  Sure you do.  Because after he and the relief corps shut down the Cards, he earned himself a trip to the bullpen.  Karstens and four relievers combined on a four hitter in a 2-0 Pirates victory.

Karstens isn’t rattled by stupid moves made by this ballclub.

Remember when Karstens pitched against Stephen Strasburg at Strasmas?  He pitched well.  Nobody noticed he ran out of gas until it was too late.

Sorta like Bradenton.  Remember Karstens in spring training?  Nobody

noticed him then either.  The right hander was entirely ignored.    He pitched well, but just wasn’t given any shot by the Bucs and was sent to AAA.  I recall Neal Huntington even mentioning how well Karstens was pitching at the time to Greg Brown on his radio show.  But it seemed the club was too enamored with Kevin Hart losing the fifth starters job to notice a player that wanted to win the job.

Sure it’s easy to second guess.  Let’s face it, the right hander isn’t very exciting, but he gets the job done.  He has improved.   Did you see that breaking ball last night?  During some key games this season Karstens has pitched well. 

Last night at Wrigley Field, he couldn’t solve Alfsono Soriano.  The Cubs left fielder hit two home runs and the Pirates could only manage a bomb by Doumit.  The Cubs snapped the Bucs back to reality and took the victory 3-1. The video recap is here.

But the fact is, Karstens deserved better.

All along.

Look at some of Karstens starts this season at the bottom of this post courtesy of Yahoo Sports.  The great starts against the Cards and the Tigers.  The relief appearance against the Braves when he allowed just one earned run.  He pitched well enough against the Cubs in both of his starts this year to certainly give the Bucs a chance to win.  Against the Brew Crew, he allowed just two runs while pitching 7.1 innings.

Hell, Karstens  has four earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this year.  Only the Dodgers have lit him up in a starting role, the Reds when he came in as a reliever.

Looking at the work of the Pirates pitching staff this season, Jeff Karstens has been the underdog we have been cheering for all year. It’s a shame it took so long for anyone on the Pirates coaching staff or even the front office executives and evaluators to notice the guy is a gamer.

Karstens has given the ball club a chance to win in eight of his nine starts.  It’s a shame that the Pirates offense is so futile it hasn’t bothered to notice either.