• Pirates Ace Jeff Karstens Leads Pittsburgh To 1st Place On July 15th

    Posted by on July 16th, 2011 · Comments (16)

    Via the AP -

    Jeff Karstens shut down the Houston Astros and pitched the Pittsburgh Pirates into a tie for first place in the NL Central.

    Karstens threw a five-hitter and Andrew McCutchen tripled and drove in two runs as the surging Pirates opened the second half of the season with a 4-0 victory over the Astros on Friday night.

    With the win, the Pirates moved into a tie for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals, marking the latest in a season the team has been in first place since 1997.

    Karstens (8-4) needed just 83 pitches to become the first Pirate to win five straight decisions in a season since Matt Capps in 2006. He has an ERA of 2.34 this year, but has been particularly dominant in his three starts against Houston, going 3-0 with an 0.41 ERA.

    “I had an idea it was kind of low, but I didn’t know how low it was,” Karstens said of his pitch count. “It’s just one of those things where I’m just trying to go out there and be efficient and see where it takes me at the end of the night.”

    It was the fewest pitches thrown in a complete game this season and just the sixth time since 2002 that a pitcher has thrown a complete game with 83 pitches or less, according to statistics provided by the Pirates from the Elias Sports Bureau.

    It was the second career complete game and shutout for Karstens, who last did it in 2008, at Arizona.

    “It’s one of the best pitched games I’ve seen,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “You take into account the pitches thrown, 21 out of 30 first-pitch strikes, and then you get the leadoff hitter six out of nine innings … defense helped him out a couple times, but that was a masterful outing. You talk about throwing strikes, pounding down in the zone, changing speeds, he had it all working tonight.”

    McCutchen raved about Karstens.

    “He was real efficient and got an easy win, pretty much,” he said. “He made it look easy, anyway.”

    “Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Tabata for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady” is starting to make “Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate for Javier Vazquez” and “Mike Lowell for Mark Johnson, Ed Yarnall, and Todd Noel” look good.

    Then again, you could probably say that about “Tyler Clippard for Jonathan Albaladejo” too.

    Comments on Pirates Ace Jeff Karstens Leads Pittsburgh To 1st Place On July 15th

    1. butchie22
      July 16th, 2011 | 9:11 am

      Steve, those eren’t very good trades to be truthful. Then again, I don’t think that someone like Karstens could have worked on The Yankees. Then again those who still think that Junior Varsity Vasquez could still work here could possibly make a cas for Jeff”The Teenager” Karstens!;)

    2. Raf
      July 16th, 2011 | 9:27 am

      Seems like a mutually beneficial trade to me; Yanks had better options than Kartsens, McCutchen & Ohlendorf, and there were worries about Tabata. And they needed Nady to fill in @ 1B the OF & DH (Posada & Matsui & Damon were injured, IIRC).

      Yanks don’t miss any of the players mentioned above nor in the entry.

    3. Raf
      July 16th, 2011 | 9:33 am

      butchie22 wrote:

      Then again, I don’t think that someone like Karstens could have worked on The Yankees.

      Kartsens was doing ok until he got hurt. But he was passed on the organizational depth chart and thus became expendable. Didn’t help that he profiled to be a mid-back end starter.

    4. butchie22
      July 16th, 2011 | 10:42 am

      @ Raf:
      Karstens was fine but a team with playoff expectations like this one and such a big payroll, The Yankee organization can’t/couldn’t afford to keep a middling pitcher on its staff. Then again AJ Burnout is still on this bloody squad,mate explain that as well!:)

    5. Raf
      July 16th, 2011 | 11:34 am

      @ butchie22:
      It can be explained looking @ their WAR totals (2009-11)

      Karstens: .1, .4, .4
      Burnett: 3.4, 1.3, .9

      :D

    6. butchie22
      July 16th, 2011 | 12:29 pm

      Burnout is inconsistent though. I eremember watching Bluebird games where he looked like CY Young against The Red $ox and The Yankee$ and was exceedlingly average against the rest of the league. I wish that Bill James could qualify/quantify AJ’s shitiness. Better yet a Jays fan called it that inconsistency, Good AJ vs Bad AJ. Much like Jekyll and Hyde you never knew which one would surface under any given time.

    7. LMJ229
      July 16th, 2011 | 12:33 pm

      Although we do it all the time, it’s not really fair to evaluate trades in hindsight. At the time the Karstens trade was made, most “experts” felt it was a steal for the Yankees and would fortify their team for as WS title run. In hindsight though, the trade looks awful for the Yanks. But let’s not overlook the fact that Karstens had three very mediocre years with the Pirates before he has blossomed this year into a top-line starter.

    8. LMJ229
      July 16th, 2011 | 12:56 pm

      The Yankees generally don’t give their young guys a shot to become starters because it takes alot of patience. Happens only once every few years that a guy gets a shot and sticks in the rotation. This year, they gave Nova a shot (hopefully he sticks but we’ll see). Hughes broke in in 2007 and stuck. Wang broke in in 2005. Before that you might have to go all the way back to Pettitte in 1995.

      I’m not talking about the Joba Chamberlain/Ted Lilly types that were given a brief shot and then traded or banished to the bullpen. I’m talking about guys that were given a legitimate shot (2-3 years) to actually stick. It’s just not the Yankees MO because it requires patience.

      By the way, Lilly was pitching to a 3.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 11 starts when they traded him to Oakland. He’s a guy that should have stuck so it just goes to show you that you have to be really successful right out of the box for the Yanks or your days are numbered. Most young guys just can’t do that.

    9. LMJ229
      July 16th, 2011 | 1:13 pm

      @ butchie22:
      You got that right about Burnett, that guy drives me NUTS! Not only is he ridiculously inconsistent, but give him a lead and chances are he coughs it right back up the next inning. I can’t stand Burnett. I’m counting the days till his contract expires.

      BTW, I saw him pitch against the Yanks in Toronto and he made us look silly. Haven’t seen that from him since. And in the post-season he gets even worse with a 1-2 record and 5.67 ERA.

    10. Evan3457
      July 16th, 2011 | 7:45 pm

      “Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Tabata for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady” is starting to make “Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate for Javier Vazquez” and “Mike Lowell for Mark Johnson, Ed Yarnall, and Todd Noel” look good.

      Oh, for spit’s sake, cut the crap.

      Marte was instrumental in them winning it all in the 2009 post-season.

      Karstens, McCutchen, and Ohlendorf don’t amount to a half-bucket of spit; they’re a total of 0.4 WAR for the season going into today, and 3.1 WAR TOTAL from 2008-2011. Tabata’s 3.3 WAR so far, and 1.2 so far this season. Let me know when they get to the post-season, or win a ring.

    11. Evan3457
      July 16th, 2011 | 7:46 pm

      The Lowell deal was far, far worse for the Yanks, and not dealing him would’ve meant dumping UberClutchMan Scot Brosius

    12. LMJ229
      July 16th, 2011 | 10:01 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Marte was instrumental in them winning it all in the 2009 post-season.

      Well, that really was his one and only saving grace on his now 3.5 year tenure with the team.

    13. Raf
      July 16th, 2011 | 11:40 pm

      butchie22 wrote:

      Burnout is inconsistent though.

      Yes he is, and has been throughout his career. At this stage of the game, he is what he is.

      But despite the inconsistency, he’s still better than Karstens.

      I wish that Bill James could qualify/quantify AJ’s shitiness.

      If anything, it would show up in the splits.

    14. Raf
      July 16th, 2011 | 11:42 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      By the way, Lilly was pitching to a 3.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 11 starts when they traded him to Oakland. He’s a guy that should have stuck so it just goes to show you that you have to be really successful right out of the box for the Yanks or your days are numbered. Most young guys just can’t do that.

      Lilly was talented, Cashman figured that Weaver was more talented. That was another trade that everyone thought to be a steal for the Yanks when it was made.

    15. Greg H.
      July 17th, 2011 | 12:07 pm

      “Pirates Ace Jeff Karstens shuts down Astros” should be enough to qualify this.

      I’m happy for Jeff Karstens, and I don’t mean to belittle his accomplishments, but really, put it in perspective. As LMJ229 puts it, three middling years with the Pirates, rising to become the ace of a .500 team (at best) and shutting down the crappiest team in a crappy division does not a successful Yankee starter make.

      How would he project (even now) in the AL East facing the Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays all the time?

    16. Greg H.
      July 17th, 2011 | 12:07 pm

      @ butchie22:
      Welcome back butchie

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