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The Pittsburgh Pirates gave up Xavier ”the X man” Nady, but they might have acquired their new ace. Jeff Karsten, a 24 year old 6′3″ right hander, was one of the four players the Pirates received from the Yankees in return for Nady and Damaso Marte. Karstens was 6-4 with a 3.80 ERA at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season before the trade, and has put together two solid starts in the majors. The Pirate’s rotation owns the worst ERA in the NL, but that might not be the case if Karsten can pitch half as well for the remainder of the season.
In his first start, Karsten pitched 6 scoreless innings and earned a W against the threatening Cubs. A couple hours ago I was sitting on the train, listening to my dad nervously inform me that this no name pitcher was flirting with a perfect game….against the Diamondback's Randy Johnson. The Pirates are terrible, Randy Johnson is intimidating to say the least, and this kid is churning out perfect inning after perfect inning. Four outs away from greatness, Chris Young stole Karsten’s lunch and hit a double. Jeff Karsten ended up allowing one more hit in the game, but finished the day with a complete game shut out. Not too shabby if you ask me.
“We knew what he was capable of doing,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “We had very good reports on him. The biggest thing is he throws strikes. That’s a great asset for any pitcher.” The Pirates have to make a smart move every once in a while, but I don’t think they expected Karsten to throw 15 straight shutout innings against a couple first place teams. Pick Karsten up in all fantasy baseball formats, because you just don’t know what he can do as long as he keeps throwing strikes. I doubt he will get this close to a perfect game again, but this young gun looks like he will have a nice time in Pittsburgh.