Jeff Karstens gets second gem for Pirates

KP WeeSenior Writer IAugust 6, 2008

Jeff Karstens. Remember that name.

Last week, the New York Daily News had reported a quote from Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski saying he was stunned the Pirates "traded two of [their] best players for guys [he'd] never heard of. How could [the Pirates] do this?"

The two players in question were outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte, who were shipped from Pittsburgh to the Yankees for outfielder Jose Tabata and pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, and Karstens.

Well, Karstens has started two games for the Pirates, and has not allowed a single run.

In his Pirates debut on Aug. 1, Karstens pitched five-hit ball for six innings, as Pittsburgh upset the first-place Chicago Cubs 3-0.

Then on Wednesday, Karstens took a perfect game into the eighth inning and settled for a two-hit shutout, as the Pirates defeated Randy Johnson and the NL West first-place Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0.

Both starts came on the road, at Wrigley Field in Chicago and Chase Field in Phoenix.

Karstens even collected his first two big-league hits off Johnson on Wednesday. It was only the 25-year-old's 11th start and 17th ML appearance.

Yes, I know it's a different league, and for a team going nowhere. But, still, you can't deny two great outings against two first-place teams.

For the Yankees, who need starting pitching especially now thanks to concerns with Joba Chamberlain, and of course, Chien Ming Wang's injury, this must be a big slap in the face.

For all we know, if Karstens had started for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, he may well have struggled (he had an 11.05 ERA last year for the pin-stripers). But hey, if he'd pitched this well for the Yankees, that would mean two games in the standings for New York.

It's too early to tell, but no doubt there will be a few Yankees fans wondering about this Karstens kid.

But maybe Bill Mazeroski may be wrong in his assessment?