Saturday, July 16, 2011

Karstens' success puts Pirates in first place

Baseball has taken notice this morning as we wake up to the -- wait a second, give me a moment -- the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. The last time I got to say that statement you didn't have a cell phone or an email address. In 1992, Bill Clinton was president and the average price of gas was 95 cents.

Jeff Karstens was 10 years old. And I can't think of anyone who is more responsible for this feel-good season than Karstens. Before the 2011 season, he was removed from the 40-man roster and designated for assignment. Anyone could have him. Lots of teams, including the Houston Astros on Friday night, wih they had grabbed him.

Karstens tossed an economical 83 pitches in the Pirates' 4-0 win in Houston to kick off the second half of the season, allowing just five hits to put the Pirates percentage points ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. 

Karstens doesn't have much farther to climb to reach the top of the ERA and WHIP leaders in the National League, ranking third and second in those categories, respectfully. The Pirates can only thank their lucky stars Ross Ohlendorf was injured and went on the disabled list for Karstens to discover this type of success. And one thing should be certain. When Ohlendorf returns, Karstens shouldn't go anywhere.

The Bucs take on the Astros tonight with Paul Maholm on the hill against Bud Norris.

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