Karstens Hopes To Finish Off Strong in '05

Jeff Karstens Has Been Inconsistent in 2005

Jeff Karstens has been the most inconsistent Trenton starter this season. His 10-10 record indicates the dual nature of his season and his reputation for fading down the stretch, as he did for the Tampa Yankees last year.

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Karstens has been publicly challenged by his manager during his struggles this season and relations between the pitcher and manager appear to alternate between strained and calm, depending on how Karstens pitches in each start.

Karstens appears to not know how to use his stuff to his best possible advantage and like all Thunder pitchers, he issues too many free passes. The Thunder as a staff lead the league in walks by 30 with 436 on the season and Karstens owns 37 of them. Pitchers not throwing strikes is one if his manager's pet peeves and Karstens has at times irked his manager by his lack of command.

"We lead the lead in walks by 30," said Trenton manager Bill Masse about his staff.

After a recent outing in which Karstens failed to last five innings, his manager mentioned that he wasn't confident in Karstens's ability to get players out.

"Karstens just didn't have it tonight so I went to go get him," said Masse.

Karstens is disappointed in his 4.11 ERA and 10-10 record. He knows all about his track record for fading down the stretch and his inability to pitch consistently this year. He believes he is a better pitcher than he has shown so far and is frustrated by his inability to show that so far.

"It's not what I hoped for. I've had a few good outings but for the most part, I've had to battle. It's good when you have to battle because it makes you better, but it's obviously not what I hoped for this season," said Karstens.

Karstens doesn't believe his season can be judged through his first 24 outings and hopes that he can craft his image through what he shows in has last four starts of the season. He sees the ability to define himself in his last four starts and any possible playoff starts he gets to make.

"I've still got four starts left and possibly some play-off starts so that‘s at least one more there. There's an extra day this week so I think it's still too early to tell," said Karstens.

While Karstens may be able to open some eyes in that timeframe, it will not erase his year of inconsistency. Karstens has said he is making strides at improving his game during his first season in Double-A, especially in the mental side of the game. He believes he has shown this improvement over his last four starts as he primes himself for a stretch run.

"[My focus] has been better my past few games. I've worked on a few things during the week and have really tried to stay mentally focused the entire time I'm on the mound," said Karstens.

Karstens is not satisfied with his performance at Double-A, but has met some of the goals he had made for himself before the season began. Karstens didn't divulge the details of what he had hoped to accomplish this season, but he is pleased his health has held out so far.

"Not all of them," said Karstens about his goals. He continued, "But I achieved my #1 goal which was to stay healthy so I'm pleased about that."

Karstens stayed healthy on a Trenton pitching staff that saw starters Danny Borrell, Steve White, Charlie Isaacson, and Matt DeSalvo all spend parts of their seasons on the DL with various injuries.

The 22-year old pitcher has shown flashes of brilliance and also signs that he is a young, immature Double-A pitcher who could possibly spend some more time mired at this level. At this point, it's probably too soon for Yankees fans to draw a concrete conclusion about the young man, except to wait and hope that starting next year back at Double-A he will show the kind of second Double-A season that Sean Henn started out with in his second Double-A season.

But, for now, only time will tell.


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