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Jeff Karstens Named National League Player Of The Week

Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens has been named the National League Player Of The Week, a team press release announces. 

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Karstens has been the Pirates' most pleasant surprise in a year of pleasant surprises, and his start this weekend against the Houston Astros was one of his best, with a complete-game shutout. Karstens also currently ranks second in the National League in ERA. That's not bad at all for a player who looked completely expendable just a few months ago, when he was not even guaranteed a roster spot. 

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Karstens has taken a step forward with his command this year, and has also done a much better job striking out batters, thanks in part to stuff that has a little more zip than than in 2010. Congratulations to Karstens, and let's hope for more strong performances as the Pirates aim for their first playoff berth in nearly two decades.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. 

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.