A week ago Monday night, as Chris Carpenter labored through his first two innings at Dodger Stadium, the ESPN commentators claimed “something wasn’t right.” Apparently they were wrong, as Carpenter dominated the NL’s best team the rest of the way en route to eight innings of two run ball and another win.
My father, who attended the game and has watched baseball for nearly 60 years, emailed me the following morning:
“This guy is a classic pitcher –Â gets stronger as game goes on, which is rare these days.”
CarpenterÂ was strong again all Saturday night on San Diego — seven shutout innings on just three hits — promptingÂ this Sunday afternoon email from a good friend who works in the Padres scouting department:
“When he’s healthy, he’s virtually unhittable.Â Completely shut us down on Saturday.”
Carpenter’sÂ continued successÂ has enabled Tony Larussa to confidently “bump him up” to start this Thursday afternoon vs. Houston due to injuries in St. Louis’ back end of the rotation.Â There,Â “Carp” will seek his seventh consecutive win. He has not lost a decision since July 22, and despite missing over a month, is now tied for the NL lead in wins at 14.Â
ChrisÂ has the league’s lowest ERA as well, putting him, in my view, in the driver’s seat for Cy Young — though many believe Tim Lincecum is right there as well.Â Lincecum has struggledÂ his last four startsÂ and,Â even with four extra starts,Â has two fewer wins and a higher ERA than does the durable St. Louis righty. It’s therefore Carpenter’s to lose, though the media has been favoring Lincecum all season to this point.
Not bad for a 34 year old who basically missed the past two seasons entirely after a World Series winning season (2006) andÂ CyÂ Young prior (2005).
I shall endeavor to personallyÂ watch the potential two-time Cy Young winner Labor Day weekend in Pittsburgh.
* – Chris Carpenter fist pump photo credit: Mike Shannon’s Cardinals Blog
* – Chris Carpenter cap wave photo credit: Arches and Ivey