Blog Entry

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

Posted on: October 20, 2011 2:26 am
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter has had more memorable games. He's had more dominant games. He's surely had more enjoyable games.

But for 87 pitches over six innings in Game 1 of the World Series, Carpenter reached the bar he's set for pitching on guts and determination.

Given the degree of difficulty on this night, it surely was one of his most impressive outings for the Cardinals. And with a 3-2 Game 1 win over Texas, it surely will stand the test of time, too.

As if 49 degrees at game-time wasn't unpleasant enough, Carpenter admittedly received treatment on his elbow for swelling and discomfort following his NLCS Game 3 outing against Milwaukee. Both Carpenter and the Cardinals were adamant that he was fine, that he wouldn't have started otherwise.

But one clue as to the condition of his elbow is this: He threw only seven curveballs in 89 pitches, about 8 percent, according to the pitch-by-pitch feature on's GameDay.

According to the web site, Carpenter threw his curveball 20.4 percent of the time in 2011.

What he did in Game 1 was feed the Rangers a steady diet of sinkers and cutters. And though he only got two 1-2-3 innings of the six he pitched -- the third and fourth -- he left after six with a 3-2 lead and the lethal Cardinals bullpen picked him up from there.

"When you throw Carp on the mound, you expect a quality start," Cardinals third baseman David Freese said in response to a question regarding Carpenter's elbow. "You expect him to be Chris Carpenter.

"I don't think he'd be out there if he couldn't do what he's been doing."

Because the Rangers and Cardinals have only played once in Interleague play, several years ago, very few of the Rangers have faced him. Michael Young, for example, had only six lifetime at-bats against the right-hander, and two hits.

Because of that, Young said he didn't notice Carpenter's curve count. But he did notice a few other things.

"He was keeping the ball down and getting strike one," Young said. "That was a big thing right there. A lot of balls down. He got ground balls. We did not have a lot of line drives, like we usually do."

"He was pitching, you know?" said Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, who went 1 for 3 with a walk after being moved up to sixth in the lineup following his six homers in the ALCS. "He makes pitches when he has to."

Carpenter was not asked about his elbow during his appearance in the post-game media interview room. Of the weather conditions, he said that the balls "were a little slick with the breeze and the lack of humidity. But besides that, it's the same. It's another game, and we've pitched in weather like this before. I grew up [in New Hampshire] pitching in weather like this, so it was no big deal."

The fact that he threw so few curveballs, hard to say definitively whether that is a big deal. But Carpenter did exactly what the Cardinals have come to expect and appreciate on the latest biggest night of their season.

Plus, what his pitching line does not show is his fabulous defensive play in the first inning, when he made a diving catch of an Albert Pujols toss while covering first base two batters into the game. Carpenter caught the toss and tagged first to get the speedy Elvis Andrus on a sensational, athletic play.

"Great performance," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "They're a great hitting team. If you don't make a lot of pitches, they're going to bang you around. ...

"The thing about Carp, he was exactly what we needed."

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:24 am

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

MLB needs to fine Carpenter for yelling out the GO D WORD every time his pitch doesn't go his way. These kids watching don't need to hear that. Carpenter needs to grow up.

Since: Sep 3, 2009
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:33 pm

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

...and with your comments, you enter the realm of those with no class. GO REDBIRDS!

Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:40 pm

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

Yes , Wash made some move and they all pretty much didn't work. Pulling Murphy for the German guy who swung at 3 pitches out of the strike zone? He sucked , LEAVE MURPHY IN ,DUH!!! WASH , LEAVE HIM IN!!! Murphy always pulls it out at the plate..

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:23 pm

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

Carpenter is undefeated at home in the post season.  The Cardinals are undefeated at home in the World Series in Busch Stadium III.  This win is only a shock to the "experts" that continue to pick against the Cardinals.  I expect the Cards to win tonight as Garcia is very strong at home and the Rangers hitters have terrible splits between home and away.  I do expect the Rangers to win most of their home games though too and this to go 6 or 7 games as they hit a lot better in Arlington.  It will be interesting to see LaRussa and the Cardinals in the AL ballpark though with Craig as the DH.  The Cardinals despite being a national league team will have an AL type of line up.  I still feel with homefield advantage for the NL when the AL pitchers have to hit and as we saw last night do not seem to manage the bench as well and LaRussa as their manager the Cards win in 6 or 7 games.

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:21 am

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

Carp should have had his head stepped on when he dived into first base. Carp would have plus all the Cardinals would have if it had been C.J. Wilson. By the way umps open your eyes when someone hits the ball off their foot.

Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:29 am

Few curves, but Carpenter throws Rangers for loop

Craig has played well all Year and can play multiple positions. He does this time and time again. Garcia is pitching at Home tonight and that is a plus because on the road he is not the same. We take tonights Game we are looking good with Carp coming back Game 5. This is the Series tonight . Carp is always clutch

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