…and apparently, neither can Tony La Russa.
Chris Carpenter threw another 119 pitches last night, marking the ninth time this season he has gone over 115 in a start, the most in one season in his career.
After the first inning, it appeared those 119 might only last him five innings. Alas, Carpenter settled down and gave the Cards a much needed, much morale-saving (boosting?) eight innings, not allowing a run after the two in the first.
Just as a legion of Cardinal fans were ready to take the plunge off of the Poplar Street Bridge, Carp reeled them all back in with a game almost as lacking in excitement as Wednesday’s tilt, only this time in the favor of the good guys. It was a much needed win and a much needed boost for Carp himself.
As mentioned earlier, this was the ninth game this season that Carpenter has been allowed to throw more than 115 pitches, including a 132-pitch marathon at the end of June that was the third start in a string of four consecutive that saw the right-hander throw 124-124-132-119 pitches, respectively. Ole’ boy is getting some work.
Carpenter no doubt wants to remain in these games, he’s not getting any younger, and his velocity is actually up a bit this season from prior, so I’ve not a lot of concern about his workload – nor does the manager seem too concerned – yet it’s hard not to have the catastrophic injuries that have beset Carpenter in the past close-by in the back of one’s mind. While the pricey option for 2012 is far from a sure thing, chances are good that the Cardinals wouldn’t mind bringing Carp back on a renegotiated (read: cheaper) deal. There are future considerations with the arm, but not enough to keep TLR from letting his horse run, if he assumes him to be the best option.
Enough about pitch counts. Some riffs on last night’s game:
- Take away the rough first inning, and maybe Carpenter’s pitch count isn’t so high – walks were higher than we’ve come to expect, lots of hits (some that were just tough luck), but save for those issues Carp got his outs when necessary and was generally an ace.
- This Ryan Theriot kid is a heck of a second baseman. Yes, he was awful at shortstop. Now, with his playing time has been severely reduced since the trade deadline, he has remained sharp enough to play a heck of a second base against the Brewers.
- Free Corey Patterson. Seriously, someone take him. He’s free.
- Dear Albert Pujols, more four-for-four’s please. Love, PH8.
- Anyone still scoffing at the idea of trading virtually nothing for Rafael Furcal? I, for one, marvel at the tenacity of those still able to maintain that the Cardinals made a bad deal in acquiring Furcal, for a number of reasons.
- I wish Fernando Salas had more save chances.
- Jack Clark almost got hit by Furcal’s home run in the bottom of the first inning. Dang.
- And finally – I move that batting practice starts at 3 pm for all players now, “extra” or not. If all it took was Yadier Molina and Pujols hopping in the cage for some extra BP, then why hasn’t this happened long ago? Yes, it’s a joke, relax.
One last note, and I’m hesitant to write it, because goodness knows that after a clean series, the last thing I want to bring up is the whole “everyone hates the whiny Cardinals” thing – but I found it refreshing that apparently Nyjer Morgan was being a less-than-cordial opponent from the Brewers dugout and Carpenter, for once, found it appropriate to focus on getting outs and not getting all worked up RAGE CARP BEANBALL YELL AND SPIT HURT BREWERS about it. Yeah, shame that this is something worth mentioning – yet I feel it should be.
Good work gents. You’ve got a lot more to do.