Chris Carpenter return, difference maker?
It appears that the St. Louis Cardinals might get a proven post-season weapon back in Chris Carpenter, just in time for the stretch run. He’s scheduled to pitch Friday in Chicago. If it’s not enough the Cardinals are playing the Astros and Cubs (worst two teams in baseball) for 9 games starting tonight, they could get 2 starts out of him, then have him queued up for the opener of the second playoff round (figuring he’s not ready for the one game playoff and Wainwright will do nicely there). He even threw 90+ pitches in a simulated game so it might not be 4 IP and done. All of the sudden the Cardinals, like Jason with an axe through their mask, have a formidable rotation to approach the postseason:
1) Wainwright (13-13, 3.97)
2) Lohse (14-3, 2.81 ERA)
3) Carpenter (44-22, 3.01 ERA the 3 years before this injury, 9-2. 3.05 postseason career)
4) Garcia (1 or 0 earned runs in 3 of 6 starts since return from DL)
I would think they’d still start with Wainwright, but final two series competitiveness might dictate. They’ll be playing the Nats who won’t have Strasburg (obviously) and will be stacking their rotation for round 1. Then the Reds, who also likely will be wanting to stack rotation and rest Votto.
This team scares me, maybe because I’m an Astros fan and they just never seem to lose when it counts. Just ask the Rangers.