When I think about the greatest Cardinals’ pitcher of the last decade, my mind immediately goes to Chris Carpenter. I think most Cardinals’ fans’ minds would too. Over the last decade, when number 29 was on the mound you knew he was going to give it everything he had in the tank. If there was just one single ounce of greatness left in him, he was going to find it and use it. It was this same gritty determination that Carpenter used to give the Cardinals their eleventh World Series championship in 2011.
He spent nearly all of the 2012 season paying for it.
A rib later and here was Carpenter, using everything he had to make a miraculous September return. He wasn’t bad either. His record may reflect a 0-2 record with a 3.71 ERA in his three September starts, but he followed it up with a 2.63 ERA in three playoff starts. Unfortunately he was the victim of 6 unearned runs in the NLCS against the Giants that resulted in a 1-2 playoff record for him. Carpenter showed he was close, but he still wasn’t perfect.
It’s been a theme for the Cardinals all season. Missed opportunities. The most glaring from this afternoon being a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with no outs. Ground balls from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina ended the inning without the Cardinals scoring to extend their 2-1 lead. At that point, the momentum swung firmly in the direction of the Nationals.
In the top of the eighth, Mitchell Boggs came in and it all began to unravel for the Cardinals. A tough bounce resulted in a fielding error by Pete Kozma allowed Michael Morse to reach base. Ian Desmond singled to move Morse to third. Danny Espinosa sacrificed Desmond to second. With runners at second and third, Boggs managed to strike out Kurt Suzuki for the second out of the inning. It appeared the Cardinals might escape the inning.
The left handed hitter Chad Tracy was announced as the pinch hitter. Mike Matheny went to the mound and brought in Marc Rzepczynski, the only lefty reliever on the St. Louis roster. His last appearance, he allowed a double to Jason Heyward before getting out of the inning against a right hander. Of course, when Rzepczynski came into the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson went back for right handed hitter Tyler Moore.
The rosters and rotations were set today for the National League Divisonal Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals today.
For the Cardinals, they will add Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, and Chris Carpenter to the roster. The three were left off of the Wild Card Game roster as they would not be being used in the game. In exchange, LHP Sam Freeman, catcher Bryan Anderson, and shortstop Ryan Jackson will be left off.
It’s worth nothing that the moves leave Marc Rzepczyski as the only left handed reliever on the roster. Meanwhile, the moves of Jackson and Anderson off the roster were not unexpected. Neither received much playing time in September and were basically there as depth in a “just in case” situation.
Early Wednesday morning the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers. In doing so, the knocked the Dodgers out of the playoffs and clinched the second Wild Card for the St. Louis Cardinals. What that meant is that tonight’s game because the first meaningless game that the Cardinals have played since the 2010 season finale.
Adam Wainwright was supposed to start this game, however, with it being a meaningless game he was held out. Instead, he is penciled in to start Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals.
In his place, the organization’s #1 prospect Shelby Miller got the nod and the opportunity to make an impact out of the rotation.
The St. Louis Cardinals just completed their series victory against the Cincinnati Reds with a 8-2 drubbing behind Adam Wainwright. Wainwright, it’s fun to realize, has a 1.73 ERA and is 6-1 in 8 starts since the All Star Break. He has once again emerged as the Cardinals’ ace and regaining his market value along with it. He’s also on pace to surpass 200 innings something he’s done in every full season he’s spent as a starting pitcher.
If you’ll remember back to the last Monday Musial I wrote on July 30th, I talked about how the 22 game stretch from July 31st to August 23rd was going to be a critical run for the Cardinals’ up into this 10 game stretch against the Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Washington Nationals. The Cardinals went 14-8 over this stretch, which is great until you realize how easily they could have been 18-4 and how that would have changed everything.
I still firmly believe that 90 wins is the golden ticket to the playoffs. Currently, the Atlanta Braves are the only team in the Wild Card hunt on pace for 90 wins. Their .567 winning percentage translates to 92 wins. For the Cardinals, their .551 translates to just shy of 90 wins (.555 is 90 wins). Continue reading