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The Waiting Ends

Posted on July 30, 2008 at 9:20 AM
Filed Under: Atlanta Braves | Baseball | Chicago Cubs | Heroes and Goats | Milwaukee Brewers | St. Louis Cardinals
All the talk today is going to be about Chris Carpenter.  Before we get into that, let's look at last night's game.

Hero: Albert Pujols.  Tied it up with a home run and then took the lead with more of his infamous baserunning.  You may hate it when he risks and loses, but when he gets it right (which seems to be most of the time), it really is a wonderful thing.

I also want to single out Ryan Franklin.  I've been on him pretty hard as a closer, and, honestly, he scared me even when he was in the setup role.  But the numbers don't entirely lie.  He did a good job before in that role and was great in it last night, even getting a win out of it.

Goat: He's as streaky as they come, isn't he?  Troy Glaus had another hitless night while everyone around him was pounding the ball.  Save them for when we need you, Troy.

Cubs win again, so the Cards are within one of Milwaukee (and the wild card) while staying four back of the Cubs.  The hope going in was that the Brewers and Cubs would split while the Cards won in Atlanta.  It'd be real nice to see the Brewers take a game tonight.

OK, so Carpenter.  How hard is it to believe that when he last took the mound, the Cardinals were starting their defense of the World Series title?  Some things have changed since he pitched for St. Louis last, haven't they.  That'll happen when 485 days pass.

Some people think he needs more rehab starts.  But it's obvious that he's already better than what we have in the back of the rotation.  So what if he only goes five innings?  That's all those pitchers are doing anyway, and hopefully he can do it with less damage.  He's not having pain or anything, it's just a question of stamina and control.  Besides, now that Teixeira's gone from Atlanta, the Braves are pretty darn close to a minor league team anyway.

So what do we expect out of Carpenter tonight?  It seems to span the spectrum from "It's Chris Carpenter!  Cy Young!" to "Another broken-down has been."  I think we'll see some good stuff out of Carp tonight, while he's out there.  I'm terrible at predicting numbers, but I'd guess five innings, four hits, three earned, three walks, four K.  Something in that neighborhood.  Leave your predictions in the comments and we'll see who is closest.

It's not like the Braves will know what's coming.  Carp doesn't have a whole lot of history with the current makeup of the squad.  Which is what the Cardinals have been having lately, facing three pitchers in a row that no one had ever seen.  Tonight, the streak continues, but this is no last-minute callup or rotation filler that they'll be facing.  Jair Jurrjens is a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.  He was able to shut out the Phillies for eight innings in their own pitcher-hating ballpark.  You aren't likely to do that on a fluke.  The only NL Central team he has faced is Pittsburgh and has split the two starts against them with a 4.36 ERA against them.

And in other ace news, Wainwright isn't quite ready for a rehab assignment.  Whether that is due to his results in yesterday's side session or not is a matter of opinion.  Unfortunately, this means he won't be ready for the Cub series in Wrigley next weekend.  Carpenter should get to pitch the series finale, though, so at least one of the big guns will be in use.

Folks, the season is over 2/3rds over and the Cards are still in the race.  No matter what happens from here, it's been a darn good run.

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4 Comments | Leave a comment

Carpenter prediction:

5IP 4H 3BB 3 K 2ER


5 1/3 3H 2BB 2K 1ER

No telling on the numbers, but Carp may have faced tougher hitters in AA and AAA, considering the current makeup of the Braves.

It would help Carp tremendously to pitch to contact tonight. However, I would understand if he was so apprehensive (after all this time) about getting hit that he may go too deep on many counts. In that case, I'd give him less innings and more BBs and Ks than BrewCards and JCOOL.

Prediction: Pitch count high enough in 4th to question Carp's continuing at this stage. La Russa has kept Thompson and Jimenez in reserve, and has Izzy fresh for shot at closing if necessary.

Lots of Molina visits between batters and many walkovers by Glaus and Pujols unless Carp shows us all how far off we are. Fingers crossed.

Troy is not seeing the ball well at all...anything on the outside part of the plate might as well be invisible and moving at 99 mph.

However, his at-bat earlier in this game (7/30) where he drilled the ball to the right field fence is certainly encouraging...he may finally be looking to drive the ball the opposite way, and that could end up being the turning point at the plate for Glaus.

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Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
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Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
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Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
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Jaime Garcia 64.1%
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Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
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Pop Warner 76.7%
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John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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