Things didn’t go the way Chris Carpenter wanted them to tonight in Memphis. In 3 1/3 IP, Carpenter gave up 9 hits, 4 earned runs and 2 walks against the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Carpenter, not pleased with his performance, stated after the game that he won’t make the comeback to St. Louis if he isn’t going to help the team.
I’m not as worried about the results in the minors from Carp as much as I am the velocity and location of his pitches. The velocity is there. We need to remember that this is only his second start in what is his spring training. I’m neither counting on Carpenter nor writing him off. He’s a warrior, but he’s also 38. I hope for the best, but I think the most important thing right now is to see if he can continue to pitch without pain and start to worry about results in his 4th or 5th start. If he’s healthy, I have no doubt everything will fall into place in the end.
A lot of worry is going around Cardinal Nation right now about all the SP’s not named Adam Wainwright. Lance Lynn labored tonight. Shelby Miller hasn’t been sharp lately. Jake Westbrook continues to get decent results despite an alarming WHIP of 1.40. I understand wanting to get Wainwright as many starts as possible, but I haven’t agreed with Mike Matheny skipping a spot in the rotation which the Cards will do again Monday. I think the extra day for Miller and Lynn here and there outweigh getting AW an extra start or two. I’d also think it would be wise to have a fewer innings for AW when the playoffs arrive. It’s hard to criticize any moves by the team with the best record in baseball, but this is only a little bit of second guessing.
The Cards are in for a tough stretch twice in the next month and a half. After an off day on Monday, the Phillies come to town for 3, and they’re playing better ball lately. After that, the Cards have 3 at the Braves, 5 at the Pirates, 3 at the Reds and then back home for the Dodgers for 4-game series. Starting on August 22nd, the Cards are at home for 4 with Braves, 3 with the Reds and then after an off day on the 29th are right back at it with 3 at the Pirates, 4 at the Reds and finish with 3 at home vs. the Pirates.
A lot of folks are pointing to the Pirates play right here after the ASG and claiming the end is again near for Pittsburgh. I’m not one of them. Like I’ve said before, I still think the Cards and Reds are better and will finish ahead of Pitt, but I expect a good battle to the end between the three clubs.
I’m not going to get down on Lynn and Miller. They’re both still young and battling through some tough times at the moment. In no way do I think Lynn should be moved the bullpen. I do think a spot start here and there by Carlos Martinez, Tyler Lyons and/or Michael Wacha would be wise, but I’m sure Matheny and John Mozeliak have a good plan. Many don’t want to hear this, but I don’t think the Cards need to make a trade just because the SP’s are going through a rough stretch. It’s a long season, these things happen and the Cards have plenty of arms worth holding onto. There’s a bigger plan in place than just the results of 2013 and I’ll be pleased if the Cards stick with it.