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This guy is the ultimate big-game pitcher.
Yes, Carpenter struggled in a Game 2 loss in San Francisco. While he gave up five runs, only two of them were earned. While it was a classic Carpenter postseason virtuoso performance, he really wasn't rocked that hard.
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. It was only his fifth start of the season, in what was an amazing feat to even come back to play this season, and nothing big was on the line. Carpenter just may be one of the greatest big-game pitchers in MLB history.
Statistically, he’s right up there with guys like Jack Morris and Curt Schilling. The gritty, gutty Carpenter thrives on the pressure of the big stage, bringing his best when his team needs it most.
Carpenter has an extremely impressive postseason resume, boasting a 10-3 record with a simply ridiculous 2.94 ERA. If you were asked to bet on Chris Carpenter or Ryan Vogelsong dominating Game 6, who would you take? If you’re having trouble let me inform you that Chris Carpenter’s teams have more wins in playoff games he’s started than the 12 total postseason innings that Ryan Vogelsong has pitched.
This is the same man that threw eight innings of three-hit ball against the batting-rich Tigers in the 2006 World Series. And of course, none of us will forget his contributions to the Cardinals' magical 2011 World Series run. His complete-game shutout of the Astros got St. Louis into postseason play.
In addition, he pitched a memorable complete-game three-hitter in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, outdueling fellow ace Roy Halladay. Carpenter followed up this performance by pitching three games in the World Series.
Against a Texas lineup that devastated quality pitchers all season, he went at least SIX innings in each start, only ceding TWO earned runs each outing. The fact that he was able to pitch so effectively on short rest in game 7 was another testament to this man's mental fortitude.
Perhaps lost in his great 2011 performances were some postseason setbacks. He got shelled in Game 2 of the NLDS, as he left after three innings when Philadelphia roughed him up for four earned runs. Carpenter used this experience to get himself better prepared for the Game 5 gem, in which he dazzled Phillies hitters over nine innings.
What does this mean? It means that Chris Carpenter can be hit. However, it also means that he has proven an ability to recover from tough outings with dominant ones, particularly in big games. The worst things have gotten for Carpenter in the postseason is three starts with four or five runs allowed.
The best things have gotten are 12 starts with two runs or fewer allowed, four games with no runs allowed and two three-hit complete-game shutouts. If I were Giants fans, I'd be preparing myself for a quick night, as Carpenter should be dealing all night long.