St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has been told pitcher Chris Carpenter is ready to pitch Game 7 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers if called upon, and La Russa shouldn't even think twice about sending his ace to the mound Friday night.
In his Cardinals career, Carpenter is 6-0 in the postseason with a 2.03 ERA. He is a big-game pitcher who performs well when the stakes are highest.
Carpenter is also a leader, and his confident demeanor on the mound will calm his teammates down, which is hard to do in the biggest game of your life.
Thanks to the rain delay that pushed Game 6 from Wednesday to Thursday, Carpenter was able to get another day of rest, making La Russa's decision on whether or not to start him a bit easier.
Carpenter gives the Cardinals their best chance to win the franchise's 11th title on Friday.
La Russa's other options include pitching Kyle Lohse on five days rest, Edwin Jackson on four days of rest or consider starting Jake Westbrook. Westbrook hasn't started a game in about a month, so there's little chance he'd get the ball in Game 7.
All options considered, Carpenter on three days rest is the way to go for St. Louis.
The only other time Carpenter pitched in the playoffs on short rest was in this year's NLDS Game 2 against the Philadelphia Phillies, and Carpenter did not do well but the Cardinals won the game.
Carpenter can learn from that experience and change his approach accordingly.
The Cardinals have the Rangers right where they want them. Texas is mentally destroyed after giving up a two-run lead twice in the later innings of Game 6.
There's no doubt they went to bed Thursday night dreaming of what holding the World Series trophy might have been like.
For the Cardinals, staff ace Chris Carpenter is the guy who should get the chance to bring home the team's first World Series title since 2006.
It would be foolish not to give him the ball Friday.