Thursday, July 31, 2008

Carp's back!!!

This next section is completely stolen from Joe Strauss:
(It didn't occur to me to keep notes while he was pitching....)


1st inning

Starter overcomes

bout with nerves

No doubt anxious in his first big-league start since April 1, 2007. Carpenter falls behind each of the four hitters he faces. But, after a leadoff walk, he strands a runner at third.


15 0 0 0 1

2nd inning

Braves get three hits

but just one run

Still having location issues with his fastball and breaking ball, he allows three straight hits, one a bunt single. But he escapes with just one run because of some cautious baserunning.


15 3 1 0 0

3rd inning

Bases are loaded

but no damage

Again, he manages to pitch out of trouble. Atlanta loads the bases with two out on two singles and a walk, but Carpenter retires Jeff Francoeur on a tapper to the mound.


26 2 0 0 1

4th inning

Best inning features

two strikeouts

Finding his groove, he hurls his first 1-2-3 inning and records his first two strikeouts. 2B Adam Kennedy helps him with a good defensive play. Carpenter leaves for a pinch-hitter in the 5th.


11 0 0 2 0

Obviously, I agree about the fourth inning being his best. I wasn't completely surprised that Tony didn't leave him in longer, but I was disappointed. It seemed like he was just finding his rhythm, but I suppose if he had fallen apart in the fifth, I (and the rest of Cardinal Nation) would have questioned Tony for leaving him in so long. It's why he gets paid to manage and I yell at the tv for nothing.

I'd call it a success, though, no matter how short it may have been (67 pitches). He only gave up one run, and though he struggled with his location, there was a bit of an issue with the strike zone moving and widening and just generally misbehaving. He also sweated quite a bit (nerves plus Atlanta in July equals a little extra moisture) and this also could have affected his command. To be honest, what pitcher has ever come back from the DL (especially an extended stint) and been perfect? That's right. In fact, the opposing team usually gets excited when they find out they'll be facing a pitcher that is making his re-debut after being hurt/having surgery because they know (like everyone else) that the first start back in the majors (even if they pitched well in rehab starts) is going to be a challenge. Considering all this, I was very pleased (as I'm sure Tony was) with the job done by Carp, and I can't wait for his next start.

It's funny, but watching the Braves pitchers (sadly) reminds me of our staff. The starters are (for the most part) solid, but the bullpen tends to give up damaging runs late in the game. Doesn't that sound familiar? It's nice for our offense, though, because I think we've scored more ninth-inning runs against the Braves in this series than we have in all the games we've played this year combined.

This other thing that strikes me about the Atlanta team is how many errors and miscues they have. They miss the cut-off man, they throw wild instead of holding the ball, they hold the ball instead of making the play, they stay at third instead of trying to score, they run into an out at the plate, and so on. They just seem to have trouble making decisions in the heat of the moment, and it's costing them games. For a team with a manager like Cox, you'd expect better. I'll bet Bobby expects better, too.