Faith in the ace

I understand the thought process. Chris Carpenter on fumes is the best you’ve got. I get it. But I don’t agree.

I even understood leaving him in through the lefties. The thought there, and it makes sense, is that if you go to a LHP, you’ll get a RH pinch-hitter. And you’d rather have Carp vs. the RHH than one of the LHP vs. a RHH.

But once you get to Cameron, and Wainwright is warmed up, and Carpenter is clearly getting by on guts and little else, you go to Wainwright. I think it’s necessary.

I’m eager to hear all of your thoughts on the decisions. But the same rules apply — DO NOT simply give me "the manager is an idiot," or "that was the dumbest move I’ve ever seen," or "if you think it was the right move, then you don’t know anything about baseball." I don’t want it and I’m not going to tolerate it. Let’s have a discussion, let’s go over the options. If there’s a factor I’m not considering, please bring it up. If you have counterpoints, let me hear ‘em. If you have another view of how it should have gone, tell me. But no blind rants. This isn’t the place for it.

Thanks.


-M.

24 Comments

It’s what you said and it’s also keeping in mind your ace has looked gassed mostly this month, and if we do make the playoffs, he’s gotta be rested better. Throwing 120 pitches in September w/your ace is just nuts, especially when you have that relief ace in WW ready to go. Very baffling. This team looks completely sunk.

Matthew, you have more information than I do; I’d gone out for a set of tennis when this all happened and missed the action. It was 5-2 when I went out; it was 7-5 when I got back. I nearly punched my cookies, and it wasn’t from the exertion of the tennis.

I cannot for the life of me understand why every last bump in the bullpen wasn’t occupied by somebody warming up when the Cardinals came to bat in the 6th. You KNOW at that point that Carp is going to be getting into the twilight zone on pitch count in the next inning. You have a zillion guys out there that you can warm up; if one or two don’t have to be used and are too lathered up for use tomorrow, no big deal, there will be others.

One thing. Just how rapidly did this all happen? What were the counts when all the guys reached base who scored? Were there mound visits by Molina or infielders or Duncan before the sky fell? Just how much of a chance *did* they have to get every available reliever ready? You probably know that, and it would be useful to know, the better to help the conversation be as civil as possible.

One thing I feel extremely strongly about. You ABSOLUTELY DO NOT let Carpenter face the go-ahead run, no matter how confident you are in him. You MUST not allow him to lose the game. Doing so quite possibly cost Carp the Cy Young, along with the team the post-season in all likelihood. This is an incredible disservice to the horse who got you there, and for that alone, I believe that TLR and Duncan should be fired if they indeed don’t make the playoffs. You MUST let someone else take the loss there, if it comes to that.

I’m so sick from this that I can barely write. Hope this isn’t too uncivil for your standards, Matt.

I agree too, got to go with WW in that situation.

Question M, if the previously unthinkable happens and the Cardinals fade out of the playoffs, would this be the biggest collapse in MLB history? Also, if that happens, does someone take the blame and get shown the door in the offseason? TLR and WJ just got extensions, so they seem safe. Any thoughts?

I’m to the point where i don’t think it matters all that much. Even if we get out of that inning, we probably would have found a way to blow it later. our bullpen did decent tonight while behind, but in houston they were horrible trying to keep a lead. However, the Padres had so many hits off Carp tonight, I think its a chance to get Wainwright more experience in a pressure situation, and at the very least help his development

I think it was a mistake to leave Carp in for the whole inning. Carpenter was extremely high in his pitch count and you could already see it wasn’t his best night. With the expanded 40 man roster I think TLR should have gone to someone when Carp gave up the first few runs. I can understand Tony’s view of having faith in your ace, but that faith has to have a limit. Too much faith in Carp can be dangerous. I think at this point in the season you need to go to a fresh arm and at least give your tea a better chance.

Last night, I think Al said that this was the first time Carp has pitched two 200+ inning season, back to back. Early in the season, we didn’t let him get over 100 pitches often. It appears to me that Carp, on the whole, may be tired. He was not Carpenterish the whole game last night. CC just doesn’t give up 12 hits.

So, yeah. Pitch someone else. Anyone. Cause Carp needs a rest. Even if we make the ps, Carp may be too tired to be an impacting game 1 pitcher. If he can’t keep the boat floating for a game 1, series over, IMHO.

I didn’t see the game, and haven’t even seen the box score or read any accounts of the game. BUT…..LaRussa has a reputation through the league as a lousy handler of pitchers, and he has mis-used Carpenter before.

Sad thing is, it’s the 7th loss in a row, and the lead shrinks further. As I said yesterday, this is a classic choke that will be remembered along with the ’64 Phillies and the ’69 Cubs.

This is not LaRussa’s fault…at least I don’t think so. If the guys in the bullpen could pitch, then he wouldn’t have had to leave Carpenter in. It is the incompetence of the bullpen. If anyone is to blame…it’s Jocketty for letting people go in the off-season(not just pitchers) and the players themselves. At least Isringhausen is gone. Hopefully for good.

I freely admit that I didn’t see the game, nr even have a chance to review the box score. My only point is that LaRussa has a reuptation of badly handling pitchers. Duncan? I think he’s a dugout doorstop that draws a paycheck for no apparent reason.

I guess I am just frustrated. Seven in a row…..

I think you need to take Carp out if not before the 7th; at least give him an extremely short leash if you run him out there. He was over 100 pitches quickly in the 7th and he had zero control, often missing his spots by two feet. He was lucky to get the first out on a great play by Pujols and the called third strike was a bit high for the second out. He gave it his best, but no matter how bad the bullpen is, they are better than a drained Carp. He was running on adrenaline alone, missing his spots and when you do that for two innings in mlb, you’re bound to get burned.

What happens if we end up the season at 84-77 and the Astros end up at 84-78. Will we have to make up the Giant rain out game? And if we lose then have to play the Astros in a one game playoff.OUr winning percentage would be slightly higher than the Astros in this situation and why should we have to play the extra game just so we both have 162?

Matt – I totally agree with you. I was watching the game and your line, “Carpenter is clearly getting by on guts and little else” is absolutely true. That’s one of the many things I love about Carpenter, but that 0-2 pitch just wasn’t great. He had given him two straight fast balls (if I remember) and he went with the third. He had struck someone out looking with a great 12-6 curve earlier in the game. I would have loved to see that pitch there to get him out. But again, with Cameron up and Carpenter tank blinking E, I think Wainwright is the best option.

If the teams are separated by 1/2-game, that game will be made up. I’m not sure why anyone would see that as unfair — a season is 162 games, and the only reason they didn’t schedule a makeup in the first place was that it was expected that the game wouldn’t matter.

-M.

I did see the entire game. As a matter of fact, if the Cards have been on Fox this year, I’ve seen the game. Heck I even flew from Astro country, deep in the Heart of Texas, to St. Louis last month to watch the 3 game series with Cincy. Something I’ve noticed is fire. Nobody, and I’m talking about management, has show any fire lately. Why aren’t players being called down or sat when they are playing bad. TLR has shown some really bad skills when it comes to keeping an eye on the pitchers. It seems that too many times the starters are left in one batter too many. I personally put the crappy season right where it belongs, on Jocketty, TLR,etc. The players are tired and are giving it their best but this isn’t the same crop of players that the Cards have had the last two years. Let’s go Tony, put some fire under their butts these last few games and see what happens.

John Kruk and Tino Martinez last night on BBTN said you have to leave him in, what with the struggles of the bullpen recently. (and i don’t care that Carp probably lost the Cy Young with that game. who cares? we’re trying to make the playoffs, and as of right now, we’re still in first, so we have the best shot of making it.) but i’m taking this perspective, and it might be completely naive: What does leaving Carp in say to the bullpen? “we don’t trust you”? does the morale of the ‘pen suffer just as much as Carp’s morale by leaving the starter in there? just a thought.

fuego brings up a good point. if Carp is gassed, we better clinch before his next scheduled start (if that’s even mathematically possible) so he can be somewhat more rested for a game 1 start. What has to happen (vis a vis astros/reds losses and cards wins) for us to clinch before he has to pitch again? anyone?

Well, just to come in as a wee defense, because I would have pulled him, BUT:

There are two points to bring a reliever in: Josh Bard, and Mike Cameron.

1. For Josh Bard, Duncan has just visited the mound to talk to Carpenter. He’s ahead 5-2, a Cy Young candidate, you’re trying to help him out here, and the hit he just gave up was to Brian Giles. Not yet what I would call a cause for alarm, no matter how we non-professionals in hindsight think Carpenter looked.

2. Cameron is a little harder. Carpenter had just struck out a weak hitter. The bases are loaded with two out. In the game, Cameron, who’s a .270 hitter, had two fly-outs and an infield single, AND this is the only time he had seen Carpenter all year. And it is interesting to note in that situation the Pads may well have PH Sledge if Wainwright is brought in. In fact, that IS what happened in the next inning, and Sledge singled off Wainwright.

SO, not as obvious as it looks.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have minded leaving Carp in; however, last nights game may have been the most important game of the season, which also makes the argument for leaving him in even more complex. I just think that with a 3 run lead and Wainwright warm, you have to make the 2 out switch. Pat Carp on the back, not his best night, but only 2 runs in 7 2/3 isn’t bad. If we lose, we lose, but I think you need to a least put the team in the best possible position to win, and with Carpenter only pitching on his own willpower and Busch Stadium cheers, the switch has to be made.

On a positive note…I love seeing Jimmy Baseball back in the lineup. I know his option is around $10 million, but are there any chances of him dropping his salary to stay in St. Louis? He isn’t quite the player he used to be, but ya gotta love the guy. If we made some other much needed additions he could still be a reasonable 6 or 7 batter, and no one can touch him in CF. If that were the case we wouldn’t need to expect MVP numbers from him, just 6 or 7 stats. I hope Davey E. gets back before it’s too late, we could use the spark. Also, not to end on a sour note, but what is wrong with Scottie. He isn’t swinging with any confidence, I think opposing pitchers are keying on him, and it would be nice if the guy could produce at some point.

Matt- What happens if the Cards, Reds, and Astros end in a 3-way tie? Have they determined how the one-game playoffs would happen around the makeup game yet?

What we know now —

If there’s a two-way tie, then the game would be played on Tuesday. Cards would play at HOU, or at home against CIN.

If it’s a three-way tie, they have yet to announce how that will be handled.

-M.

I tend to agree. A weakened Carpenter is probably a better bet than a bullpen that is scary awful. Ain’t it a shame?

I agree with Leach, A.W. is the guy if he’s warm. When Carp gets rocked it affects the team negatively and usually produces a skid. That might have cost of the playoffs, and it certaily cost Carp a Cy Young. If everyone kept their comments concise, we all could read them! Short and sweet, fellas.

I really just wonder if this team is hungry? I mean I really think some might be thinking that they are ready to head to the house. They need to show some heart, someone besided Albert needs to step up and get it done. Honestly, the cardinals don’t deserve it really I love them to death but you can’t blow a seven game lead and think that everything should be handed to you.

RYAN HOWARD is THE MVP!!
Albert Who??????????

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