Carp against the Cubs?

A Chris Carpenter start within the next four days is looking increasingly likely, thanks to Friday night’s rainout.

The Cardinals originally thought they wouldn’t need a fifth starter until the end of next week, because they had an off day coming on Monday. That would have allowed Carpenter to have another high-intensity throw of some sort on Tuesday, then pitch in a game perhaps Saturday against Kansas City.

The rainout pretty much changed all of that, though. Or, more specifically, the make-up game on Monday changed all of that. Now the Cardinals need to find a fifth starter no later than Wednesday.

One way that can happen is for Carpenter to pitch Wednesday. And it’s probably the least disruptive way. Joel Pineiro could go Monday, on his regular fifth day. Kyle Lohse could go Tuesday, three days after the rainout, making the rainout night in effect a bullpen session — since a pitcher usually pitches in a game three days after his bullpen. Then Carpenter could throw a normal between-starts bullpen tomorrow, and pitch against Chicago on Wednesday.

That would allow Carpenter a much more normal routine, a five-day cycle after his heavy workout yesterday.

“It’s more artificial going the way we were going, and he feels good, so he is definitely one of the guys who could fit in the mix for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,” La Russa said.

Still, they’re not committing to anything just yet. A few things are in play. One is they want to be sure that Lohse came through the weirdness of last night OK. They’ll have a better read on that tomorrow. Another is how all of these permutations affect future series — specifically the May 25-27 series at Miller Park.

“You’ve got to look at everything,” La Russa said. “You’ve got to look at Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all three. You’ve got a pitcher today and you’ve got a pitcher tomorrow. The rest of it, you’ve got to hold open.”

-M.

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