Results tagged ‘ Chris Carpenter ’

Tuesday tidbits: A McGwire-free zone

You may have heard there was some news regarding Mark McGwire recently. We have covered it a bit at In the meantime, though, there are some other things going on with the Cardinals. So here are some other tidbits around the club from recent days:

* Spring Training dates were officially announced today. Cardinals pitchers and catchers will report to Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 17 and begin workouts on Thursday, Feb. 18. The full-squad report day is Feb. 22, with full-squad workouts starting on Feb. 23.

The club had already announced its Grapefruit League game schedule, which begins with a March 4 game against the Mets at Port St. Lucie.

* In response to a question I recently received on Twitter, the following Cardinals prospects will attend the annual Rookie Career Development Program: Bryan Anderson, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Francisco Samuel. Thanks to friend and colleague Jonathan Mayo for the info.

* I’ll be posting an Inbox before the end of the week, so if you want to get questions in, send ’em my way. Click on this link to do so.

* Chris Carpenter won the Tony Conigliaro Award. The award is given to a player who “has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage.” Another fine colleague and good friend of mine, Ian Browne of, wrote the story on the award. You can check that out here.

* There’s a lot going on in St. Louis and the surrounding area this week. For information on the Cardinals Caravan, click here.  For Winter Warm-Up info, click here. And for details on the St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner (I’ll be presenting an award!), click here.

Today’s playlist:
Hockey: “Too Fake”
Erasure: “Always”
The Farm: “All Together Now”
Nitzer Ebb: “Lightning Man”
Gossip: “Heavy Cross”


Carpenter to start Sunday if series continues

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not A Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

Manager Tony La Russa confirmed on Saturday that if the Cardinals’ National League Division Series against the Dodgers goes to a fourth game on Sunday, Chris Carpenter will start that game. Carpenter would be starting on three days’ rest for the first time in his Major League career.

“We wanted to wait until [Friday],” La Russa said on Saturday. “Chris played catch and passed the test, so if we play tomorrow, Chris starts.”

If the game were not an elimination game for the Cardinals, it’s likely that either John Smoltz or Kyle Lohse would have gotten the call to start. However, the Cardinals must win all three remaining games in the series in order to advance to the National League Championship Series.

Carpenter had a very difficult start in the opener of the NLDS, allowing four runs in five innings and needing 105 pitches to get 15 outs. La Russa said, however, that that slog did not deter him from going with his ace and former Cy Young winner on short rest.

“The fact is that the amount of effort he put into it was OK to consider pitching on [his fourth day],” La Russa said. “But the key thing was how he came in yesterday. And if we felt like it was a risk physically, then we had other options. But he’s good to go.”

Pitching Carpenter on Sunday also allows the Cardinals to pitch Adam Wainwright on regular rest on Tuesday if the series goes to a fifth game in Los Angeles.

“If we were playing on Monday Game 5, we wouldn’t do it,” La Russa said. “Because then you’d have to pitch him and Adam both [on short rest]. But … there is an off day Monday and Adam will be fully rested. It’s an edge that you play. It’s fair to say that we’re always careful with our pitching, and careful with Chris, and we’ll be extra careful. [We just want him to pitch] as hard as he can, as long as he can. If that’s five innings, six innings, fine. Whatever he’s got, it helps us compete in that game.”

NLDS travel day tidbits

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

Greetings from cold, wet Busch Stadium. It was in the 40s and raining this afternoon, so most of today’s workout activities were canceled. A few pitchers from each team got on the field to do some throwing, and the Cardinals held some meetings, but it was an abbreviated session for sure.

I was fortunate to have a relatively easy travel day, arriving on time via a nonstop from LAX. Evidently some scribes had a rough go of it with connections and weather and the like. But no complaints here, fortunately.

Not many tidbits from the park today, but here are a few:

* As noted in an earlier entry, TLR said today that Chris Carpenter is in the mix to start a potential Game 4, and that Kyle Lohse and John Smoltz will both be listed as available relievers for Game 3.

* TLR gave a lengthy and impassioned statement in favor of Ryan Franklin today. He was asked essentially where he stood with Franklin, and whether any other options would be considered in the ninth, and emphatically stated that Franklin remains his guy. He went on at some length, but this comment was really the heart of it:

“I was very impressed, so was Dave [Duncan], so was Marty [Mason]. So the short answer is he’s got a day of rest, and if we have a chance to save it tomorrow, he will definitely be our closer.”

* The players had no complaints about the workout being cut short. I think they were happy to get the break.

No playlist. I’ll get y’all a good one tomorrow.


Carpenter in mix for G4; Lohse, Smoltz available in relief for G3

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

ST. LOUIS —  Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has yet to decide — or at least yet to announce — a starter for a potential Game 4 of his team’s National League Division Series against the Dodgers. However, the fact that Game 3 is an elimination game for his club may have changed the equation a bit.

Initially, the Cards’ plan was to have John Smoltz and Kyle Lohse, the two primary candidates for the spot, available in relief in Games 1 and 2, then move one of them back to starting in Sunday’s Game 4. Instead, La Russa said on Friday that both right-handers will be listed as available relievers for Saturday’s Game 3. Smoltz, Lohse and Chris Carpenter are all in the mix to start on Sunday, assuming the Cardinals can force a fourth game by winning on Saturday.

Carpenter would be starting on three days’ rest, following a grueling 105-pitch, five-inning slog in Game 1. However, starting Carpenter on Sunday would allow the Cardinals to pitch Adam Wainwright on regular rest in a potential Game 5 in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

“What we’re doing is we’re spending a lot of time thinking about what we do to get to Game 4,” La Russa said. “That’s definitely the priority. But whether it’s the right thing, it’s more fun anyway, we are thinking about what if 4? I think that’s the way we should think. And Chris is one of the guys that’s a possibility.”

Carpenter will not be listed as a possible reliever for the third game, no matter what. But he, Wainwright, and starter Joel Pineiro are the only ones who won’t be available to pitch. Because Saturday is an elimination game, Lohse and Smoltz will both be in the bullpen on Saturday.

“When I talk about options, I think 99 percent of our attention is on trying to get to Sunday,” La Russa said. “So everything is about Saturday. But I did mention that Chris is an option [for Game 4]. Chris is not going to be in the bullpen. But other than that, it’s the other 99 percent. We’ve got to win tomorrow. We’re going to try to win tomorrow. And then we’ll see what we shake up with, as far as alternatives.”

Sunday tidbits: Carpenter, lineup

It’s the last day of a long trip, and a spectacularly beautiful day in San Diego. One last plug before we go home: If you’re one of those fans who goes on a road trip or two each year, this is a trip not to miss. Make a week of it, come out to San Diego and L.A., see these two ballparks, eat some good food, get some good weather. It’s consistently the best trip of the year.

Which is not to say that I won’t be delighted to come home tomorrow.

* TLR confirmed that Chris Carpenter is the scheduled starter for Thursday’s game against Houston. He’ll stay on turn, rather than getting the extra day that Monday’s off day might have afforded. That will put John Smoltz on Friday against Washington and TBA — likely Mitchell Boggs — on Saturday.

* There was some notion among fans and in the press box that today might be a good “shock troops” day. With a day off tomorrow, a winning road trip and a split series already in the bag, and some guys having taken on heavy workloads, it seemed to make sense to give some guys — especially Pujols — a day off.

TLR was having none of it.

“I thought about it, but I don’t think that’s the best lineup for this situation,” he said. “We’ve got days off. It’s been cool. It’s not the kind of time when you’ve got guys that are tired. Guys are excited.

“We’ve got a chance, with a day off tomorrow, to have a hell of a road trip. You’ve got a day when balls are going to carry. I want Ludwick to play. I want Holliday to play. I want Albert to play.”

Today’s playlist is a Sunday-morning, moving-a-little-slowly-after-a-night-game kind of thing:
My Morning Jacket, “Off the Record”
Eagle-Eye Cherry, “Save Tonight”
R.E.M., “Radio Free Europe”
Incubus, “Drive”
Van Morrison, “These Dreams of You”


Thursday tidbits: rotation, C.Duncan, 10,000 wins or not

Matthew Leach

Oddly, it’s an overcast night in San Diego,but still very mild and pleasant.

* Following Monday’s off day, the Cardinals have an opportunity to shake up their rotation a bit, but they’re not likely to get too cute. On Tuesday it will be Adam Wainwright against Houston, with Joel Pineiro getting the Wednesday assignment. The question is Thursday.

Chris Carpenter could start that game, or he could be pushed back to Friday against Washington. Essentially, if Carpenter doesn’t get pushed too hard tomorrow against the Padres, he’ll likely pitch on his fifth day against Houston. If he has to work very hard and could use the extra day, he’ll get it. Kyle Lohse will get the other of those two games, and John Smoltz’s next start after Sunday will be six days later, on Saturday the 29th.

* Talking to a couple of different people, it sounds unlikely that Chris Duncan will return to the Cardinals after his release from Triple-A Pawtucket in the Red Sox organization on Thursday.

“That’s his call,” TLR said. “It’s not ours. My guess is he’s not real pleased with us.”

According to one former teammate, it’s unlikely that Duncan would return as long as the current coaching staff is intact. Not that he had a problem with them — quite the contrary. But it’s no secret that there was a lot of baggage for Chris, playing for not only his dad but a manager who had known him since he was a kid.

Personally, I wish Chris well. Whatever else may be said, I like him personally and he was a very well-regarded teammate. I hope he lands on his feet somewhere.

* The Cardinals issued a statement today regarding the franchise’s all-time wins total. It’s the team’s position that they’re at 9,218 entering tonight, not 9,999. The club only recognizes the wins it recorded as a member of the National League.

* Some members of the team visited the Navy SEALs training facility near San Diego today.

No playlist, this is already too late getting posted.


Friday night tidbits: Rotation, Glaus, Garcia, Eckstein

We continue to get amazing weather this summer. First-pitch temp of 83, no clouds, nicest summer I can remember.

On with the tidbits…

* Chris Carpenter is officially scheduled to start on Monday in Los Angeles, with Mitchell Boggs getting the Tuesday game at Dodger Stadium. They’d both be on turn to pitch over the weekend in San Diego, but on the following homestand, it makes a difference.

If Carpenter starts Monday, then next Saturday 8/22, he could then go on Thursday, 8/27, at home against Houston — rather than in the following series against Washington.

* Troy Glaus is headed down to Memphis to begin a rehabilitation assignment over the weekend. He was not in the clubhouse today.

* Jaime Garcia had another fine outing at Class A Palm Beach today as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery. Garcia pitched 5 2/3 innings, his longest outing yet, with one hit, one run, five strikeouts and four walks. Overall, in five Minor League appearances, he’s pitched 16 2/3 innings with eight hits, three runs, 19 Ks, 5 walks and no homers allowed. So far, so good.

* David Eckstein spoke with reporters for a good while before today’s game. He said it’s always special to come back here, that he still loves playing in front of the fans here and cheers for his ex-teammates.

With that said, he also still holds some ill will regarding his departure, feeling that he was portrayed inaccurately and unfairly by the front office during negotiations.

* The Cardinals took BP quite a bit earlier than normal today, because there was a gymnastics exhibition on the field during the 6 o’clock hour. That meant everything got bumped up.

* TLR went back to the lineup with two lefties (Schumaker and Rasmus) at the top of the order today. He wasn’t asked specifically about it in the pregame, but it’s not that hard to figure out. San Diego only has one LH reliever, Joe Thatcher. And while Thatcher has been very effective against lefties this year, for his career he’s not a lefty-killer. So it’s less of a concern to have the two left-handed hitters back-to-back, as compared to a team with two or more effective LH relievers.

Today’s playlist:
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Seven-Mile Island”
Indigo Girls, “Center Stage”
Four Horsemen, “Tired Wings”
Modest Mouse, “Bury Me With It”
Mike Doughty: “Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well”


Tuesday tidbits: Lohse, K.Greene, Rotation

Greetings from partly-cloudy, warm and muggy Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals begin a very brief three-game homestand.

* Kyle Lohse threw on Tuesday for the second time since aggravating his right forearm injury. He stretched it out to 120 feet, and said he put more into the throws. He also reported feeling better today than he did on Sunday, the day of his first throw.

A date for a mound session is still somewhat uncertain, but it’s definitely getting closer.

“We’ll probably do this a couple more times [so they can] make sure everything is good and I come back strong tomorrow,” Lohse said. “We’ll see how that turns out and hopefully get on a bullpen in the next couple days or a week or whatever.”

* Khalil Greene has not yet been activated, but the day is getting closer. According to two sources (not to mention the Gameday presentation of tonight’s Memphis game), Greene is not with the Memphis club. Greene has played two games at shortstop and two games at third base for Memphis, going 6-for-15.

* The Cardinals will not skip Brad Thompson on Friday. Instead, they’ll use yesterday’s off day to give the entire rotation an extra day of rest. Thompson will pitch Friday at Kansas City, followed by Chris Carpenter on Saturday and Adam Wainwright on Sunday. That means Wainwright would pitch at home the following weekend against Minnesota, rather than at the Mets on June 26. Projecting it far out, both Carpenter and Wainwright would pitch in the Giants series, then Carpenter would pitch at Cincinnati and Wainwright in the opener at Milwaukee. They’d each get a start in the final series before the All-Star break, at Wrigley Field.

* Meanwhile, Thompson remains safe in his spot for the foreseeable future, that is as long as Lohse is out.

Here’s TLR’s comment:

“I think the idea is to pitch the best guy that you have. And based on his opportunities, there’s nobody better than Brad. When Lohse comes back, then you’re going to pick the best five. And if Brad’s outpitching somebody, then somebody in the rotation will go in the bullpen. It’s always the best five. Unless they’re really close and one guy fits the bullpen better than the other guy.”

Today’s playlist, well, you probably could have guessed the theme:
The Supremes: “Reflections”
Four Tops: “Reach Out I’ll Be There”
Temptations: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
Stevie Wonder: “I Wish”
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: “Tears of a Clown”


Sunday tidbits: Ank sits

Greetings from Shea, where I won’t mind if I never cover another game. Hurry up, Citi Field!

* Rick Ankiel is out of the starting lineup with an abdominal strain, which he sustained last night. Not much word on the severity yet, whether he could pinch-hit or anything like that.

* I haven’t gotten a final word on Chris Carpenter’s bullpen session today, but by all accounts, it’s a formality. He’s starting Wednesday.

* The weather is OK for now, but the reports are that it could be hit-and-miss all afternoon. Something popping up here or there.

* TLR reiterated today that he thinks that both Isringhausen and Franklin are “distracted” by questions about roles and whatnot. I asked him what could be done, and he said talk it through with them. Derrick Goold followed by asking whether a flat-out declaration might accomplish that, and TLR made one.

“When Franklin’s fresh, he’s the guy that gets the ninth inning. We’ll try to keep him as fresh as we can. He’s the best guy we have for that role.”


Carp Wednesday

Pending a successful bullpen session tomorrow, Chris Carpenter will start Wednesday in Atlanta.