Player Spotlight: Chris Carpenter
How much has Chris Carpenter meant to the Cardinals in the postseason alone? He may just be the greatest Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson, he is the only other Cardinals pitcher to win a Cy Young award, and he was snubbed of winning his second by losing t oTim Lincecum in 2009. So this great pitcher has been a true hero for the Cardinals since his signing in 2004, so let’s take a look back at the career of a true Cardinal Legend to be: Chris Carpenter.
Chris Carpenter drafted in the first round of the 1993 draft from the Toronto Blue Jays, made his debut in 1997 at the age of 22. He along with best friend and teammate Roy Halladay went on to spend many years in Toronto. Then Carpenter dealt with an injury and was not re-signed from the Blue Jays. Carpenter was signed on a risky move from the St. Louis Cardinals and though he missed the entire 2003 season the Cardinals were confident that he could come back strong. They were right, in 2004 his first year as a Cardinal, Carpenter went 15-5, with a 3.46 ERA, and 152 strikeouts. He helped lead the Cardinals to their first World Series since 1987, though he was injured and unable to pitch in the World Series, which the Cardinals were eventually swept in four games from the Boston Red Sox. In 2005, Carpenter showed he was no fluke, he won the NL Cy Young Award posting a 21-5 record, with a 2.83 ERA, and striking out a career high 213 batters. Carpenter then went on to have another successful season in 2006, where he eventually led the Cardinals to their first World Series Championship since 1982, he also pitched in his first ever World Series that year. In 2007, trouble struck once again with Chris Carpenter, after the first start of the season he required Tommy John surgery and missed the entire rest of the 2007 season and nearly all of the 2008 season, he started just 3 games and appeared in one relief appearance in 2008.
In 2009 Carpenter would go on to be the number two pitcher behind the Cardinals new Ace,Adam Wainwright. Waniwright and Carpenter proved to be one of the deadliest 1-2 punches in the entire MLB. Carpenter went 17-4, leading the league in ERA with 2.24, and striking out 144. The Cardinals had one of their best seasons in franchise history and were eventually swept in the NLDS by the LA Dodgers. The Giants starting pitcher, Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young because of conflicting votes of Carpenter and Wainwright, both were snubbed from an award they deserved. Carpenter was however the NL Comeback player of the year and proved once again he would be useful to the Cardinals. In 2010, Wainwright and Carpenter continued their success as one of the best 1-2 punches in the game, Carpenter posted a 16-9 record with a 3.22 ERA, and 179 strikeouts, but unfortunatley the Cardinals were unable to reach the postseason after a late season falter.
In 2011 the season started off bad when Adam Wainwright had to undergo Tommy John surgery, Carpenter was then given the pressure of being the number one starter. Carpenter was beat up and did not look like the same pitcher for most of the season, going just 2-7 before ending the year 11-9 where he came on strong towards the end of the season. Carpenter pitched a huge game clinching the wild card with a tremendous shutout in Houston. He then went on to pitch the greatest game of his career where he beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS out dueling his former teammate and bestfriend Roy Halladay in a 1-0 defeat. Carpenter passed Bob Gibson as the Cardinals all time Post Season wins leader with 8 wins and he hopes to lead the Cardinals to their eleventh World Series Championship.
In 8 seasons with the Cardinals, Carpenter has a 95-42 record, with a 3.06 ERA, and 1,073 strikeouts to 293 walks. He is currently fourth all time in Cardinals strikeouts and will reach second all time if he can remain healthy next year he is just 22 strikeouts away from tying Dizzy Dean. Carpenter is 8-2 in the postseason with a 3.10 ERA, and 50 strikeouts. In his Cardinals career he is a Cy Young Winner, 3 time All Star, 3 time NL Champion, and a World Series Champion in 2006. He has a lot of heart and plays the game the right way, he is often criticized by other teams and players for being mean, but in reality he is a great guy with just a little attitude, he is a true Cardinals legend to be.