I just knew Friday night’s game would be a classic, and it was. Carpenter and Halladay, friends, former teammates, Cy Young winners, elite pitchers, facing one another in the deciding game of the series. The Cardinals got one run across in the first, and that was the only run of the entire game. What ensued was a wonderful pitchers’ duel.
After the second inning, only 1 runner made it into scoring position. Carpenter’s final line: 9 innings, no runs, 3 hits, 3 Ks, and 16 ground-ball outs. (The sinker was really working.) Halladay’s: 8 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 7 Ks. That’s normally enough for a win, but not this time.
Carpenter has thrown two beauties in 9 days, interrupted only by his first career start on 3 days’ rest last Sunday, when he gave up 4 runs, 5 hits, and 3 walks in 3 innings. Hopefully, LaGenius has learned a lesson there. There was some talk in the St. Louis press about how his daring gamble paid off, since the Redbirds went on to win the game anyway and Carpenter was on the mound in the decisive Game 5 with full rest. I don’t buy that, but it doesn’t matter now.
The Philly press, not surprisingly, was all over their team, which won 102 games in the regular season but then collapsed after Game 1 of the Division Series. Guys, admit it, the `27 Yankees wouldn’t have beaten Chris Carpenter Friday night.
Carpenter certainly deserves his success after a rough year. It took him 8 starts to get his first win and 8 more to get his second. He finished 11-9. In 7 of those 9 losses, his teammates scored 1 run or none at all. That had to be frustrating. But he has shown how tough he is, how professional he is, and, most of all, how damn good he is.