Yes, it was only 18 pitches, but Chris Carpenter threw two scoreless innings on Saturday against ML hitters. It was his first such outing since 2 Sept 08. According to reports, he was able to locate his breaking ball well, and his fastball, and other than a hit batter it was a good outing.
LaRussa and Duncan were understandably giddy following this outing.
Carpenter has been brought along carefully this spring, and it is still very early in spring training to get really excited. What has happened, though, is he’s met all the wickets set for him to date. Carpenter has 5 or 6 more starts to make this spring; there is always the chance of regression, but as he throws more, it appears his arm is sound this spring. For the first time since 2006.
He will begin to throw with more confidence, and throw more innings.
Cardinal fans everywhere are suddenly much more excited about this season. If Carp is able to return to the form of 2005-2006, which is a lot to ask of him but possible given his progress so far, the St Louis rotation is pretty formidable:
Wainwright #1 pitcher
Carpenter #1A pitcher (only because of the 2 year layoff and still recovering from injury)
Lohse #3 pitcher with #2 stuff
Wellemeyer #3 pitcher with #2 stuff
Piniero…. #5 pitcher with #3 stuff (which, in a contract year, I hope he finds a way to throw consistently).
If those guys make 25-plus starts each, this is a 90 win team. Even with Glaus on the shelf for the first month (at least).
Maybe not quite division-champ caliber, but certainly playoff caliber (Wild Card?)
Yes, a reason to be giddy. It definitely seems brighter around here today.