Carpenter starting Game 7 for Cards on short rest
ST. LOUIS—Chris Carpenter is starting on three days' rest in Game 7 of the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Manager Tony La Russa said he decided Friday morning after consulting with pitching coach Dave Duncan, who gave the thumbs up. The team made it official several hours before the deciding game against the Texas Rangers.
"Dave had a real heart-to-heart with him to gauge just how ready he was to pitch just physically, not mentally but physically," La Russa said. "And then I think if he would be available to pitch, he probably would have pitched in this game sometime.
The bottom line: the Cardinals wanted their best pitcher on the mound.
"He's the guy our club wants to have out there, and he's ready to take it," La Russa said. "Plain and simple. He's our guy."
Carpenter started on short rest for the first time of his career in the first round of the NL playoffs against the Phillies and lasted only three innings, allowing four runs on five hits in his shortest outing of the year.
La Russa did it the first time so Carpenter would be ready for a potential Game 5, and Carpenter threw a three-hit shutout in the deciding game, outpitching Roy Halladay.
The 36-year-old right-hander said after Game 6 that he'd be ready for the matchup against Texas' Matt Harrison.
La Russa said Duncan's conversation with Carpenter indicated the pitcher had learned from the time, and how he would "adjust or compensate" in Game 7. La Russa said the pitcher actually began making adjustments after struggling early in his first outing on three days' rest.
"Part of what he learned from that is why he gets the ball," La Russa said. "And we expect him to be more effective."
La Russa had no expectations that Carpenter might go deep. The 36-year-old right-hander entered Game 7 having logged 267 1-3 innings, the most of his career.
"You watch him and he starts to labor, you get him out of there," La Russa said.
La Russa could have chosen Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson, both well rested, but leaned on his ace. He indicated another starter, Jake Westbrook, might be his first choice out of the bullpen even though the right-hander worked a scoreless inning in Game 6.