The Cardinals fought back in Game 2 to even the NLCS series at a game a piece. The Cardinals will now send the depricated Chris Carpenter to the mound, the victim of some harsh words by Zach Greinke. We’ll see if Yovani Gallardo is enough to counter a focused and peeved Chris Carpenter. If Carpenter really does the things that Greinke accused him of (prodding batters verbally, yelling at them, in displays of intimidation), he will be doing them even more so tonight. It’s all ready been established these teams have bad blood with one another, which was why the umpire’s warning to both sides following a beaned batter was more significant than any old warning.
That said, let’s take a more indepth look at how things might shake out here in Game 3, as the series has shifted back to Saint Louis, where the Cardinals won 45 of their 90 regular season games. All betting odds are taken from Bodog.
Milwaukee Brewers AT Saint Louis Cardinals
October 12, 2011 at 8:05 PM EST
Game 3 odds: MIL (7/5), STL (20/31)
Chris Carpenter threw a complete game shut out in his last appearance. An impressive game in which he walked only 3 batters. He did only strike out three, but that can obviously be forgiven when we’re talking about a shuout. Carpenter knows how to work hitters into ground outs and resultingly the defense turns a lot of double plays. It’s only when things really go south that Carpenter allows runners to advance past second base.
Carpenter kept his WHIP (Walks + Hits / IP ) down to 1.26 this year. That isn’t quite elite, but it is very good. His 3.45 ERA is also rock solid. Having just got past the iffy starter in the rotation in Edwin Jackson, things are looking good for Carpenter and the pen. Carpenter has thrown 7 or more innings in 7 of his last 8 starts, the lone excecption being a tough outing in Philly.
Carpenter against the Brewers this year:
- September 7th – 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 Ks
- August 11th – 8 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 4 Ks
- June 11th – 6 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 Ks
Two of the three outings are top notch, while the other he appears to have got in some trouble because while only giving up 5 hits, he gave up 5 earned runs, so when he gave up hits they were hits with RBIs attached, pretty much invariably. Can Carpenter avoid things like that with the Brewers this time around?
The issue Greinke made over Carpenter’s attitude on the mound seems to have faded somewhat. Saint Louis utilityman Allen Craig saracastically chimed in, “Are we still talking about that?” Carpenter didn’t attribute much more to it either, saying “He doesn’t know me…he can say what he wants.”
For one thing, it will help that the next two games are no longer in Milwaukee. The Brewers are still 4-1 at home this year and all of their crucial hitters have better stats at home. The Cardinals could catch the Brewers off guard. The went 39-37 on the road this year, which is good, but Carpenter is a tough pitcher at home, and just in general for that matter, and if he works his pitch variety, uses the off speed in perfect balance, then he could make it a long night for the Brew Crew.
The troubling thing for the Brewers in tonight’s matchup isn’t the fact they are on the road, though. It is that Yovini Gallardo has had little success against the Cardinals and a repeat performance of what he has done in the past won’t hold the Brewers run count back far enough for the Cards to beat it. Gallardo has a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings in this postseason, but is 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA for his career against Saint Louis.
Gallardo said “(I) can’t explain it….but I try to forget about those things.”
Fans won’t forget, but if Gallardo can put it out of his mind at least, he could keep his composure and put in a good night at the mound. Gallardo said he was going to bring his “A game,” but that better be the A game that has shown up against the rest of the league, not the one that we have seen against the Cardinals throughout his career.
In this series, Rickie Weeks is 6 of 10 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs while Braun and Fielder have been sensational. Fielder is batting .333 (8 of 24) with 6 RBIs and 3 HRs. Braun is batting a ridiculous .500 from the plate (13 of 26) with 8 RBIs and 2 HRs. Braun is, however, 1 of 7 away from Miller Field, which could bode well for Carpenter; any one piece of the machine removed makes it weaker.
But the Brewers are a well oiled machine and I still find the totals for this series to be just a bit low for what the Brewers have done all year. However, counteracting this is the fact that Carpenter has been very good against the Brewers. That’s why the Cards are favored so heavily to win this one, not to mention that Gallardo probably won’t hold up through 6 innings, and a bet on the money line for the Cardinals is attractive here. I would leave the ‘over/under’ alone on the grounds that Carpenter could contaminate the beer that is the Brewers offense and take the decisive 2-1 edge in this series.
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