Friday, October 28, 2011
Matchup: Matt Harrison vs. Chris Carpenter
By Jeff Caplan
ST. LOUS -- This is it, Game 7 for all the marbles. For the St. Louis Cardinals, there's no doubt RHP Chris Carpenter would get the big-game start once the Game 6 rainout on Wednesday allowed the ace a third day of rest. For the Texas Rangers, manager Ron Washington could have gone back to LHP Derek Holland after his sensational Game 5 start, but it will be LHP Matt Harrison taking the ball in the start of his brief big-league career. Game 7 will be broadcast on Fox and 103.3 FM ESPN. Here's a closer look at the matchup:
Harrison (1-1, 5.03 ERA):He hasn't logged a ton of postseason innings per start, averaging fewer than five innings per start, but Harrison hasn't been all that bad either. He did give up five runs on six hits in the weird Game 3, but he was also a victim of bad call at first, a two-run throwing error by Mike Napoli in his only start at first base and other sloppy fielding. He was gone in 3 2/3 innings. He's hurt himself with seven walks in 14 1/3 innings, but has also done a good job escaping jams by inducing ground-ball double plays, his bread-and-butter all season.
Carpenter (3-0, 3.30 ERA): The last time Tony La Russa turned to Carpenter on three days rest, it didn't work out so well. Carpenter lasted just three innings in Game 2 of the NLCS, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks. ... Carpenter's two starts in the series have been near-exemplary. He's a big reason why the Cards pulled out Game 1, 3-2, allowing only a Mike Napoli two-run homer. He left Game 5 tied at 2-2 when La Russa opted to go to Octavio Dotel to start the eighth, the inning the Rangers scored two runs, this time on a Napoli double. In his two World Series starts, Carpenter has pitched 13 innings and allowed four runs on 11 hits. He's struck out four and walked two.
Hitters: Allen Craig tagged Harrison with a first-inning solo home run and David Freese doubled in Game 3. Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and Ryan Theriot all singled in Harrison's 3 2/3 innings of work. ... Napoli got the best shot off Carpenter in Game 1 with a two-run homer to right to tie the game. Adrian Beltre smashed a solo home run down on one knee that tied Game 5. Little-used Mitch Moreland blasted Carpenter in the third with a monster shot into the upper deck of the Home Run Porch at Rangers Stadium.