Stats & Info: Chris Carpenter

Vogelsong sticks to slow stuff in Giants' win

October, 16, 2012
After scoring six runs in their first three home games this postseason, the San Francisco Giants found their offense at AT&T Park.

Second basemen Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot, who had five hits and one RBI combined in this postseason entering Monday, combined for three hits and four RBI in the Giants’ 7-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Giants got the game off to a good start as Angel Pagan hit his second lead-off home run in the last six days.

He’s the second player with two lead-off home runs in a single postseason joining Jimmy Rollins who did it in 2008. Rollins and Derek Jeter each have the most postseason home runs leading off the first inning with three.

Not only did the Giants’ bats come to life, but they also had a starting pitcher get through the sixth inning for the first time this postseason.

Ryan Vogelsong allowed one run in seven innings to pick up his first career postseason win.

Vogelsong matched a season high by recording nine outs with his offspeed pitches. He did not allow a hit against an offspeed pitch.

This postseason the Giants have been working hard Monday through Friday and then taking weekends off.

They improve to 4-0 on games played on weekdays, scoring nearly four more runs per game than they have on the weekends.

Chris Carpenter was responsible for six of the eight runs in the game as he allowed five and drove in the Cardinals only run.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Carpenter is just the seventh pitcher in MLB history to drive in his team’s only run in a postseason game.

The last to do so was Darryl Kile of the Astros against the Braves in 1997.

It’s Carpenter's first postseason loss since 2009.

He was 5-0 in his previous seven starts.

The series now shifts to St. Louis for the next three games beginning Wednesday.

Matt Cain will face Kyle Lohse in Game 3.

Cain won his last start and is 1-1 in the postseason while Lohse is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts.

Home has not been sweet so far for Giants

October, 15, 2012

AP Photo/Matt SlocumChris Carpenter has 10 postseason wins, the fourth-most among NL pitchers.
The road has been a friendly place for teams in the 2012 postseason and the St. Louis Cardinals hope to continue that trend in Game 2 of the NLCS tonight in San Francisco. The Cardinals are 4-1 on the road this postseason; overall, road teams have a 16-9 advantage in the first three rounds so far.

The San Francisco Giants have lost all three of their games at AT&T Park this postseason. The three-game losing streak matches their longest postseason home losing streak in franchise history.

It is just the third time the Giants have lost three straight home postseason games in a single year, and the first time it has happened since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958. The New York Giants lost three home games in a row in the 1913 World Series and the 1923 World Series, losing both series.

Chris Carpenter Stats To Watch
Carpenter is 5-0 in his last seven postseason starts since the start of the 2011 postseason, matching Bob Gibson (1964-68) for the longest streak of undefeated postseason starts in Cardinals history. His five straight wins are two shy of the Cardinals postseason record set by Gibson from 1964-68.

Carpenter had arguably his best start since returning from the disabled list when he blanked the Washington Nationals over 5⅔ innings in Game 3 of the NLDS. He pitched brilliantly when the pressure was on, holding the Nationals hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Four of the seven outs with RISP came on his slider. The slider has been his primary out-pitch this season, throwing it more than one-third of the time with two strikes. The 35 sliders he has thrown in two-strike counts this season have netted him 17 outs, including eight strikeouts, and just one baserunner allowed.

Ryan Vogelsong Stats To Watch
Vogelsong made one start against the Cardinals in the regular season, throwing seven scoreless innings on August 8. In that game, Vogelsong threw 70 percent fastballs, his highest usage of the pitch the entire season.

Vogelsong was effective with his fastball against the Cardinals by keeping it off the middle of the plate. More than 85 percent of the pitches he threw in that game were either on the outer-third or inner-third of the plate or off the outside corners, and 17 of the 20 outs he recorded came on pitches to those locations.

How to get David Freese out
Freese is the new Mr. October, with at least one hit in 22 of 25 career postseason games for a career postseason batting average of .386.

The one strategy that might work against Freese in the postseason is to challenge him with pitches up in the zone, especially fastballs. Pitchers have thrown him 89 pitches chest-high or above and gotten eight outs with no hits allowed.

You don’t want to miss your spot against Freese, though. He has 25 hits in 44 at-bats (.568) ending in a belt-high pitch over the heart of the plate in his postseason career.

Carpenter aces tough spots vs. Nationals

October, 10, 2012
Pete Kozma has made the most of the inside pitches he's seen this season.
When St. Louis Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter needed to be at his best, he was. The result of that was an eventual rout for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS.

Let's take a closer look inside Carpenter's performance and inside his victory.

Winning with his arm and with his bat
Carpenter threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings to improve to 5-0 with a 2.09 ERA in his last six postseason starts. Combining the regular season, he’s now 7-1 with a 3.17 ERA against the Nationals.

Carpenter’s team is 13-3 in his postseason starts (.813 win percentage), the best team win percentage for anyone who has made at least 10 postseason starts

Carpenter now has won four postseason games in which he hasn’t allowed a run. Only Tom Glavine has more such wins (6).

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Carpenter is the second pitcher to start a regular season game without getting a win, but start a postseason game and get a win.

The only other was Virgil Trucks for the 1945 Detroit Tigers.

Carpenter also tied the Cardinals postseason record for hits in a game by a pitcher with two. That had been done seven times previously in Cardinals history, most recently by Jeff Suppan against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2004 NLDS.

How Carpenter survived his jams
Carpenter only lasted 5 2/3 innings because of his pitch count—106 pitches. And it was a high-stress workload. He threw 73 pitches with at least one man on base.

The key pitch for Carpenter when he was in trouble was his slider.

Carpenter went to the slider 11 times with a man on base and netted four very important outs with the pitch.

He struck Michael Morse out swinging with one to end the first inning, got a pair of outs with it to strand a runner on second base in the second inning, and got Kurt Suzuki to fly out to Jon Jay with a man on second with one to end the fourth inning.

Carpenter got strikes with nine of his 11 sliders despite throwing only five of them in the strike zone.

Kozma likes the inside pitch
Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma hit a three-run home run to put this game away early.

Kozma has made the most of his playing time since the season-ending injury to Rafael Furcal. In 86 at-bats, he’s hit line drives at a 31 percent rate.

In Game 3, he did something he’d previously done a couple of times this season- hook an inside pitch over the fence. The image atop this article shows the pitch locations for Kozma’s three home runs in 2012.

Kozma has relished pitches on the inner-half of the plate this season. Of his dozen extra-base hits (combining regular season and postseason), eight have come on pitches to that area.

Stat of the Game
Elias tells us that the Cardinals are the fourth team in postseason history to win consecutive games by at least eight runs in the same series.

The other three are the 1960 New York Yankees (in the World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates), the 2007 Boston Red Sox (in the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians), and the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays (in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox).

Cardinals flip the script on Bryce Harper

October, 10, 2012

ESPN Stats & InformationAfter hitting over .400 vs. the Cardinals in the regular season, Bryce Harper has struggled in the NLDS
During the regular season Bryce Harper torched Cardinals pitching, hitting .429 in 28 at-bats including going 4-6 on pitches low-and-away.

In seven games he struck out a total of four times. That success hasn’t translated so far in the NLDS as Harper struck out four times in Game 2 alone and is 1-10 with six strikeouts in the series.

Postseason Adjustment
The Cardinals have flipped the script on how they have pitched Harper.

During the regular season St. Louis pitchers threw hard stuff inside and up in the zone to the Nationals rookie and went with offspeed pitches away in the zone.

Harper was content to just put the offspeed stuff in play with five singles and two doubles the opposite way. Against the hard stuff he slugged .923 in 13 at-bats.

In the NLDS the Cardinals have gone middle-away with fastballs against Harper (1-6, two strikeouts) and have kept offspeed pitches down in the zone (0-4, four strikeouts).

Offspeed pitches out of the strikezone have really troubled Harper as he has chased nearly half of them this series (47.4 percent).

Can Carpenter Continue This Strategy?
Harper has never faced Game 3 starter Chris Carpenter as the Cardinals’ righty has made just three starts since coming off of the disabled list.

If Harper does break out of his slump in Game 3 it shouldn’t be a surprise as Carpenter has struggled to get lefties out. Carpenter’s 1.005 opponent OPS against left-handed hitters is nearly twice that of his .521 mark against righties.

Is Harper Fatiguing?
2011 was Bryce Harper’s first season in professional baseball as he played a total of 109 games between single-A and double-A. This season Harper has played a total of 162 games between triple-A and the big leagues.

Although he’s played in nearly 50 percent more games this season, Harper played his best baseball down the stretch, with a slash line of .330/.400/.643 from September 1 to the end of the regular season.

AP Photo/Eric Gay
The Cardinals celebrate their 11th World Series title after beating the Rangers 6-2 in Game 7.

In a season filled with so many improbable comebacks, the St. Louis Cardinals had one more rally left in the World Series on Friday night at Busch Stadium.

The Redbirds erased an early 2-0 deficit in the first inning and cruised to a 6-2 victory in Game 7, which gave the Midwestern franchise its 11th World Series title, second-most all-time, and first since 2006.

Let’s recap some of the come-from-behind heroics of these “Cardiac Cards”:

• Cardinals are the second team to win a World Series after being one strike from postseason elimination, joining the 1986 Mets.

• Cardinals are the eighth team since 1980 to come back from a 3-2 series deficit to win the World Series. The last team to do it was the 2002 Angels against the Giants.

• Cardinals clinched a postseason spot on the final day of the regular season. They are the third team in Wild Card Era (since 1995) to do that and win the World Series, joining the 2006 Cardinals and 2010 Giants.

• Cardinals were the sixth team in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to be 10 games out of playoff contention on August 1 or later to make the postseason. The only other team to win the World Series in this span was the 1969 Mets.

David Freese
The hometown hero, David Freese, earned the World Series MVP. This award came less than two weeks after he won the NLCS MVP. With those two trophies, he became the sixth player to win the LCS and World Series MVP in the same postseason. The others are Willie Stargell (1979), Darrell Porter (1982), Orel Hershiser (1988), Livan Hernandez (1997) and Cole Hamels (2008).

Freese drove in two runs in this deciding game, which gave him a major-league record 21 RBI in the 2011 postseason. He passed Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1997), Scott Spiezio (2002) and David Ortiz (2004), who each had 19.

Chris Carpenter, pitching on three days’ rest, threw six innings of two-run ball to get the win. Carpenter, who also won the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS, is the first pitcher in major-league history to win two winner-take-all games in one postseason.

With the victory, Carpenter improved to 7-0 in postseason home games, joining Curt Schilling as the only pitchers to win their first seven career postseason decisions at home.

Tony La Russa, who joined Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel as the only managers to win three postseason Game 7’s, is now the ninth manager to win at least three World Series titles. Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel have the most rings with seven each.

The Texas Rangers again tasted defeat in the Fall Classic as they became the first American League team to lose back-to-back World Series since the Yankees in 1963 and 1964.

The Rangers still have not won a World Series title in their 51 seasons as a major-league franchise. Of the eight current MLB franchises to never win a World Series, the Rangers have been in existence the longest.

In fact, the Elias Sports Bureau tells us that the Rangers and the Minnesota Vikings are tied for the most seasons played by any franchise - in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB - that has never won a championship.

The loss by the Rangers was hardly predictable. Prior to Friday night, the Rangers had not lost consecutive games in more than two months, when they lost three in a row to the Red Sox at home August 23-25.

Was this the most exciting postseason ever? There were 13 one-run games, which is the most in a single postseason all-time. There were also 22 game-tying or go-ahead hits in the World Series, tied for the most in a single World Series with the 1975 series.

Storylines emerge before first pitch

October, 28, 2011

Getty Images
Matt Harrison (left) and Chris Carpenter (right) face off in tonight's deciding Game 7 in St. Louis.

After almost 2,500 major-league games and nearly seven months since Opening Day, the 2011 MLB season has come down to one final game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers at 8:05 ET tonight.

Given the twists and turns that this series has taken so far, it’s no surprise that there has been some key late-breaking news this afternoon. Let’s take a look at the hottest storylines as we prepare for the first pitch of the 36th winner-take-all game in World Series history.

Matt Holliday
Holliday out for Game 7
Matt Holliday will miss Game 7 after he injured his right hand Thursday night.
According to Elias, Holliday is the first player to start the first six games of a seven-game World Series and not start Game 7. Holliday was just 3-for-19 (.158) in this series after hitting .435 with five RBI in the NLCS.

Allen Craig will replace Holliday in the starting lineup. Craig is 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter in this series, but is just 2-for-13 in all other at-bats. During the regular season Craig had a .917 OPS in 47 games as a starter.

Furcal dropped to 7th in lineup
Rafael Furcal, the normal leadoff hitter for the Cardinals, is hitting .176 in 74 postseason at-bats. He hasn’t had a multi-hit game since Game 1 of the NLCS, and has scored only one run in the World Series.

Tonight’s matchup with the southpaw Matt Harrison doesn’t look good for him, either. In the World Series he has just one hit in 13 at-bats against lefties, after hitting .275 against lefties in 42 regular season games with the Cardinals.

Final game for Pujols in Cardinals uniform?
After more than 1,700 games with the team that drafted him, Albert Pujols could be playing his final game as a Cardinal. The only other player to play at least 1,500 games with one team and have their final game for that team be in Game 7 of a World Series is Rogers Hornsby, according to Elias.

This will be Pujols’ third career appearance in a Game 7 (both of the previous ones came in the NLCS). While his team won both games, Pujols went 2-for-4 with an RBI in 2004 but was hitless in two at-bats in 2006.

Bullpens back in spotlight
The dominance of the bullpens was a key storyline heading into the series, but they haven’t lived up to the hype so far. The relievers for both teams have combined for four blown saves and a 6.26 ERA.

The bullpens could be a deciding factor in this game, too, as Chris Carpenter is starting on three days’ rest for the second time in his career and Matt Harrison failed to get out of the fourth inning in his most recent start in Game 3.

Stat To Know
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, of the 35 previous World Series that have gone the distance, teams that scored first are 22-13. The largest deficit overcome in these games was four runs, by the 1925 Pirates, who trailed the Washington Senators 4-0 before winning the game 9-7.

Jamie Squire/Getty Imag
The Cardinals (managed by Tony La Russa, on left) and Rangers (managed by Ron Washington, on right) lead their teams into the 36th Game 7 in World Series history.

For the 36th time in baseball history and first since 2002, a Game 7 is needed to decide the World Series, this time between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. If recent history is any indication, start popping the corks in St. Louis. Since 1980, home teams are 8-0 in World Series Game 7s (prior to 1980, home teams were 10-17).

Furthermore, of the last nine World Series to go seven games, eight were won by the team that won Game 6. The only team since 1979 to lose Game 7 after winning Game 6 was the Cleveland Indians against the Florida Marlins in 1997.

Playing in a Game 7 is nothing new for the Cardinals. In fact, they are making their 15th appearance in a postseason winner-take-all Game 7, the most all-time. And they’ve had quite a bit of success, winning 10 postseason Game 7s, also the most all-time.

St. Louis leads all franchises with seven Game 7 wins in World Series action, but has lost three of its last four. On the other side, Texas is making its first appearance in a Game 7 of any series in franchise history.

Pitching Matchup
Matt Harrison will make his second World Series start for Texas. Harrison took the loss in Game 3 after allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. Harrison will try to be the first starting pitcher who lost a game earlier in the series to win Game 7 of a World Series since Frank Viola (1987 Minnesota Twins).

It was reported Friday that the Cardinals will start Chris Carpenter, and that should make St. Louis fans breathe a sigh of relief. Carpenter is 8-2 in his postseason career, including 3-0 this season. In three career World Series starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and has allowed just four earned runs in 13 innings against the Rangers this series.

Carpenter has pitched on three-days rest just once and it was earlier this postseason in Game 2 of the NLDS at Philadelphia.

According to Elias, Carpenter will be the ninth pitcher to start two winner-take-all games in one postseason.

The others were Blue Moon Odom (1972 Oakland Athletics), Pete Vuckovich (1982 Milwaukee Brewers), Bret Saberhagen (1985 Kansas City Royals), John Smoltz (1991 Atlanta Braves), Jaret Wright (1997 Indians), Curt Schilling (2001 Arizona Diamondbacks), Roger Clemens (2001 New York Yankees), Kerry Wood (2003 Chicago Cubs) and Pedro Martinez (2003 Boston Red Sox). No pitcher has ever won two winner-take-all games in one postseason, no matter if he started the game or not.

Stat of the Game
Elias tells us that Tony La Russa needs a win in Game 7 to avoid becoming the first manager to lose the clinching game of four World Series on his home field. In 1988, the Athletics lost in five games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Game Five at the Oakland Coliseum; in 1990, the Athletics were swept by the Cincinnati Reds, with Game Four in Oakland; in 2004, the Cardinals lost all four games to the Red Sox, with Game Four at Busch Stadium.

How Wilson's struggled, Carpenter's won

October, 24, 2011

Left: Where C.J. Wilson threw his fastball most often to right-handed hitters through Sept. 11.
Right: Where Wilson threw his fastball most frequently to righties in Game 1 of the World Series.
Click here to create your own Wilson heat maps and images.

The pivotal nature of Game 5 in a best-of-7 World Series knotted at 2-2 can be seen in the following stat: The Game 5 winner in such situations has won the World Series 26 out of a possible 39 times, or two-thirds of the time. So it's apt that each team has its ace on the mound heading into this contest.

Let's take a closer look at some of the keys to Monday's game.

The Starters: A closer look
C.J. Wilson lost Game 1 and fell to 0-3 this postseason largely because of problems locating his fastball.

Against right-handed hitters, he threw just 13 of 27 fastballs for strikes (48 percent), a rate below his season average of 62 percent.
C.J. Wilson
Missing with his fastball not only led Wilson to use the cutter more often (44 percent of his pitches to right-handers were cutters, a season-high), but allowed St. Louis to sit on that pitch and drive it.

Of the Cardinals' 17 swings against cutters in Game 1, they made contact on every one -- fouling off eight pitches and putting nine of them in play. Three of those nine went for hits, including David Freese's 6th-inning double that would ultimately be the game-winning run.

The heat maps at the top of the story show the primary location of Wilson's fastball to right-handed batters. The image on the left shows the primary location to them through the date of his last win, September 11. The image on the right shows a change: how Wilson primarily located that pitch in Game 1 of the World Series.
Chris Carpenter

One of the reasons that Chris Carpenter was successful in Game 1 of the World Series was his pitch location to left-handed hitters. Lefties were 0-for-7 against him in that contest.

Carpenter worked inside and outside to lefties with great effectiveness. He threw only one pitch that landed over the middle-third of the plate, width-wise (his other 26 were inside or outside). He got strikes with 11 of the 16 pitches he threw away from a left-handed hitters and twice got Josh Hamilton out with pitches located over the inner-third of home plate.

History Watch
Wilson is chasing history in a bad way. Another loss would make him the first pitcher to lose four times in a single postseason (20 different pitchers have lost three times, including Tom Glavine twice).

Wilson is also looking to avoid this list of pitchers who have gone winless in eight or more straight postseason starts: Al Leiter (11), Dwight Gooden (9), Gary Nolan (9), Randy Johnson (9) and Charles Nagy (8).

Meanwhile, Carpenter can become only the third pitcher in the last 10 seasons to win four consecutive starts within one postseason. According to Elias, the only pitchers to do that over the last decade (2002-2011) were Josh Beckett (2007 Red Sox) and Cole Hamels (2008 Phillies).

From a team perspective, the Cardinals have won their last five postseason Game 5s. The only team in major league history with a longer streak is the Phillies, who won seven straight from 1995 to 2010. The Rangers have lost their last three.

Matchup to Watch
Mike Napoli clubbed a 415-foot opposite field homer against Carpenter in Game 1, the third-longest opposite field home run hit in 2011. He's now 4-for-5 with two home runs against Carpenter.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Chris Carpenter's diving swipe of first base was one of many key outs in the Cardinals Game 1 win.
Allen Craig came through in a pinch and the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen came through every time it needed to make the right pitch in a Game 1 World Series win.

Craig’s pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth inning gave the Cardinals the lead for good. It was the first go-ahead RBI by a pinch-hitter in the World Series since Wade Boggs walked in the 10th inning of Game 4 for the 1996 New York Yankees in their win over the Atlanta Braves.

Craig, who was 7-for-22 as a pinch-hitter in the regular season, became the first Cardinals player with a pinch-hit go-ahead RBI game in the World Series since Brian Harper in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series (the game that featured the famous missed call at first base in the ninth inning by Don Denkinger).

That play made a winner of Chris Carpenter, who won his sixth straight postseason decision in Busch Stadium (both the old one and the current one).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the fourth pitcher to win his first six home decisions in postseason play, joining Mariano Rivera (7), Curt Schilling (7) and Orel Hershiser (6) (the latter two are covering the World Series for ESPN).

Lance Berkman continued his history of timely postseason hitting with two RBI. According to Elias, Berkman has the most RBI for any player within the first five World Series games of his career, with eight (six for the 2005 Astros).

C.J. Wilson fell to 0-3 this postseason with his Game 1 loss. He’s the first pitcher to lose Game 1 of the World Series and the All-Star Game in the same season since Dock Ellis in 1971.

It is the second time in team history that the Cardinals won Game 1 of the World Series by one run. The other instance was against the Boston Red Sox in 1967. That 2-1 win was headlined by a complete game victory from Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, four hits from Hall of Famer Lou Brock, and two RBI from Roger Maris.

Winning Game 1 of the World Series has been significant recently. In the previous 23 World Series, the Game 1 winner won the series 19 times.

The Cardinals are the third team to have four relievers make scoreless appearances of less than an inning in the same World Series game, the most such appearances in one game in World Series history. The other two teams were also managed by Tony La Russa -- the 2006 Cardinals (Game 2) and 1988 Athletics (Game 5), each of whom lost that game.

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski continued his impressive run this postseason with a pair of strikeouts to escape a seventh-inning jam.

Rzepczynski had only fanned one of the 14 right-handed hitters he’d faced in the LDS and LCS, but got the needed whiffs to preserve a one-run lead on seven pitches, six of which were offspeed (three sliders to Craig Gentry, and then three more sliders to Esteban German.)

He was followed by Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes, the latter of whom turns 42 on October 24th and became the oldest pitcher to earn a hold in a World Series game.

US Presswire
C.J. Wilson and Chris Carpenter get the call in Game 1 of the 107th World Series. Carpenter is 1 win shy of tying for the most wins by an active pitcher in postseason play.

The 107th World Series begins Wednesday with the Texas Rangers visiting the St. Louis Cardinals. The AL has won 62 of the previous 106 series and the winner of Game 1 has won seven of eight and 12 of the last 14. There have been 102 Best-of-7 World Series. The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the World Series 64 times (62.7 percent).

The Rangers are the first team lose the World Series and return the following season since the 1992 Atlanta Braves (who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays a year after losing to the Minnesota Twins). The last three AL teams to return to the Fall Classic a year after a loss have gone on to win the World Series. The last AL team to lose back-to-back World Series was the New York Yankees in 1963 and 1964.

The Cardinals are in their 18th World Series, tied for the second-most all-time with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cardinals are making their third World Series appearance since the start of the 2004 season, the most of any team in that span.

On the Mound
C.J. Wilson gets the nod for Texas. Wilson has not enjoyed recent postseason success as he is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three starts this postseason. According to Elias, the only other time a Game 1 starter in the World Series had lost two previous games in that postseason was Tom Glavine for the Braves in 1992. He was 0-2 heading into his Game 1 start against the Blue Jays. He pitched a complete game and won.

A major problem for Wilson has been the long ball, as he has allowed six homers this postseason after giving up just 16 in 223⅓ innings during the regular season.

Chris Carpenter takes the mound for the Cardinals. Carpenter has seven career postseason wins which is one shy of Mariano Rivera for the most among active pitchers. The seven wins are also tied with Bob Gibson for the most in Cardinals history.

Carpenter will face a Rangers lineup that includes six regulars who bat right-handed. Carpenter’s main secondary pitch versus righties is a tight-breaking slider that sits in the high-80s. Carpenter likes to work his slider down and away to get hitters to expand their strike zone. However, he faces a tough challenge in a Rangers lineup that features some of the most disciplined hitters in the league against sliders.

Carpenter got right-handed hitters to chase 47 percent of his sliders that were out of the zone during the regular season, a mark that ranked in the top three in baseball among qualified righties. However, Rangers righties combined to chase just 24 percent of the sliders they saw, led by Michael Young, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli. Each of them ranked in the top six in the league in chasing the lowest percentage of sliders against righties.

Stat of the Game
With frost and freeze warnings posted across much of Missouri and temperatures expected in the 40s for Game 1, it’s worth pointing out that neither team is used to these conditions. There were 39 games this season that were played at a game-time temperature of 100 or higher, with 27 of those games being played in Arlington.

The Cardinals played 15 games (10 at home) where the listed boxscore temperature was below 60. They went 5-10 in those games. The Rangers played 13 games with a boxscore temperature below 60, going 5-8 in those contests. All of those were on the road.

Pujols fastball success limits Gallardo

October, 12, 2011

Where opponents have most frequently thrown fastballs to Albert Pujols this postseason.
Click here to create your own Pujols heat maps

The circumstances are such for the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of the NLCS that they don’t have many options as to how they can pitch to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. This is due to how he’s performed in the 2011 playoffs, as well as how he’s performed in the past against their pitcher on Wednesday night.

This postseason, Pujols has seen 61 fastballs (including cut fastballs and sinkers). He’s swung at 33 of them and those swings have netted 10 hits and just five outs.

It hasn’t mattered where Pujols has been pitched. If he sees a fastball, chances are good he’s going to do damage. He has four hits against them when they were out of the strike zone, most recently two of his three doubles in Monday’s rout of the Brewers.

The heat map above shows the areas in which he’s seen fastballs most frequently, with the red shading representing 30 pitches. He’s 8-for-12 against those 30 pitches.

Pujols is 10-for-his-last-18 against Brewers Game 3 starter Yovani Gallardo, including 6-for-11 this season with three home runs. On September 1, Pujols hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, against Gallardo in an 8-4 win that helped start the Cardinals surge into the postseason.

The grand slam came on a fastball above the top of the strike zone, but the other two home runs came on breaking balls just above the bottom of the strike zone. In fact, dating back to 2009, Pujols has five hits and has made just six outs against breaking pitches from Gallardo.

Inside the Series
The Cardinals went 5-4 at home against the Brewers this season, despite only scoring 25 runs in those nine games. Their most recent meeting was a 2-0 Cardinals shutout on September 7, in which Game 3 Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter went the distance on a four-hitter.

Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun went a combined 11-for-64 with one home run among the 20 fly balls that they hit at Busch Stadium this season. That five percent home run rate is a fraction of their home run rate at home (24 percent) during the regular season.

Keep an eye on how the Cardinals do when they get ahead in the count early. The Cardinals have feasted on 1-0 and 2-0 counts in this series. They were 3-for-3 against Brewers pitchers in those counts in Game 1, 4-for-6 in Game 2.

On the Mound
Chris Carpenter is 4-0 at home in his postseason career, the first Cardinal to win his first four postseason decisions at home. He’s 6-2 with a 2.94 ERA in his postseason career, including his win in the clinching Game 5 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yovani Gallardo has struck out 50 hitters in his last 34 ⅓ innings pitched dating back to the end of the regular season. In his last five starts, 31 of those 50 strikeouts have come with his breaking pitches.

Gallardo pitched eight innings of one-hit ball against the Cardinals on May 7.

Key Stat
Via the Elias Sports Bureau: In a seven-game series, teams who win Game 3 after being tied 1-1 have won the series 58 of 81 times. That includes a 21-8 record in the LCS.
Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke made waves with his comments regarding St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter heading into Game 1 of the 2011 NLCS.

The Milwaukee Brewers pitcher will have a chance to back those words up at Miller Park, a place he has not tasted defeat since being acquired by the team this offseason.

Greinke went 11-0 at home this season. You have to go al the way back to Billy Pierce of the San Francisco Giants in 1962 for the last time a National League pitcher had 11 or more wins at home without a loss.

In fact he was one of only four pitchers since 2000 to go undefeated at home with a minimum of 10 decisions, joining Cliff Lee in 2008 (10-0), Johan Santana in 2006 (12-0) and Jamie Moyer in 2005 (10-0) as the only pitchers to do so. Lee and Santana were awarded the Cy Young in the years they accomplished the feat.

While Greinke won't be walking away with a Cy Young this year, his acquisition was a key move in the Brewers reaching the LCS for the first time since 1982, when they were still in the American League.

He is the perfect guy to start Game 1 as among the Brewers top four starters, only Greinke posted an ERA against the Cardinals (3.15) that was lower than his season ERA (3.83).

Greinke has made three starts against the Cardinals this season and lost just once, his last start against them in September.

In that start, the Cardinals were aggressive early in the count, swinging at the first pitch 43 percent of the time, the second highest by any opponent against Greinke in a start this season.

Four of the Cardinals' eight hits and both runs they scored that game were driven in on the first pitch. When Greinke has been able to get deeper into the count against the Cardinals this season, he's been dominant.
Chris Carpenter threw a two-hit, 11 K shutout on the final day of the regular season to propel the St. Louis Cardinals into the postseason. Friday he was just as good… maybe better as he recorded his first career 1-0 shutout.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Carpenter is the third pitcher in MLB history to throw a 1-0 shutout in a winner-take-all game. He also became the third Cardinals’ pitcher to throw a shutout in a winner-take-all game (Danny Cox, 1987 NLCS & Dizzy Dean, 1934 WS).

Carpenter registered an 84 on the Bill James Game Score scale. Game Score rates a pitcher's start, usually from 0 to 100, with rare games being higher or lower. The average start rates around 49 or 50. His start is tied for the second-highest Game Score in a winner-take-all postseason game.

Carpenter’s teams are now 9-2 in his 11 career postseason starts.

The only offense of the game started with a first-inning leadoff triple by Rafael Furcal, making him the first player ever to have two leadoff triples within the same postseason. That was immediately followed by a Skip Schumaker double, which scored Furcal and proved to be the only run of the game. It is the first time in MLB postseason history that every run in a game had been scored before a single out was recorded.

The loss snaps the Philadelphia Phillies streak of three straight NLCS appearances. Being shut out is uncommon for the Phillies as they were blanked just seven times during the regular season, tied for third-fewest in MLB.

The Cardinals will meet the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS. It's not the first time these two franchises will face off in a postseason series. These two clubs met in the 1982 World Series, when the Brewers were part of the American League. The Cardinals would overcome a 3-2 series deficit to win the final two games at home and capture their first World Series title since 1967.

US Presswire
For only the third time since the Cy Young Award was introduced in 1956, Cy Young winners – Chris Carpenter (left) and Roy Halladay (right) – are facing off in a winner-take-all playoff game.

The third, and final, winner-take-all game of the 2011 LDS takes place in the City of Brotherly Love as the Philadelphia Phillies host the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are 8-5 against the Phillies this season, including playoffs, and have won four of the six meetings in Philadelphia.

Divisional Series History
The Cardinals are 10-5 all-time in winner-take-all games. Their most recent was a 3-1 win over the New York Mets in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, won on Yadier Molina ninth-inning home run. St. Louis is 4-4 all-time in winner-take-all games on the road.

The Phillies have only played two winner-take-all games. They beat the Houston Astros 8-7 in Houston in Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS, winning on a hit in the 10th inning by Garry Maddox. They also lost to the Montreal Expos 3-0 at home in Game 5 of the 1981 LDS. Steve Rogers pitched a six-hit shutout to beat them.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Philadelphia's 13 consecutive playoff series that did not go the distance was the longest such streak in major league history. The previous record was held by the Oakland Athletics, who went 12 consecutive series without playing a decisive game, from 1974 to 1992.

On the Mound
Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay lead the Cardinals and Phillies, respectively, in this game. Since the Cy Young Award was introduced in 1956, this is the third winner-take-all playoff game in which previous Cy Young winners faced off. The others were Pedro Martinez against Roger Clemens in the 2003 ALCS and Pedro Martinez against Barry Zito in the 2003 ALDS.

Carpenter went only three innings in his Game 2 start (throwing 64 pitches), his shortest postseason start of his career. The Cardinals won that game, improving Carpenter’s teams to 8-2 in his 10 career postseason starts. In his last four road postseason starts, Carpenter is 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA.

Halladay is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in two career NLDS starts, including his no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. Despite the success in this round, Halladay has allowed seven earned runs in 16.0 innings in his last two starts against the Cardinals.

Players to Watch
Albert Pujols could be playing his final game in a Cardinal uniform, as he becomes a free agent at season’s end. Pujols ranks as the all-time leader in home runs and RBI for players within their first 11 major-league seasons. In Cardinals history, he ranks second or third in just about every major statistical category, trailing either Stan Musial or Mark McGwire.

Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have been driving the Phillies offensive bus this series. The two have a combined .517 batting average (15-for-29) with a 1.381 OPS while hitting seven of the teams 10 extra-base hits. The rest of the Phillies are hitting .181 with a .474 OPS.

Rollins, specifically, has been killing the ball. His performance against non-fastballs this postseason, although a small sample size, has been solid (5-for-8 with a double). And he’s not wasting any time at the plate – if he gets a pitch to hit, he’s taking his cuts.
David Freese
David Freese knocked in four runs with a go-ahead two-run double and his first career postseason home run to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Edwin Jackson won his first postseason start and the teams will head to Philadelphia for a winner-take-all Game 5 on Friday night.

Jackson threw his breaking pitches more than in any start since joining the Cardinals -- 33 of his 77 pitches (43 percent) were breaking balls, which accounted for all four of his strikeouts.

The Phillies chased 10 of the 15 slider Jackson threw out of the strike zone, his highest chase percentage (67 percent) with his slider this season. Helped by the Phillies chasing, 85 percent of his sliders were strikes, also his highest this season. Phillies hitters were 2-for-10 with three strikeouts in at-bats ending with a Jackson slider.

After hitting .400 (4-for-10) with runners in scoring position in Game 1, the Cardinals’ batting average in those situations decreased for the third consecutive game (1-for-5 in Game 4), but they left just three runners on base, a day after tying a franchise postseason record by stranding 14 runners.

The Phillies looked like they were ready to put the series away early when their first three batters went double, triple and single on Jackson’s first five pitches. But they recorded just four hits -- all singles -- the rest of the way.

Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley -- who doubled and tripled, respectively, to start the game -- are 15-for-29 with six doubles and 11 runs scored combined in the series.

Utley has really turned it up through four postseason games (.462/.588/.769) compared to his poor September (.205/.295/.337).

Cleanup hitter Ryan Howard went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, the 10th three-strikeout game of his postseason career, easily the most all-time -- only one other player has more than half as many. His career postseason strikeout rate of 40.4 percent is also the highest in MLB history (minimum 100 PA).

Roy Oswalt took his first career loss in a postseason start and the Phillies lost for the first time ever in Game 4 of the Divisional Series (3-1).

The Phillies had won each of their previous six postseason games in which they had a chance to eliminate an opponent, dating to 2008, matching the second-longest such streak in MLB history (according to Elias).

Chris Carpenter
Former Cy Young award winners Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay will square off in Game 5 Friday night. Elias tells us it’s just the third time in major-league history (the Cy Young award was introduced in 1956) that previous award winners will face one another in a winner-take-all postseason game.

Pedro Martinez was involved in each of the first two back in 2003 -- in Game 5 of the ALDS against Barry Zito and in Game 7 of the ALCS against Roger Clemens.