The grittiest and toughest Cardinals pitcher since “Gibby” is dinged up pretty good, but it is not a shock. You don’t need to wear a white coat to know that Chis Carpenter’s nerve never healed. February 5th was a grim day in St. Louis and throughout Cardinals Nation, but there is already excitement in the air and it reeks of fresh talent.
“Carp” lived up to his reputation as the gutsy commander in 2012 after making it happen in 2011. The team needed him, and he put his heart and body into every pitch and at bat. Coming back late last season to help push the Cardinals back into the playoffs illustrated his extreme work ethic. The 2012 NLCS could have been the last time to witness the legendary “Carp” perform for us, and if it was, then avoiding the knife and moving on is now reality. Chris taught the world of baseball about durability. Several operations forced him to frequently rehab his golden physique, making Tuesday’s ill news logical. Tony LaRussa showed that bowing out like a gentleman is respectable, especially when you could be remembered positively.
Attempting to fill thirty seven year-old Carpenter’s void will be the FUTURE of the St. Louis Cardinals. If there is one team in MLB that can afford to lose an immovable object like Chris Carpenter, it is the Cards. While Jaime Garcia appears iffy in ways, next month’s World Baseball Classic will illuminate fans to his current condition. Lance Lynn won eighteen games last year, and if he doesn’t get over worked and moved to and from the bullpen, he can dominate again. Kyle Lohse looks great with red shoes, especially after slicing up batting orders like a samurai in 2012. Birdinals can’t be picky. Carpenter’s robust contract doesn’t help, but all of the other frugal off-season moves (Ty Wigginton, Randy Choate, Ronny Cedeno) didn’t create a pocket full of lint.
What is inspiring is that Joe Kelly (2012-3.53 ERA, 2.08 SO/BB) and Shelby Miller (2012-1.32 ERA, 4.0 SO/BB) both demonstrated their sound ability to take the mound in the first frame last year. Kelly more often than Miller, but they both throw jalapeno jack! Don’t forget about Trevor Rosenthal (2012-2.78 ERA, 3.57 SO/BB) whose pitches hit triple digits throughout different relief work. No need to fret Cardinals Nation, the arms will be warm and ready to blaze balls past foes.
If the Cardinals are able to reduce their errors in the infield and produce an efficient offense then they are bound for glory. The talent is going to Jupiter without the elder statesman to guide them across, but others will step up as necessary. That is part of being a Cardinal. Yadi did it when Albert left and Chris did it when Wainwright was hurt. Despite how 2013 finishes in St. Louis, don’t be stunned if Chris Carpenter is spitting seeds and glaring the opposition down in the future.
Over and out