Thursday, September 29, 2005
Close to Swell, Golly Gee
Hair in pigtails, with two pretty yellow ribbons knotted into them, I'm going to get all Pollyanna-ish about last night's game, a tough 7-6 loss to the Spacemen from Houston. When I got home from trying to reclaim adolescent athletic glory (since the debate team didn't offer a lot of that in high school) at my softball game last night, I quickly turned on ESPN to see the score, as if it actually mattered. I went to bed disappointed, and due to poor eyesight, thinking that Carp only lasted 2 2/3 innings. This morning, after having a chance to review the box score on the train, I found some relief in his line. 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K ... and he hit two doubles. Why am I somewhat relieved? Look at the BB & K numbers; that tells me that Carp still has the "stuff," man. In his last three uncharacteristic starts, he had 3K vs PIT, 2K vs CHC, and 4K/3BB vs MIL. Those numbers really had me worried because they made me think fatigue, arm trouble, mental break down or a combination of the three. Last night, however, Carp threw 96 pitches, 67 for strikes, making it an all around respectable outing, and proving, to me, that he remains a hard throwing, top starter. He was frustrated, but in his mind he was battling. The two doubles, from a pitcher that is pure AL at the plate, are also a testament to his toughness and evidence that he's got the grit he needs in his role as the top starter for the top team in the NL. For some of those nine hits, Houston was getting lucky, plopping them into a gap (metal gaps included) off the end of the bat. The two dingers undid Carpenter. Both of the came from lefty hitters (technically Berkman's a switch hitter), representing Carpenter's weakness this season, lefties are hitting .264 (whooo) and account for 14 of the 18 home runs allowed by #29. Anyway, that was a much better outing than the past three, which were really cause for some concern. Last night's outing was just a "bad game" for a top starter, as opposed to the beginning of the end for a used up pitcher. If he goes out there next week, building on this start, Carp stands to have a pretty good outing. Now, as for Izzy... Afternoon update: Check out this article on Baseball Savant about pitchers on a streak heading into the postseason. And this one at The Hardball Times analyzing momentum.