When Chris Carpenter went down with a nerve injury in spring training this year, it was not certain that he would pitch again this season. When the injury required surgery, it seemed all but impossible for Carpenter to return in 2012. However, last night Carpenter took the mound at Wrigley field as the St. Louis Cardinals took on the Chicago Cubs. And he performed admirably.
According to Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com, Carpenter felt fine after the start, but he admitted his stuff wasn't as good as he would have liked. She says he didn't have much feel for his curveball, and he did not rely on his cutter as much he normally would. Carpenter himself admitted he didn't quite have the feel.
"My stuff wasn't as sharp as I'd like, it wasn't even as sharp as it's been in those simulated games," said Carpenter, who preceded this start with four simulated games. "I did the best I could to get as many outs as I could and give us a chance. It was fun to go out there. It's definitely something I can build on, and hopefully my stuff is sharper as I get out there more often."
Carpenter went five innings and allowed just two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out two. Unfortunately for Carpenter and the Cardinals, the Cubs spoiled his debut with a walk-off win in the 11th after storming back to tie the game in the ninth.
The loss drops the Cardinals to 80-71 and reduces their lead in the Wild Card to just 1.5 games over the Milwaukee Brewers. However, Carpenter's performance is encouraging and he could make two more starts before the season ends.