Simply put, the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals would not have won the World Series without starting pitcher Chris Carpenter. They had to try to repeat without the veteran right-hander for most of 2012. Despite an inspirational and unexpected recovery from mid-season surgery, the old October magic was not there.
A player whose durability has been a career-long challenge, Carpenter was made of bedrock in 2011. He answered the bell for 34 or more starts for the second consecutive year, marking the first time in his 14-year career he accomplished the feat. 30 of his 34 starts in 2011 were at least six innings in duration, including 21 of seven innings or longer.
Also, for the first time in his career, Carp led the National League in innings pitched at 237 1/3 and he also tied for tops in the circuit with his 34 games started. He won the final game of the regular season at Houston and his NLDS Game 5 performance, besting Roy Halladay and the Philles by 1-0 score, will never be forgotten.