The right-hander will bid for his 11th victory and third in a row when St. Louis continues its four-game series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.
Carpenter, who was forced to sit out St. Louis’ postseason run to the World Series last year due to nerve damage in his pitching arm, has quickly re-established himself as a key member of the Cardinals’ rotation. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last eight outings, and one run and five hits over 17 innings in winning his last two starts.
Carpenter is two wins behind Willis for the NL lead, and ranks 10th in the league with a 3.01 ERA.
“He’s got so many weapons, and he competes so hard,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said after watching Carpenter allow one run and four hits over eight-plus innings in Monday’s 6-1 victory at Cincinnati.
Despite his latest stellar effort, Carpenter was frustrated at his inability to go the distance against the Reds.
“I wanted to finish the game, but I just couldn’t do it,” Carpenter said. “I couldn’t get the leadoff guy in the ninth, and they weren’t going to leave me out there with 120 pitches to go through the middle of their lineup.”
The Pirates ended a 12-game losing streak in the series with an 11-7 win Thursday, but reverted to form with an 8-1 defeat Friday. Jeff Suppan took a two-hitter into the ninth inning and the Cardinals backed him with five home runs.
Freddy Sanchez drove in the lone run for Pittsburgh, which has lost nine of 12.