Carpenter, who is tied with the Marlins’ Dontrelle Willis for the major league lead in wins, is easily having the best season of his career, going 10-0 with a 1.54 ERA over his last 13 starts, all St. Louis wins. As if that’s not impressive enough, Carpenter is 10-0 with a 2.07 ERA on the road this season.
“He’s been throwing the ball unbelievably,” Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein said.
Carpenter became the majors’ first 18-game winner on Wednesday, tossing eight solid innings in an 8-3 victory over Pittsburgh.
“If you go out there relaxed, you’re going to give up runs,” Carpenter said. “You have to go out and continue to compete and make pitches.”
The Cardinals took two of three from Washington over the weekend and have won four of their last five overall. St. Louis took the series finale 6-0 on Sunday.
“I always say you don’t just win with homers. You need a bunt, you need a hit-and-run, you need a steal,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “Those are the little things that helped us out to win 105 games last year and those are the things that are helping us out this year to win some games.”
While St. Louis has basically run away with the NL Central, Florida is in the middle of the tightly packed wild-card race, trailing Philadelphia by a half-game.
The Marlins took two of three from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, but were routed 14-3 on Sunday.
“We won the series—that’s the main thing,” right-hander Josh Beckett said. “It would have been nice to sweep. It’s just one of those deals. You can’t give up that many runs to that good of a pitcher (Carlos Zambrano).”
The Marlins have used dominant starting pitching to keep pace. They have won 10 of their last 15 games, allowing two runs or less in nine of those victories.
Florida will counter Carpenter with A.J. Burnett, who had been 7-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his previous seven starts before taking the loss in a 6-4 defeat to Milwaukee on Wednesday.