In his second start back from his most recent stint on the disabled list, Carpenter takes the mound for the Cardinals on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Milwaukee.
Carpenter (2-0, 0.00 ERA) followed up winning the 2005 NL Cy Young Award with a 15-win season the following year, but he made just four starts and one relief appearance over the next two seasons for St. Louis (26-18) because of elbow and shoulder injuries.
Because of that history, the Cardinals are being extra cautious with Carpenter since he came off the 15-day disabled list last week. He made 67 pitches over five scoreless innings of a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs last Wednesday, scattering three hits while striking out four.
Carpenter has allowed only one unearned run, but he said he understands the team’s conservative approach.
“I’m just trying to go out and stay healthy,” said Carpenter, who’s 2-3 with a 5.30 ERA in six lifetime starts against the Brewers, to the Cardinals’ official Web site. “I know if I’m healthy that my ability has a chance to come out, and I have a chance to give my team a chance to win. Unfortunately I haven’t been healthy a whole lot, and that’s all that concerns me.”
St. Louis had its five-game winning streak snapped in the finale of a three-game series with Kansas City over the weekend, losing 3-2. Albert Pujols(notes), who is batting .331 after going 0-for-2 with a walk in Sunday’s loss, is hitting just .288 with one homer in his last 17 games against the Brewers since the start of last year.
While Carpenter faces a Milwaukee team that was swept over the weekend, the Brewers (26-18) have been dominant in divisional play, going 17-8 against NL Central opponents while winning all seven series.
After opening a nine-game road trip with a three-game sweep of the Cardinals from May 16-18, the Brewers ended the stretch by getting swept in Minnesota after a 6-3 loss Sunday.
Mike Cameron(notes) and Prince Fielder(notes) homered in Sunday’s defeat, but Milwaukee pitchers allowed seven homers as the Brewers were outscored 23-8 in the three losses. Brewers third baseman Bill Hall(notes) likely will be happy to be back at Miller Park after going 1-for-28 (.036) on the road swing.
Yovani Gallardo(notes) (4-2, 3.83) will try to help Milwaukee bounce back as he looks to regroup from a subpar outing. The 23-year-old right-hander suffered his first loss since April 13 on Wednesday after allowing six runs and seven hits over five innings of a 6-4 loss to the Astros.
Gallardo, who missed most of 2008 due to a torn ACL, went 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA against the Cardinals in 2007, allowing 11 runs and 13 hits over 10 2-3 innings.
The Brewers have won 10 of the last 11 against the Cardinals.