Not much has gone Chris Carpenter’s way over the first three-plus months of the season.
If his most recent outing is any indication, however, the former NL Cy Young Award winner could be well on his way to turning things around.
Looking to build on his first win in more than six weeks, Carpenter takes the hill for the visiting St. Louis Cardinals as they continue a three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
St. Louis (42-38) had been outscored 42-16 during a season-worst six-game road skid before beating Baltimore 6-2 on Tuesday night, recording its second win in seven games since Albert Pujols(notes) was placed on the disabled list with a broken left wrist.
Cardinals starters have compiled a solid 3.12 ERA over the last eight games, success Carpenter (2-7, 4.26) will try to extend.
Carpenter, whose 3.09 ERA since 2004 ranks fifth-best in the majors, has proven to be consistent when healthy over the years, but he hadn’t really seen the same results this season until his last start.
After losing five consecutive decisions, the 36-year-old right-hander allowed one run and five hits over seven innings in a 12-2 win over Philadelphia on Thursday.
“I still feel like I’m a quality guy that runs out there every fifth day,” said Carpenter, who is 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 13 interleague starts with the Cardinals. “I believe in myself and I believe in my stuff, and my ability to get outs.”
While Carpenter has allowed three runs or less in 10 of his 16 starts, his win total ranks as the worst in baseball among pitchers with at least 100 innings.
“He’s had his stuff,” second baseman Skip Schumaker(notes) told the Cardinals’ official website. “That’s the thing. That’s why it’s been kind of a mind-boggling thing, because you’re like, ‘How is this happening?’ Because his stuff is there.”
Carpenter hasn’t faced the Orioles (35-41) since allowing seven runs and nine hits over four innings of an 8-4 loss Aug. 3, 2002, while with Toronto. He went 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA over his previous five starts against Baltimore.
Hardy, whose 11 home runs are four more than Baltimore shortstops totaled from 2008-10, is batting .360 over his last 19 games versus the Cardinals. He is 3 for 8 (.375) against Carpenter.
The Orioles will send Chris Jakubauskas(notes) (2-0, 5.18) to the mound in hopes of putting an end to their pitching woes. Since taking 10 of 12 at Camden Yards, Baltimore has lost four of six there while its starters have compiled a 7.62 ERA.
Jakubauskas, who is 2-0 with a 4.43 ERA as a starter, hasn’t made it past the sixth inning in any of his four outings. The right-hander has never faced St. Louis.