The St. Louis Cardinals might have more starting pitching than they know what to do with during the last two weeks of the season as they try to hang onto the second wild card berth in the National League.
Not only is right-hander Chris Carpenter ready on Friday to make a long awaited -- and stunning -- comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in July when he starts at Wrigley Field; right-hander Jake Westbrook, who had a mild right oblique strain, also could be ready by next week.
That would give the Cardinals seven potential starters, counting right-handers Kyle Lohse, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly and left-hander Jaime Garcia.
Additionally, the Cardinals have slotted their top two minor league starters, hard-throwing right-handers Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller, in the bullpen. In Sunday's 5-2 victory in 12 innings at Los Angeles, Miller gained his first big-league victory with a scoreless 11th and Rosenthal turned in a lights-out performance, striking out four in two innings.
"(Rosenthal) was lighting up the radar gun," manager Mike Matheny said. "But that's not his game. His game is making pitches.
"To get him out there in another tight game and watch him come through was impressive."
For the moment, the rotation is Lohse, Lynn and Garcia on Tuesday through Thursday at home against Houston. Then it likely will be Carpenter, Wainwright and Lohse at Chicago this weekend. After that is uncertain, but Matheny has more solid options than most teams at the end of a long, hard season.