It wasn’t what he wanted.
It wasn’t what the crowd at AutoZone Park in Memphis wanted either.
Chris Carpenter made his second rehab start in the minors this season on Saturday. And it wasn’t good.
Carp pitched 3.1 innings, gave up nine hits and four earned runs. He threw 74 pitches, 49 of which were strikes. Yeah… see? Not good.
So… it was extremely hot and humid Saturday in Memphis. I mean… it was moist out there, y’all. OK? Now. I’m not using this as an excuse for Carpenter. Have you seen this man sweat? I knew he would be able to handle the oppressive heat in Memphis. It’s quite similar to St. Louis’s summer heat… but maybe just a little hotter because of it being closer to the equat … errr… further south. It would give him a good test for St. Louis.
I am saying that this could be why the Redbirds lost 8-1. The guys played a double header the night before and they didn’t drink enough Gatorade. There isn’t enough Gatorade. Honestly.
But, enough about the heat. It was oppressive.
You want my thoughts on Carp, right? OK! Here we go!
He never really had great control. I didn’t see his curve. The fastest his fastball hit was 93. It wasn’t the Carp from the 2011 World Series or other dominating performances of the past. It wasn’t a performance that was signature him.
There were some good moments.
He snapped up a ball hit to him and started a double play to get the first two outs of the game. But… the guy has always pitched his position well.
He did complete a strikeout with a pretty filthy change-up though. This was near the end of his outing.
So. Good moments. Bad, bad moments. But. Not him.
In post game interviews, Carp let it be known it wasn’t the performance he wanted.
“I have a long way to go before I can get outs up there,” Carpenter said. “If I can’t get outs down here, never mind getting outs up there. I didn’t feel like I was as sharp as I needed to be or should have been. It wasn’t what I was looking for.
It’s not fair to the ballclub. It’s not fair to our team. It’s not fair to our fans. The name on my shirt and whatever I’ve done in the past doesn’t give me a free pass to go out and take somebody’s job up there. If I’m not going to help, I’m not to go up there and embarrass myself. I’ll tell you that right now. I’ve got to get sharper — bottom line.”
I don’t want to see him embarrass himself. He doesn’t deserve it. But. I don’t really think he is there. I don’t think he is the starter option the Cardinals will be looking for … or should I say NEEDING … this season. The Cardinals are obviously looking at other, more viable options for starters. Carpenter, more than likely, could be a significant role player out of the bullpen later the season. Just having him around. Providing that influence to the younger players. To the guys in the bullpen. It will be beneficial. And you know that is what Carp wants more than anything. To be of importance to the team.
We probably won’t see the Carp of old this season. I don’t think it’s time to send him out to pasture though. He isn’t on deaths door, knocking away.
He’s Carp. He’s just older. And recuperating. No matter how much we thought he was BAMFy and Supeman-y. This rehab stint is just proving what we all should really know about the man. He is a human being. And human beings slow down when they are hurt.
He has another scheduled start in Memphis on Thursday. Hopefully that goes a little better. If not, the clock is still ticking and he has options to slow it down to a relief pitchers pace.
We’ll all be on the edge of our seats. Because this is Chris Carpenter we’re talking about, after all!
Even the fact he has reached this stage — pitching again in games, even at the minor league level — is so far beyond what anyone could have imagined in February. Plus he does have the full 30-day rehab assignment to work and pitch in games and see how things go. Obviously, I am hoping for the best and for the opportunity to see him pitch again in a big league game. If determination alone could do it, you know he’d be back throwing in games at Busch.