NOTE: When we think of Chris Carpenter’s 2011 season, we mostly remember the latter part of the year and especially October and tend to overlook the early part of the season — like the ERA that was in the 4’s throughout May and June and the fact he had one win until June 23. So, as a reminder of how things were going at this time five years ago, here’s a look back at some of the frustration of a June 11 game against the Brewers (who were Los Cerveceros that night) with a post I wrote on June 12. Also, at the end, there’s a brief note about a guy I completely forgot existed. Sorry, Andrew Brown.
Would the person with the Chris Carpenter voodoo doll please stop poking it?
(Especially if it’s Brendan Ryan.)
Even a jersey with Cardenales on the front couldn’t keep CC from once again having one bad inning, which also again cost him and the team the game. Los Cerveceros won 5-3 on Cerveceros Day to honor the Hispanic community. CC’s record dropped to 1-6.
Things were going well through five innings. He gave up a home run to Prince Fielder in the second, but had only allowed one other hit and struck out four. The Cards had tied the game in the fourth, then took a 2-1 lead in the sixth thanks to a Lance Berkman homer off Zack Greinke. Then came the bottom of the sixth.
CC himself can tell the story:
“Tonight, I was as good as I’ve been, through five (innings). Then, three pitches and I give up four. It fell apart in that one inning and there’s no excuse for it.”
Those four runs came via a two-run homer by Rickie Weeks (Greinke had singled right before) and a two-run double by Corey Hart that scored Fielder and Casey McGehee, who’d received back-to-back walks.
CC had more to say about the game and his season overall:
“It’s weird,” he said. “To be honest, I feel no matter if (my pitching) is good, bad or OK, I just can’t do anything right.
“I had good enough stuff tonight to win this ballgame and we get the lead there and I can’t keep it.
“Why that is I don’t know. But I’ve got to think about that. It just seems like I can’t do anything right right now. It’s just good enough to not be right enough,” said Carpenter, permitting himself a chuckle at that convoluted syntax.
So now the Cardinals have lost the series, lost back-to-back games for the first time in 10 days and only have a half-game lead in the NL Central. Bad news, yes, but the positive is that it’s mid-June and there are still plenty of games against the Brewers (and the Reds, for that matter) ahead — no matter what happens this afternoon.
Still, momentum is a lot better when it’s going up instead of down — a lesson Chris Carpenter is learning all too well this season.
One roster note for today: the Cardinals official Twitter reported last night that outfielder Andrew Brown will be making his major league debut. He’s currently batting .351 with 11 homers and 41 RBI at Triple-A Memphis. Although no other move was announced, it makes sense that Allen Craig will be going on the DL for the second time this season after his collision with the wall on Tuesday in Houston when he hurt his knee. More on the roster move is in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
There is so much about the early part of 2011 that most people have put out of their memories. Not only Chris Carpenter, do you remember the slump that engulfed Albert Pujols early that year? He hit .245 in April and didn’t get his average over .270 until early June. Remember that Ryan Franklin left spring training as the closer. He was gone by May and most of the rest of the season, the team was in flux as far as the closer.
There were a myriad of injuries – beginning with Wainwright on the first day of spring training. It was the year that LaRussa suffered most of the year with shingles. It was the year that Jeannie Duncan fell terminally ill.
The glory of the end of the season was purchased at an awful price. The entire organization was tested as no team I have ever seen before.
I have had friends lament all the trials of the early season – contending that the title run would have been much easier without everything they had to overcome. I respectfully disagree. I think that without the crucible of that regular season, that team would have never had the mettle to overcome the excellent teams they faced in the playoffs that year.
I also think that 2011 has marked franchise ever since. We are, now, that team. Ever since 2011, this team has played with an abiding confidence in its character – that undefinable expectation that whatever gets thrown at it during the regular season, there is nothing that they cannot overcome together.
I have greatly appreciated your recalling some of the trials of 2011. As opportunities arise, I hope you’ll do more of this.