Nothing like losing a tough game, only to wake-up to face one of the best pitchers in baseball. Sunday's no treat (Adam Wainwright) but let's deal with Ryan Dempster's Saturday opponent, Chris Carpenter, first.
Carpenter throws a sinker (dark red), cutter (green), curveball (coral) and some change-ups (blue) and the rare four seam fastball (yellow).
Spin movement (in inches; catcher's view):
Arm angle corrected spin axis (degrees) by speed at release (mph)
He has terrific control:
The sinker is thrown to contact, but the rest of the pitches miss a good number of bats. The cutter is tough to hit, despite being a frequent visitor to the strike zone. The key is the high chase rate, so it looks like a pitch he can command in and out of the zone.
If you haven't heard or figured it out, Carpenter is a ground ball machine.
Which means his pitches are tough to elevate. Put it all together, and you have a pitcher who will waste a change-up to lefties, but has three plus pitches that he throws often to everyone.
Carpenter's velocity, if you go back to 2008, has been on the rise. But, if you look at his home starts and raise and skeptical eyebrow at one start, he may be wearing down a bit.
Carpenter was knocked around (a six run inning) last time out, and LaRussa was more concerned than his pitcher.