Carpenter brings his 'A' game
Carpenter looked strong today, with a good fastball, lots of 93s and 94s and good run, and he moved it in well to right-handed batters. He also stymied Adrian Gonzalez in a key spot with an outstanding curve in under Gonzalez's hands. What made Carpenter so effective on balance was that he was only asked to go 102 pitches; when his command looked like it might be slipping and he was entering the territory where he's worn down in his past three or four starts, La Russa took him out. When you also consider the possibility that the Cardinals might still be facing elimination in Game 4 and would ask Carpenter to come back on short rest, taking him out at 102 with a four-run lead is very sensible.
Peavy was solid for three innings, hitting his spots, but starting in the fourth inning he left too many fastballs in the middle of the plate -- a 90-mph cookie to Chris Duncan, who can't hit anything with a shake, break, wiggle, or roll in it; a flat 86-mph two-seamer to Albert Pujols, who hits everything but will certainly hit a gift pitch like that; a hittable 0-2 fastball to Carpenter; and an inexcusable fastball down the middle to Yadier Molina. The Cardinals' hitters aren't this good, but Peavy made them better with his pitch selection and location.