Tagged: Diamondbacks

The boys are back

After an extended absence of the St. Louis Cardinal bats, when they finally started showing up again, no one wanted to get too excited.  Was it permanent?  Was it lucky?  It was hard to know what to make of the situation.  Fluke or For Real?  That’s what I asked a week ago.  But after a few more games with the same result, I would say it is safe to say that the Cardinal offense has indeed found it’s way back.

Does that mean that we won’t ever have an off game?  No.  Does it mean that we won’t ever get shutout?  No.  Does it mean that we couldn’t possibly get no-hit?  No.

What it does mean is that the first week or so of games was not indicative of the potential of this Cardinal line-up.  Everyone struggled to find their place in the Cardinal line-up, Holliday was out for a bit and it was just plain ugly for awhile.  But once they broke out, they broke out in a huge way and they haven’t looked back since.

Not every game will be the 15-5 lashing they gave Arizona two games ago, but I think it shows what the Cardinals are capable of.  Tonight’s victim were the Dodgers as they’ve now had 14 or more hits in 4 straight games and are getting production from literally ever part of the lineup, even from guys who had previously been “slumping.”

Although, I think it is safe to say that no one is hotter right now than Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday.  These guys are absolutely on fire.  Multiple hit games are a regular occurrence as Holliday is hitting .391 and Berkman .311.  Berkman also had 4 home runs in 3 games.

One important key this year will be the triple threat of Pujols, Holliday and Berkman.  Last year the Cardinals were only a threat when both Pujols and Holiday were hitting.  When either got into a mini-slump, it became too easy for a pitcher to pitch around one of them and go after the other.  There was no one in that 5 spot consistently for that extra protection.  And the guy we did have (Ludwick) got traded away for the just as important need of pitching.  This year, as long as 2 of 3 can stay hot, the Cardinals will always be a threat.  And if all 3 ever get really going at the same time…..look out.

Garcia wasn’t as sharp as he was his first time out, but was more than good enough to get the job done.  And since he’s 2-0 with a sub 2.00 ERA…well I’m not going to complain.  Franklin is still the worrisome part of all of this.  Coming in with a gigantic lead, he still gives up a home run.  What if this had been another 1 run game he was trying to save?  Blown again.  Hopefully the Cardinals keep the games so far apart that he won’t have the chance to blow too many saves.

Keep the hits coming,

Slugfest ends in disappointment

If you had told me prior to tonight’s game that the Cardinals would back Carp with 8 runs, I would have breathed a sigh of relief.  A pitcher that has notoriously been under run-supported would finally be vindicated.  His 0-1 record so far this year is terribly unfair for how he has pitched.

And yet?  8 runs would not be enough and Carp would be chased after 4 innings giving up 8 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 walks.  It was a very un-Carpenter like performance.  Last year, he gave up 6 or more earned runs only twice.  And the last time he gave up at least 8 earned runs?  I had to go all the way back to September 23rd of 2005.  In fact 8 earned runs is a typical months worth of starts for Carp.

Hopefully, this is a fluke and he’s still right and will come back to his normal self next game.  And speaking of flukes, Pujols started to show signs of breaking out of his early season slump.  He went 3 for 5, although he’s yet to find his power stroke.  His swing still looked very awkward on his first hit and it was just as much luck as anything.  But as the game progressed, he started looking better at the plate.  If that continues, expect him to have a multiple home run game in the near future.

Aside from the Cardinal loss, this was a great game.  It had everything.  And I really do mean EVERYTHING.  4 Cardinals had home runs, 5 had RBIs, 3 with 2 outs.  3 separate D-backs had home runs as well.  Pitcher Bryan Augenstein recorded his first Major League hit immediately after giving up a 4 run inning and then left with a groin injury.  We even had a heated ball cap to cap argument between the home plate ump and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, leading to the ejection of Gibson.  The only thing this game was missing was an inning-ending pick-off by Yadi.

It was really a great game, but it’s hard to enjoy when your team still ends up in the loss column.  The main positive is that the offense continues to roll.  So I have to feel that we will be winning more than we will be losing as long as the pitching staff continues their overall success.

Rubber match is tomorrow,

Over 3 innings left? Really?

I looked up at the top of the screen to realize that it’s only just now the bottom of the 6th inning.  That seems crazy because this game has been very intense and full of action right from the beginning.  Not something I would have expected with the matchup going tonight: former Cy Young winner vs. near perfect game thrower.

But you never know what to expect in baseball and neither of these guys brought their A-game tonight.

So far the Cardinals have 3 homers by Berkman, Freese and Rasmus.  The problem is they were all solo shots.  Had there been runners on, the Cardinals would easily be in the lead right now.  2 D-backs have gone deep (Jason Upton and Chris Young) for a total of 5 runs.

But the Redbirds haven’t given up; they’ve continued to chip away at Arizona’s lead and have not pulled within one.  But Arizona won’t be caught up to quietly.  So far they’ve put runs on the board in every inning.

This is easily the kind of game I would LOVE to be there for in person.  And the kind of game where I can’t understand why anyone would ever think baseball is boring.

As I type this, Arizona just scored again to continue their scoring in every inning.  So round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows!


So that’s what these bats are for???

For the first time in 2011, the Cardinals have won two in a row.  And they did so in a big way, finally showing off the power that we have known is in that lineup all along.

Berkman hit his first home run as a Cardinal and deciding that wasn’t enough, went deep again a couple innings later.  The base hits were coming quick and coming often, something we haven’t seen at all yet this season.

Every Cardinal starter got in on the action, including starting pitcher Kyle McClellan who went 2 for 3 and got the Cardinals on the board with the first RBI of the game.  The TV announcer said,

“I’m trying to think of how many times we have said Yadier Molina scores from first on a 2 out double by Kyle McClellan.  I’m thinking this is probably the first time.”

I’m sure he’s right.

But that’s just how the game went yesterday.  The Cardinals were getting the long ball, they were getting base hits with 2 outs and they were getting extra base hits.  The offense was starting to look alive.  Last or nearly last in every major offense category, the Redbirds are slowly climbing out of the cellar in regards to team stats, as they now stand just 2 games under .500.

mclellan.jpgIn pitching they continue to do well as McClellan not only showed off his bat, but pitched a great game too, especially for a 5th starter.  If he pitches this good all season, I will be highly impressed at his move into the starting rotation.

Overall, the Cards are at the top in most team categories.  They’re posting a low ERA, striking lots of guys out and even have a shutout and a complete game to their credit.  They are one of only two games to have that complete game thanks to Jaime Garcia’s fantastic performance.  All this and we still have our ace going to tonight, who surprisingly hasn’t recorded a win yet.

As much as things are starting to go right, it stands in deep contrast to the silent bat of our big man, Albert Pujols.  Albert went 1 for 5 last night, raising his average to a mighty .150.  This is Pujols and 10 seasons of record setting baseball speak for themselves, but he is going to have to get on track if the Cardinals are going to have a shot at winning the thing.

We’ve said since the beginning that it will be an uphill battle.  Wainwright is gone, the defense is questionable, the health of prime guys like Berkman and Freese was up in the air.  Add in the unknowns like an emergency appendectomy and it’s no doubt the Cardinals have their work cut out for them.  So they need every player to contribute and they need their 3-4-5 to stay hot.

Something about Albert’s swing looks off to me.  It doesn’t look like that pure swing he had going before.  And I can’t help but wonder if his contract is looming large in his mind.  It’s a lot of pressure, no matter how great a super start you are.

Hopefully we can gain some ground on the Reds tonight as we go against Armando Galarraga and the D-backs.  Galarraga, of course, is not famous (or probably more infamous) for losing out on a perfect game due to a bad call from ump Jim Jocye.  He will be a trivia answer for decades to come through no fault of his own.  Maybe we can make him famous again tonight: “most runs given up by a starter.”  I like the sound of that.

Berkman looking good in Cardinal red,

Fluke or For Real?

The offense looked like something other than sleepwalking in yesterday’s match against the Giants.  The question is was that a one time fluke or was it the outbreak they needed to start consistently pushing runs across the plate?  Today’s game just might tell us as the Redbirds open up a 3 game series versus Arizona.

David Freese especially had a banner day.  He went 3 for 4, smacking in RBIs every chance he got.  And to cap it off, he added a solo shot for his first home run of the year.  All in all, the ‘Birds scored 6 runs in 11 hits, which is drastically more than they have been doing and easily at least what this offense is capable of on a regular basis.

When you have guys like Pujols, Holliday, Berkman, Rasmus and Freese, you expect to score runs.  Bottom line.  I should also say Kyle Loshe has really been quite good.  Certainly much better than I expected him to be.  Who would have thought pre-season that we would love the pitching and watching a struggling offense?  Not I.

So what do you think?  Will the Cardinals continue to break out and score runs?  Will Pujols figure out how to get above .200 before April is over?  Post below!

Fun to watch your team score runs,

I LOVE September baseball!

It’s coming down to the wire. A little over a month of baseball left with no off days. The Cardinals are in third place, 1/2 game behind the Brewers and 2 games behind the Cubs. The performance of all three fo these teams over the next moth will determine who the division champ is, as this is clearly still up for grabs.

And the Cardinals are not the only ones feeling the excitement of catching up. New York has now taken 2 straight from Boston to pull them back within 6 games behind the Sox and are currently leading 2-0 in today’s game. The Phils have taken 3 straight from the Mets and now only sit 3 games behind them and are also winning 5-3. Also, the Padres have won their last 3 games from the D-backs and are now tied atop the NL West (or are in first if you go by their percentage).

This is by far, one of the most exciting years of playoff races that I can remember. Almost every day I have several games I would love to watch, but instead have to settle for box scores. This is definitely what September should be all about.

Tonight the Cardinals take on Houston for the rubber match in this 3 game set. Getting out of tonight with a win and therefore going 2-1 in this series would be huge.  I can’t state enough how important it is for the Cardinals to simply just to win each series as it comes.  Sweeping a team would be a bonus, but just winning each series should be more than enough to propel us to first in this division of .500 ball teams.

Of course I always love for the Cubs to lose regardless, but if you look at the standings, the ideal was probably for the Brewers to win 2 of 3 games.  If that happens and the Cardinals win tonight, then that means we would remain 1/2 behind the Brewers and be just 1 game back of the Cubs.  Either of those teams sweeping would not have been as good for us in the standings.

The Cardinals are currently all tied up 1-1 with the ‘Stros and as I watch them, I’ll continue to keep one eye on the other games to see who just might be our competition in the postseason.  That’s right….our competition.  I still feel this division is ours for the taking and will continue to feel that way until one of the other teams wants to prove me otherwise.

Go Cardinals!

Wanting a Brew Crew win,


New series; new beginning

I can´t ever say that I´m happy about a loss, especially by 8 runs…….however, I am willing to look past it.  It´s obvious the Cardinals aren´t going to win every one of their games from here on out.  To make up the ground in the central, they need to concentrate on winning each series.  They´ve been rather successful at this lately and I hoping it stays that way.  So though we lost last night, I am content in knowing that we got the series win against Florida.

Our next series begins tonight and it´s against Atlanta.  This is no easy task because the first two pitchers we have to face are John Smoltz and Tim Hudson.  Both can be very, very dominant pitchers when they are on, have ERAs just barely over 3 and are on club that is also fighting for it´s life to have a playoff spot.  The Cardinals are 3 games behind the division leading Cubs (it pains me to say that) and the Braves are 3 back of the Wild Card, currently led by the Pads.

I stayed up to watch this first game of Wells vs. Smoltz, but it´s currently on a rain delay.  The Cubs and the Brewers are on way too late, so I guess I´m going to have to catch up on all of my baseball tomorrow.

The Crew and Cubbies switch up opponents tonight, so that the Brewers are now taking on the Giants and the Cubs move on to the D·backs.  Hopefully, the West leading Arizona can squash the Cubs and give us a chance to gain a couple of games on them.

But in order to do that, we have to have to take at least 2 of 3 from Atlanta.  And in order to do that, we need to play tonight.  If we get rained out again, I don´t know when it would get made up.  We only have one more off day and it´s Monday, when the Braves are playing the Marlins.  So maybe at the end of the season.  But I´m getting ahead of myself because perhaps it won´t get rained out at all.

Time to take on Atlanta,



Before I get into Cardinal baseball, how about that Yankee game? 8 home runs by 7 different players? And not of them is A-Rod? Are you kidding me? You figure there are a lot of balls getting hung over the plate that game to have that kind of a homer happy night. So I’m surprised that Alex didn’t get in on the action, much less to go 0-5. It also shows you how much under ability these guys have been playing all year. This is what the Yanks are capable of doing when they’re running on all cylinders. Every guy down the lineup 1-9 has the ability to put the ball in the stands. Half of their lineup could be cleanup on almost any other team in the league.
Ok, on to the NL Central. What a bittesweet day of baseball. The Cardinals played a hard fought game against Pittsburgh and actually came up on the winning end to stretch their streak to…….4 games. I can barely believe it. The sad news? The Brewers fought back Glavine and his quest for 300 in their win over the Mets and the Cubs won as well. So, the Cardinals still sit at 6 games back of first place and gain nothing on Chicago.

I’m happy for the win though. This kind of back and forth game is the kind of game that Cardinals would win last year and have been losing this year. And even though it seemed back and forth, they never really let the Pirates fully get their foot back in the door and pretty much stayed in control the whole game. Still, I wish the Redbirds would have been able to put them away sooner. You just can’t get in the habit of letting teams hang around in games, especially when we go back to playing higher caliber teams. Both runs that were scored off of starter Adam Wainwright were runs scored with two outs. A sac fly or something may happen when you have 0 or 1 outs, but once you have 2 outs, you have to do everything possible to shut that door.

That said, I felt the Cardinals played hard. Ryan Ludwick laid our for a terriffic play in left field. And Scott Rolen came in hard to homeplate on a play that he should have been out on by a mile. But the catcher couldn’t come up with the ball and Rolen was safe. Great baseball. Though, the Pirates may want to invest in a new catcher. He made two mistakes today that cost his team and earlier this season he did the same against the Cardinals. I can’t remember what game, but I remember another similiar play when he couldn’t handle a simple relay throw for the out.

These next games against the Pirates are getting to be pretty much must-wins for the Redbirds. Sweeping or taking 2 of 3 from the lower teams in the division are a necessity if the Cardinals expect to cotinue competing for the division. That said I think I should explain the following.

I’m not naive when it comes to this team. I know that they have played horrible ball this year. I know that they barely held onto the NL Central title last year when they were AHEAD for most of the year, let alone trying to climb back into contention. And I’m painfully aware that even if this team somehow makes it into the postseason that they’re chances are almost nil. Anybody else remember the 2004 World Series when we didn’t have Carpenter? Yeah, their are other pitchers and other games, but don’t think that the 2004 loss and the 2006 win don’t have anything to do with Carpenter. There is something about going out there with your dominant ace against the other team’s dominant ace that boosts your team’s self esteem, not to mention pushing everyone else on your staff back and deeping your rotation. Losing Carp has been the biggest blow of the season thus far.

Nevertheless, I have faith. Blind faith, maybe. But faith none the less. I believe my team can do it. Or maybe more accurately, I WANT to believe my team can do it. But this is what baseball is all about, right? Every team’s fan has that sort of faith on Opening Day. They all say, “We signed free agents!” “We called up our top prospect from our farm system!” “It’s a new year!” Now, it’s the All-Star break and fans of some teams like the Royals and the Devil Rays have resigned themselves to another season of under 500, poorly executed baseball.

But the rest of us still have hope. Not all of the teams will be rewarded. The Mets, Phillies, Braves, Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies will not all make the posteason. In fact, only half of them will. Yet all of those teams are only 6 games or less back and it is ‘possible’ for any of them to do it. So I hold onto the hope. It’s certainly better than giving up on a season. How many people gave up on the Redbirds last year? Like they say, in baseball, anything is possible.

I’d like to hear from anyone else on this topic. When do you say enough is enough when it comes to your team? Do you hold onto hope until the bitter end, until that magic number for the first place club finally reaches 0? Or is that just asking for disappointment such as was the case for Houston fans last year? Is there a point in the season where you finally admit your team is too far gone, even if they have not ‘technically’ been eliminated? I’m really interested in thoughts about this. Obviously baseball is a good starting point, but if you have another sport you’d like to bring up on this topic, I’m open to that too.

Alright boys, time to get busy tonight, taking another one away from the Pirates.

Having faith,

It’s been awhile

I’m back.
I have been very busy at work the last few months and while I have kept up with baseball and the Cards, I have not had time to watch every game and or to even think about blogging. We were trying to get a product out the door on a deadline and now that it has been completed, I hope to spend a little more time watching Cardinal baseball and with my blog.

I realize that there is no way that I can recap everything I’ve missed talking about the last few months, so I’ll just go ahead and pick up where things are right now.

It’s really a great time to come back to the blog, I think, because there is so much happening in baseball right now. First, the Cardinals are starting to look like a team that maybe has a shot of contending. After being in 3rd place for quite sometime and well behind the Brew Crew and even the 2nd place Cubbies (gag), the Cardinals have recently come on strong. After taking 3 of 4 from the Brewers over the weekend, the Cardinals are now in pouncing distance of them at just 6 games back. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that the Redbirds still have 6 games left against the Crew and 8 games against the Cubs this year. So if the Cards can stay close, they definitely have a chance to help themselves the next couple of months. Not to mention the games between the Brewers and the Cubs, where someone has to lose.

This upcoming series is a big one. We will be playing the Pirates and we have to win a couple of games right here, especially with the Brewers playing the Mets. You figure with Glavine on the mound and the kind of ball the Mets have the ability to play, the Brewers are in for a tough series. So it’s an excellent time to gain some ground.

Right now, there is excitement seemingly everywhere in baseball, not just in St. Louis. 3 huge milestones will be chased tonight throughout the baseball world. A-Rod attempts to hit number 500 in New York and not only that, but when he accomplishes the feat, he will be the youngest player to ever reach that mark. I just hope they get a win and shave off a few more games in the AL East Race. I don’t want to see Boston win it.

Over in LA, the Giants/Dodgers rivalry will be heating up and even more so, with Barry one homer shy away from maybe the most hallowed record in baseball; the all-time home run record set by Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. It’s only a matter of time before it happens, but of course, knowing it’s that imminent can sometimes make a player press too hard at the plate, so we’ll see how he handles the pressure of pursuing the great Aaron and his record.

Last, but not least, Mets pitcher Tom Glavine sets his sights on 300 career wins. I’m rooting especially hard for this one because not only do I respect Glavine as a pitcher, a win for him means a loss for the Brewers. And that is something I am very much in favor of.

What a day this could be if all of these feats happened on the same night. Even if they don’t, they will all happen this season, barring injury, in a year where there has already been so many stories with Sosa and Thomas already hitting milestone home runs and Griffey not too far behind. Craig Biggio earned hit number 3000 and if Randy Johnson could have ever stayed healthy he would have had a chance at 300 wins as well. Definitely a historic year to say the least.

The last thing that makes this an interesting day is that the non-waiver trade deadline has now passed with a lot of the wheeling and dealing for the year done. Though there are a few GMs that seem to prefer trading after the deadline, waivers and all.

The Cardinals made very little noise, acquiring righty Joel Pineiro from Boston for cash and a minor league player to be named. Honestly, I don’t know much about this guy. I know that Boston had designated him for assignment, but by this point, I trust that if the Cardinals are interested in a pitcher, there is usually a good reason. Dave Duncan has worked a lot of miracles in that pitching staff, even with guys that were supposedly done, such as Jeff Weaver last year. And Pineiro doesn’t appear to be that far gone looking at his numbers. The best part about this is that the Cardinals didn’t get rid of a ton of players as I feared might be the case. That tells me that they haven’t given up fighting in the Central yet and that they plan on being a contender instead of just a seller at the deadline.

Other notable trades include Matt Morris coming to the Pirates. Once the ace of the Cardinal staff, Morris will be seeing the Cardinals a lot more in the NL Central than he did as a Giant. Morris was always a favorite of mine, a Cardinal that was hard to see go. I hope he does well in Pittsburgh.

Also, of note, Eric Gagne went to Boston. This deal surprised me a ton, considering he had a no-trade clause to the Sox. I really didn’t think he would waive this to setup for Papelbon. That makes the Sox downright frightening in the late innings.

Well, I supppose that is more than enough for my return blog. I will be back tomorrow where hopefully I will be saying that the Cardinals are just a mere five games away from first place.

Go Glavine,

Who would receive your Cy Young vote?

Two things before I get into the main chunk of my post.

The first is 9/11.  It’s so hard to believe that it’s been five years since that day in 2001.  But, watching old footage and looking at pictures and reading stories, I was instantly transplated back to the bottom level of the bookstore at college, where I was standing with several other students, as we collectively watched the second plane fly into the Towers.  It was the moment that we all realized that this was not an accident, but a deliberate attempt by someone to hurt our country.  As the news came in of other planes, they started evacuating most of the city (I lived in downtown Minneapolis at the time), as all of my friends croweded in front of a tiny TV and watched the days events unfold. 

I’m not a New Yorker and I rarely stray from baseball on this blog, but I think this is important enough to discuss whenever possible.  The courage and dedication of the police force, the firemen and just the regular citizens of New York and DC will never be forgotten.  A big thank you to them.  If only our nation could stay as unified as we were that day instead of constantly attacking everyone except for the people who were truly responsible.

My second comment is not quite as serious.  It’s NFL time and the Rams are 1-0.  Yes, that’s right.  The Rams officially have a winning record.  After a rather disappointing season last year, it’s great to see the Rams in the win column to start of the year.  Of course two other teams in the NFC West and there’s still many games to go.  But, it still made for a good day.  Exceptionally with a not so hot weekend of Cardinal baseball.

Ok, on to my post about the Cy Young.  I was going to write this post after Carp’s last start, but didn’t get the chance, so I wrote it today after he started last night against the Astros.

Much like Albert Pujols, I am biased about Chris Carpenter, since he is a Redbird.  But, I do believe he has what it takes to win the Cy Young this year.  He’s certainly one of the talked about candidates, but also like Pujols, he’s not quite the "shoo-in" he was last year.

Still, I’m confident that he should receive the Cy Young, barring any kind of end of the season meltdown.  His closest competition would have to be Brandon Webb, as the Cardinals found out all to well, as they were 1-hit by Webb in the last series against Arizona.  (And that would be the series we’re not talking about…..)

First, let me talk about the intagibles.  The kinds of things that you know when you watch the Cadinals day in and day out and observe the pitching staff nearly every game of the season.

And the biggest of these intangibles is that Chris Carpenter is a MACHINE.  He strolls to the mound.  Cold.  Methodic.  Calculating.  And he takes cares of business.  As a Cardinal fan, you just don’t get stressed out when Carp is on the mound.  Maybe he walks a guy.  So what?  You’re confident he’ll get the DP.  And he usually does.  Maybe a fielder makes an error that allows the bases to get loaded with only one out.  So what?  He’ll strike out the first guy and get the next guy with an easy ground ball.

He’s started winning streaks and stopped losing streaks and consistently gets ahead of batters.

Basically, Carp can be summed up with this: he has been consistent on a team that has been somewhat inconsistent; the constant on a pitching staff that has been constantly under par.

But, a lot of people looking at Cy Young, look at much more than this.  They want numbers.  So, let’s have a look at the stats that make Carpenter a very worthy candidate for this year’s Cy Young award.

I mentioned earlier that, in my opinion, Webb is the closest competition for the award.  Well, Webb and Brad Penny of the Dodgers are tied with 15 wins and Carp is right behind them at 14.  But, of couse, you can’t look at just wins.  If you did, you would have to conclude that Marquis is a better pitcher than Carpenter, since he reached his 14th win nearly two weeks ago.  Obviously, this would be a crazy and quite untrue assumption.

While Carpenter has had some legitimate losses he has been also the benefactor of low or late run support resulting in losses, or more often no-decisions.  So, next we look at ERA.  Carp leads the NL in ERA with a highly impressive 2.84.  He’s also the only guy in the NL to have an ERA under the 3.00 mark.  He’s 8th in strikeouts, but Webb is down at number 13.

One of the best marks of a pitcher today is consistency.  Carpenter definitely has this on his side.  He’s gone less than 5 innings once (he went 4 on July 30) and in OVER HALF of his starts he’s given up 1 earned run or less.  That’s a pretty incredible stat.  He’s only given up more than 5 earned runs three times all year.  His worst start coming on June 23 in that Detroit debacle.  He gave up 7 runs in 7 innings, striking out 9 and walking none.  When you strike out nine guys in your worst start of the season, you know you’re pitching pretty well.

The other is the ability to go the distance.  Here, Webb and Carpenter are on equal footing.  They both have notched 4 complete games (along with Aaron Harang and Dontrelle Willis) and also have both thrown 3 shutouts (the only ones in the NL to do so).

Carpenter has given up only 63 earned runs to Webb’s 68 and 168 hits to Webb’s 194.  Carp and Webb’s walk totals are 39 and 47 respectively and their strikeouts are 164 and 153.

The numbers are close, but Carpenter edges out Webb in just about every category.

But, of course, do all these stats even matter?  Or should the award be given based on which pitcher is most "valuable" to the club, as the MVP is?  If we’re talking those lines, it’s Carp by a mile.  Other pitchers don’t come close.  Zambrano’s Cubs are so far out of contention that his high strikeout total is void.  Peavvy also has a lot of K’s, but his win total and ERA are atrocious.  Brad Penny also has nice numbers, but they look pretty simliar to Webb, only Webb’s are slightly better, so between the two, you’d have to vote Webb.  The same could be said of Andy Pettitte.

The only other guy that I would give serious consideration to is Johnson of the Marlins.  He has decent numbers and definitely has been valuable to this rookie-filled club all season long.  He has 12 wins and has posted a pretty impressive 3.20 ERA.  His flaw is that he hasn’t been that consistent rock all season that Carpenter has.  He didn’t become a consistent starter until later in the season and yet his walk totals are about twice what Carp’s are.  His strikeout total is also much lower.

If the voting ended today, my vote goes to Carpenter first, Webb second and Johnson third.  Of course voting doesn’t end today and with the excpetion of Zambrano, I see almost any of the pitchers I’ve mentioned being able to make a legitimate run at getting the Cy Young.  Each pitcher probably has 3-4 starts left and any one guy putting an impressive streak together during those starts could tie it up.

You can check out my case for Albert Pujols for MVP here.  As always, I would love to hear who your picks are for MVP or Cy Young and if you think I have missed any contenders that you would put in your top 1, 2 or 3.

Kellia commented that she thinks if Howard hits 60, he’s the MVP.  He’s 4 away.  What do you think?  Comment away.

Carp & Pujols,