(Image: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Finally, some good offseason news for Brewers fans – St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter announced his retirement yesterday. Even though Carpenter’s injuries made him a non-factor in the last two seasons, it’s a relief to know the Brewers won’t have to face this guy anymore. Sure, there are still plenty of great Cardinals pitchers around to make the Brewers look like chumps, but it’s comforting that there’s one fewer ace-caliber starter to endure.
Not only did Carpenter torment the Brewers and their fans by being a tough opponent, he also seemed like a, shall we say, surly twit. He certainly had a reputation as a bit of a jackass. I think we all felt then-Brewer Zack Greinke put it best when he candidly expressed what his peers thought about Carpenter’s tendency to posture:
"They think that his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is, like, a phony attitude," Greinke said. […] And then he yells at people," Greinke continued. "He just stares people down. Most pitchers just don't do that. […] There's other pitchers in the league that do it but, I don't know, a lot of guys on our team don't like Carpenter."
Carpenter’s career numbers against the Brewers aren’t actually that dominating: a 6-6 record and 4.58 ERA. It sure feels like Carpenter had the Brewers’ number, perhaps because the Cardinals have historically dominated the Brewers, but also because it’s difficult to recall a game when the Crew really hung one on him.
I seem to recall just a couple of stand-out Brewers victories over Carpenter in the last few years. On August 1, 2011, the Brewers defeated the Cardinals 6-2. Carpenter had been cruising along for four shutout innings before blowing up in the fifth and giving up five earned runs – capped off by Nyjer Morgan’s three-run double. The reason I remember this game is that when Carpenter finally came out, he was sweating so profusely he looked like the SS guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I wish I could find a decent picture of this online, but if you don’t remember, you’ll have to take my word for it – dude was soaked.
(Image: KMOX St. Louis)
The single most memorable Brewers victory over Carpenter and the Cardinals is still played as a “Brewers Classic” on FSN from time to time: Memorial Day 2009. Carpenter didn’t actually take the loss, but it was a fantastic pitching duel, and any time the Brewers could win when Carpenter started was a significant achievement. Yovani Gallardo didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning, and Carpenter didn’t give up a base runner until the seventh. Both starters ultimately went eight shutout innings. The Brewers won in the tenth inning on a Bill Hall walk-off single. The time of game was 2:26, which has to be one of the shortest extra-inning games in recent history.
Brewers fans don’t often associate Cardinals pitchers with fond memories, but Carpenter gave us a few. I’d like to wish him the best in retirement, but…well, you know, I just can’t. Irrational sports hatred, etc. So screw that sweaty bastard, and good riddance.