Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Scouting Report

Carpenter (2-0, 3.93 ERA this postseason; 15-8, 3.09 ERA regular season) wasn't at his best in Game 2, but the most important streak continued. One number says it all when it comes to Carpenter in October -- he's made six career playoff starts, and in every one of those games, his Cardinals have been victorious. He allowed five earned runs on on six hits -- including two home runs -- over five innings in Game 2, but escaped with a no-decision. Carpenter needs to locate better in order to succeed against one of the National League's most dangerous lineups, but there's certainly reason to believe he can make the necessary adjustments.

In two postseason starts, Maine (0-0, 4.32 ERA this postseason; 6-5, 3.60 ERA regular season) hasn't made it through the fifth inning. It's not that he has blown up; he just hasn't been able to sustain his command the way he needs to in order to get deeper in games. His Game 2 NLCS effort against the Cards was undone by a high pitch count -- 88 in four innings -- and a rare Mets error, causing complications and making one of two second-inning runs unearned. Walks to Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols set up both two-run innings, with Maine giving up only two hits -- a Yadier Molina double and Edmonds homer. Like a lot of young pitchers in his position, he might be giving hitters a little too much credit at times and not trusting his quality stuff. His seven walks in 8 1/3 postseason innings are too many. Maine is not far away from taking the next step -- getting into and past the fifth inning.

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