You’ve heard the names thrown out there regarding the NL Cy Young race.
Tim Lincecum, the reigning Cy winner and MLB strikeout leader who has a flair for hair. Adam Wainwright, who leads all of baseball with 17 wins. Heck, even Phillies rookie J.A. Happ has received some buzz.
But look out everyone, here comes Chris Carpenter.
The Cardinals veteran tossed a one-hitter on Monday, baffling the Milwaukee Brewers with a non-stop string of strikes. He struck out 10, allowed just a double to Jody Gerut, and threw just 99 pitches, 64 of them for strikes. Just two balls made it out of the infield.
“I’m trying to get strike one, strike two and strike three as fast as I can, or get you to put the ball in play and let my guys work behind you,” he said.
That’s 11 straight victories for Carpenter (16-3), who also won the NL Cy Young in 2005.
“It’s the least of my concerns,” said Carpenter, who won it in 2005 with a 21-5 record. “I’ve won one before. It’s super awesome and fun and nice, but I’d much rather get to the playoffs and pitch in the World Series.”
He just might be on his way.
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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.