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Carpenter approaching Gibson superiority

When evaluating the superlative pitching performances being delivered by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter here in 2009, about the only name in team history that compares is Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.

When Carpenter masterfully shut out the Milwaukee Brewers on one hit, winning by a 3-0 margin on Monday afternoon at Miller Park, it was the 34-year-old right-hander’s 11th consecutive victory.

It marks the second-longest winning streak in Carpenter’s career, with his best having been a 13-game run during his Cy Young Award-winning 2005 campaign.

Only one other pitcher in St. Louis history had multiple victory streaks of at least 11 games. Two-time Cy Young Award-winner Gibson assembled two such consecutive win runs – 15 in 1968 and 11 in 1972.

Further, as Carpenter fanned 10 Brewers on Labor Day, it marked just the sixth time since at least 1954 that a Cardinals hurler allowed one or fewer hits and fanned ten or more in a complete game. Carp and Gibby are the only ones to make this list twice.

Complete game, one or fewer hits, ten or more strikeouts, Cardinals, 1954-2009

Team Score Pitcher IP H K
Chris Carpenter 9/7/2009 @MIL W 3-0 SHO9 W 9 1 10
Chris Carpenter 6/14/2005 @TOR W 7-0 SHO9 W 9 1 10
Alan Benes 5/16/1997 @ATL L 0-1 GS-9 9 1 11
Bob Gibson 8/14/1971 @PIT W 11-0 SHO9 W 9 0 10
Bob Gibson 6/17/1970 @SDP W 8-0 SHO9 W 9 1 13
Ernie Broglio 7/15/1960 CHC W 6-0 SHO9 W 9 1 14

In terms of raw numbers of contests of ten or more strikeouts, Gibson has no peer in at least the last 55 years of team history. In fact, no one else is even close.

Ten or more strikeout games, Cardinals, 1954-2009

74 Bob Gibson
13 Steve Carlton
10 Matt Morris, Andy Benes
9 Sam Jones, Jose DeLeon, Chris Carpenter

With his Monday gem, Carpenter broke a three-way tie for the most ten-plus K games by a Cardinal hurler this decade. He had been tied with Matt Morris and the late Darryl Kile with eight.

Ten or more strikeout games, Cardinals, 2000-2009

9 Chris Carpenter
8 Matt Morris, Darryl Kile
6 Rick Ankiel

Further narrowing down to the last five years, Carpenter has eight of the club’s ten-or-more strikeout performances.

Ten or more strikeout games, Cardinals, 2005-2009

8 Chris Carpenter
1 Adam Wainwright
1 Mark Mulder

Thanks to Tom Orf for pulling the data tables shown above.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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