Putting St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter’s nine consecutive wins against the Cincinnati Reds into historical context.
For St. Louis Cardinals fans, the main accomplishment this week was for the club to sweep the Cincinnati Reds on the road while recapturing first place in the National League Central Division.
The sideshow of words and brawls may have been positive as a motivator for the Cardinals, but it drew attention away from some strong pitching and hitting performances during the three-game set at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark.
The first example was in game one on Monday night as starting pitcher Chris Carpenter really set the tone for the series with his intensity on the mound and off. He blanked Cincinnati for six innings right out of the chute before tiring in the seventh. Carp did not allow a runner in scoring position until the sixth and finished with two earned runs allowed on five hits over seven innings.
This was Carpenter’s ninth consecutive start against the Reds in which he was the winning pitcher, a streak that is now four years long.
Putting that current run into historical context provides some interesting points. Cardinals pitchers have compiled the two longest individual consecutive-start winning streaks in team history against the Reds.
Carp’s streak is tied for the third-longest against Cincinnati with the renowned Dizzy Dean. Hall of Famer Jesse “Pop” Haines is tops at 16 starts won against Cincy from 1927 until 1933. During that same time, “Wild” Bill Hallahan took 12 in a row against the Reds. Note that besides Carpenter, the other three longest streaks were compiled in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
The longest streaks against the other 14 NL franchises are also included, listed in order of consecutive starts and wins. (Any no-decision start would eliminate a pitcher from this list.)
Most consecutive starts by pitcher with wins vs. one team, St. Louis Cardinals, since 1920
Note that Carpenter’s 1.25 ERA vs. the Reds is the third lowest of any of the pitchers on the above list. Carpenter also shares the top winning streak against the Pirates at six with Murry Dickson, Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson. Not surprisingly, Gibson owns outright or has a part of the team lead for the longest streaks against four different franchises – the Mets, Padres, Astros and Pirates.
Depending on how the rotation is aligned, Carpenter may very well get his next chance to secure win number ten when the Reds invade St. Louis from September 3-5.
Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for the data in the above table.