The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Carpenter’s complete game an increasingly-rare event

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter collected his 17th complete game for the club, the most over the last decade, but few compared to past greats.

Chris Carpenter (AP/Jeff Roberson)St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter made his MLB-leading 35th start of the season on Thursday night at home against the Colorado Rockies. Expectations were uncertain as the 35-year-old had lost his previous four starts, allowing one big inning of at least four runs each time while posting an ERA over seven in the process.

Carpenter shrugged off any concerns, throwing his first complete game of the 2010 season. Rockies batters managed just four hits and one run against the veteran, who threw only 100 pitches.

At age 35, ignoring his past history of elbow and shoulder problems, Carpenter has completed his seventh season with the Cardinals, with two shortened by injury. This season, Carp led the Cards with 235 innings pitched, just seven short of his career high set in 2005.

With the help of researcher Tom Orf, we can see that only Matt Morris approached Carpenter’s team-leading 17 complete games over the last decade. As a team, the Cardinals had 65 complete games since the start of the 2001 season.

St. Louis Cardinals, complete games, 2001-2010

Pitcher CGs Record
Chris Carpenter 17 (15-2)
Matt Morris 13 (11-2)
Adam Wainwright 8 (6-2)
Woody Williams 4 (4-0)
Joel Pineiro 3 (3-0)
Mark Mulder 3 (2-1)
Jason Marquis 3 (2-1)
Brett Tomko 2 (2-0)
Anthony Reyes 2 (0-2)
Darryl Kile 2 (2-0)
Garrett Stephenson 1 (1-0)
Bud Smith 1 (1-0)
Jason Simontacchi 1 (1-0)
Braden Looper 1 (1-0)
Kyle Lohse 1 (1-0)
Jaime Garcia 1 (1-0)
Chuck Finley 1 (1-0)
Andy Benes 1 (1-0)
Total 65

Narrowing that group down to complete games that matched or bettered Carp’s Thursday performance yields this list of 35, of which he has just under one-third.

St. Louis Cardinals, complete games with four or fewer hits and none or one run allowed, 2001-2010

Pitcher # Record
Chris Carpenter 11 (10-1)
Matt Morris 7 (7-0)
Woody Williams 3 (3-0)
Joel Pineiro 3 (3-0)
Adam Wainwright 2 (2-0)
Garrett Stephenson 1 (1-0)
Bud Smith 1 (1-0)
Anthony Reyes 1 (0-1)
Jason Marquis 1 (1-0)
Braden Looper 1 (1-0)
Kyle Lohse 1 (1-0)
Darryl Kile 1 (1-0)
Jaime Garcia 1 (1-0)
Chuck Finley 1 (1-0)
Total 35

Since Carpenter first took the mound for St. Louis in 2004, he ranks in a tie for fifth for most complete games across Major League Baseball. His former Blue Jays teammate Roy Halladay, now with the Phillies, is the leader by a huge amount.

MLB, complete games, 2004-2010

Pitcher CGs
Roy Halladay 44
CC Sabathia 26
Cliff Lee 20
Livan Hernandez 18
Roy Oswalt 17
Chris Carpenter 17

Obviously, today’s game of pitching specialization is very different from the past. Here is one vivid reminder of how different. Carpenter’s 17 complete games ties him with Eric Rasmussen for 63rd on the Cardinals all-time complete games list since 1920. Bob Gibson is first with 255, one mark that will most likely never be broken.

St. Louis Cardinals, complete games, 1920-2010

Rank Pitcher CGs
1 Bob Gibson 255
2 Jesse Haines 209
3 Dizzy Dean 141
4 Bill Sherdel 129
5 Harry Brecheen 122
6 Mort Cooper 105
7 Howie Pollet 96
8 Max Lanier 85
9 Bill Hallahan 82
10 Flint Rhem 73
T11 Lon Warneke 70
T11 Larry Jackson 70
13 Bob Forsch 67
14 Steve Carlton 66
15 Pete Alexander 59
T16 Red Munger 53
T16 Murry Dickson 53
T18 Gerry Staley 51
T18 Vinegar Bend Mizell 51
20 Bill Doak 48
T21 Curt Simmons 47
T21 Ernie Broglio 47
T21 Al Brazle 47
24 Harvey Haddix 45
25 Syl Johnson 43
T26 Ray Sadecki 42
T26 Paul Dean 42
28 Tex Carleton 40
29 Bob Weiland 38
30 Joaquin Andujar 37
31 Jeff Pfeffer 35
32 Rick Wise 34
33 Art Reinhart 31
T34 Paul Derringer 30
T34 John Denny 30
36 Tom Poholsky 29
T37 Bill Walker 28
T37 Bill McGee 28
T37 Nelson Briles 28
T40 Lynn McGlothen 27
T40 Burleigh Grimes 27
T40 Reggie Cleveland 27
T43 Ray Washburn 25
T43 Allan Sothoron 25
T43 Clarence Mitchell 25
T46 Ernie White 24
T46 Sam Jones 24
T48 Harry Gumbert 23
T48 Red Barrett 23
T50 Pete Vuckovich 22
T50 John Tudor 22
T51 Ted Wilks 21
T51 Johnny Stuart 21
T51 Curt Davis 21
T51 Danny Cox 21
56 Joe Magrane 20
57 Johnny Beazley 19
T58 Bob Tewksbury 18
T58 Ferdie Schupp 18
T58 Bill Pertica 18
T58 Matt Morris 18
T58 Ken Burkhart 18
T63 Eric Rasmussen 17
T63 Chris Carpenter 17

Follow me on Twitter.
Follow The Cardinal Nation Blog on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.