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.
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
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
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
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
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