Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Carp making bid for repeat Cy

by Jeremy Bird

Chris Carpenter should be in the running for his second straight Cy Young Award and the NL MVP (not win it, but be in the running). And here's why:

Carp is the main reason the Cardinals will make the playoffs this season. Without him, the Cardinals finish third in the NL Central. (And, he will be the only reason the Cards will not get swept in the first round by the Mets or Dodgers).

The Cardinals are 57-57 when anyone but Chris Carpenter starts a game. With Carp on the hill, the Redbirds are 19-10. He leads the NL in ERA (2.84) and is second in wins (14). He leads the NL in complete games and is tied for the lead for shutouts.

Carp is as valuable to his team as any player in the majors right now. Last night was another perfect example.

On Monday night, the Cards started a huge series against the Astros coming off three straight loses, the last being an ugly, ugly loss to the Diamondbacks. The team needed a win with the Reds and Astros hanging around in the NL Central. Carpenter came out and stopped the slump with one of the most dominating performances of the year. He threw a complete-game, six-hit shutout - his third complete-game shutout of the year.

Since becoming a Cardinal, Carp is 50-16. The team has won 64 of his 89 starts over the past three seasons (an amazing .719 win percentage).

The problem with the Cardinals is that Carpenter is all they have. If they make the playoffs, Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols are the main reasons. If they win any games in the postseason, Carp will be the only reason.

He is making a strong case for the repeat Cy Young. And he's not so far out in the MVP considerations either.

Jeremy's column, "Bird's Eye View", appears alternate Tuesdays

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