Man down!

No, it’s not a leftover headline from 54 weeks ago, it’s a new one, but one that’s all too familiar.  St. Louis Cardinals’ workhorse, Chris Carpenter hasn’t thrown from a mound in days, and it’s likely to be several more days (at the very least) before he does again.  Manager Mike Matheny reminded everyone this week that you’ve got to ‘work backwards from what you think Opening Day is going to look like’, and prepare accordingly.

Chris Carpenter is being evaluated for carryover injuries from carrying the team on his back down the stretch in 2011.

With that in mind, consider Carpenter the Opening Day starter when the Cardinals and new-look Miami Marlins open their new ballpark (and the season*) on April 4.  Assuming the club would want his last spring training start to go 7 innings & take place 5 days before the opener, which admittedly is probably more rigid that what’s probably really expected, especially now, it turns out to be a very aggressive schedule.  Counting backwards from there, Carp would need to pitch on roughly the following schedule…give or take.

This coming Thursday, the 15th, he would need to throw four innings.  If you don’t already see the big problem here, you’re missing something big.  After this Thursday, it would need to be:

  • Tue March 20 – 5 innings
  • Sun March 25 – 6 innings
  • Fri March 30 – 7 innings (last spring start)

I know, right?

Four more starts between now and Opening Day.  The first of those, we KNOW (or are at least 95% certain) isn’t going to happen.  Assuming he does come back and pitch again in spring training this season, a reach at this point, there’s little hope that he would be opening the season that night in Miami.  Heck, back that schedule down to 6 innings on the 30, and it’s still a longshot.

This isn’t good, Cards fans.  ‘course, we were all saying the same thing 54 weeks ago, and I’d say the 2011 season turned out just fine.

*Kind of.  You know, those games in Japan 5 days prior count, but aren’t supposed to be considered “season openers”.  Plus, if you have to add the tag “for games played on U.S. soil” it kind of loses some luster.

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