When a fan asks a question and we can find time to provide a in depth answer, we jump at the chance here on i70. Such an instance jumped out at me while on Twitter.
Shortly after the game ended Saturday night and the Cardinals had put the finishing touches on a two to one victory over the Florida Marlins, a tweet came across my screen that caught my eye.
Michael, I am glad you asked. It is a valid question and caused a little digging into some stats.
The two superstars of the St. Louis Cardinals have played together in St. Louis since 2004. There have been injuries over that time but when you put two players of their caliber together, you expect some results. Those results are not disappointing.
Chris Carpenter has pitched in 184 Games for the St. Louis Cardinals and according to Baseball-Reference, posts an impressive record. The Cardinals veteran ace has won 91 games as a Cardinal while losing only 41. A 3.09 career earned run average since joining the team, 19 complete games, 8 shutouts, and 276 walks to 1003 strikeouts makes him one of the most dominant pitchers in recent memory for the Cardinals. As dominant as he can be, does it mean that a player like Albert Pujols performs at a higher level for him? Maybe not, but the team certainly benefits when the two are on the same page.
The simple answer here is 47. That would be the number of regular season games that Chris Carpenter has pitched in since joining the Cardinals that Albert Pujols has also hit a home run in. Slightly more than 25% of the time when Carpenter takes the mound, Pujols will leave the yard in the same game. What may be most impressive is a deeper look into the stats.
Albert seems to be on his “A Game” during these 47 games, for sure. Over the course of regular season games that Carpenter pitches and Albert homers, Pujols is hitting .460 with 54 home runs, 86 runs batted in, and 76 runs scored. Carpenter is no slouch, when the Cardinals first baseman puts one over the fences, Carpenter posts a 3.34 earned run average with 260 strikeouts, 31 wins and 5 losses.
The Cardinals as a whole enjoy it when Carpenter is pitching and Albert goes deep, they have won 39 games and only lost 8 when this occurs.
The post-season has only seen this occur twice, though one of them was memorable. Both times that Carpenter has pitched on a day when Albert homered in the post-season, the Cardinals would win. Carpenter would receive the win in the contest with the Padres on October 3, 2006. Perhaps the most memorable post-season game for this to occur would put a win in the Cardinals hands, if not their starting pitcher’s. That game happened on October 17, 2005 when Albert ruined Brad Lidge‘s night in Houston and quieted the home town crowd who thought they were witnessing their team reaching the World Series, just to see that postponed due to a long home run from the Cardinals’ Most Valuable Player.
There were a few notable games that popped up while digging through box scores for the information on the two superstars.
- April 9, 2004 - Carpenter would go six innings, giving up five runs, walking one and striking out three. Albert would hit a solo home run but go on to score three times on one hit and two walks. When the dust settled, the Cardinals would beat the Diamondbacks 13-6 and Chris Carpenter would gain his first victory while wearing the birds on the bat.
- June 14, 2005 - Pujols would hit a two run home run in the contest against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Carpenter would show his old team just how dominant he could be as he posted his first double-digit strikeout total in a game where Pujols would homer, striking out 10 Blue Jays. He would also grab his first shutout and throw his first complete game in such a game.
- June 25, 2005 - It would not take long for Carpenter to repeat that feat and do it one better as the Cardinals played the Pirates in front of the sea of red in Busch Stadium. Carpenter would once again throw a shutout, going the distance and striking out eleven while Pujols would hit a three run shot in the seventh inning of that contest, his 20th of the season.
- September 8, 2005 - The two superstars were well on their way to winning a Cy Young Award and a Most Valuable Player Award in the 2005 season when September rolled around. This time, the Busch fans would witness the first multi-home run game for Albert while Carpenter was on the mound. In addition to seeing Albert leave the yard twice, the fans would also see Carpenter throw seven shut out innings, striking out seven Mets, and winning his 21st game of the year.
- June 4, 2009 - Our final game to point out was one that seen Carpenter go toe-to-toe with Reds hurler Aaron Harang in a pitcher’s duel that would see both starters go the distance for their teams. Carpenter would only surrender one run and Harang would only struggle with one hitter. Albert would hit a two run home run in the bottom of the third and add another run batted in on a double in the sixth giving the Cardinals the only three runs they would get that day. It was the only three runs Carpenter would need.
With two top quality players on the field for their eighth season together, it seems it would do the team a lot of good if they could match up on a few more games down the stretch of the 2011 season.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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