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chris almighty

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thanks to everyone who has responded so far to friday's post about card'l love and affection. i don't know if cardinal fans are the "best" or if we have a "special" bond with our team, one unlike any other in fandom; i don't really care about that. i just like reading the stories, all of which have been really good so far. if you haven't had a chance yet, check out the posts that are up there and add your own.

we can't let the fallout from reggie's busted wheel distract us entirely from another suffocating mound performance by carp yesterday. how good is this guy? baseball analysts notes today that carpenter is excelling in not just one but two aspects of successful pitching: strikeouts and groundouts. get lots of either one, and you're usually a very good pitcher. good lots of both, and you're a rare bird indeed. per BA: "Carpenter is unique in averaging one strikeout per inning (with some rounding help) combined with a groundball/flyball ratio exceeding 2.00. . . . Brandon Webb in 2003 and Kevin Brown in 2000 were the only pitchers who came close to striking out one batter per inning while getting two times as many groundballs as flyballs."

about a month ago i noted with admiration that carpenter had recorded zeroes in 47 of his previous 52 innings. little did i know he was just getting warmed up; in his four starts since then he has yielded just 1 run in 34.2 innings. so that's 86 innings pitched, 80 zeroes on the scoreboard. he's getting into gibson '68 territory. at his best in that famous year, hoot threw 8 shutouts in a span of 10 starts and only allowed 1 run in the other two games -- 88 zeroes in 90 innings, an era of 0.20. let's put carp's last 10 starts up against gibson's great 10-start run and, just for fun, the best 10-start segment from john tudor's seminal 1985 season. gibson data from retrosheet; tudor and carp, the day-by-day database:

ip h r er bb so cg sho w-l era
gibson 68 90 51 2 2 12 85 10 8 10-0 0.20
tudor 85 83 56 9 9 9 52 6 5 9-1 0.98
carpenter 05 78.2 48 9 9 14 82 3 3 8-2 1.03

let's carve it up another way. carp has yielded just 2 runs in his last six starts, covering 50.2 innings pitched (0.36 era). what was gibson's best six-start segment? tudor's? how does carp's run stack up against drysdale and hershiser's 50-plus-inning shutout skeins?

ip h r er bb so cg sho w-l era
hershiser 88 55 30 0 0 9 34 5 5 5-0 0.00
drysdale 68 54 27 0 0 9 42 6 6 6-0 0.00
gibson 68 54 30 1 1 7 39 6 5 6-0 0.16
carpenter 05 50.2 20 2 2 7 54 3 3 6-0 0.36
tudor 85 51.1 33 5 5 6 29 4 3 6-0 0.88

look at carp's hits allowed -- just 20 in his last 50 innings pitched. not even gibson managed that. you could make a strong case that carp's six-start line is the most dominant on this chart -- a lot fewer hits, a lot more strikeouts than anyone else. he has allowed a full hit per 9 innings less than these other guys ---- a hit a game stingier than the stingiest pitcher-months of the last half-century.

so yeah, we're getting into some historic territory with this run.