Rangers vs. Cardinals: Starting Pitchers Keep Rolling

You'll remember, I am sure, that St. Louis starting pitchers struggled terribly against the Brewers in their National League Championship Series. Nobody lasted more than five innings, and the starters finished the series with a 7.03 ERA.

That got a lot of attention, and made a lot of people wonder how the Cardinals could possibly contain the Rangers' hitters in the World Series.

Of course, a lot people also ignored two salient facts:

1. St. Louis starters were exceptionally unlikely to continue pitching so poorly, and

2. The Rangers' starters weren't much better against the Tigers, finishing their ALCS with a 6.59 ERA.

Of course it's all turned around in the World Series. We're five innings into Game 5, and the two teams' starting pitchers have combined for a 2.91 ERA.

Tonight, C.J. Wilson is exceptionally lucky to have allowed only one earned run. Chris Carpenter has been much better, allowing a run on Mitch Moreland's home run but not much else. And tonight we're seeing the real Chris Carpenter.

In Game 1, Carpenter gave the Cardinals six strong innings, giving up only two runs and earning the victory. But it was a cold night in St. Louis, Carpenter was usually pitching behind in the count, so he threw only seven curveballs in those six innings.

Tonight he's thrown 18 curves through five innings, and looks better than he's looked since pitching that brilliant shutout against the Phillies to clinch the Division Series.

Still, Carpenter can hardly relax, as the game's still Cardinals 2, Rangers 1 after five innings.

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