The St. Louis Cardinals were dealt a tough blow today with Chris Carpenter likely being out for the entire 2013 season. When I first heard the news, I instantly thought to myself that the Cardinals were in deep trouble. After thinking it through, however, it probably won’t affect the Cardinals all that much.
Due to another injury, the 37-year-old Carpenter was coming off a season where he only started three games in the regular season. He was able to pitch in the postseason, helping the Cardinals reach Game 7 of the NLCS. Out of all the teams in baseball who could lose an “ace” and not be hurt by it, it’s the Cardinals. Assuming that they won’t re-sign Kyle Lohse, the Redbirds will still have one of the better rotations in the National League.
As I wrote the other day, I expect Trevor Rosenthal to become a viable starting pitcher, unless St. Louis keeps him in the bullpen as their relief ace. But with the injury to Carpenter, it’s hard to imagine them not turning to Rosenthal to start games.
Rosenthal aside, the Cardinals will have their best pitching prospect, Shelby Miller, in the rotation, too. Between Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook, Shelby Miller, Jaime Garcia and Trevor Rosenthal, the Cardinals will have no problem replacing Carpenter and the departed Lohse.
I’m sure many Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds fans have pulled out their jump to conclusions mat on how the injury helps their efforts in 2013, but I have a hard time believing the loss of Carpenter will determine the NL Central champion. After all, this is the same Cardinals team that a) didn’t have him last season and b) led the NL in run differential.
I still like their chances of playing baseball come October and their pitching will be a big reason why.