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World Series 2011: Chris Carpenter To Start Game 1 For Cardinals

It's almost relaxing not having any playoff baseball games to worry about, but that won't last for long. The 2011 World Series is set to begin on Wednesday night in St. Louis, and it's going to be Chris Carpenter starting for the Cardinals against C.J. Wilson and the Rangers.

Carpenter, a former Cy Young award winner, has had an inconsistent postseason for St. Louis. His first start in the NLDS came on short rest, and Tony La Russa's decision to start him on short rest backfired. Carpenter managed to last only three innings, giving up four runs on five hits, while walking three. Philadelphia starter Cliff Lee was unable to hold the lead for the Phillies, and the Cardinals won that game, no thanks to Carpenter. 

Carpenter's second start of the postseason was one for the ages. In a do-or-die NLDS Game 5, Carpenter outdueled Roy Halladay, pitching a shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out three. 

Since Carpenter started Game 5 in the NLDS, his first start in the NLCS wasn't until Game 3. Carpenter was not sharp. Staked to a 4-0 lead after the first inning, Carpenter gave nearly all of it back, and only lasted five innings while giving up three runs on six hits, while walking three.

If the Cardinals lost Game 6 to Milwaukee on Sunday night, Carpenter would have pitched Game 6. Alas, the Cardinals chased Shaun Marcum after an inning and went onto win the pennant on Sunday. 

There has been some internet speculation that Carpenter will be unavailable on Wednesday due to a sore elbow, but that is almost certainly not the case. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

The righthander has received treatment for soreness in his right elbow, a source familiar with the situation said. Carpenter said he felt fine and that the added workload of October wasn't wearing on him.

When asked about the elbow, he said, "It's nothing; I'm all good.

"La Russa rejected the description of Carpenter as "sore."

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.