ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the second inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)
Chris Carpenter has had, without a doubt, the finest pitching performance of this entire postseason when he outdueled Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies with a complete-game shutout as the Cardinals advanced to the NLCS, where they beat the Milwaukee Brewers.
But his first start of that NLDS wasn't nearly as pretty, as he was chased after three innings in Game 1 after giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks, in a game the Cardinals eventually came back and won.
That was on three days rest, the only time he's done that this season.
Tonight's Game 7 of the World Series, the first since 2002 when the Angels beat the Giants, will mark the second time he does it as all reports say Carpenter will start tonight for the third time in this series after starting Game 1 and Game 5 with a win and a no-decision, respectively.
The Rangers attacked Jaime Garcia in Game 6 and chased him early after he shut down their lineup in his first outing in Game 2. The Rangers touched up Carpenter better in Game 5 than in Game 1, though he was still very good in Game 5. Facing him a third time in nine days should give the Rangers a good chance of getting to him.
If Carpenter wins Game 7, and it's a distinct possibility, not only would it haunt Rangers fans forever, but it would thrust him right into the MVP conversation with Lance Berkman, and maybe even David Freese after his Game 6 heroics.
The home team has won the previous eight World Series Game 7s, so the Cardinals have that going for them, but it won't be easy for Carpenter to face the Rangers potent lineup for the third time in such a short time and going on three days rest, which he clearly didn't have success with the last time he tried it.
Either way, tonight is going to be memorable. Soak it in. It doesn't happen very often.