Cardinals’ Carpenter always seemed to have the Nationals’ number

With the news that right-hander Chris Carpenter is unlikely to pitch in 2013, one of the toughest pitchers in the majors the past 15 years might be close to retirement.

Carpenter has pitched in 350 games with 332 starts, winning 144 games with a consistent .605 winning percentage. How consistent? According to Baseball Reference, Carpenter’s winning percentage was exactly .605 for the first half (75-49) and the second half (69-45) of each season. Incredibly, he also had a better winning percentage on the road (.628) than at home (.581).

Of course, Nationals fans will never forget Carpenter’s performance in the first home playoff game in Nats history, Game 3 of the National League Division Series last season. Carpenter went 5 2/3 innings and scattered seven hits in leading St. Louis to an 8-0 win at Nationals Park.

His winning percentage against the Nationals in the regular season was also one of his best against any team. Carpenter was 6-1 (.857) with a 3.39 ERA against the Nationals.

That was third on his career list behind the Dodgers (6-0, 1.000) and the Pirates (12-3, .800). Oh, and he was 7-2 (.778) against the Phillies and 4-1 (.800) against the Giants. (Of course, the Giants did beat him twice this past season in the all-important National League Championship Series.)

But not having to face a pitcher like Carpenter in 2013, who in 12 starts had a 5.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio against the Nationals, second only to his ratio versus the Dodgers (6.32), will help a bit.

The Cardinals still will have a very good starting staff, and have yet to decide whether to pursue free agent Kyle Lohse. After finding out this news about Carpenter, that may change their thoughts on re-signing Lohse.

And in the end, credit goes to Carpenter, a big-time pitcher who pitched well against the Nationals in his career, and also had 138 wins against everyone else.

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