By Matt Snyder
ST. LOUIS -- After the Cardinals' thrilling Game 6 victory over the Rangers, they'll have little time to celebrate. Game 7 starts roughly 19 1/2 hours after Game 6 ended. So the focus immediately shifts to the final game of the World Series, and whether or not Tony La Russa is going to bring back ace Chris Carpenter. As things stood after the game, there was no official word just yet.
"I just barely started to think about tomorrow, but actually it'll be fun to think about it now because there is a Game 7," La Russa said. (I) might just roll Jake (Westbrook) back out there, who knows."
It's pretty doubtful La Russa is seriously considering Westbrook. The other options as Game 7 starter would be Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson. Jackson's a much better bet than Lohse, but it just feels like a sure bet Carpenter is going to go -- even if he wouldn't say so either.
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Carpenter has already told reporters he's ready to start if called upon and he said that he would prepare all day Friday as if he is the starter.
This may be a situation where the decision has already been made and the Cardinals just didn't feel like telling anyone or wanted to allow the Game 6 heroics of David Freese, Lance Berkman and more to be the story.
During the regular season, Carpenter pitched on four days' rest 18 times, five days' rest 14 times and six days' rest once. He made zero starts on three days' rest. He did make his first start of this postseason on three days' rest, Game 2 of the NLDS versus the Phillies. He lasted only three innings that game, giving up five hits and four earned runs while walking three. And the Phillies offense is far inferior to the Rangers.
Then again, if your other options are Jackson and Lohse, don't you just roll the dice with Carpenter instead? I would. And it's pretty likely La Russa will, too.
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