Cardinals leaning on surgically-repaired Carpenter in Game 2

Cardinals leaning on surgically-repaired Carpenter in Game 2
October 15, 2012, 4:13 am
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SAN FRANCISCO Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, really, has no business being on the mound for Monday nights Game 2 of the NLCS at AT&T Park.The 37-year-old former Cy Young Award winner wasnt supposed to pitch at all this year after undergoing a radical procedure in his right arm and neck due to something called thoracic outlet syndrome. But hell get the ball against Ryan Vogelsong as the Cards try and take a 2-0 series lead.
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The motivation to pitch in the postseason is what drove Carpenter since even before he went under the knife in July after sitting out the entire regular season up to that point. After throwing just 17 innings in three regular season appearances in September and early October, Carpenter pitched 5.2 scoreless innings in the Cards Game 2 win over the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, working out of a few precarious situations in the process. That appearance in itself was an accomplishment, regardless of the outcome.As we came out of the surgery and started the rehab process, I felt inside that there was a shot, especially if we got to the playoffs, Carpenter said prior to Game 1.Carpenter, who had Tommy John surgery in 2007, got into some of the gory details of his surgery, which arent for the faint of heart.They go in there, they take out your first rib, which is underneath your collarbone, with a pair of hedge-clip looking things. And they also release and take out you have three scalene muscles, small little neck muscles, they take out the front one and the middle one, they get rid of those, because thats where the artery and the nerve go through when they come out of your neck.Carpenter said that he experienced extreme numbness that started in his arm before it headed north into his neck and even his face before the surgery, and described how those neck muscles became too big due to constant use over the years and that the nerves were having trouble passing through there.Cards manager Mike Matheny, a former teammate of Carpenters both in St. Louis and Toronto, credited Carpenters attitude and enthusiasm for him making it back to the field when no one on the outside realistically expected it to happen.Hes a competitor, like Ive never seen, Matheny said. The guy just finds a different gear when it becomes his turn to do something special.Of course, Carpenters impressive journey is really of no concern to the Giants, who will be trying to even up the series at 1-1 with the righty Vogelsong. The 34-year old Vogelsong pitched five innings in Game 3 of the NLDS, surrendering one run while walking three and striking out five in a no-decision that ended in a 2-1 Giants win and started their comeback against Cincinnati.Vogelsong faced the Cardinals once in the regular season, throwing seven shutout innings on just three hits in a 15-0 San Francisco win on August 8 at Busch Stadium. His success that night doesnt mean a whole lot now, though at least in his mind.For a lot of guys in that lineup, it was the first time they had seen me, he said.Vogelsong does like the fact that the game will be at home, though. His ERA at the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park this year (2.86) was a full run lower than his road ERA (3.87).Its no secret, Ive said in the past that I definitely feed off of the energy that this crowd brings. Im sure its going to be pretty intense tomorrow night. Its pretty intense on a regular season game here in the middle of June. So, tomorrow night should be extra energetic.The Giants will be looking for their first win at home in the postseason before the series shifts to St. Louis for the next three.We cant get ourselves behind the 8-ball, so to speak, like we did last time and try to fight back on the road again, Vogelsong said. It was tremendous that we did it once, and I think it would be asking a lot of us to do it again.

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