Chris Carpenter is the St. Louis Cardinals' best postseason pitcher since Bob Gibson, but he was not supposed to be the St. Louis Cardinals' postseason pitcher in 2012. He wasn't even supposed to play—sometime in July, when he had a rib removed in an attempt to alleviate the nerve problems that had plagued him since Spring Training, it became apparent that he'd miss the rest of the season. And then he didn't miss the rest of the season. Now Carp, making his sixth start of the season, can advance the Cardinals to the World Series with a big start Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
Carp wasn't fooling the Giants in his first start of the NLCS; he took his third postseason loss (against 10 victories) by allowing five runs, two earned, in four innings. In 10 postseason innings he's struck out three batters against four walks and looked like a guy who's not very confident in his stuff—at least for a guy who's confident enough in his stuff to return to the mound with the season on the line shortly after having a rib removed from his body.