Carpenter, Cards not fazed by southpaw
Detroit (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1), Tuesday, 7 p.m. CT
ST. LOUIS -- Greeted by clear skies and cool temperatures, the Tigers and Cardinals arrived at Busch Stadium on Monday to ... hash out Kenny Rogers' dirty little secret.Oh, in addition to the around-the-horn discussions of the smudged hand with which Rogers got caught early in his Game 2 gem, the teams also prepared for Tuesday night's Game 3 of the World Series. As the 102nd Series shifts to the base of the Gateway Arch, the Cardinals count on their ace to retrieve the upper hand in the best-of-seven showdown. Nate Robertson, another of those annoying left-handers who give the Redbirds so much trouble, will face Chris Carpenter in Game 3. The Tigers are a little apprehensive about what they can expect from Robertson, who will be pitching competitively for the first time in two weeks, since going five innings in the 5-1 win over Oakland on Oct. 10 in Game 1 of the ALCS. "We could get a fastball with a little bit more velocity than normal, but maybe not as good control," Tigers manager Jim Leyland theorized. "Or we could run into a situation like we did with [Justin] Verlander, [whose] fastball was not there, which really shocked me." St. Louis manager Tony La Russa tried to make light of his team's continuing problems with lefties. "Well, we won the prior two games started by left-handers," he said, alluding to Games 5 and 7 of the NLCS started by the Mets' Tom Glavine and Oliver Perez, "so, the way I see it, we got left-handers solved." Carpenter, who made both of his NLCS starts in Shea Stadium, finally gets to start at home for the first time since Oct. 8, when he allowed two runs in seven innings of the Cards' Division Series clincher over San Diego. "Location" is significant for the reigning Cy Young Award winner. He had a regular season ERA of 1.81 in Busch Stadium, compared to 4.70 on the road. Carpenter shrugs off that disparity as a fluke, pointing out how his road ERA was inflated by a couple of rough Interleague outings. True, and the Tigers were responsible for one of them, knocking him around for seven runs in seven innings on June 23. The chance to finally leave his footprint in the World Series stokes Carpenter, who sat out the Cards' 2004 dance with Boston.
"I had an opportunity to come here in '04, but was unable to pitch because of my injury," he said. "But to get back a second time and have a chance to go out and compete and pitch in the game, it's going to be a lot of fun."During Monday's late afternoon workout, the Tigers worked on familiarizing themselves with new Busch Stadium as much as possible. "You try to gauge how the ball comes off the bat, check out the playing surface," said Curtis Granderson. "It's kind of exciting getting to a park you've only seen on TV." "I'm really glad we're getting to work out," Leyland said. "I think there is something to it. We're not going to gain a lot from this workout. We'll get a feel of the outfield or where to play. We'll take some balls down the line, and see how they ricochet. It's kind of a cram course." The scene shifting to Busch Stadium also means a three-game break from the designated hitter, returning Sean Casey to first base and Carlos Guillen to shortstop for the Tigers. Two games at DH had been ideal to give Casey's calf injury a chance to improve. "I'm looking forward to that. I may have some conversations there," said Casey, who likes to chat up visitors at his "office."
DET: LHP Nate Robertson (1-1, 5.91 ERA in postseason)
Once again, Robertson (13-13 regular season) opens up for the Tigers on the road, the same scene he faced while starting Game 1 for the Tigers in the previous two rounds. He allowed two runs over 21 1/3 innings against National League teams this year during Interleague Play. As a hitter, he had an RBI single this year for his only base hit in 14 career at-bats.
STL: RHP Chris Carpenter (2-1, 3.70 ERA in postseason)
Carpenter (15-8, 3.09 regular season) throws four "plus" pitches for strikes, making him a handful for even the most potent lineups. Carpenter has made seven playoff starts in his career, and St. Louis has won six of those games. However, he was injured during the club's 2004 run, so this will be his first World Series appearance.
Tiger to watch: Sean Casey
New Busch or old Busch, the recent National Leaguer has always hit well in St. Louis and against Carpenter (.462, 6-for-13). That comfort zone should keep warming up a bat that produced a key RBI single in Sunday night's Game 2.
The last time the Busch faithful saw Rolen, he was still scuffling with a weak left shoulder that had impaired his swing. But he has gradually been getting strong -- he comes off two hits in each of the first two games, his first consecutive multihit efforts since Sept. 15-16 -- and gets his licks against another lefty. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
Wednesday: Tigers (RHP Jeremy Bonderman, 1-0, 3.00) at Cardinals (RHP Jeff Suppan, 1-1, 1.86), 7 p.m. CT
Thursday: Tigers (RHP Justin Verlander, 1-1, 7.47) at Cardinals (RHP Anthony Reyes 1-0, 3.00), 7 p.m. CT
Friday: Travel day
Saturday (if necessary): Cardinals (RHP Jeff Weaver, 2-2, 2.90) at Tigers (LHP Kenny Rogers, 3-0, 0.00), 6:30 p.m. ET
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.