"We've missed the postseason the last two years," La Russa said then. "And he hasn't pitched in two years."
Carpenter made it through spring training healthy, and in his first regular-season start he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and won 2-1. He pitched three scoreless innings Tuesday night before leaving with a ribcage injury that forced him to the disabled list today.
How important is Carpenter? In his five-plus seasons with St. Louis, the Cardinals are 68-30 in games he starts. And as La Russa said, he has barely pitched the last two years (five starts total), and the Cardinals weren't a playoff team either year.
The Red Sox also put a starting pitcher on the DL today, but they might well be able to get by without Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Sox have plenty of options to take Matsuzaka's place in the rotation, including Justin Masterson (four scoreless innings in relief Tuesday night) and Clay Buchholz (2.52 ERA this spring).