St. Louis hurler Chris Carpenter could have become one of the more accomplished pitchers of his generation. Injuries robbed him of that distinction. Instead, he became one of the best big game pitchers.

Now Carpenter's career might be over because of nerve damage. He won 144 games but missed all or most of 2002, '03, '07, '08 and '12.

Per his reputation, after starting only three times in the 2012 regular season because of nerve damage, he allowed no runs in 52Ú3 innings in an 8-0 win over the Nationals in Game 3 of the NL Division Series.

But that was nothing new. Carpenter has a 10-4 record and 3.00 ERA in 18 postseason starts. In 2011 he went 4-0 and beat Philadelphia's Roy Halladay, 1-0, in Game 5 of the NLDS. In the World Series, he pitched a Game 7 win over Texas on three days rest.

Part of his baseball epitaph will deal in what-ifs. But not when it comes to the postseason.

- John Keim