"He just wasn't as sharp," La Russa said of Carpenter's seven-run, three-homer, five-inning showing against the Brewers on Sunday night. "Even against Cincinnati, he was good, but he's capable of being sharper. But as long as he's healthy and competing, everything will fall into place."
Carpenter, who turns 35 later this month, allowed seven home runs in 192 2/3 innings last season and has not given up more than 24 in a season since 2001.
Only twice last year did Carpenter even allow a single home run in consecutive starts. The last time he was reached for three in a game was Aug. 9, 2006, and the last time he had successive starts with two or more homers allowed was July 1 and 6, 2001.