Second baseman Matt Carpenter on Tuesday was the only St. Louis Cardinals player to be named to the National League All-Star team.
It’s the first time the Cardinals have had only one player on the team since 2002 when pitcher Matt Morris was their lone representative.
Carpenter, who was named to the squad by NL Manager Terry Collins of the New York Mets, began Tuesday batting .305 with 25 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs and 53 RBIs in 76 games.
Carpenter opened the season at third base, but was moved to second base June 7 when Jhonny Peralta was activated from the disabled list. Peralta, a shortstop, shifted to third base so rookie Aledmys Diaz could remain in the lineup at shortstop.
“It’s always a thrill to know that what you’ve done on the field is being rewarded or that your accomplishments grant merit,” said Carpenter, who also was an All-Star in 2013 and 2014.
They’re all fun. I wouldn’t separate any of them. The first one was a thrill, the third one is just as much of a thrill. The excitement is hard to replicate the first time you get voted into an All-Star Game. I think this year, for me personally, this is the best first half that I’ve ever had.
Matt Carpenter on being named to the National League All-Star team
“They’re all fun,” he said. “I wouldn’t separate any of them. The first one was a thrill, the third one is just as much of a thrill. The excitement is hard to replicate the first time you get voted into an All-Star Game. I think this year, for me personally, this is the best first half that I’ve ever had.”
Carpenter is regarded as one of the best leadoff men in the game, providing the rare combination of power and ability to get on base. His OPS is 1.008, an unusally high number for a player at the top of the order.
“I feel like I’ve done a good job,” Carpenter said. “I’ll continue to say it, I’m comfortable anywhere in the lineup. I’ve done a good job doing what I need to do as a leadoff hitter.”
I feel like I’ve done a good job. I’ll continue to say it, I’m comfortable anywhere in the lineup. I’ve done a good job doing what I need to do as a leadoff hitter.
Matt Carpenter on his role as the Cardinals’ table-setter at the top of the order
The All-Star Game is next Tuesday in San Diego. Carpenter said his wife, Mackenzie, and the couple’s newborn daughter, Kinley, will be with him at the game.
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak was pleased about Carpenter’s selection.
“When I think about what he means to this team, he’s become in a lot of ways the face of our club,” Mozeliak said. “That’s not just for the success you have on the field, but the leadership you bring to the clubhouse. You look at his evolution and his ability to play multiple positions when asked, he never complains, he’s always been a great teammate and someone from an organizational standpoint you’re lucky to have that type of person.”
Mozeliak said Carpenter is a team-first player.
“I think he’s one of those guys who always looked at, ‘Hey, I just want to play. Where you play me is up to you,’” Mozeliak said. “It’s just a very refreshing way to look at it. Even from where you put him in the batting order, he’s open-minded.
When I think about what he means to this team, he’s become in a lot of ways the face of our club. That’s not just for the success you have on the field, but the leadership you bring to the clubhouse.
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak on Matt Carpenter
“Certainly, I think he’s probably the most elite leadoff hitter in the game right now, given his ability to get to get on base and also hit for power. But you look at all those intangibles, he’s a special player and one we’re lucky to call a Cardinal.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny considers Carpenter of the top players in the game.
“I think, statistically, you can say his numbers have really been impressive, but this guy to me has been one of the most consistent players that I’ve been around,” Matheny said.
The Cardinals do not have a player in the final-vote balloting, but there’s still a possibility they will have an additional pitcher or player on the NL roster if there is an injury or if a pitcher named to the team can’t participate in the game because he works Sunday.
“I don’t know if other teams have taken stronger marketing, (but) I can’t really put my finger on it,” Matheny said. “I know our front-office folks and our marketing people do a great job promoting our players, so I don’t quite know what the reasoning is, but for whatever reason it just didn’t fall our way.”
Mozeliak said other Cardinals are deserving of a spot on the roster, including pitchers Carlos Martinez and Seung Hwan Oh. Diaz also could be a deserving addition to the roster.
Catcher Yadier Molina, a seven-time All-Star, lost to San Francisco’s Buster Posey in the fan balloting.
Mozeliak and Matheny spoke with Collins, expressing their opinions on other Cardinals who would be deserving for a spot on the roster.
“I wouldn’t say we lobbied, but we certainly gave him our opinions on what we thought about who’s deserving. So I guess that’s lobbying,” Mozeliak said.
I feel like it would be odd and it would be disappointing because, like I said, I feel like we’ve got some guys who deserve to go. Maybe some arms aren’t available or some injuries free open some spots because I’m certainly not the only deserving All-Star on our team.
Matt Carpenter on being the only Cardinals player on the NL roster
“I thought (Martinez) was qualified. Look at how he’s throwing. Subtract wins and losses as the only barometer. Overall, he was very effective and at times dominant. I think he or Oh both deserve serious looks.”
Martinez is 7-6 with a 2.90 ERA. Oh is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and two saves in 41 games.
Carpenter said it will be strange to not have any of his teammates with him in San Diego.
“It’s usually a big event because we’ve got a lot of guys representing (the NL),” Carpenter said. “I certainly think we had a couple guys who probably got snubbed this year, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s unfortunate because we have some other guys that deserve it as well.
“I feel like it would be odd and it would be disappointing because, like I said, I feel like we’ve got some guys who deserve to go. Maybe some arms aren’t available or some injuries free open some spots because I’m certainly not the only deserving All-Star on our team.”
Pirates 5, Cardinals 2
Former Cardinals David Freese and Eric Fryer combined for four RBIs to lift Pittsburgh to its second consecutive victory over St. Louis. Fryer had the biggest hit, a two-run double inside the right-field line in the sixth against Mike Leake that made it 5-2.
By the numbers
Leake (5-7) suffered his third straight loss. He allowed five runs (earned) on nine hits in six innings. ... The Cardinals are 18-25 at home. ... Matt Adams is 0-for-31 at Busch Stadium since he hit a home run in his first at-bat against Houston on June 14. ... Jedd Gyorko had two hits for the Cardinals. ... Pittsburgh’s bullpen threw five scoreless innings, allowing two hits. ... Mark Melancon registered his 25th save.
Jaime Garcia (6-6, 3.84 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (8-5, 5.13 ERA), 7:15 p.m. Wednesday